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

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.

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

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Why Debt Is Required

Slide 18 – Why add debt?

One of the fundamental benefits of debt is 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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. Yoshua says:

    Top Russian Church Exorcist: Hillary Shows ‘Clear Signs’ of Demonic Possession.

    Donald: -“I’m running against who ?”

  2. Sungr says:

    SLOW Times in the Bakken. I worked here as a petroleum geologist during the 80s in both boom and bust. But this bust has hit way harder than that of the 80s…. Of course at that time we viewed the Bakken as just a curiosity with a nice big gas show- but nothing that would produce. We just ignored those bleeding oil shows from the the sand deposits under the lower Bakken because there was no way to produce the stuff at that time…

    “The fracking party is over, and a quiet desperation has descended on the state’s once-booming communities and the thousands of people who were drawn to them.

    “By 2014, the U.S. energy boom, supercharged by the revolution in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, had made North Dakota’s economy the fastest-growing in the nation. Its unemployment rate was lowest among states. Its gross domestic product of roughly $50 billion that year was more than double 2002 levels.

    “The pain for much of last year was mitigated as aggressive price hedges and similar maneuvers kept the industry profitable. But those tactics have stopped working. North Dakota’s economy shrank 3.4 percent in the third quarter of last year, the weakest performer in the nation. Worse numbers for the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 are expected in a federal report to be released in June.

    “All facets of the oil boom – including the people, like Van Assche, who supported it – are now in retreat. It’s a stunning reversal of fortune for a state whose governor, Jack Dalrymple, vowed in 2014 that he would not blink in the fight with OPEC for global oil market share.

    That future has evaporated. Those who haven’t packed up and left the Bakken are facing a new reality of smaller budgets, fewer residents and the physical detritus of a building boom that left behind hundreds of empty apartments.

    “Now, Continental and others have stopped fracking altogether in North Dakota. Statewide, there are only eight crews fracking new wells for the few companies still willing to pay for the service. Two years ago, there were 45, a peak for the teams that pump water, sand and chemicals deep underground to extract oil and natural gas.

    “The slowdown has also inflicted pain on community budgets. Williston’s debt and other liabilities nearly quadrupled from 2008 to 2014, to $158 million, as the city sought to keep pace with growth.

    “Yet the city’s sales tax receipts fell 47 percent in March from a year earlier, according to the state treasurer.

    “Moody’s Corp, the credit rating agency, downgraded Williston’s general obligation bonds in March to junk status, citing the city’s reliance on those sales taxes to repay debt.

    “Until recently, oilfield roughnecks were making more than $100,000 a year on average. Few command those salaries today. Many of those roughnecks used to line up outside Heartbreakers every day for its 4 p.m. opening, regardless of the weather, which plumbs 0°F (-18°C) in the dark of winter.

    “Williston’s 2nd Avenue West, the main thoroughfare nicknamed “Million Dollar Way,” is pockmarked with vacant storefronts and empty parking lots. Aaron’s Rent-To-Own, a retailer of televisions and video game consoles, shuttered two months ago. Prices for industrial real estate – warehouses and the like – have dropped nearly 40 percent in the past year.

    “If frigid temperatures and the risk of violence couldn’t keep them away, the economy can: One recent evening, Heartbreakers attracted only three customers. Since then, the club’s owner, Jared Holbrook, has closed Heartbreakers and is planning to reopen the venue in coming days as Williston’s first gay bar.

    “””No one has any money to spend here anymore,” said an exotic dancer at Williston’s Heartbreakers strip club. She estimated that tips had gone down more than 60 percent since last fall.

  3. Yoshua says:

    KGB captures a CIA agent in Moscow. But this diplomat decided to make Ivan work for his rubles.

    • Yoshua says:

      What if the Russian’s and the American’s are working together under the disguise of a New Cold War. The just play good cop and bad cop.
      They work together in the Middle East by spreading murder and mayhem and confusing everybody on which side to stand.
      The war in Ukraine gives Russia a perfect alibi to modernize the Russian army while the Russian population sinks deeper into poverty. After all the defence against the Empire comes first.
      Kerry visits Sochi every month and gives a cryptic interview about what was discussed with the enemy.
      Sure. They are still two mafia organizations who are in a turf war. They spy on each others since they don’t trust one another and they would gladly cut each others throats… but that’s just business as usual.

  4. Yoshua says:

    The tribal war has already started in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Ukraine. The tribal war is still only in its infancy in Europe between Europeans and Muslims. Europeans are divided in many tribes and so are the Muslims in Europe and we are all today united in a collapsing European Union. The Iranians, Kurds, Turks, Arabs and Africans in Europe are divided by sectarian and tribal lines and hate one another too.

    I read yesterday that Latinos and Afros in the U.S have already decided to vote for the Democrats. The battle now is for other minority votes and for the white vote. Democracy is just a race vote and politics of race ?

    Globalization was the natural path to access energy resources on a global scale by tearing down all borders and integrate the world. Who would have thought that this bacteria culture would suck up everything in such a short time ? The time has now come to devour each others.

  5. Artleads says:

    OK, so more economic activity. The problem I see with that is that “economic activity” can’t distinguish between what is restorative and what is destructive. Just one well worn example:

    Oil spills are counted as economic activity, and provide a lot of jobs. So let’s create more oil spills so growth occurs. But the oil spills destroy fisheries and put fishing communities out of work. If this is not a desired outcome (bearing in mind that just about all growth enterprises destroy economic resources of one sort or another) what is the rationale for unspecified growth.?

    Also, when people talk about economic growth and improving economies, they are talking of a networked global economy. But isn’t it clear that this global economy has finally met with limits? If it hasn’t met with limits (or won’t or can’t) how is this explained?

    • Ert says:


      GDP is a fuzzy number – as your example explains.

      But every (virtual) transaction, resource consumption, physical transport, whatever consumes energy, has people involved. The available net-energy in term of outputs relative to inputs goes down (ERoEI). We may assume that also the total quantity of surplus energy is somehow reaching its limits (Net-BTUs). With sinking ERoEI and the same BTUs generated or excavated the Net-BUTs sink and sink….

      This sinking of the Net-BTUs or even sinking ERoEI puts the system under stress, as it runs on those Net-BTUs. We will see when it goes critical.. how log the embedded energy in the system can be tapped to prolong it (e.g. infrastructure weardown).

      So the question of limits is a fuzzy one.. limits within a year range? A decade range? Limits where? In Nigeria? In Greece? In Spain? In Germany? In the US? For 50 million Food-Stamps receiver in the US? For Apple selling iPhones?

      I think its a gradual process… it takes time…. sucking on the embedded energy…. letting the periphery collapse first.. then the different (lower) layer in the societies. Timing is a bit**….

      • Artleads says:

        Thanks a lot, Ert

        I understand this part best:

        “I think its a gradual process… it takes time…. sucking on the embedded energy…. letting the periphery collapse first.. then the different (lower) layer in the societies.”

        And I see that Gail responded to Henrik too.

        I think Don Stewart’s recent research have been suggesting that some aspects of nature know how to use “contraction” to create more channelled force, and more work. But maybe he’s saying something else, little as I know.

  6. Henrik says:

    Hi Gail!

    Thank You for nother excellent presentation.
    The graph showing the small world increase in energy consumption per capita says it all.
    Since the growth is so small and not distributed equally I guess more people will find their standard of living decreasing and not increasing. That is life is simply getting harder and harder for most of us.

    Where do you think the cut off is? How high do you think the growth in energy consumption per capita has to be if we want to increase standard of living for average Joe?


    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Right now, energy consumption per capita is decreasing. I expect it is getting worse this year, with all of the coal mines being closed in China.

      I am not sure that the per capita consumption needs to be increasing a whole lot. To some extent, we have technology making more efficient use of energy products on one side. This helps hold down the required increase to close to flat. But there is still the problem with of growing hierarchy (and the hierarchy stealing more of what is available, and growing debt obligations. These will gobble up more of what energy is available.

      I looked at US energy consumption. In the period between 1983 and 2000, per capita energy consumption was increasing by about 0.9% per year, and the economy was doing reasonably well. The world in total averaged energy consumption per capita growth of about 1.0% between 2000 and 2013. So perhaps about 1.0 percent per year per capita would be about enough to keep things going. Over time, I would expect this percentage to rise, because of lower quality mineral ores and issues related to growing hierarchy.

  7. Yoshua says:

    The American economy is a beautiful machine. Warren Buffet

    The European economy is a steam engine. Yoshua

    That’s it for me today.

  8. dolph911 says:

    My comments are being deleted out.

    Scared of the truth much?

    We will end up in a racial WW3. The world is not big enough.

  9. dolph911 says:

    I’m telling anybody who will listen, the energy and resource constraints are not the immediate problem. It’s a problem yes, but not a problem in the sense that a “solution” such as new forms of energy, more drilling, etc. will work.

    What the world faces is a demographic problem. There are simply too many of us of all sorts of varying nations/religions/languages etc., all competing for a shrinking pie. When this happens, people tend to coalesce around their tribal entities.

    In Europe, it actually is the various nations against each other, and all of them against the Islamic and African migrants!
    In America, it actually is the Whites/Blacks/Mexicans/Asians/Jews/Muslims etc. against each other!

    You are so blind if you cannot see this. Your corporate, multicultural programming is really, really strong if you cannot see that human beings are tribal by nature. Race, nationhood, religion, language, are all strong tribal indicators, because the individual human being must be a part of a group for survival, not just immediate survival, but also cultural survival after death.

    Without a solution to this problem, and there doesn’t seem to be one, because one tribe’s expansion and success is another’s failure, there is only one outcome…conflict and war as far as the eye can see.

    • Artleads says:

      “…one tribe’s expansion and success is another’s failure, there is only one outcome…conflict and war as far as the eye can see.”

      True or not, this is a perfect description of a “zero sum game.” Futile or not, America seems to be dedicated to the exalted goal of unity despite (or even through) differences.
      As far as I can tell, it is the only country that is significantly populated by all nationalities and races of the world. Simultaneously, it has seen itself as a white country…

      I understand that hundreds of years ago, black and white “indentured servants” identified themselves on the basis of their homeland, not on the basis of race. I further understand that the new emphasis on race was a means of separation and control by the master class. It was an invention. As a sidebar, one notes in the gradation of pigmentation and features in some parts of the world that considerable racial mixing has been occurring for millennia.

    • my point exactly

      in term of severe stress you will look to, attach to, and rely on, the person(s) closest to you who looks like you—ie one of your tribe.

      no racism involved here, merely increasing chances of survival

      • Stefeun says:

        And lower the chances of any global agreement,
        actually when we should urgently change paradigms.
        Perfect recipee for a crash.

  10. Fast Eddy says:

    The police state cometh .. and it will be welcomed!–german-police

    I didn’t see the Trump speech because politics are fake — but I did see the headlines — death, destruction etc were mentioned multiple times apparently … since Trump is an actor who is fed his lines by the priests… this is of interest

    The High Priests are preparing America for the next phase of ‘how long can we keep BAU alive doing whatever it takes’

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Trump Accused Of “Apocalyptic” Fearmongering In Speech Promising “Security And Prosperity”

      In one of the most dramatic, polarizing, (and longest ever) convention speeches, Donald Trump claimed the Republican presidential nomination with a highly charged text in which he promised to be “the voice” of disenfranchised Americans and the guardian of “law and order.” And while most republicans loved it, the speech was roundly panned by democrats everywhere as ominous “doom and gloom” fearmongering, one which painted a picture of an America on the verge of an apocalyptic ending.

      Don is the man! Very convincing….

    • Ert says:

      Unfortunately I think you are correct…

      Martial law in France and Turkey … and lots of developments in that direction in the last years… from my point of view all preparation in direction of the end of BAU. We will see the next days how the stuff in Munich played out.

      Still.. if you think of 80 million people in Germany alone… I wonder that not more happens…. (or being reported)…. as more and more people come under stress by degrading society, bad paying jobs, family problems and the like.

      Always wonder what will happen if we would have real problems… not enough food or gas/oil for heating and the like.

    • worldofhanumanotg
      worldofhanumanotg says:

      I’m really wondering what is the plan here after this wave of attacks, either prepare people psychologically for the option of nuking MENA megacities (aka that’s our oil and gas afterall) or for enacting eternal marshal law across western countries, or both..

    • Yoshua says:

      German Police Are Too Soft, Really

      Leonid Bershidsky

      “Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has called for more video surveillance in public places, and Germany can probably no longer get away with keeping a relatively small police force — about 300 officers per 100,000 people”.

      That would be something like 3000 officers to look after 1.2 million refugees that arrived last year. No wonder “the situation is out of control” as a German police officer said.

      They can’t even catch the killers in Munich. A anti-terrorist group was called in to Munich from god knows where.

      Are the Germans now looking back at the times with Gestapo and Stasi with a sense of nostalgia ?

      • greg machala says:

        That white phosphorus video from Syria is apocalyptic. I really think Fast Eddy is right. Whatever it takes. The world is over populated and running out of resources so lets just burn people up. It is so sad. The veneer of civilization is really just that, a very thin veneer.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Interesting how much coverage each attack in Europe gets in the MSM…. and zero coverage of our atrocities in MENA…

          Control of the money supply and media are the cornerstones of modern empire

      • worldofhanumanotg
        worldofhanumanotg says:

        Yep, speaking about “public cameras”, the IT technology advanced so much, that they can now in real time process your facial features and individually unique bodily movements patterns (incl. change of hair line, beards, etc.) so an individual can be easily tracked for the entire day, traffic cameras, shops, security circuits etc. In fact this software has been implemented years ago. This is all very much playing into hands of the scenario stressed several times here, but apparently not enough, namely there will be no instadoom at many western places for at least next 2-3decades. Before going down, they will just launch North Korean style regime or beyond: total control, no cash, energy consumption-food allowance digital credits, martial law, little individual travel.. Very much dystopian nightmare as long as they can keep some of the core infrastructure running, most of the consumerist addon fluff will be triaged and erased away as we progress along..

        • Stefeun says:

          This is heavy infrastructure, which requires resources and energy to run efficiently.

          For example, in Nice there are more than 1200 (some say 2000) of those “public cameras”. The guy circulated with the truck in center town although it was forbidden, the 2 days before Bastille Day, for spot-pinpointings, and was never arrested.
          The good old methods of totalitarian state might work better…

          • DJ says:

            I agree with Stefuen, surveillance doesn’t work (at least not as advertised). Even if a killer announces on Facebook: tomorrow I’m gonna go to X to kill people with my new guns (picture attached). The odds is in his favour he won’t be arrested.

          • xabier says:

            Yes, the old methods: the old woman who cleans the floors and deals with the rubbish is the block spy. No better method ever invented……

            • DJ says:

              In DDR half spied on the other half.

              That could work again, if we could only find out how to feed, clothe and shelter the population with only 50% working. And no fossil fuel.

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    Global Trade Meets Ugly Reality

    Years of painfully slow growth slashed in one fell swoop!

    Something funny happened when I didn’t look: the global trade numbers were adjusted down. By a lot. The post-Financial Crisis recovery in trade is suddenly a heck of a lot less vibrant than it looked. And it has completely stalled out over the past two years.

    The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, just released its Merchandise World Trade Monitor for May. It was, in its own right, not very uplifting.

    World trade volume shrank 0.4% in May, after shrinking 0.3% in April. The index fell to 133.0, the lowest level since May 2015. It’s back where it had first been in September 2014.

    But wait…. Last time we wrote about the World Trade Monitor (WTM) was July a year ago. We’ve kept our eyes on it because it is a valuable and unique tool in trying to gauge global trade. So this time, something jarred us, and we went back to look at the data from a year ago: the entire data series going back to Adam and Eve has been adjusted downward, with the most significant adjustments kicking in after the Financial Crisis.

    Turns out, the recovery of global trade was a lot weaker than the original data had indicated. Today’s WTM level of 133 is where it had first been under the old data in October 2013! Two-and-a-half years of painfully slow growth wiped out in one fell swoop!

    So we did something vile. We overlaid the old data and the adjusted data, for all to see. This chart includes the old data released as of July 2015 (blue line) and the new adjusted data released today (red line):


  12. Artleads says:

    Great information, as always. Will look up Catherine Wanek, and The Art of Natural Building. A caution on using such terms as 2050, however. If there’s some way to get there, it hasn’t yet registered on my intuitional radar. 🙂

  13. Don Stewart says:

    Replying broadly to your previously stated concerns about Arnoux. Of course i do not know the details of what he wants to build. However, he has stated that he is also a biologist, which leads me to suspect that Biomimicry may lurk in there somewhere. So…let’s look at a little more from Nick Lane, and see if we might see some parallels with an nGeni.

    Page 89: Medieval watermills and modern hydroelectric power stations are powered by the channeling of water. Funnel the flow into a confined channel and its force increases. Now it can drive work such as turning a waterwheel. Conversely, allow the flow to spread out across a wider basin, and the force diminishes. Living cells work in a similar way. A metabolic pathway is like a water channel, except that the flow is of organic carbon. In a metabolic pathway, a linear sequence of reactions is catalyzed by a series of enzymes, each one acting on a product of the previous enzyme. This constrains the flow of organic carbon. A molecule enters a pathway, undergoes a succession of chemical modifications, and exits as a different molecule. With their various metabolic pathways, cells are like networks of water mills in which the flow is always confined within interconnecting channels, always maximized.

    Such ingenious channeling means that cells need far less carbon and energy to grow than they would if flow were unconstrained. Rather than dissipating the force at each step—molecules ‘escaping’ to react with something else—enzymes keep biochemistry on the straight and narrow. Cells don’t need a great river surging to the sea, but drive their mills using smaller channels. From an energetic point of view, the power of enzymes is not so much that they speed up reactions, but that they channel their force, maximizing the output. End quote.

    Arnoux states, in the videos, that it is the tight coupling of the components that produces the magic. That sounds very much like Lane’s description above. In addition, Arnoux claims that the units can be localized, which minimizes any transmission losses. Cells, similarly, keep the mitochondria very close to the action in the proton gradients.

    Problems with the Tree of Life idea. Page 123: Defining the term ‘species’ in bacteria has always been problematic. But the real difficulty with bacteria is that they spread their genes around by lateral gene transfer, passing handfuls of genes from one to another like small change, as well as bequeathing a copy of their full genome to daughter cells. None of this undermines natural selection in any sense— it is still descent with modification; it’s just that ‘modification’ is achieved in more ways than we once thought. End quote.

    During the Q and A in the third article, you will see Arnoux and a reader speculate about how the people who still survive in 2050 will be different than the people today. Will the people in 2050 have invented all sorts of new ‘social and economic genes’? Or will they have made use of some genes which have been laterally transferred? Let me elaborate.

    A full complement of genes or memes relative to living in the industrial world are passed down to almost every child in the United States from their parents but also from the whole society. But sometimes circumstances contrive to plant some alien genes. My wife and I recently had our 50th wedding anniversary celebration in Silver City, NM. I had become aware of Catherine Wanek, a Natural Building advocate, and arranged to spend the night at her place before the children arrived. Then, I arranged for our entire group to go and look at the buildings on her property, and to take a look at her latest book The Art of Natural Building, which is a broad survey of what is possible. A few genes were laterally transferred. The people in the group got to crawl into buildings which were naturally cool, for example. My sister, who lives in LA, wrote that on the drive back, they stopped at a ranch in Arizona which contains not only many archaeological artifacts, but also recently constructed natural buildings by the Native Americans in the area. She wrote that on the outside, it was 105F, but the inside of the buildings was cool. A gene was laterally transferred.

    We can easily imagine similar lateral gene transfer having to do with the growing of food and the preparation of food as well as the purification of water. If someone has food, shelter, and water, then life is possible. Is Arnoux thinking this way?

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Sorry for the time you spend trying to explain and find answers.

      I understand all that, and even agree with most of it. What I’ve hard time to figure out is what this new organization would be made of, for what kind of output (or goal), and how it would be connected (or not) with current BAU.

      If it’s to say that BAU will crash and a much reduced population (if any) will have to re-start from scratch with solar budget only and a very degraded environment, I don’t see the usefulness, we know it already!
      If it’s about mitigations, what do they consist in? (let alone their implementation, that seem totally irrealistic to me).

      • Don Stewart says:

        You can read his responses to people and intuit his principles at least as well as I can.

        As for ‘starting from scratch’, I hazard the guess that he would like to plant some ‘laterally transferred genes’ among those willing to accept them, in the next 3 years.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          I know, but I think it should be his role to show us and explain his intentions, not up to us to ask series of questions to try to clarify, and get only half-answers, so far, without anything tangible. That’s why I’m showing some badwill ;-(

          As for “laterally transferred genes”, don’t we humans call that memes, or culture, or information?
          As I recently discussed with Artleads, it’s not clear that much of it survives the bottleneck. Most of it, being linked to current technologies, will be useless anyway. The medium (carrier) is important, think of it if you nevertheless intend to try something with permaculture knowledge.

          • Don Stewart says:

            I have previously promised to stop discussing this. So, absolutely last post and then I am out of here.

            Lane makes the point that structure was there before information. Just as a whirlpool can be a stable structure with no information making it function. Lane’s candidate for the structure which gave birth to life is an alkaline ocean bed structure with fine membranes across which a gradient can form and be stable for long periods of time. What Catherine Wanek and, I believe, Arnoux, are trying to do is put some structure into the genetic (or memetic or cultural) heritage of some people. (I’m using ‘genetic’ in a broad sense, to be consistent with what bacteria do, which is the analog.) I don’t think Catherine or Arnoux think they can save 8 billion people (you can check the dialogue for yourself). The dominant culture in the US is clearly that of Aubrey McClendon (full speed ahead until you hit the concrete abutment). But some people have survived previous catastrophic collapses. My own take is that they believe they are offering templates which can ease certain friction points today for some significant number of people, and will be useful if the McClendon Climax happens on schedule.

            Don Stewart

    • Artleads says:

      “Great information, as always. Will look up Catherine Wanek, and The Art of Natural Building.”

      Posted the above (and more) in the wrong place (below). Was disappointed that Wanek’s work was not largely for free (unlike with Orlov). She seems to be ‘missing’ somewhere.

      • Don Stewart says:

        I don’t know Catherine well. But she strikes me as someone who practices building with straw bales a lot more diligently than posting stuff on the internet.
        Don Stewart

        • Artleads says:

          I’m sure she’s doing loads of good. I’m just being selfish. I like it when Orlov proposes an economic order that would make an economist scratch his head and go…”say what!?” *I* get something from that. In contrast, I go to her site and see a closed door. Fork up some money or screw you. Since I don’t have (or care to have) the money to pay her, I get nothing from that. 🙂

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The capital of DelusiSTAN is located in a large tower made of ivory….

    • Sungr says:

      I would guess that about 25% of the United States GDP is just pure horse manure- just human drones transferring masses of paperwork back and forth with other groups of human drones.

      Soccer Moms driving their offspring around in 500hp SUVs. Commuters living far out and then spending 4 hours a day commuting to deadening jobs.

      No EROEI involved. Just pure societal insanity

      • Trevor says:

        My neighbor and I have found a way to increase GDP and get rich. He mows my lawn and I pay him. Then I mow his lawn and he pays me. If we get everyone in the area involved we will all soon be millionaires!

        • DJ says:

          Exactly! Everything women used to do for free that we now pay for (many times through taxes) is a false increase. Much of the “men stuff” men did for free is now paid for also, since men is to busy doing their half of the “women stuff”. False increase.

          Also things made of less quality, being impossible to repair. False increase.

          • DJ says:

            How much of the gap between GDP increase and energy use increase is just we paying for what someone did for free earlier?

        • Tim Groves – Japan
          Tim Groves says:

          This is the same sort of thinking that suggests that If we all cut each other’s finger and toe nails and charge for it, perhaps we can save BAU.

  14. Artleads says:


    Sorry if I missed a cue to respond. You did refer to calculations of some sort re food production. Which is not something I can relate to. (I would always come last in math all through childhood schools, and If if my life depended on using a calculator, that would be it for me).

    But I also know that those kinds of calculations make no sense. They are experiments in abstract reasoning, having little to do with nature.

    Food growing–ask those who have done the work–does not require lots of space, and space outside of built places. I am sick and tired of posting references to the work of John Jeavons (whom I know) and his work with Ecology Action. His book “How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible… (or something like that) come up with an easy search. I won’t do the search for you or for anyone of the numerous left-brain hubristic deniers that dominate this and other blogs. Males, usually between 40 and 60 who were taught to that they understood the world and were the beacon of the human species. Western imperialistic hogwash. These people have no interest in learning anything. If the drift in a discussion falls outside of their purview, they don’t read it. Their arrogance is astounding.

    They are stuck. The world they concocted on false premises is imploding, even though they ignored early warnings of that prospect. Ignorance and conceit was deemed preferable. Because THEY, by their damned “calculations,” can’t see a way out, they refuse to accept their COULD be a way out other than what they erroneously imagine it could be…

    • DJ says:

      Yes. You are very open minded.

    • Artleads says:

      “I’d add that, more than any other place (cities), humans have more impact on wildlife health and quality of life. The goal of building a city for humans—for walking, for community, for social justice—mirrors the outcomes of a wildlife city. Perhaps we ought to expand our typical research focus and look to wildlife for a good city form.”

      I’ve only been saying this for decades. Glad to see the guys who get paid to say it finally catching on.

  15. Stefeun says:

    Just for fun, found on Adrastia too:

    “The 1847 lecture that predicted human-induced climate change
    A near-forgotten speech made by a US congressman warned of global warming and the mismanagement of natural resources”

  16. Yoshua says:

    The velocity of money peaked in 1997 and has since then fallen of a cliff.

    • wratfink says:

      Hello Yoshua

      I’d be interested in the reasons why velocity has tanked. If you compare the graph of money velocity with the FRED M2 money stock graph, you can see an exponential spike upwards of the money supply about 1997…just when velocity drops off.

      So there is a huge increase in supply and a huge decrease in the “speed of spending”. Any ideas?

      Does this mean money is being hoarded somewhere? I know my pocketbook is pretty empty.

      • DJ says:

        Perhaps “hoarded” as mortgages?

      • Yoshua says:

        FRED M2 money stock

        Federal Deficit versus Velocity of money

        I was hoping that someone would explain to me what was going on.

        The government has been borrowing and spending faster though to keep the velocity of money and the economy from totally tanking.

        The Wall Street banks have sold off toxic assets on their balance sheets to the Fed and they now horde $2.3 Trillion at the Fed.

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          My view has been that it is the total debt in the world (probably excluding financial debt), converted to US dollars, that is important. Debt is what allows people to buy things, not M2 currency. M2 currency is just a measure of a particular kind of debt. Financial debt mostly bids up stock and other security prices.

      • CTG says:

        50 years ago, money that is generated or created in USA or Japan does not leak to South America, South East Asia or any country of the world easily. Telegraphic transfer takes time and not much trade going on. Fax does not exist. I have not seen a telex machine before other than in photos. I am in the mid 40s now. I don’t know how to operate a telex machine if it is in front of me now and I am pretty sure there are NO engineers who can design one without using integrated circuits but only resistors, transistors and capacitors (discrete components).

        Money created in US can now leak to Myanmar at an instant. It is the same as virulent and contagious diseases. 100 years ago, Spanish flu spread fast because of WW1 and some early flight and ships. 200 years with horseback riding, it is slow. Black Death caused so many deaths. Imagine what would happen now if it occurs now. I can have my lunch at the other side of the world for lunch with FE or Gail if I want to. If it happens, it will spread just as fast. Similarly, this analogy goes with the financial world. Nothing is isolated now. Anything happened to the large economies like Europe, USA, China and Japan or even large sectors like Forex, subprime cannot be contained in that country or that sector alone.

        It is really a pipe dream that so many “experts” say that “it is contained” ! I am not sure if they really mean it (i.e. believe in it) or just saying it to placate the masses.

  17. Stefeun says:

    Gaël Giraud gave an interview on Adrastia,
    In French only, and I don’t especially recommend it, as it’s surprisingly a lot about global warming and its consequences,

    I’ll just report 2 figures he gives in the beginning of the itw:
    – in 2015, the world economy didn’t grow, but shrinked by 4,9% (i.e. like a Germany wiped off).
    – for 2016, forecasted GDP for the first 50 countries is expected to be 20% lower than 2015.
    (Calculations made by AFD (French Agency for Development) based on WEO 2016 report, the 50 countries exclude India and China).
    He also says that we’re already engaged on a “very powerful deflationist spiral”.

    My first thought was about negative interest rates, whose goal would be to reduce the monetary mass so that it better corresponds to the reality of the size of the economy (maybe not, but it’s the only reason why NIRP would make sense, to me).
    Then, the 4,9% is big figure, but what about this -20%?
    If “really real”, will we make it till the end of the year?

    • DJ says:

      But IMF says in WEO “The baseline projection for global growth in 2016 is a modest 3.2 percent, broadly in line with last year, “

      • Stefeun says:

        I assume they (AFD) applied corrections to “uncook” the IMF/WEO figures…

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        The current year will alway be like last year, or a little better, in the minds of economists.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      There are multiple ways of measuring world GDP. One standard way is to take the GDP growth rate indications for the huge number of countries in the world that report them, calculated in each country’s own currency (all net of inflation) and weight them together using Purchasing Price Parity (PPP) weights. The effect of these weights is to heavily weight the developing countries, compared to the industrial economies. There is no penalty, if a particular currency falls relative to the dollar. I believe this is what gives world GDP estimates of a bit over 3%. It is hard to get a very long history of these amounts. In fact, I find them hard to work with, because there are a changing number of countries without reported growth rates.

      The other way of measuring world GDP is converted to US dollars, with each country’s GDP converted to US dollars. Needless to say, a rising or falling dollar will have a big impact on GDP calculated in this way. It is pretty clear that Gaël Giraud is using numbers on this basis. GDP computed on this basis is the way that a person can get long time-series of historical data. Nearly all of the charts I show are on this basis. I have been getting my data from the US Department of Agriculture website, but they are at this point dodging the issue of what 2015 world GDP is, by not updating their data through 2015. The big rise in the relativity of the dollar has really distorted this year’s world GDP number, computed on this basis–that is, unless you think that every country whose currency relativity to the dollar has fallen should be penalized.

      • Stefeun says:

        Thanks for your detailed answer.
        I understand that the dollar’s parity can distort the result, easily up to 5%, why not 8 to 10%, but 20% still sounds really big to me (only an impression, as I’m not familiar with the calculations).

        You’re ending your reply with “every country whose currency relativity to the dollar has fallen should be penalized.” Isn’t it the case, in some way?

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          The countries whose currency have fallen now have to pay more for goods priced in dollars, including oil. Quite a few countries have debt denominated in dollars. This becomes harder to pay back. So those countries are doing worse, at least prospectively. The drop relative to the dollar occurred when the US stopped its QU program and started raising interest rates. There was a drain of money in the direction of the US.

  18. Pingback: Perspectivas do Colapso | Achaques e Remoques

  19. Ert says:

    Now even the ECB buys up everything… especially lots of corporate bonds:

    Makes me wonder… in the low interest world, there should be enough investments and retirement fonds which would buy those instead of negative-rate sovereign bonds. So why do the central banks inject their money here and drive interest rates for corporates even lower – into negative territory?

    Is it to inject money? is it to help the balance sheets of corporates? Or is it to destroy investment- and retirement fonds – or push them (through undercutting) into stocks? Some corporates may do the same… issue bonds and then buy their own stocks to let the revenue per (public) share look better than it is.

    We seem to be quite close to the end of something…..

  20. Don Stewart says:

    Norman Paggett
    You say: ‘ Rotative machinery is high tech, and our current way of life is totally dependent on converting explosive force into rotary movement. Such forces can only be contained by iron and steel.’

    I hope this is more discussional than argumentative. ATP synthase, which apparently arrived very early during evolution, are ‘incredible molecular machines with pistons and rotary motors’ (Lane, page 85). The ATP synthase works like a water wheel, with the membrane like a dam, and proteins which feed, like a raceway, the pent up protons through the membrane into the ATP synthase, which is a good approximation of a factory.

    I read Arnoux’s replies this morning, then sat down with a cup of coffee and began reading Lane’s book. What struck me was how nature solved many of the problems we face, using solar energy, with nanoscale technology billions of years ago. Arnoux speaks of increasing the efficiency of our machines from 12 percent to 80 percent. Yet Lane speaks of some of our critical biological machinery operating with an efficiency of 1 part in 40. So I am intrigued, but simultaneously skeptical. He must have some ideas in mind, but I don’t know what they are (other than the nGeni).

    Don STewart

    • Stefeun says:


      Rotary motion: are you seriously comparing the biological ATP spinning-door with the principle of delivery of mechanical power Norman is talking about?
      ATP synthase aims to increase chemical energy potential, while our industrial use is always motion oriented, either for transportation, or for mechanical machining. I see a big difference.

      I painfully went again through Arnoux’s juxtaposition of words…
      Just one thing: “increase efficiencies from 12% up to more than 80%” by “retrieving waste heat and making productive use of it”.
      Now I understand why he never talks about entropy: there’s no need when you get rid of the 2nd law!

      • Stefeun says:

        A) Waste heat is -by definition- low temperature.
        B) Efficiency is directly proportional to the difference between temperatures of hot source and cold sink (Carnot).

        Which means we cannot reach high efficiencies with small gradients.
        This 80% figure, whatever its exact definition is, is totally irrealistic.

        Furthermore, we cannot get good efficiencies when we upgrade energy from heat to another form (mechanical, chemical, electricity, …). To achieve 80% means we should gather solar radiating energy with min.90% efficiency (!!), and absolutely avoid heat, wether as a loss or as a part of the process, until the final use of this energy.
        Which means we shouldn’t use any of the existing processes of our THERMO-industrial organization. IOW, reinvent all, since required technologies are unknowned, and probably impossible for most of our purposes.
        Good luck.

        • Don Stewart says:

          First, if you look at the comments on Arnoux’s third installment, you will see i questioned him on ‘efficiency’. You can read his response for yourself. No more internal combustion engines.

          He proposes to build a demonstration model…he says he is having trouble raising the money.

          Since I don’t understand what it is that he proposes to do, I fall back on some biology and permaculture type thinking. The bio-chemical processes in the cell happen because electrons search for a home, and can use quantum tunneling to get there provided the distances are a few angstroms. But the raw materials must have been ‘raised high up’ to use Lane’s terminology. This is very similar to harvesting water high up on a hill and letting it slowly make its way down to the bottom with earth works. In other words, the plan that Mother Nature uses in the cell has similarities to the plan that a permaculture designer might use. There are many other analogies, which I won’t try to cover here.

          As for the ATP synthase being completely different than a rotary engine. Once again, many of the principle are the same, including the channelization to increase the power. Lane comments that enzymes are not so much useful to speed things up, but to channelize the reactions. These principles were understood by pioneers in the US seeking to build a mill to grind grains…they just didn’t know anything about enzymes and ATP synthase and such stuff.

          I don’t know if Arnoux can come up with anything useful. If he can’t, its worth reminding ourselves that Nature equipped us with cells which include amazing nano-technology. We don’t actually need all the other stuff. Of course, our population will have to shrink to the appropriate size…get used to it….Don Stewart

          • Stefeun says:

            When I saw your comment there, L.Arnoux hadn’t answered yet.

            An excerpt: “(…) solar energy cascades through Earth-Life’s networks of networks to end up largely as infra red radiation towards outset space. We can emulate what life does, somewhat roughly, and with existing knowledge, technology and experience, reach above 80% productive use of the direct solar influx. A key is to move from centralised systems, e.g. power plants, large solar farms, etc. to highly distributed and networked ones where waste heat from one part of the process is recycled into the next. This requires shifting away from internal combustion engines, gas turbines, etc. – the technology for this is available (since the 1950s, but had been forgotten)”.

            My comments: so it’s -how I said- about re-building complete (pseudo?) ecosystems and whole metabolic chains, totally different from what we have today, with technologies that are not used.
            Required technology is “well known and available”: what is it????

          • MM says:

            Arnoux had the syngeni product that you find on youtube but the site is gone.
            We have Rankine cycle gass powered turbine power plants with several reheater elements that do what arnoux proposes and they are all manufactured at the best engineering level possible (1% increase at 1 GW is a lot of money!) But these processes do not get more than 60%. You can reach a bit more if you use district heating systems but that is a huge investment and not available for remote areas. It is true that waste heat can be reused but the efficiency gain is marginal. What I do not understand about Arnoux is that he cites tainter’s law of diminishing marginal return but he does not apply it to his own machinery. I doubt that it will work. I live in a city with 2 Mio inhabitants. Where does he want to install these micro power plants. Funding is not difficult, if the product is ok.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am working on a perpetual motion machine … do you mind if I clog up FW comments with updates on my research?

            • Ert says:


              I will buy one if you succeed – but only if it does provided 1KW sustained work-output (exergy) while keeping to the perpetual-thingy 😉

    • i don’t think it’s a discussion or argument

      i am happy to be show to be wrong, but i can’t think of any modern aspect of civilisation that is not dependent on explosive force being converted into rotary motion

      by explosive force i mean force that is far in excess of anything that can be produced by muscle power, at a consistent and ongoing rate

  21. Yoshua says:

    Hours Before Military Coup Attempt, Turkey Warned by Russia

    According to Iranian media, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was warned by Russian intelligence of an imminent coup just hours before tanks appeared in the streets of Istanbul and Ankara last Friday.

  22. CTG says:

    Just got the opportunity to read through at least 800 comments. One common thing that I found out that is actually hidden from view from many is also the main theme that Gail wants to put across when she talks about “financials”. When focus is on peak energy, be it demand or supply is the source of this “financial issue”. The main problem behind this financial issue is “time”. We literally have not much time left as the tricks being used by the Central Bankers are getting “tired” and the results are not as effective as before. We knew, knowingly or unknowingly that it goes by the sequence ZERO INTEREST, NEGATIVE INTEREST and HELICOPTER MONEY. It will be tried in that order as the TPTB wants to drag this out in hope that something will happen and save them. Whether they realize it will work or not is another topic. Over the last 7 years, the sequence has run its course and we are at the last one. There are many people who says that it will drag for another 2-3 years but unfortunately, if you read a lot, the effects are getting less and less (diminished returns).

    Any big projects like space-based power, thorium, hydrogen, electric car just takes too much time. Based on the “financial issues”, we don’t have much time left as compared to 2008 where none of these are tried yet. Negative interest makes no sense at all and the people will never be able to grasp how deflationary it is. It is just like asking somebody about “negative mass” like the weight of something is negative 5 pounds. It just does not get into the head of any. The “doomer scenario” being played out is not caused by low EROEI but by the fact that it is the finances that will hurt us the most. With the banks being scared of other banks and decided not to loan any money to that bank (counterpart risk), the whole credit thing will seize up and with it the supply chain and the food supply. We have way too much “digital money” as compared to physical notes. When the time the ATMs cannot dispense money, that is the time when TSHTF

    Let us do a thought experiment. Let us say right now, today we announce that we have manage to find an oil field that is 10 times the size of Ghawar, invented thorium reactor, space-based power, harvesting deep sea methane or any of the large “currently-pie-in-the-sky-project” that allows us to have unlimited supply of energy. What will happen? Are we going to get any better? Is Deutsche Bank going to be safe? How about the bad loans in Italy or Japan? How would that help in getting the people to spend more? Does that help in reducing employment? Even if we manage to get the super-sized Ghawar online right now, it will only drop the prices of crude oil even further. If Japan manages to harvest methane and it is so cheap, does it mean that the debt will disappear? Are they going to double their sale of Lexus or Toyotas ? If they sell half price (because energy is too cheap to meter now), would it cause a massive deflation at the other side of the world like Ford or GM? Are there going to be a lot of consumers of the new-found energy source? Who has the money to buy things when their pensions are shrunk or their purchasing power have shrunk ?

    What we have is lots of commodities. What we don’t have is time and a solution to the financial mess that we are in. This financial mess is caused by the fact that we have low EROEI. We are way past the event horizon and even if we are given a special “zero-point” energy source, it will not help us in the immediate future. Even if you want to use that new oil for space travel, is it feasible to do it in such a short period of time and what will that do to the debts that has been piled up? Ask Japan to write off and what happened to all the pension funds? One man’s debt is another man’s assets. You cannot have it both ways.

    • Really good post, CTG.

      “If Japan manages to harvest methane and it is so cheap, does it mean that the debt will disappear?”

      It wouldn’t mean the debt would disappear but given time cheap energy would reignite growth from surplus energy and eventually pay down debt. The trouble with all these alternative energy sources is like you wrote, and I’m paraphrasing; it’s too late as the CB’s are exercising every desperate fiscal effort to kick the can a little further down the BAU road.

      As far as harvesting seafloor methane, I think the trouble with that is it will be very difficult to do so without causing huge releases up through the water column as those deposits are disturbed. If the depth is not below 200 ft. much of that escaping methane will not dissolve into the water, exit into the atmosphere, exacerbating climate change.

      It certainly is a predicament with an expiration date.

      • louploup2
        louploup2 says:

        I think a slug of new cheap (high EROEI) energy is the worst thing that could happen. The inevitable economic expansion and then population growth would result in yet more externalities (global warming, loss of biodiversity). Just delays the inevitable. Maybe if we quickly achieved a Kardashev level II energy capacity… not likely … lol

      • CTG says:

        Again, coming back to my post and do again another mental exercise. Let us say that right now, magically, we have all alternative power sources ready to use and every single one of them has more than 100:1 EROEI. Russia and Saudi found another 2 Ghawars, USA has a running space-based power generation. Japan has its hydrates, Britain and Norway has all their wind farm /tidal wave generators running full blast and Spain and other sun drench countries has a wide array of their super efficient PVs.

        Question – what would it do to help in solving any of our current issues. Do note that the price of crude is falling and not rising because we cannot afford to spend anymore money for the things that we don'[t need from the money that we don’t have. We don’t have TIME. TIME is not on our side.

        Let us not kid ourselves that CBs are doing “whatever it takes”

        These new energy sources are very very deflationary. In the very short term like weeks or months, it is hell. Again, as I have said, Lexus at half-price because making it is so cheap? Seeing that, BMW will also cut half price because Lexus is doing it and PV/Wind is so cheap in Germany.

        What happened to all the student loans? bad loans? If it is written off, then what happened to the pension funds who bought these loans and the expect a return? So, you need to print money and give to pension funds? So, won’t that increase inflation and all existing savings get wiped out (value of money dropped so much that your USD500k savings that you saved for the last 30 years of work can just buy a loaf of bread). To me inflation and deflation can co-exist for a short period of time where deflation happens on assets and capital goods while inflation happens on everyday goods but eventually deflation will lose to inflation when things get out of hand. At that point of time, money will be worthless and collapse will end after “9 square meals” are not available to the masses.

        Since energy is so cheap, who wants to buy another iPhone as it is only half price. Then all the factories will start to install automation, so, what happens to the workers. Laid off? No money? no salary to buy anything?

        If Russia and Saudi finds that 2 Ghawars and oil will gushed out when a straw is stick to the ground, what will happen to the oil prices? Does it have a knock on effect on the financial products related to the oil ? Loans to oil companies and its derivative financial instruments? Yes, it does and it can trigger the crash in anything oil related. CBs will try to “repair” this problem and sooner or rather due to increase in inflation, they will try to raise rates and that will crash another set of derivatives that is tied to interest rates. By then, the whole financial world will be in a mess.

        Let us say if countries decide to go to war, it is not war that will kill us but the fact that war/skirmishes has started would have crashed the financial markets and what I have said in the previous paragraph will happen.

        I have told Gail some years back that in the 1990s, I have seen a physical paper (internet is not prevalent yet) stating that if there is an earthquake in Tokyo (remember this is 1990s where interconnectedness is not that great yet), the financial world would collapse. The Japanese insurance companies would dump assets and stocks in US to pay for the massive insurance claims and this will trigger a collapse in the financial world. Remember 1990s is the time where companies are allowed to fail and none of the “repair actions” of CBs are in place. They still have the firepower but now, they have none. That paper that was written triggered my interest in this matter and that paper is long gone and it cannot be found anymore, be it physically or in the internet. So, imagine this, if there is an earthquake in LA, Tokyo or even New York, it should spell the end of the financial world and that will spell the end of the modern industrial civilization. Simply put, the financial world is way too big and too out of control and the CBs are just putting plasters to the gashing wound. Some of them know about this issue but have the mentality of everything will turn out fine. Some of them are totally ignorant of all things and really believe in unicorns. I have encountered some of them in my life.

        I am a realist, not a doomer or a status-quo sycophant.

        • Stefeun says:

          Out of mere curiosity I googled about impact of an earthquake on global finance, and found this FT paper:

          “Japan: the Next Big Quake.
          A huge earthquake in the country’s industrial heartland — costing as much as 40 per cent of GDP and disrupting supply chains — is seen as inevitable. Understanding the risk and reducing damage is critical.”
          By Robin Harding and Steven Bernard • Published: May 17, 2016

          Of course I got dozens of other ones, out of which it’s quite difficult to determine the part of alamism/catastrophism Vs seriousness (if any).
          For instance this one:
          “Ecoshock – Earthquake Time Bombs – itws of Bill McGuire & Robert Yeats”

          Anyhow, the risk is very serious. The only question is “When?”, and we’re talking of geology here, where hours and millenia don’t make a big difference, but for us it’s not exactly the same.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Excellent stuff!

      The high priests are in uncharted waters… the policies they are trying out come straight from the ivory tower…. there can be no certainty that the theories they are rolling out will continue to prop BAU up…

      Impossible to say when this blows to pieces — but they seem to be setting the table for that with the policies of creating terror in their backyards — inviting terrorists into Europe and in the US provoking the black population…

      That says to me that the priests feel they are not confident that they can continue to control the narrative…. that they sense that we are very close to chaos…. and they are putting in place the matrix that will allow them to delay the implosion using totalitarian methods….

      When we get to that point — that will be the signal that we have reached the beginning of the end

    • kurt says:

      Yes, and 700 of them were by FE.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I agree with you. Over the years, I have run into several different metrics regarding how slowly scale-up goes.
      1. I know that the oil and gas industry used to say that it takes an average of 17 years to get a new invention (say, new type of equipment) into common use.
      2. A chemist I know says that it is not good practice to scale up a new process (for example, for making biofuels) by more than a factor of 10 at a time. So if you start with a cup of a product, it takes a long time to get to a reasonable amount. The problem is that obstacles are often encountered in the scale-up processes. Also, there is generally a need to figure out ways to get costs down to a reasonable level. No one wants to invest huge amounts in a process that doesn’t quite work.
      3. One presentation I went to talked about needed four levels of scale up. I forget the exact names, but the idea was the same. It is necessary to build a pilot plant, and get the “kinks” worked out in it, before going to the next size larger plant.
      4. Processes that look like they would be easy–like getting new transmission lines approved and built–can take ten years.

      At this point, the financial system is doing so poorly, it can’t possibly last through all of the steps needed to implement new technology.

      • Ert says:

        Reminds me on a primer on lithium-ion battery testing (e.g. automotive use) from Petersen ( – laboratory to product takes a decade…. if everything goes alright. And then, the ramp-up must follow.

        Recently saw a battery presentation… the supposed to be lithium air and sulfur technologies may never come at all – and not before 2030. All the rest (NCM 622 and 811) is kinda stuck at Teslas current level with their (more fragile) NCA Panasonic cells.

        And if then still something goes boom… there will be a lot of problems, like for Tesla which scraped the warranty ( – will be fun, what happens with the cars if they reach 6 or 8 years of age. Especially the super-charger loads with 120Kw take a very heavy toll on the life expectancy and remaining (usable) capacity.

        There is so much hopium out there…. when I look a my job… everything seems to be alright… lots of company plans for 5 and 10 years ahead… for stuff that I even don’t buy today…. makes one crazy… especially when one grasps where we currently stand.

      • hkeithhenson
        hkeithhenson says:

        “regarding how slowly scale-up goes.”

        Do you know of Joshua Pierce’s work? It says (ET stands for “energy technology”): “the growth rate of an ET industry may not exceed the reciprocal of the energy payback time to have a positive net energy. For example, if the energy payback time is 4 years and the capacity growth of either an ET ensemble is 25%, no net energy is produced and no GHG emissions are offset.”

        It’s not hard to figure out the energy that goes into a power satellite, most of it is in the LH2 needed to get in into orbit. Take (on the upper end) around 2400 kWh to put a kW of power in place. At 24 kWh/day sent down, that’s around three months for payback.

        There still may be a gotcha where we can’t build them at all, but if that’s not the case, the short payback time indicates a winner for GHG emissions.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And for anyone who is thinking of buying the videos… consider this:


          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]

          Even the king of scams – otherwise known as Elon Musk — the man who is happy to take billions of dollars of your tax money — along with suckers who invest in his snake oil…

          Will not touch space solar ….

          Peak Prosperity beckons Keith … the deal is still on … if you stop posting this nonsense here … I will leave you to do your thing with Chris.

        • CTG says:

          My point in my writing – it does not matter at all even if you have “the thing” or “anything” up and running now as it will not help us at all. It will only cause massive deflation on a scale that is totally unseen.

          If you want to “scale up”, it will just be too late. Look at this link:

          Yes, many people say that it can go on for years. Let us say it is true but it will never be as long as it takes to fully debug, scale up any large operations that were discussed above.

          This “show” has been going on for 8 years… it can continue but with greatly diminished returns until a point where the “inputs” does not generate anymore “outputs”. You can see that the stocks (all over the world especially) does not really go up. DJIA can easily go up from 6000 to 12000 but from 12000 to 24,000 it is extremely difficult. Doubling is easy at the beginning but not so at the end.

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          I haven’t connected Joshua Pierce’s name with it, but the idea is clear. If you are ramping up an energy technology, and the energy is used on the front end, you can’t ramp it up too quickly, or it really has no favorable effect on emissions. Energy products of any type with energy used at the front end have this problem. I expect that the energy payback estimate doesn’t really get all of the direct and indirect energy consumption (say by governments). But if it did (or if the energy payback time were were appropriately adjusted upward), the formula would be true.

          • hkeithhenson
            hkeithhenson says:

            “appropriately adjusted upward), the formula would be true.”

            It’s a “may not exceed” limit if you want to have a positive effect.

            Still, if I read it right, power satellites with their 1/4 year payback could by this measure grow at a rate of 400% per year. For other reasons, the growth rate isn’t close that high so they start cutting into green house gases rapidly.

            That’s not to underestimate how much they do use of fossil fuels. If the hydrogen fuel for the rocket planes is made from LNG, the peak use is about half the current capacity of LNG, but a small fraction of the LNG capacity expected to come on line in the next ten years.

  23. worldofhanumanotg
    worldofhanumanotg says:

    Look at the quotes bellow and by judging from their past prediction success/failures one can assign some plus/minus bonuses to each of them. In my book Dennis Meadows scores slightly better than Hirsch, but as we know todays twisted reality can produce any short-mid term outcome anyways..
    PO high rollers 10yrs after..

    “Regarding the wider picture, I think the world does enter the Second Half of the Oil Age, when this critical supply of cheap energy that fuelled the First Half declines from natural depletion, leading to general economic contraction and falling population.”
    Colin Campbell

    “What lies ahead? I would guess that another profound financial crisis is coming. It will depress energy demand enormously. And it will attract all the attention, just as the pain receives the attention of someone with cancer. They treat the pain, not the cancer, perhaps even becoming addicted to pain killers, without ever understanding the true nature of the problem. And in every time of crisis control of the political system drifts towards simplistic authoritarians. You had Berlusconi; we are likely to get Trump.”
    Dennis Meadows

    “The drop in oil prices took the wind out of “peak oil” to the point where it is not now given much credence. That’s extremely unfortunate in my opinion, because the problem has not gone away. It seems likely that OPEC spare capacity will be gone within the next year or two, and oil prices will escalate. Thereafter, some production will come back on line but large scale bounce-back is generally a slow process, as you know.”
    Robert Hirsch

    • worldofhanumanotg
      worldofhanumanotg says:

      The recession-depression in Russia is bloody apparent, but besides the dubious media sources, at least they still live in their own country, which can’t be said about most of the debt overloaded “rich” countries and their bamboozled precariat..

      • MG says:

        The key is whether the country needs a lot of energy or small amounts of energy for its operation. When the so called “rich” countries stop the immigration influx, their populations will go immediately down.

        • worldofhanumanotg
          worldofhanumanotg says:

          I can’t imagine you still believe that crazy Angela’s crap, perhaps many of the immigrants in the boom of 50s/60s worked hard, but most of their offspring and also newcomers are net detriment to the economic balance of these countries today, and that’s a hard cold fact!

          • MG says:

            Dear “worldofhanumanotg”, read carefully:

            “When the so called “rich” countries stop the immigration influx, their populations will go immediately down.”

            There is a lot of newcomers that keept these countries operating, either as immigrants or just temporary migrant workers. E.g. Austria could not take care of its old population without the workers from abroad, Britain could not produce food cheaply without the cheap migrant workers etc.

            When you take away these contributors, these “rich” countries become poor, their GDP will be lower etc. Japan is the clear example of the frozen economic growth without the immigration: there is less and less people who can absorb the new debt.

    • DJ says:

      As has been said: just because healthcare is technically possible and “demanded” it won’t be provided.

      • as i’ve tried to point out on previous occasions, demand and expectation will be the driving force of our demise—or a big part of it.

        in the middle ages, nasty diseases were an accepted part of life, especially if you were a sinner– it was god’s retribution on you.

        in our future, we will have that knowledge that ailments can be fixed, but we will deny that we no longer have the means—nevertheless we will ”demand” cures.—especially if we see rich people still being able to afford treatments denied to poor people. (that will be very short lived of course)
        in the USA there seems a vast difference between poor and rich hospital treatment–in Europe not so much

        Not just sickness, but all aspects of living. Most will expect things to be BAU—when they are not, violence and insurrection will result, because the vast majority see our looming difficulties as a political problem—thus revolutions become certain when our leaders are revealed as impotent and/or charlatans. Those of us who knew in advance what was going to happen (finite worldsters) will be swept up in the carnage along with everyone else.

        Revolutions will accelerate our culling (war famine pestilence and death), and so rebalance Earth’s carrying capacity

        • DJ says:

          And I still can’t see how someone demanding what they can’t afford and not even is there had any impact. Maybe they can write angry tweets.

          The article was about unaffordable medicines, presumably “demanded”.

          The other day a man got admitted to ER in Sweden, found dead a couple of hours later and still hadn’t met a doctor. My friends brother died in ER before getting admitted, heart failure caused by pneumonia.

          Those who can be saved will and those who can’t won’t.

          Not much different than oil, you can’t demand it into existance.

    • “Sverdlin runs a St. Petersburg charity named Nochlezhka, meaning “shelter.” It’s the largest homeless shelter in St. Petersburg but has only 52 permanent beds. Some estimates put the number of homeless in Russia’s second largest city at 50,000.”

      Very interesting and disturbing article. 50,000 homeless people in their 2nd largest city?! Wow, that’s a seriously troubled situation.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Russia is another oil exporter running into financial problems because of the low price of oil. It is hard to figure out a way to fix the problem.

  24. Here is an interesting tidbit to strengthen Gail’s thesis that the law of diminishing returns eats up more an more capital,

    It’s the Enron story all over again,” says Art Berman, a Sugar Land oil and gas consultant who for years has warned that the high cost of shale drilling is unsustainable. “It’s part of the same symptom, this insatiable need for access to capital to keep going.”

    • Sungr says:

      I would just make the comment that the term “capital” does not technically mean money- which can be created on a keyboard.

      Capital refers to the factors of production- which includes energy, labor, material resources such as steel and aluminum, transportation infrastructure such as roads & railways, etc.

      Intangible “capital” might include depth of financial markets, developed banking & insurance services, rule of law in finance, and a non-history of government confiscation of private capital, skill & educational level of workforce, etc.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        This reference says ““Capital” can mean many things. Its specific definition depends on the context in which it is used. In general, it refers to financial resources available for use.

        I understand that a popular metric is “return on invested capital.” In this case, capital means the total amount of funds provided by bondholders and stockholders.

        Capital can also mean the factories, machinery, and equipment purchased with the funds provided by bondholders and stockholders.

        Thus I think of capital as being defined in two alternative ways–either the “capital goods” a company buys, or the funds provided by bondholders and stockholder to buy these capital goods.

    • Sungr says:

      So, what is happening at this point is that shale fracking is dependent on hogging “capital” resources from other areas of the economy to make an expensive fuel that cannot compete without subsides either from the fed or private economy.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Thanks! “Aubrey always thought that prices would save him.” The story isn’t true, but it is amazing how many still believe it.

  25. Fast Eddy says:

    The story went like this:

    Wall Street gained on Wednesday and the S&P 500 and Dow industrials set fresh records, as Microsoft’s strong results boosted the indexes and marked the latest sign that U.S. corporate earnings season may be less dour than feared.

    Microsoft shares surged 5.3% after the software giant posted sharp growth in its cloud computing business. The stock gave by far the biggest lift to the major indexes and the tech sector.

    That’s how Reuters summarized the action on Wednesday afternoon to explain why the S&P 500 rose 0.4% to another record high, the NASDAQ 1.1%, and the Dow 0.2%. Many stories about this propitious event had a similar twist.

    Microsoft, one of the aging tech elephants out there big enough to move the needle, had beaten analysts’ estimates, and markets were ecstatic.

    Tuesday evening, CNBC raved that Microsoft reported quarterly earnings and revenue “that easily topped analysts’ expectations, as its key cloud product, Azure, saw revenue grow 102%.”

    On Yahoo Finance, we read, “Microsoft crushes on earnings and revenue, stock pops.” And there’s some detail about the part that performed miracles in the quarter:

    Earnings of $0.69 per share on an adjusted basis” – here we go again, adjusted, the mark of great American fiction – “up from $0.60 a year ago. Analysts were expecting $0.58.

    Revenue of $22.6 billion, up from $22.18 billion a year ago. Analysts were expecting $22.14 billion.

    Alas, that revenue figure ($22.6 billion) is factually wrong. Honest typo? We’ve certainly made plenty of them in the heat of the battle. But then the math of revenue growth is wrong too. The total revenue Microsoft actually reported is $20.6 billion.

    The Yahoo report added $2 billion out of thin air and fabricated revenue growth out of a revenue decline. The figure that Microsoft reported was a drop of 7.1%.

    And worse, cost of revenue rose 6.8%.

    So gross margin plunged 14.1% from $14.7 billion to $12.6 billion.

    There were also impairment charges of $1.1 billion, but that was down from $8.4 billion a year ago. This is Microsoft’s way of confessing to the magnitude of the madness of its disastrous acquisition of Nokia [read… After Losing $11 Billion on $9.4-Billion Nokia Buy & Axing 27,650 Jobs, Microsoft Dumps Consumer Smartphones

    Operating income without those write-offs plunged 34%, from $6.38 billion to $4.19 billion.

    For fiscal 2016, revenues dropped 8.8% year-over-year. Gross margin fell 13.2%. And without the write-offs, operating income plummeted 24% from $28.2 billion to $21.3 billion.

    In both years combined, Microsoft’s write-offs totaled $11.1 billion. Not exactly petty cash.

    In fiscal 2014, net income was $22.1 billion. In fiscal 2015, net income plummeted by 45% to $12.2 billion. Thanks to lower write-offs in fiscal 2016 (ended June 30), net income was $16.8 billion. That’s down 24% from two years ago!!

    So what kind of tech-dud is this? Well, according to its P/E ratio, it is one HOT dude, with a sky-high P/E ratio of 43. In saner times, a P/E ratio this high is reserved for demigod-like companies that can double revenues and earnings at the flick of a wrist.

    But Microsoft is going downhill. It’s suffering from a top-line revenue decline. It has botched its entry into mobile and spent a fortune doing so. Its flagship PC business is withering. It is not able to make up for these holes with its cloud business, though it’s holding out the hope that it can. Falling revenues meet rising costs….

    So in anticipation of declining sales, shrinking margins, and blistering write-offs, the market might have pushed down MSFT for the past year or so, beating it down at every new revelation of a lowered outlook and other mishaps. And then, when results are “better than feared,” there would be a reason for a little perk.

    But that’s not what happened. Despite lowering expectations and predicting crappy results and huge write-offs, Microsoft and Wall Street have managed to push up the stock into the range of $50 to $55 a share late last year and so far this year, with that entire range being a multiyear high not seen since the dotcom bubble.

    Instead of punishing the shares of a company with declining sales and profits, huge write-offs, and a sky-high P/E ratio, markets simply continue to drive the stock higher, no matter what. Other stocks experience the same thing.

    Microsoft isn’t the only company with these sorts of results. In aggregate, the companies in the S&P 500 are in their sixth quarter in a row of revenue declines. And aggregate earnings, based on “adjusted” ex-bad items earnings that companies have already reported so far this quarter or are expected to report are down 5.5% year-over-year, the fourth quarter in a row of declines. Under GAAP, earnings are even lousier.

    Yet this market continues to rise, and it does so on low volume, as world-wide central-bank created liquidity is searching for a place to go, and as investors are hoping that central banks determine stock prices and will continue to inflate them, regardless of what these companies report. And so they chase after them, even after Microsoft with its dizzying share price. And so earnings seasons, more than ever, is turning into the Theater of the Absurd.

    • Sungr says:

      Here is what the IEA projected in World Energy Outlook 2000 for global oil production out at 2020…….

      “Oil remains the dominant fuel in the primary energy mix with a share
      of 40% in 2020, as a result of 1.9% annual growth over the projection
      period. This is almost identical to its share today. The volume of world oil
      demand is projected at close to 115 million barrels per day in 2020,
      compared to 75 mb/d in 1997.”

      “The Outlook views the physical world oil-resource base as adequate to
      meet demand over the projection period. Although oil industries in some
      countries and regions are maturing, the resource base of the world as a
      whole is not a constraining factor. One need expect no global “supply
      crunch”. To bring these resources into the market, however, will demand
      large and sustained capital investment, particularly in Middle East OPEC
      countries. This is reflected in the assumption that the international crude oil
      price is flat at $21/barrel in today’s money until 2010, but then rises steadily
      to $28 through 2020. “

      • Yoshua says:

        I guess one needs a crystal clear crystal ball to make accurate predictions.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        “This is reflected in the assumption that the international crude oil
        price is flat at $21/barrel in today’s money until 2010, but then rises steadily
        to $28 through 2020. “

        Wow! The IEA has a hard time getting things right, don’t they?

    • Sungr says:

      If conventional oil peaked in 2005-6, then maybe the initial effects of peak oil kicked in at that time ie manifesting in harder limits on economic growth. Of course, the coming peak oil effects will not be so subtle.

      After all, oil industry capex went from 1%/y to nearly 11%/y at that time.

  26. Don Stewart says:


    Little more provocation from Nick Lane. This time from about page 80. I will note the analogies I think are particularly relevant to humans at this point in our evolution.

    ‘Not only do bacteria ‘eat’ rocks but they can ‘breathe’ them too. Eukaryotic cells are pathetic in comparison. There is about the same metabolic diversity in the entire eukaryotic domain— all plants, animals, algae, fungi and protists —as there is in a single bacterial cell.’

    Analogy. I have commented that, in terms of metabolic diversity, the bacteria are highly diverse, natural eukaryotes are less diverse, and fossil energy man is highly restricted. But the entropy goes in the opposite direction. Bacteria create little structure, natural eukaryotes create a lot more structure, and fossil energy man creates an enormous amount of enormously dangerous structure.

    ‘This versatility in the use of electron donors and receptors is aided by the sluggish reactivity of many of them. We noted earlier that all biochemistry occurs spontaneously, and must always be driven by a highly reactive environment; but if the environment is too reactive, then it will go right ahead and react, and there will be no free energy left over to power biology. Life exploits these kinetic barriers,, and in so doing increases entropy faster than would otherwise happen. Some even define life in these terms, as an entropy generator. Regardless: life exists precisely because kinetic barriers exist—it specializes to break them down. Without the loophole of great reactivity pent up behind kinetic barriers, it’s doubtful that life could exist at all.’

    Analogy. Lane has previously distinguished between test tube biology and real world biology. In a test tube, energy is typically added to speed up the reactions (such as putting everything in a mixer). But in the real world, things can happen much more slowly…which is why the world doesn’t suddenly burn up in oxygen. I suggest that one reason that the information revolution has not really solved many of our deeper problems is because there are no kinetic barriers which allow entropy to increase and structure to appear. Consider the olden days, when someone might travel down to Oxford or to Paris or to a monastery to read some learned treatise. They then traveled back to their farm and changed their behavior in some way…entropy happened and structure was built. Lincoln was part of the painstaking construction of the Republican party. Contrast with Trump’s ‘construction’ using tweets. Or the ‘Arab Spring’ which briefly blossomed but left no structure.

    I also like the notion of kinetic barriers. Why are subsistence farmers usually lean? Some claim it is because they are starving. In some cases that is true, but more likely it is because there is a kinetic barrier between the farm family and food. In order to get the food, they have to exert themselves. But fossil energy man perceives that no exertion stands between himself and a Snickers Bar. I am reminded of the story told by a Wyoming man. His grandfather had homesteaded a ranch, many miles from his nearest neighbor. He had no wife. He heard that there was an eligible girl about a hundred miles away on a ranch. He made note, and during the winter when he had free time, he rode his horse to the ranch. The family welcomed him, and he spent a week or so wooing the girl. She agreed to marry him, and they set off on two horses. They slept on the ground in zero F weather. The next summer the Methodist circuit rider came by and married them. In October, their first child was born. With such kinetic barriers to be overcome, one would expect that the marriage would be on firmer ground than any involving a Kardashian.

    I will also note that Permaculture is about creating a ‘reactive environment’. That is, bringing together the raw materials which nature uses to create structure which is useful to humans. Geoff Lawton’s Greening the Desert initiative being perhaps the most spectacular.

    ‘The fact that electron donors and acceptors are both soluble and stable, entering and exiting cells without much ado, means that the reactive environment required by thermodynamics can be brought safely inside, right into those critical membranes. That makes redox chemistry easier to deal with than heat or mechanical energy, or UV radiation or lightning, as a form of biologically useful energy flux. Health and Safety would approve!’

    Analogy: As humans desire for ‘better, cheaper, faster’ has exploded, we have turned to all those energy fluxes that are not safe. The explosion of the Hindenburgh and the carnage wrought by nitrates were some of the first examples. We pushed mechanical energy by burning fossil fuels in heat engines, which seems like it will kill us and many other creatures through climate change. We tried to do ourselves in with UV, but perhaps stopped at the brink just in time. For some reason, we believe storing 50 nuclear bombs in Turkey is a wonderful idea.

    ‘Respiration is also the basis of photosynthesis. Tapping into energy from the sun changed the world, but in molecular terms all it did was set electrons flowing faster down respiratory chains’

    Analogy: Many commenters have the tendency to blame everything on entropy. But plants learned how to use entropy production to make structure. It’s not that entropy production is a ‘bad thing’ or that ‘far from equilibrium’ systems are inherently a problem. The problem, I think, is that humans have not been very smart in selecting which boundaries which were set for eukaryotes we have chosen to challenge and transgress.

    Don Stewart

    • Don Stewart says:

      Also…as I tire of trying to reform the heathens on the Internet, and stoop labor on the farm no longer being so appealing. I am looking for another way to spend my declining years.

      So I am thinking about starting a new religion. The gist of it is that the first couple of chapter of Genesis are actually correct. Nobody in the Abrahamic religions pays any attention to all that ‘Tree of Knowledge’ nonsense anymore. Yet if we start from science, it seems that our knowledge has gotten us into all kinds of trouble.

      So I am planning an Indie-Go-Go campaign to raise the money which will let me spend my declining years doing precisely all the stuff that my religious acolytes will be warning people about!

      What do you think of this plan?

      Don Stewart

      • you’ll die smiling

      • Stefeun says:

        Why a religion?

        Is it for fiscal reasons, or is it somehow related to an afterlife?
        Or you simply intend to use religious methods for teaching scientific knowledge?
        For the latter I don’t see exactly how such a touchy matter could work, but on another hand the future of science (if any) would be to become more transversal, indeed holistic, and the recent findings (esp. in neurosciences) established similarities with some precepts of ancient buddhism, for example.

        Anyway, both science and religion -and their relationships- have been so misinterpreted and distorted in their purposes, that maybe it’s time to envision a wiser way to deal with them.
        Vast shambles, that you’ll only be able to touch lightly on, but noble task.

        • Don Stewart says:

          One of the severe problems with the internet is that the reader cannot surmise when their leg is being pulled.

          I have a strong liking for irony. I find it appealingly ironic that the first couple of chapters of Genesis turned out, from our current vantage point, to offer such insight.
          Don Stewart
          PS What do you think about Arnoux’s third installment?

          • Ert says:


            I’m not Stefeun, but for my part I see that Arnoux adresses the problem correctly – but offers no solution. He says that current PV and wind will not suffice – as a drastically higher ERoEI is required. In Addition he says we have to start NOW – to at least reduce the problem (carnage?) for as much as possible people of the 7+ billion.

            So far so god – I think we knew that….. but whats the technology? whats the fix? I ask that because he still wants to increase global energy production dramatically to keep up the good living (and totally ignores all other limits which are caused by the energy we have available now – to remodel and basically destroy the world).

            The closing “This challenge is a measure of the huge selection pressure humankind managed to place itself under. Presently, I see a lot going on very creatively in all these three intimately related domains. Maybe we will succeed in making the jump over the cliff?” – leaves me a bit empty handed…..

            So the start & the premises where good – but the finish was very foggy at best.

            • Don Stewart says:

              You might like to comment on Ugo’s site. ‘for crying out loud, give us a few hints’. Or something to that effect.
              Don Stewart
              PS Did you look at the GreenBox for the company in Long Beach and Reno that he was involved in a couple of years ago? You have to wonder if the parting was friendly or not….Will also be interesting to see if Doomstead Diner can get a live interview.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “So far so good – I think we knew that….. but what’s the technology? what’s the fix?”

              I know of two. The one I work on the most is power satellites, the other is StratoSolar. StratoSolar lets you put PV anywhere without concern for clouds, and gives you a platform for gravity storage so you can use them for base load. Power satellites put energy collection where you get energy virtually all the time and don’t need storage for base load. I don’t recall the EROEI for StratoSolar. Power sats have at least a 120 to one and and 3 month energy payback.

              Unfortunately the change in my pocket isn’t enough to set up the transport and construction facility.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              There doesn’t have to be a solution— that is presumed by a techno narcissistic culture like ours.
              Often one has a predicament.

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

              Working on doing a podcast with Louis. He wanted to wait until all 3 parts were published.

              Norman, I can answer all your Negative Waves point by point, no problem is insoluble as long as you have a large enough population contraction. At low enough population numbers, you don’t even need high tech, you could use biofuels. Wood alcohol, fermented beet sugar, biodiesel etc.


            • RE–I agree that most of my negative comments can be answered by drastic population reduction—Rather like saying that hospitals would function perfectly if people would stop being ill.

              but to paraphrase one of my favourite poets: People do not go gentle into that good night–they fight against the dying of the light.

              It is the reaching that reduced stage that is going to cause a lot of people a lot of grief, and making the point that it is for the good of humanity in general is not going to be well received.
              On my little overcrowded island the majority are convinced that 64m can be sustained from land with a carrying capacity of 20m or maybe less. The few who know it can’t are ignored. (there is an expectation that ”they” will fix things)

              With a population of one tenth of our present one, and with limited energy sources available, the world could not sustain anything above a medieval existence (Arnoux’ charts make that very clear.)
              When we were last at that level, the only use we had for “biofuel” was to drink it.

              We might retain the knowledge of how to use it for other things, but one tenth of humankind will not have the resources to produce the necessary machinery to exploit it. Rotative machinery is high tech, and our current way of life is totally dependent on converting explosive force into rotary movement. Such forces can only be contained by iron and steel.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “At low enough population numbers, you don’t even need high tech, you could use biofuels. Wood alcohol, fermented beet sugar, biodiesel etc.”

              I would have to think long and hard about this, you need engines as well as fuel. I am an engineer by training with a long standing interest in the history of technology (and future technology as well). I don’t know how large an interconnected population needs to be to build diesel engines. If you go by the population of Germany in 1900 when diesel engines were first built, it’s 50 million. If you go by all the countries connected to Germany by trade in engines it is perhaps 500 million.

              I used to work in the Electro-Motive plant, long ago when it was part of GM. The factory where they built diesel locomotives was a mile square. There are things, and diesel engines may be among them, that can’t be made by small populations.

            • as far as i can see, complexity is interdependent on/with complex societies

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “complexity is interdependent”

              That may not be the case for long. When (and if) we reach the world of nanotechnology, all of a sudden we can grow things like railroad rails, not to mention pork chop trees with more or less self sustaining, probably self aware technology. It is exceedingly difficult to imagine such times. The big problem with writing about them is that there are no characters to identify with.

              Still, Charles Stross, Vernor Vinge, Ian Banks and a few others have tried. I tried with a story called “the clinic seed.” It involved a “collapse” since most of the population uploaded and left the mortal realm (though some were still communicating with those left behind).

            • i felt this link was the right one for growing railway lines and pork chop trees

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              Note “(and if),” We make progress toward nanotechnology, but do we get there before the whole house of cards goes down? It possibly isn’t as serious as we think because, if you Google for Tabbys star, there is a chance we have found aliens who did get through the crisis, at least to the point they can at times obscure 22% of the light from their star. If so, our situation isn’t quite hopeless.

            • as RE pointed out on here a few days ago:

              the biggest problem with internet comment is you can never be 100% sure whether someone is indulging in the biggest wind up, or genuinely believes what they are saying

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “never be 100% sure”

              So true. Not even sure myself. But you can go here:

              to see that I am not a lone nut–at least on this subject I have company.

              There is a mention on the Google search listing for Tabby’s star that the James Webb telescope might solve the mystery. If so, it might be like the classic story where someone looks through a knothole and what do they see? An eye!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              We are sailing very close to the edge of insanity with this stuff…..

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You are aware that we are on the cusp of the end of civilization? Extinction is imminent…

              Quite frankly… I’d be more interested in reading what the Karadashian gals are up to …

            • 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.
              Gail Tverberg says:

              I am not sure extinction is imminent. There are some people who are hunter-gatherers who live in pretty remote locations. And there are folks who are trying to at least keep themselves from a rapid population drop in the near future. I don’t give new inventions a very high chance of working, but I don’t like to say that they won’t possibly work either. People need at least a small ray of hope about the future.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              I mentioned future technology. Wrote about it here:

              For those of you who have been talking about small settlements, you might find this place interesting.

            • DJ says:

              Also speed of population decline is important.

              If by some miracle or virus 99% died the coming month, the future as scavenging hunted gatherers would look much better than a slow dieoff where game and soil goes under with humans.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Scavengers would have a problem operating these – click to read a larger version…


          • Stefeun says:

            I should stop making comments related to religion…

            Regarding Arnoux part 3, (,
            my first reaction is that too many parts of our system are missing in the analyse, and for those evoked I fail to see what backs the assumptions.
            In short: wishful thinking.
            But I’ll have a second look.

            • Duncan Idaho says:

              Give in to your inner Talking Snake——-

            • Don Stewart says:

              If you read the comments following the third installment…As I understand him, he sees the need for producing 50TW of solar power IN ORDER TO RESTORE THE WORLD TO HABITABILITY. He says that ‘without fossil energy, there is no more growth, but there can be restoration’ or something to that effect.

              This is not GDP thinking. He is saying that taking carbon out of the air is necessary, and it might be counted as GDP, but it is not growth in any sense that people would recognize.

              So I do not believe he is talking about banks of PV panels as drop in replacements for centralized electricity generating plants. He stated early on that the present trajectories are unsatisfactory. It’s more like he is calling for the building of certain machines which will accomplish very specific goals using solar energy…such as desalinizing sea water or taking carbon out of the air.

              If I interpret him correctly, he is not giving us a map of how all that is going to happen, just indicating that some smart people are working and it is critical that they be successful.

              He gives a nod to the problems with debt, but my understanding of what he is saying is that the debts are never going to be paid and we might as well adjust to that fact as best we can. We can, perhaps, imagine a machine which takes carbon out of the air or salt out of the ocean, but we cannot imagine any way to use solar to keep BAU going.

              Perhaps I am reading too much of my own opinions into his article. But that seems to me to be what he is saying. Notice that the nGeni is still alive.

              Don Stewart

            • Ert says:


              You make very good points in summarizing the explicit and implicit points of the 3rd part.

              Still, the 3rd part left me very disillusioned. In regard to CO2 it would be best to rebuild soil (Book. Soil, Gras, Hope) and not hoping for some stupid machine which needs resources, consumes lots of energy and is only there to provide global techno-companies with revenue. Unfortunately the solution suggested by the book Soil, Gras, Hope doesn’t really benefit some global tech-crazy companies, doesn’t need banks, etc. – so it is not pursued or even widely discussed.

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

            “RE–I agree that most of my negative comments can be answered by drastic population reduction—Rather like saying that hospitals would function perfectly if people would stop being ill.

            but to paraphrase one of my favourite poets: People do not go gentle into that good night–they fight against the dying of the light.”. -NP

            I’m working on an article to address these issues Norman. It will be a follow up article to my contribution to this debate tomorrow, “Nihilism, Misanthropy & Misery Metasticize”. FE gets a Cameo Appearance in this article! LOL. Probably comes out about 2 weeks after tomorrow’s screed.


            • Fast Eddy says:

              My moment of fame!

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

              I will make you FAMOUS FE! lol.

              Somehow though overall, I do not expect this article or the followup to be too well received on OFW. Just a hunch. lol.

            • Yorchichan says:

              @Reverse Engineer

              Somehow though overall, I do not expect this article or the followup to be too well received on OFW.

              I’ve not noticed any negative reaction to your article on OFW. Seems you were wrong about the OFW commentariat.

      • Sorry, you are too late.

        The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarian), a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools. According to adherents, Pastafarianism is a “real, legitimate religion, as much as any other.”[3] Pastafarianism is legally recognized as a religion in the Netherlands[4] and New Zealand – where Pastafarian representatives have been authorized to celebrate weddings

        JOHN OLIVER IS not shy when it comes to taking on massive topics on Last Week Tonight. From food waste to FIFA he’s not afraid of a hot-button issue. Last night he took on one of the most sacred cows of all: televangelists. In a righteously angry 20-minute segment he blasted “churches that exploit people’s faith for monetary gain.” Then after giving televangelists the what for over their lavish lifestyles, he decided to take advantage of the same tax codes they use and founded his own church. Welcome to Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. Services are held every Sunday at his studio in New York. Watch the first gathering of Oliver’s devoted—including Rachel Dratch!—above.

    • Stefeun says:

      Fascinating stuff.

      Reg. “trading metabolic diversity against ability to create structures”, I feel it has something to do with what I call “externalization”.
      According to this process, living beings would tend to “embed” less and less physical capabilities, which would be replaced by information, allowing to deal with a given situation by using elements from the environment (instead of from own body).
      The biggest advantage is that the individual is lighter, and can face (or adapt to) much more diverse situations (think human’s multi-purpose hand, for example).
      The biggest drawback is when required elements aren’t (or no longer) available in the environment.

      Kinetic barriers: it seems that Life is actually intimately linked to those pockets of energy potential, boundaries and their porosity, and the discontinuous flow of energy between them.

      As for provocations from Nick Lane, let me just quote the -excellent- first sentence from the Royal Society paper:
      “Life is the harnessing of chemical energy in such a way that the energy-harnessing device makes a copy of itself. No energy, no evolution.”


    Total global negative yielding debt now up to 13 trillion! Rising fast!! See the article to find out how fast.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      The author says, “The younger you are, the less likely you will see promised benefits.” It is not clear that you have to be very young at all.

  28. sindre says:

    wow these ideas are going mainstream, dimitri orlov on rt!

    • i just had to put a reply on Keiser about Orlovs daydreaming:
      impossible to fault Orlov’s thinking, I desperately want to believe what he’s saying.

      Until you start to think for yourself. And realise this is wishful daydreaming taken to fantastical extremes.

      150 people doesn’t mean 150 houses (or huts to be more precise)
      150 people means 30/40 dwelling places, and that number would fit the description of a medieval village or more likely a bronze age settlement.
      Which is fine—if you are content with that and what it would mean at a personal level.

      So visualise a cluster of wood or mud/straw huts, roofed with thatch, with smoke coming out through a conical roof. No brick, tile or glass, no solid flooring, no artificial light other that that which can be converted from the fat of animals because such things cannot be produced without colossal amounts of heat.
      Do not delude yourself that there can be anything made in any other way, that we would expect to improve our living and infrastructure.

      Sickness gives you a choice: get well through your own recuperative strength, or die.
      Your 150 friends might strive to keep you alive, but incantations and herbal remedies will only go so far.
      Our medical skills are entirely the product of our industrial systems. Without that, your doctor is of little more use than a tribal medicine man.
      Look around you. Mentally get rid of everything contain elements of coal oil or gas—you are sitting naked on bare earth, starving to death.

      Your 150 person settlement had better be a long way away from the next 150 person settlement, otherwise you’ve got a problem……even more so if it’s a 300 person settlement that never read up on Orlov’s theory of everyone being nice to each other in the utopia of our future.
      Orlov blissfully ignores the last 80k generations where humankind has devoted itself to collective homicide, and expects us to turn into gentle pastoralists in the course of a single generation. (all the time we have left.)

      the 7.356 billion (give or take) folks who haven’t read Orlov still have expectations of infinite wealth, that there will always be more if they vote for the right president.
      The global economy cannot provide

      any more, we’ve milked the Earth dry.
      this book :The End of More:

      tries to explain why there is no

      What is going to happen of course, is that we will ultimately reduce ourselves to living in mud hut communities just as Orlov describes…but we will still deny how we got there, and constantly try to restart our industrial “old ways”

      • Artleads says:

        “150 people doesn’t mean 150 houses (or huts to be more precise)
        150 people means 30/40 dwelling places, and that number would fit the description of a medieval village or more likely a bronze age settlement.”

        I disagree. Where do these 150 people live now? And what’s to stop them from living there in the future? Why do groupings X 150 require major geographic separation?

        Let’s take a square block in a small suburban town and that might comprise 150 people. The four roads enclosing the square block ALREADY separate one 150-group from another. No need for physical change of any kind.

        In contrast, take a mega apartment building in a large city. One floor might contain 150 people. By definition, one floor is already physically separated from the other floors. No need for physical change of any sort.

        There will be myriad cases–perhaps a minority–that don’t fit the paradigm of already-separateable communities. But there are likely to be natural-enough boundaries to define them if we are determined to find them. And why can’t you even group people who are geographically–AT REASONABLE SCALE–apart?

        And what’s all this about mud huts?

        • Dj says:

          Not having seen the youtube clip:
          The 150 persons has to get their food from the surrounding area. The next 150 persons should live outside this area to avoid conflict of interest

          • Artleads says:

            I don’t believe this will have credibility here, but I’ll suggest it anyway:

            Providing food is no longer an issue of growing on large areas of land. It will be produced in intricate spaces in, around, and adjoining buildings. While there is oil, food can be grown in illuminated layers stacked very high on rooftops. This big land “out there” paradigm is old fashioned. Not what our time is about. Each pod (to some extent) will produce its own food where it sits. Even when food is grown “out there” it won’t be a competitive affair. It will be based on cooperation and pragmatism of the whole. Competition is also highly old fashioned. .

            • DJ says:

              So you have an average innercity household in northern europe, two adults, one child, living on 800 sq feet with 100 sq feet balcony. HOW will they make enough calories out of this?

              Sure a couple of months a year they can have decorative vegetables. And maybe once a month trap some meat for sunday roast:

            • DJ says:

              According to John Seymour a family of six could live on five acres.

              Scaling this to a city of Stockholm (1.4M population) you get a circle diameter 30km/20miles where most live, and outside this a circle 45-50km/30miles for cleverly grown food.

              Average distance from crop to plate maybe 20 miles. No fossil fuel…

              (Please check calculations)

            • competition is what put you here

              somewhere, sometime in your evolutionary past, males competed for a female in order to further the supremacy of your particular line of descent.
              hard to believe I know, but there it is.
              Whether the lady in question enjoyed it or faked it is irrelevant…you now exist because of it.
              that also happened for me, and everyone else.
              not only was that competition for the fertilisation of a female ancestor, but for the food in the immediate area, which delivered the means to bring your ancestral offspring to reproductive age so the cycle could start over

              Right now we sit on top of an evolutionary pyramid, the current question seems to be whether we can stay here.

              competition is what our genes demand of us, we have no choice in the matter. If we are about to enter a phase of degradation of the human species, competition will still go on. It must, because nature neither knows nor cares whether humankind is just another biological dead end or not.

              With that in mind, and as we have consumed our current means of support, a degraded lifestyle with fewer of us seems inevitable. As the majority are in denial of that fact, conflict over our means of support is certain

              So the next question is how will we survive?
              Through our evolutionary processes we have lost the main survival factors of our ancestors. We cannot survive in the open because we have no protection against climate extremes. Therefore we must find or make shelters. We can only make shelters from the material to hand, meaning fibre and earth.
              That in itself will weed out all but the strongest.
              As females are genetically attracted to the strongest males, there is a possibility that we can exist in that manner for a long time, with much reduced numbers–(Orlov),
              Competition may subside a little to allow that, or it may not. on seems to be in direct proportion to the physical space between competitors. As we thin out–our distance increases. Resource competition and thus the EROEI factor on conflict makes fighting a wasteful occupation.

              But communitities would have to be very small for that to be the case. Remember Africans raided England and Ireland to capture slaves (energy resources) long before Europeans returned the favour. The urge to grab and compete is very powerful.

            • DJ says:

              Since you didn’t answer.

              Potatoes is likely most kcal per area in colder climates.
              One square meter gives 2 kg potato, saving seed for next year, expecting a few losses to bugs and stuff.
              One kg potatoes contains 830 kcal.
              A moderately (we will all be farmers in your future) active adult requires 2400 kcal per day
              This means a metric tonne potatoes a year
              Means 2000 square meters per person.
              Good look growing that in an apartment.

            • Fast Eddy says:



              I’ve got 200sqm of raised beds — unlimited gravity fed water — truckloads of compost…. and there is no way in hell I could keep a family of 4 in food off of that….

              Of course the neighbours will also want me to feed them….

              Delusional thinking is a disease threatening FW – it must be destroyed. Driven off.

            • DJ says:

              Only 200 square meters? 198 more than most have, but probably a factor 10 less than enough.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Also factor in the need for grazing land for manure-producing animals…

              I am disgusted with myself for ever believing that this was a solution — the futility of the enterprise is so obvious… my ignorance was epic… my foolishness astounding….

              I think I have been on this site for 4 years now…. if only when I stumbled across FW there was a ‘Fast Eddy’ character here back then …. to take me by the scruff of the neck and explain the futility of all this….

              The amount of time, energy and money I have wasted is monumental. I would have still relocated to New Zealand — but there are a lot of things I would have done differently.

            • hkeithhenson
              hkeithhenson says:

              “there are a lot of things I would have done differently.”

              Nice to know you can change.

            • Ert says:


              200sqm is quite much for raised beds… I operate on 12sqm Greenhouse + 120sqm for (non starchy) Vegetables + having lots of fruit trees and berry bushes. Lots of work… that times 10 and I would do nothing else…. than eat, sleep and work in the garden (plus preserving food for the winter).

            • DJ says:

              I’m not sure we are in disagreement. I was under the impression Eddy had more area, but not as separate beds.

              I assume you are self-supporting (and probably more) on “fun” greens, but buy starch, fats, meat/eggs/dairy?

              Most apartments could have the greenhouse, but thats it, no bushes or potato field, no chickens.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Apartments? You plan to grow inside in the bedrooms? Good luck!

              Where will the water come from? What about making compost?

              This discussion is beyond retarded. I am beginning to think that my wasting 30 seconds to respond makes me retarded….

              Yabba dabba doo… ack ack ack… nanoo nanoo…. boots are best when made of leather … the garden will die in the winter but it will start to grow in the spring … I honestly believe I can have a conversation with my dogs…. I could fly but I choose not to…

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I’ve got 4.5 hectares…. most is pasture for sheep…. we also have 80 fruit trees and a berry garden..

              Here’s an interesting comment a farmer told me about sheep and cattle —- they all get drenched for parasites…. when the drench is not available post BAU … expect those populations to be decimated by diseased… and poaching of course

            • Ert says:


              We are not in disagreement – as you can’t exist from 200sqm per person at all.

              I assume you are self-supporting (and probably more) on “fun” greens, but buy starch, fats, meat/eggs/dairy?


              I concentrate on “fun/expensive” greens, as starchy greens and grains are “but-cheap” – doesn’t make any sens to do that. In addition when I would do potatoes I needed to incorporate an multi-year rotation system. Currently I have 1/3 of my vegetable-area put under “green fertilizer” to replenish the soil (in rotation) – and then in addition rotate the rest of the area. If I would do 1000sqm potatoes, then i would need approx 4000sqm under cultivation to have a sufficient crop rotation….

              The plus: I have opt out fat/dairy/eggs and meat – they are not a healthy component (look at, McDougal, Barnard, etc. pp) and they are very work-intensive. Have no problem to eat that stuff if there is nothing else to eat – but it makes only sense if you need every calorie there is -> to use grassland and process garbage into calories – and to shift calories without a freezer into the winter times in northern latitudes.

              But the good thing I have learned from all that is: If BAU ends – I end! – I have absolutely zero illusions concerning that fact!

            • DJ says:

              What do you mean by green fertilizer?

              I started this year, a four-way rotation and a handful separate beds (i suppose i will change soil in those) and bushes, no greenhouse.

              Happily surprised how much squash and salad you get from such a small space, but I understand the calorie content is neglible. Less impressed by other crops.

            • Ert says:


              Hmm… Green Manure? – its hard to translate that for me appropriately. I plant field/fava beans, field/dun peas, clover, phacelias, buckweat and the like to fix nitrogen, etc. Plants with deeps roots pull up nutrients, root systems help the microbial system and after cutting its a lot of biomass + I have a 100% year-round soil cover + better moisture control.
              Have to do that, because the soil I have to work with was used for 70 years gardening…. and the last decades with chemical fertilizer which destroys the microbial system and “bare soil” gardening… no mulch… since “it doesn’t look appropriate” and “what should the neighbors think…”
              Lots in disrepair – even the trees…. my mother (>70) has only halve a clue… and the generation which had a better clue is dead already….. all the younger want a “presentable” garden or even better: Stones & concrete – so that they don’t have to care about anything.

            • DJ says:

              thanks. I recognize green manure from the mad scientist permaculture clip.

              I have left the potatoe leaves in the garden, so that is halfway correct? (Grass clippings before harvesting).

            • Ert says:


              Yeas – always try to cover the soil with clippings / mulch / leaves – whatever.

              Depending on pests (naked snails) and rainfall you have to figure out what is to much (mulch) and what works…. the snails like it where is is shaded an moist…. (mulch). For that I use wooden boards as walking separator between the beds. Snails take shelter under those and I can “harvest” them there efficiently 🙂

            • DJ says:

              Fast Eddy,
              Water comes from the tap.
              Compost from the store.
              You get it to the 9th floor using elevator.

              Don’t ask me why you couldn’t just buy the food from the store.

              I just tried being as generous as possible with assumptions and still believe a apartment is x100 to small for feeding its residents.

            • Ert says:

              @DJ & FE

              I agree..

              We do not even have half a clue how much embedded fossil energy we tap – even if we have a “normal” garden. Metal & Plastic tools, usage of fossil / electric powered vehicles/machinery to manage the garden, cutting and digging things, chipping wood… energy embedded in the greenhouse. Wooden planks that are manufactured… stones transported by lorry from far away… concrete for buildings and foundations…. seeds & seedings – produced somewhere and transported! Our own cloth and shoes, glad and containers for storage – cooking power for storage preparation and so on.

              In comparison with “bought” food a small garden (xxx sqm) is totally energy deficient, especially if the own hours (which are sustained by fossil calories) are added in.

            • Ert says:


              ” they all get drenched for parasites…. when the drench is not available post BAU … expect those populations to be decimated by diseased… and poaching of course”

              And I was under the option that the outdoor sheep in NZ, etc. would have be natural (i.e. organic), etc. What a sick world… good that I eat no animal products anymore… then fatty tissue or liquids accumulate toxins and hormone active substances (i.e. phtalates from plastics -> in addition to too much IGF-1 (growth hormone).

              But is has a good thing going: (Human) fertility drops drastically due to plastics exposure everywhere… food packaging, storage containers, bottles, hoses for liquids everywhere, shrink wrap, lining in cans, tetra packs, clothing, appliances, tubes and sprays, and so on…

            • Fast Eddy says:


              Young cattle have limited immunity to parasites. The infective larvae they ingest as they start eating grass develop into egg-producing adults, and contribute to a rise in pastoral larval populations as the season progresses. The parasite burden resulting from this cycle can have significant affects on calf growth rates and may present as clinical disease.

              Parasitism in calves is best controlled by a planned, preventative drenching programme designed to reduce the build up of larvae on pasture. A first drench at weaning, followed by four-weekly drenches for 5-to-6 cycles (depending on the season and calf growth rates) is recommended as a parasite management strategy for intensively grazed young stock

              Two parasites have emerged as the main species that have developed resistance to the endectocides. Cooperia spp is widespread, but Trichostrongylus resistance has also been reported.

              Heavy Cooperia burdens are primarily a problem in young growing cattle, up to 15-18 months of age. Affected animals may have a ‘pot bellied’ look, dull coat lustre and slow growth rates. This results in a greater number of ‘tail enders.’ A common scenario is young stock that are drenched frequently yet they just don’t seem to go ahead.

              Treatment programmes for calves should include one of these products at least twice in the first 12 months of life. More and more New Zealand farmers are using combination drenches in their young stock. Calves start picking up infective worm larvae when they start nibbling grass.

              The first drench for calves should be 21 days after they show interest in the green stuff even if they are still being supplemented with milk or grain feeds. Repeat drenching needs to be given at regular intervals after the first drench at 21 days. This interval is determined by the type of drench used.

              An endectocide or endectocide combination such as Genesis pour-on or Eclipse, respectively, will allow drenching intervals of up to 6 weeks, An oral drench such as Arrest C, or Oxfen C should be given more frequently – at least 4 weekly.

              Regular monitoring of weight gains using scales is a good indicator of calf health. Wormy cattle’s growth rates will slow before showing any outward signs of being parasitized . Your vet is your animal health professional and their advise can be invaluable in getting the best from your investment in your replacement heifers.


              This will be a nightmare of parasitic disease when the drenches are no longer available….

            • DJ says:

              4.5 hectares with access to water should be more than enough.

              But of course you have the hordes, fuel ponds and lack of tooth brushes to handle.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The soil is not good – that’s why I have raised beds… so the growing space I have is 200sm

            • DJ says:

              “fertility drops drastically due to plastics exposure everywhere”

              Too little to late :/

            • FE, you should consider stop portraying eating rat meat as something negative.

              Obtaining any form of edible calories in a post BAU civilization will be like a heavenly gift.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I could not agree more.

              And I continue to hope for a quick, painless death when BAU goes down… because the last think I want is to live in a world so bleak that boiled rat is a delicacy.

          • Ert says:


            “Too little to late”

            Every little piece counts 😉

            A pity only that with lots of efforts (and fossil calories) it is tried to be fixed what nature denies for good reasons. Its not that I deny a couple their wish for a baby – but it shows that the way we go and live is totally anti-nature and anti-species.

            That is also the reason I don’t trust all the cornucopia fantasies of the future – especially medicine. I see from my own changes and the tens of thousands of studies summarized in a lots of health and nutrition related books I have – that its about the food, water and air we eat, drink and breath (in addition to motion/exercise and mental well being) – what relates to our health and nothing else. Most medicine is only a placebo to good nutrition, some exercise and good mental health – never a solution as it mostly only suppresses symptoms, but not heals.

            • DJ says:

              I would be curious to see what would happen if all were forced to stopp medication immideately.

              It seems all 60+ males i know have “high blood pressure”, and for some reason this is “treated” with a minimum of three medicines.

              One of them explained the medicines cooperate and doesn’t work individually. I found it funny you would need medicines from three different companies for one “ailment”. I think two of them is for the side effects, but of course I just nodded and agreed with him.

              I assume these persons wouldn’t suffer at all if forced off medication.

            • Ert says:


              I assume these persons wouldn’t suffer at all if forced off medication.

              Yes, and especially in combination with post-BAU food. The problem with high blood pressure lies in their nutrition. To much fat (oils, butter, meat, eggs, dairy, cakes, cookies, fat fried stuff) for the most part and of course to much refined sugar.

              They should read McDougal or Barnard for a start…. but for believing in pills you don’t have to change yourself.

              And that is the problem at its core…. no hoping for the next cornucopian techno-fix but staring with yourself, changing your ways – for your own sake. Whats better to start with oneselfs own well-being? But even that most people doen’t get… that is why my hope for humanity as whole is quite limited.

            • DJ says:

              a pill is cheap or free (in a welfare state) and you need no other life style changes.

              I think you’re harsh on animal products, but I’m not gonna have a long, fruitless and off-topic argument about it. Lets agree eating fat lazy medicated cows fed on non-organic grain is not good.

              Familiar with Weston Price or his book?

              A dentist who traveled the world in the 20s and 30s and compared “primitive” people living on traditional diets with those living on western food. Mostly he counted caries.

              Caries was virtually non-existant on traditional food but very common for same populations (often relatives) living on western food.

              Also deformed arched, disturbed breathing, turbeculosis, skeletal deformities.

              This was a time when there were plenty of aborigines, eskimos, maori, forest indians living mostly traditional. Even some caucasians in british isolated Islands or isolated valleys in the alps.

              Pattern held no matter if the traditional diet were mostly vegetarian (no 100% vegetarians though) or 100% animal like eskimos or masai.

            • Stefeun says:

              Deteriorated health comes for sure in big part from our diet, but it seems to be due even more to the fast evolution of our diet. Our microbiote hasn’t time to adapt itself to new environmental conditions, which results into unbalance and possible proliferation of nasty ‘species’.

              Tooth decay is actually a good example:
              “bacteria that causes dental disease became more frequent with the introduction of farming, and even more so after the Industrial Revolution”

              NB: to reach a robust equilibrium, there must coexist as many as possible species. This looks out of reach with our modern sterilized food.

            • 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.
              Gail Tverberg says:

              I have seen pictures of very early tools to extract decayed teeth – perhaps back in the early days of agriculture.

            • Ert says:


              Yes, I know Weston A. Price and the writings of him an the foundation (which is another story). Look into most of the theories, literature, studies, “diets”. The knowledge gathering didn’t stop at Prices time….. Natural, no refined sugar & fat, lots of whole vegetables, fruits and grains a a no brainier. Animal products are another story… especially at the current consumption rate of western civilization (even compared to their historical norm for the last 10.000 years). 10% of calories from (no-dairy) animal products for the Caucasian gene makeup? Fine.. do it.. would have no problems with it myself if I could get some stuff I would trust….

              You my take a loot at – its a very good start, as they are not focussed on any special diet whatsoever… they screen through tens of thousands of studies and look what works, whats the evidence, correlate, try to mingle cause and effect the right way (lots of studies are crap), etc. pp.

            • DJ says:

              Now the €64-trillion question:
              Done once, in thousands of places and thousands of ways, why cant it be done again?

              Not reliant on fossil fuels, big game or of toothbrushes. Easy on the forests.

              Spent fuel ponds
              Runaway global warming

            • Ert says:

              Done once, in thousands of places and thousands of ways, why cant it be done again?

              There will be pockets of live… and people will adapt to it… they who can compare will perish fast… nearly all knowledge will be lost and humans can live with radioactivity.. life span will be short… mutations will perish or get rid of… as there is no health care anymore.. and no calories / spare time / incentive to care.

              Hobbs: “.. the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short….”

            • Ert says:


              “Our microbiote hasn’t time to adapt itself to new environmental conditions, which results into unbalance and possible proliferation of nasty ‘species’.”

              Its even worse… antibiotics (drugs or in food) can damage the microbiom for ever…. perserved food…. also can selectively irritate or change the microbiom. The “holes” may be never filled again, leading to chain reactions – or even unwanted microbes. Glyphosat (Roundup) is also heavy on the microbiom…. as are other toxins and lots of chemical stuff.

              It’s a total mess… the literature and science only starts to dig into that field. Have only a German book about the current findings… that alone is interesting and helpful! but also scary if you read about the real implications which are already known and change the look on a lot of illness.

            • Stefeun says:

              Agreed Ert,
              I put only this short sentence, to say that the ‘primitive’ populations had good health and good teeth because they had been living in total immersion with their microbial environment for many centuries/millenia.

              Yes we are just realizing that it was a big mistake to fight against the microbes and try to get rid of them, not even realizing that many of them are mandatory for our own metabolism.
              Colistine is our last antibiotics, but we are overusing it just as we did with other ones until we made them inefficient against strains this stupid fight contributed to develop.
              What’s next? The threat is real (short summary:

              One last consideration, aside: whatever change is brought to a complex system, it’s always “forever”.There’s no way back, always forward.
              The system has to switch and try to reach a new equilibrium, possibly with integration of new elements (that can luckily partially replace the lost ones), and possibly far from previous equilibrium (in which case the transition phase is quite destructive).
              This is valid for ecosystems and also for our daily lives: many would like to restore and revive the “good old days” but it’s impossible, even for details. We’ve hard time with that…

            • DJ says:

              Of course it takes many generations to adapt to unnatural food (Scandinavians are reasonably adapted to dairy)

              But could we ever, especially considering a society that has bypassed natural selection, adapt to non-nutritious food.

              I believe Weston Price found caries everywhere, but in primitive societies it was maybe in 0.1% to 1% of the teeth, in modern (1920s) societies up to 20%.

        • i’ll try to spell this out as simply as possible, though commenter Dj below has explained my meaning clearly enough.

          Orlov means 150 self sufficient people living as a group. I’ll try to explain this further at the most basic level: 150 people require food and water . They also require their body wastes removed.
          Perhaps you could explain how this might happen on the 10th floor of an apartment building? Imagine carrying 2 litres of water per person up 10 flights, and that’s having obtained for somewhere. Dirty water will quickly kill off the surplus.
          Orlovs villages must live with access to clean water. Unrealistic to say the least

          Orlov means that groups of 150 living in isolationhave resilience, because shocks to the nation as a whole, cannot disrupt each group, because they are physically separated by distance.
          city blocks are not far enough apart.
          Visualise city blocks right now, then imagine them in a time of total absence of physical resources. Could you live there?

          mud huts represent the maximum utilisation of available resources if you do not have access to factory production of housing materials
          ie–you must use what is to hand.

          Yes–you can scavenge materials obviously. Lots of early buildings in UK re-used Roman stuff, but that is limited to what you can carry and the distance you can carry it
          Orlov means groups in isolation, without those means.
          for 000s of years, keeping rain out gave you 3 choices–a cave, animal hides or thatch.
          There are no alternatives.

          • Artleads says:

            “Orlov means that groups of 150 living in isolationhave resilience, because shocks to the nation as a whole, cannot disrupt each group, because they are physically separated by distance.”

            Do you have a quote from Orlov to confirm this? I don’t want to listen to the podcast over again, since I didn’t pick up on that the first time.

            “Perhaps you could explain how this might happen on the 10th floor of an apartment building?”

            When I’ve talked about things like this in the past, it was in a speculative manner. Although I can imagine “solutions” to such things, it’s a waste of time to get buried in the weeds. I keep being surprised by a) the innovativeness of entrepreneurs who think through many similar things–like the ones growing in layers on rooftops–and b) the utter obtuseness of people on blogs, who can only think in terms of the past. But I must be clear that the entrepreneurs are not my guide for the future; they merely surprise me within the limits of collapsing BAU. I don’t pretend to know what people will “invent.”

            The issues re the “future” are so very complex that it’s a total drag having to explain one imaginary detail after the next. I’m not sure exactly what’s the first thing you need to advance your thinking. Orlov might be a start. Charles Eisenstein is not my guide, but he does point to an alternative to thinking the future must be like the past.

            If you can’t move from your stuck position, there’s no use in talking further.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Why not just say that in DelusiSTAN… post BAU … people will be living in high rises because they can imagine that will be possible.

              I will not take issue with that – anything IS possible in DelusiSTAN.

    • Christian says:

      Orlov should go work in Siberia, where local authorities obtained from the Duma the releasing of “federal land” for free. But they’re giving isolated plots to families. Orlov aproach is better, but 2000 people could also work in Siberia. No hordes expected there, even with free land

      Banks were trying to establish some parameters to give credit to the resulting migrants. Gail, what do you think about that?

      Putin should invest in this, which could act as a (modest) relief valve. He is supposed to start operating a big dry casking facility this year

      It is not impossible that the Putin-Trump duo could manage the world slightly better than the one conformed by Davos-Putin

  29. Yoshua says:

    Eddy you must get emotionally connected to the hatred in the world. You must feel the cancer in your veins for revenge. Blood for blood. You must want to go to the Middle East to cut the throats of every dirty Muslim to quench you blood thirst.

    Instead you are walking through your gardens and getting connected with the life giving soil under the sun. You look up to the stars and breath in dark matter and get connected with the universe.

    Europeans where watching the Americans bombing the Middle East or the Israelis bombing Gaza and started to feel sympathy with the poor defenceless Arabs. This had to stop. One million Muslims from war zones in the Middle East transported into our domesticized societies put an end to this nonsense.

    Europe wants to go to war now. This is a huge victory for those who know what must be done. Europeans had to be manipulated emotionally through atrocities committed against them by blood thirsty Muslims savages to become blood thirsty savages them selves.

    One more senseless, bloody terrorist act this time in Berlin that kills hundreds of innocent civilians and the hatred takes over.

    • worldofhanumanotg
      worldofhanumanotg says:

      If the Gulfies+MENAs are to be parted with the rest of their oil and natgas, surely the European public have to be massaged first, that such project is in fact for the betterment of civilization, lolz.

      In that light, the above and similar FE’s hint about planned operation to prepare psychologically westerners for depopulation of those fossil fuel regions seems very plausible. However, I’d say that even more likely option is that, they just want to phase in total financial repression (negative interest, cashless, digital sanctions), martial law, tightening domestic control and for that they need plain old chaos and fear. That’s what was so visible when they “allowed out of the blue” marching inbound millions (some of them openly violent) of undocumented immigrants across the EU few months ago. Or it could be all of the above anyways..

    • Tim Groves – Japan
      Tim Groves says:

      Europeans where watching the Americans bombing the Middle East or the Israelis bombing Gaza and started to feel sympathy with the poor defenceless Arabs. This had to stop. One million Muslims from war zones in the Middle East transported into our domesticized societies put an end to this nonsense.

      ++++++++++ Precisely.

      It’s a crude but brilliant way to build up the fear and loathing.

      In the old days, immigrants were shipped into countries in order to solve labor shortages, lower the cost of labor and, just as a bonus, keep the workers fighting among each other. But these days there are no shortages of labor to speak of and wages are already in the dumps, so makes no sense in practical conventional economic terms to allow a million or more refugees from MENA into Europe rather than keeping them close to their homelands.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      That’s another plausible explanation…. although all it took was a false flag terrorist act in New York to get the people onside to destroy Iraq…. so not sure why the borders need to be opened to huge numbers of refugees… just look the other way when the NSA discovers a terrorist plot… let it happen …. and roll the tanks and the fighter jets in….

      Difficult to say what the maestro is up to here…. and we will never be told

      • Yoshua says:

        Good point. We don’t need millions of refugees for a terrorist attack on European soil. Perhaps no one is in control anymore. This is just the chaos that follows a collapsing world.

  30. I have an question for Gail. Gail, why do think Donald Trump is “fringe” candidate for political office? Many of positions that Trump holds are held by a good number of people on the Right, in the United States.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Trump’s appeal does seem strange to me, as well.

      I think part of his appeal is the fact that he is promising people a better future. They feel that they have done poorly in recent years. Current policies really aren’t working.

      I think part of his appeal is that fact that his candidacy has not been orchestrated by a political group. Instead, it is based on what he and his family could do on their own. It makes it seem like the individual citizen has a chance of making a difference.

      And of course, there are a lot of people who “Don’t like Hilary,” in part because she is too tied to what past administrations have done. Trump’s candidacy gives them a chance for a new start.

  31. MG says:

    Revealed: delivery giant Hermes pays some couriers less than living wage

    The article describes how the final wages falls down when costs that are shifted to the worker. (See the table: How missing bonus payments or unforeseen costs can impact hourly earnings)

  32. MG says:

    The robots, computers and automation are the only solutions that can save the system, as the people, due to low wages and lack of perspectives, lose interest in work, especially in the industry.

    There is a kind of growing indifference towards the work, when the new graduates of e.g. machinery high schools, when asked, look like they are not able to distinguish between a press and a bench-type drilling machine. (An article in Slovak on this topic, that describes this growing problem of lacking workforce can be found here:

    The lack of workers starts to be a permanent problem.

    “Freelancing is the new normal. … Nearly 54 million Americans are now doing freelance work, according to a new study conducted by the independent research firm Edelman Berland and commissioned by Freelancers Union and Upwork.”

  33. adonis says:

    helicopter money is coming totally agree with you ravinathan should kickstart the growth enjine for who knows how long perhaps for another 20 years of blissfull bau

    • Volvo740...
      Volvo740 says:

      Of course. Now I see it. In fact the more I think about it the more the fundamental problems just go away. Blissfull it is. Thank you so much for helping me with my thinking!

  34. psile
    psile says:

    Watch how fast the world became obese
    This map shows the rise of each country’s obesity rate between 1975 and 2014

    • I wonder what year will be peak obesity, and what year after collapse will be peak anorexia? Or if collapse occurred fast enough, could peak obesity & peak anorexia occur in the same year? Remember the hugely obese people wading through chest high water sweating, huffing and puffing in New Orleans after Katrina hit? They’ll be the first to go once collapse takes hold.

      • DJ says:

        Good question. I expect an extreme seneca cliff for obesity.

        The worst food, grains, sugar and vegetabilie oil, are cheapest. So it is to be expected to become more and more obese as food become less affordable.

        When will Venezuela or Syria turn a lighter shade? Will there be any organisation left to register this?

      • Tim Groves – Japan
        Tim Groves says:

        Obesity can be viewed as a form of carbon sequestration. The overfed are doing the best they can to help the biosphere.

        More seriously, I think we may hit peak obesity any time now. While China and India are still only half as obese as countries like the US, Libya and Saudi Arabia are, the amount of mechanization/automation that would be needed to get the bulk of their massive populations sedentary enough to become couch potatoes isn’t going to arrive due to lack of affordable energy.

      • Fattery will get you nowhere!!!

  35. ravinathan says:

    All signs are pointing toward an era of helicopter money which is aggressive fiscal deficit spending on infrastructure and jobs creation monetized by direct central bank purchases of the newly issued public debt to keep interest rates low. Academic opinion and recent analyst reports from bank analysts are leaning toward this policy prescription.
    The current negative interest rate environment will allow governments to issue zero coupon perpetual bonds at historically low effective yields. Just imagine- Debt at zero coupon that never has to be repaid.The difference this time relative to prior QE efforts will be the direct impact on working class pay checks resulting in a fast increase in consumer spending. If this is accomplished in a coordinated manner by G7 economies we are likely to experience the last hurrah for industrial civ – a spike in economic growth, an increase in oil prices and finally inflation that will help work down the real debt overhang. This is why stock markets are hitting record levels. The smart money recognizes that there is no other alternative. Unfortunately for investors joining the rush into financial assets will be the equivalent of checking into roach motel. There will be no way to get out but then does it even matter? WASF!

    • Volvo740...
      Volvo740 says:

      There shall be comments!

      • Volvo740...
        Volvo740 says:

        I see no helicopter money! Seriously. If they wanted to get more people into peoples pockets there are some excellent mechanisms. Social security for every one! No work required. Lower the bar to 61 years for everyone! Increase it 5% each year due to “increased costs”. Print the money!

        No, they are really worried that the system is “broke”. Sorry we have to mess with the inflation numbers so we don’t have to give you more money.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Central banks have been propping up the stock markets … which has meant that pension funds have not collapsed…. they keep paying out…

      That is just one example of helicopter money…

      Check out the auto industry – nearly 1/3 of all new cars sold are to subprime borrowers — that has created a lot of jobs are car companies… again – helicopter money…

      The helicopters fly thousands of sorties every day — we just cannot see them

      • Sungr says:

        Pension funds are where the WallStreet boys stash their garbage.

        Oh, you know, those shitty Venezuelan bonds that weren’t lookin’ so good. That’s right, the ones where the investment bankers got it wrong- and then decided to pull the ripcord and stashed the garbage in the pension funds.


  36. Fast Eddy says:

    That we are entering a period of decline is not in any real doubt, at least not among those with the inclination to think about it.

    ‘Downsizing’ seems to be the commonly used term, but few really understand what it will really mean. No one will willingly accept downsizing if it means a meaningful drop in their standard of living. So it remains a vague notion that it might be somebody else’s problem, and nothing too drastic on a personal level.

    There is a misplaced concept that we will drift into it gradually as oil decline eases us into another mode of living that will not be too far removed from the one that we enjoy now. We want the creature comforts that we have known for less than a century to remain a permanent feature of our imagined future.

    Our most recent history shows that the slightest slowdown of our current economy by just a few percentage points brings an immediate chaos of unemployment and global destabilisation.

    Yet somehow that won’t apply to a permanent ‘downsizing’; that seems to follow a different set of social rules, as if we can do it and still retain a civilised existence.


    Words of wisdom from Norman…. for those who have suggested that we can shrink… read those last two lines carefully… think about that…. then I suggest you read the rest….

    • dolph911 says:

      There’s no question of any of this, it’s a question of how you get from point A to point B. This is how you do it:
      1) allow the old to die off, but don’t take them on too directly, because they have money and vote…so pay lip service to their care, but let the nurses and doctors fight it out among themselves trying to save them
      2) make healthcare prohibitively expensive for the middle aged, so they die from exhaustion and despair in their 50s and 60s without even reaching old age
      3) make sure there is steady inflation in basic necessities like rent, transport, food, utilities, etc…this will keep the young working and poor for the rest of their lives, and they will be less likely to breed and create too many babies, having seen their faith in the future vanish, so now you have them trapped exactly where you want them, “workers who don’t marry and don’t breed”; just keep them entertained with diversions and meaningless sex
      4) encourage as much internal division as you can, and this gives you the ability to introduce a police state to maintain order; funding for this comes from fiat money which is printed at zero cost and lent by the banks to the government at zero interest; and with the endless wars and angry veterans, you have a perpetual supply of thugs who will happily take money in return for pointing a gun at someone
      5) also keep the people focused and scared on external enemies, so you need some bad events to happen every now and then…islamic terrorists are perfect for this role…they are ideologically driven, do not hesitate to murder, and once they perform their act, you can then use the military to further pressure the arab states and maintain control over the oil…islamic terrorists must be funded, at all costs; america, europe, israel, russia, and china will all play a role in maintaining islamic terrorism
      6) never tell people, the truth, ever…all statistics must be massaged, and if they can’t be, then stop reporting them…recessions, poverty, stock market declines, all of these things must be declared illegal and out of sight…keep up the optimistic narrative, at all times, and hire actors for commercials, tv, and movie propaganda, which must depict people as smiling, multiracial, happy, and believing in the future

      That’s how you control the descent and accomplish the managed decline. People have to die, yes, but you can’t let that secret on. Convince them otherwise.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You seem to imply a flavour of BAU Lite…

        I believe the purpose is to prevent a premature implosion of BAU due to civil unrest….

        BAU will still at some point implode… but it won’t be triggered by mass protests …. the things that can be controlled will be controlled…. uprisings by disenchanted sheeple are controllable….

        And they are far easier to control when they are afraid.

        A deflationary collapse of the economy will at some point be uncontrollable… unstoppable….

      • richard says:

        7) promote optimistic GDP and trade forecasts. Then when something happens that damages your income, blame that and cut the fake GDP trade forecast. It makes wonderful propaganda, as long as you don’t start believing.

      • Volvo740...
        Volvo740 says:

        6) this one becomes hard at some point. Right now, “young people *choose* to live car free. And no one even questions it. In 15 years: “People consider flights scary, walking is back in style.” I dunno, just guessing, but I mean there is a point when it’s in clear sight.

        Traffic jams has been something I’ve thought about. We have this terrible congestion problem in the city I live in, and at some point I expect this to get “better”. But of course, I live in an area less exposed to climate change, so the wild card is if we see a significant continued inflow of people…

        Nice list though!

      • doomphd – Honolulu – I really hold a doctor of philosophy (phd) in geological sciences and study pretty doomy topics like giant landslides, volcanic eruptions and megatsunamis.
        doomphd says:

        dolph911 channeling machiavelli.

  37. Fast Eddy says:

    Billionaire Sergey Galitskiy’s retailer, which operates almost 13,000 outlets in Russia, said the average purchase has fallen for the first time since it began disclosing the figures a decade ago, dropping 1.5 percent in the first half of 2016 from a year earlier. Retail sales in June shrank for a record 18th month, plunging 5.9 percent from a year earlier, the Federal Statistics Service in Moscow said on Tuesday.

    “It’s not possible for consumption to expand,” said Dmitry Polevoy, chief economist for Russia at ING Groep NV in Moscow. “Salaries aren’t growing or are growing much more moderately than they used to, lending is declining.”

    As Russia pivots from a consumer-driven growth model after the crash in oil prices, the crisis is decimating the middle class and millions are sinking into poverty. Not even better consumer confidence and stabilizing inflation are translating into stronger demand. Rather, households are hunkering down.

  38. Winthrop says:

    Would it be accurate to say that if we have not reached Peak Oil, that Peak Cheap Oil doesn’t quite hit the mark, but we have passed Peak Affordable Oil?

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      We seemed to have reached global peak in November 2015 (and are down about 2 million barrels a day usually) .
      We will see if that will be exceeded again– could happen, but I think that may be it.

  39. Malaysian land rights activist Bill Kayong murdered in broad daylight
    24 June 2016 / Mike Gaworecki

    Bill Kayong, a dedicated indigenous and land rights activist in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, was killed in a drive-by shooting while waiting at a traffic light in broad daylight on Wednesday

    The killing came the day after Global Witness released a report documenting the dramatic increase in violence against activists like Kayong around the world — more than three environmental activists were killed every week in 2015 while defending their forests, land, and rivers from destructive industries.
    Sarawak is plagued by corruption, human rights violations against indigenous communities, and environmental destruction, and activists and indigenous communities who speak out often face repression by the government while violence against them goes unpunished, according to Global Witness. “The Malaysian authorities must take swift action to identify those responsible and bring them to justice,” Jacobsen added.
    A Malaysian activist named Adrian Banie Lasimbang told Mongabay that Kayong was an indigenous rights activist and community organizer who worked tirelessly for political change in Sarawak and was active with the NGO Persatuan Dayak Sarawak (PEDAS).
    “Like other indigenous activists in Malaysia, he actively conducted paralegal activities to raise the rights awareness in communities facing land grabbing by big oil palm or timber companies,” Lasimbang said. Kayong assisted many communities facing land grabs in filing court cases, and helped mobilize communities to stage protests and blockades targeting companies that were destroying villages, communal forests, and communal areas called “Pemakai Menoa” in the Iban language, according to Lasimbang.
    “[Bill Kayong] was always on the frontline, making him and maybe other activists a target of companies that employ thugs or gangsters to intimidate the communities and activists alike,” he said
    Why would anyone not kiss their ring?
    How could anyone just do nothing?

    • DJ says:

      What was the name of the permaculturist with the mad scientist haircut?

      • Hi, DJ this is even better!
        I’ve found out the man behind the name of FAST EDDIE!
        It took me much time and effort but I’ve finally think I’ve got him…
        The modern Scott Nearing

        Man leaves rat race to grow dream permaculture farm – and it’s flourishing after 3 years

        Andrew Martin left the fast-paced business world in order to live a more simple and sustainable life in balance with nature. He and his wife Beth bought five acres in Bay of Plenty, a region on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and began growing a permaculture farm. In just three years it has turned into a lush oasis featuring a vegetable garden, fruit trees, a pond and wildlife habitats. His story was recently featured as the first segment of the Living the Change documentary film series by Happen Films.

        The path to permaculture for Martin began in 2007 after watching the documentary “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash,” about peak oil and resource depletion. His interest in sustainability continued to rise as he conducted more research into energy and environmental issues and kept seeing permaculture as a holistic solution to modern society’s fragmented and environmentally destructive approach to living.

        Martin’s advice is to start growing food. “Once you engage with growing and experiencing nature, then things start to happen. It’s like a flower. It starts growing, getting bigger. And then that leads to something else,” says Martin. They sustain themselves from the hundreds of fruit trees they’ve planted, the garden they tend to with kale, spinach, zucchini and more, eggs from the chicken yard, grapes from the vine and other organic edibles from the farm.

        Says Martin: “This lifestyle of working on the land and doing permaculture feels more rewarding. With a lot of current society it’s take, take, take. With this sort of lifestyle I feel like this is long term. I’m putting something back.”

        Why to go Fast Eddy…you had me really fooled

        • DJ says:

          Maybe Fast Eddy is going for the quick die off? The less prepared “the competition” is, the more likely you are to survive yourself.

          I liked the other dudes haircut better.

          • DJ, I’ll repost just for YOU

            Mike Feingold’s Permaculture Allotment


            This guy is a legend 🙂 I only got an allotment a few weeks ago, and he’s somehow answered loads of questions I had (even some non-allotment related). Haha :)

            Who was his permaculture hair designer? It needs more nitrogen fixers in the center

            For over 20 years Mike Feingold has been teaching Permaculture to and learning from communities around the world including Nepal, India, Palestine, Kenya and beyond. He has also been maintaining an inspiring Permaculture allotment in Bristol for most of that time. He is a founder member of the Bristol Permaculture Group and organiser of the Glastonbury Festival Permaculture demonstration garden. Mike is one of the UK’s leading experts in sustainable and experimental gardening

            • DJ says:

              Thank you

              He wears his predicament with pride. I would probably go for Jason Stathams haircut, not brave, rich or brilliant enough for Mikes.

          • DJ, you are most welcomed….I see you are focused on externalities!
            Hope your hair provides you the means to pass through the window we are fast approaching. As for myself, I’ll focus elsewhere, good day!

    • Extremely dangerous work. Those type of people routinely get knocked off. Why many of them think they can just walk around like regular people is a mystery. There needs to be a system set up to protect people like that. Personal guards, bullet proof cars, people to get them food & other things needed, and well guarded home with bullet proof walls and windows. Bullet proof Plexi-glass booth to be transported to places they need to speak with built in microphone and speaker, so they never have to step out of the protected booth.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Remember rat island?

      This is like a rat trying to stop the other rats from eating all the grain in the ship that washed up on the shore…

      If he yelled at them saying hey guys this is not a good idea – he’d be ignored….

      But if he actually did something to try to stop them … like padlocking the ship — he would have met the same fate as our friend here in Malaysia….

      • Some have integrity, principles of right and wrong, evil vs doing good.
        Sorry, for some its not always about meism or the money.😇

      • What is evil? Now we are digging deep….are you alluding that the lion or rat has the same moral appitude as human beings? Of course, Fast Eddy, as I stated there could not he life without death. You even posted the observation the manner humans have resorted to captive factory farming as evil! Is eating meat evil? Let’s look at it…Well, maybe the manner we humans obtain it is the deciding factor? Maybe we should examine is it necessary at all to depend on meat in our diet? Maybe we should ask are we having someone else do the dirty/evil deeds so we can “enjoy meat”. Maybe we should ask can we eat less sensitive beings (is plants based) to sustain our bodies?
        That is a start to your question. But most are too lazy to do so or interested in being entertained with Dancing with the Stars, or rely on the Pope or whoever to decide for us.
        So, I suppose perhaps we should look at the word itself “evil” and see what it provides

        “Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, unskillful, defective (adj.), or harm (n.), crime, misfortune, disease (n.). In Middle English, bad took the wider range of senses and evil began to focus on moral badness. Both words have good as their opposite. Evil-favored (1520s) meant “ugly.” Evilchild is attested as an English surname from 13c.

        The adverb is Old English yfele, originally of words or speech. Also as a noun in Old English, “what is bad; sin, wickedness; anything that causes injury, morally or physically.”

        You once quoted someone (Kissinger?), regarding it….believe he stated “there are only interests”….
        Perhaps Kissinger got that idea from Hitler or was it Stalin?

        • Fast Eddy says:

          We keep animals in that manner not because we are evil but because we want to survive — and we need cheap food to survive… this all happened not because we are evil but because we have intelligence — which is a very bad thing — because instead of dying off like other animals when our population grows too large we instead invent things like farming and electricity and such… which allowed us to grow to a population of 7.3B

          Good an evil do not exist — all that exists is Mr DNA wanting to survive – at all costs…. just like the lion’s DNA wants to survive.

          We will kill and eat babies before this is all said and done – of that I am certain

          You might want to reconsider your take on Kissinger… if it were not for leaders like him you’d be switching places with a Somalian

          • Thank you for the response. Unfortunately you did not explore the questions I posted.
            As far as “we”, please speak for yourself. It is not all of us…as I pointed out there are those that have not.
            As far as your statement “good and evil does not exist”, so you are contradicting yourself by being appalled by the manner we currently treat animals in the for food production.
            If it were not evil, you would have posted such.
            I doubt from your comment you are willing to explore it and rather expend your energy elsewhere…perhaps on the ski slopes feeling it is such a silly, wasteful activity.
            That’s fine, if you wish to tolerate living in such an amoral society, I do not.
            Yes, it does stop there, claiming others do it (humanity, people)is not a valid.
            You are humanity…
            Oh, hope you looked at the above link post of Andrew Martin of New Zealand.
            Seems he found a way….maybe get in contact.
            Best of luck.

            • try to get used to the idea that when someone uses the term ”we” on here, they almost invariably mean the collective we—not a personal insult that warrants pistols tomorrow at dawn

              ”we” are all caught up in the accrued misdemeanours of collective humankind, whether we like it or not

            • Or one uses the expression “we” as a means to escape ones own personal responsibility in their actions, as Fast Eddy expressed in saying there is no good or evil. Case in point, the creation of the legal corporation, an entity that is regarded as a person, but has limited liability in the realm of society. The fact is one is society regardless if we use “we” or “I”, represents humanity. We or I have awareness and as posted of the video Ernst Janning we can play tricks to justify our actions regardless of the ramifications of good or evil.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              “If it were not evil, you would have posted such.”

              We are a cancer on the planet – we need to destroy the healthy in order to continue growing.

              We are no more evil than cancer is evil.

              Neither has a choice — they are just bunches of cells trying to survive.

              I am not so fond of cancer – nor humans.

          • In your limited capacity as having an opinion.
            Perhaps Gail may one day choose this as a topic and help you along.
            You hold her in higher regard. Obviously, we are at a stand still.
            Again you are entailed to live as you deem, along with the sorrow.

  40. richard says:

    This year, it’s LPG :
    “Traders have been left scrambling to mitigate losses as China has failed to be the driver of demand.
    At least five companies — Vitol, Gunvor, Shell, BP and EDF Trading — canceled July-loading cargoes out of the two major Texas LPG terminals, preferring to pay penalties of up to $1 million per cargo.
    Many LPG traders signed up for multi-year contracts but premiums to the U.S. benchmark on a spot basis sunk by about $40 a tonne this year, undercutting the term lifters.
    The contracts were also signed when the U.S. benchmark was around a $150 to $200-per-tonne discount to the European benchmark and Saudi Arabia’s official selling price. But spreads shrunk dramatically in 2016, making U.S. exports suddenly unappealing to Asia.”

  41. Volvo740...
    Volvo740 says:

    Just in: Volvo trucks:
    Delivered 2nd quarter: 52 670 down from 55 613 2nd quarter last year.
    Orders: 45 422 down from 49 551 one year earlier.

    How many orders 10 years from now?

  42. Yoshua says:

    Germany has now decided to teach Muslims axe and knife etiquette in the refugee camps before they are released into the society after a young Muslim attacked passengers on a train with an axe and a knife injuring at least 14 people and leaving the rest in a state of chock.

    The poor young fellows life ended in police brutality after the German police shoot him to his death.

    • Fast Eddy says:


      Us – 1,000,000+

      Them – 5014

      They are catching up – we need to bomb a few more wedding parties asap…..

      • Yoshua says:

        Thanks for bringing some perspective to this chaos. I understand what’s going on, but sometimes anger takes over. We are after all only human.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          It’s like a video game — let’s call it ‘Global Carnage’

          It makes for excellent entertainment — so long as you are not featured in the game!!

          To put this in perspective let’s keep in mind we smash bugs and spiders regularly… and are quite pleased to snap a rats neck in a trap…

        • Sungr says:

          Actually, we are no longer playing the game called “global hegemony”.

          We are now playing the game “divide and avoid being conquered”.

          Of course, most of the “conquering” we fear is the rise of Eurasia as a dominant economic bloc in the world.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I am in a hotel and have tee vee so was watching RT news last night…. they were discussing the refugee problem in Europe — pointing out how not long ago Merkel was saying ‘we need to help these desperate people’ — and they played another clip where she suggested ‘there may be some terrorists among the people let into Europe’

            RT appeared to be hinting at some sort of manipulation of the sheeple…. an agenda…. perhaps implying these refugees were purposely let in with the understanding that there would be radicals coming in …

            This has something to do with creating an atmosphere of fear and loathing…. could it be the excuse to create the police state required to deal with the end of oil … a way to continue without total chaos for awhile longer without explaining the real reason?

            And in the US — we have cops killing innocent people — no charges — no prosecutions…

            To me this looks like a blatant attempt to provoke the black community.

            And they have responded as expected….

            Will this be used as an excuse for martial law to deal with an economic crisis caused by the end of cheap oil?

            The dots are connecting now…. I am seeing through the haze…..

            • Yoshua says:

              If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. To bring millions of Muslims from war zones to Europe will go wrong.

              Today a Muslim man stabbed three young girls and their mother in France.

              I’m filled with hatred now and just want to kill them all. They are just inhumane animals.

              The enemy is always dehumanized before a war. It was perhaps not a coincidence that a million Muslims where brought into Germany. The crime and rape wave in Germany has really shocked the Germans. Germany has been reluctant to engage them selves militarily in the Middle East. The Germans have after all a dark past that fills them with shame. But today things are changing in Germany. The Germans have now decided to build up the military force and take greater responsibility against threats like ISIS. It took the Paris attack to engage France in the war against ISIS. A bloody terrorist attack in Germany would most likely give the German war machine a green light to bomb the hell out of the Muslims.

              I believe that they are bringing us to war. A police state to control the chaos in our capitols is most likely coming too… I really don’t know how we could avoid it.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              It is a lot more difficult to hate when a drone takes out an entire family … or a bomber drops huge ordinance on top of a town…. with thousands being killed and maimed….

              Because the killing is not personal – it is sanitized…

              But make no mistake — on the day those people were stabbed — NATO would have killed and maimed far more people…. with the sole purpose of getting what is under the ground in those countries….

              Consider this — why are those refugees who are committing those acts in Europe to begin with — who drove them out of their own countries using the latest and greatest killing machinery…

              At the end of the day — we reap what we sow — the modern terminology for this would be blow-back…

              I don’t feel any hatred towards Muslims… in fact I don’t why more of them are not taking the knife to westerners….

              If I were them I would be doing the exact same things that they are doing — you do this to my brother


              And I will gut your mother – I will gut your sister. I will make you pay. And I will enjoy enjoy it.

              We in the west seem to feel incapable of understanding the boiling hatred and anger that we have inspired in the MENA.

              Let’s not forget – we blew and entire country into chaos over a lie…. we did the same to Libya….

              That seems not to matter to us in the west… what matters is a refugee from one of these countries touches up a female…. that is big news….

              White people matter… brown people are irrelevant… do as you like to them .. they are not human anyway.

            • DJ says:

              I don’t consider myself part of your “we”. I havent approved any middle eastern war.

  43. Fast Eddy says:

    London Housing Bubble Set for Collapse

    But don’t just blame Brexit.

    In Central London – the 30 most central postal codes and one of the most ludicrously expensive housing markets in the world – eager home sellers are slashing their asking prices to unload their properties. But even that isn’t working.

    In the 12 days after the Brexit vote, cuts to asking prices have soared by 163% compared to the 12 days before the vote, according to the Financial Times. Yet sales have plunged 18% from before the Brexit vote. Sales had already taken a big beating before then and are now down a mind-boggling 43% from where they’d been a year ago!

    So Brexit did it?

    Um, well, sort of. But it’s more than Brexit. Home prices on a £-per-square-foot basis had peaked in Q2 2014, according to real-estate data provider LonRes. Since then, the market in Central London has been hissing hot air. By Q1 2016, prices for homes above £5 million had dropped 8% from their 2014 peak, and prices for homes from £2 million to £5 million had plunged 10%.

  44. in terms of where we’re headed—look at this trump video on energy.

    you won’t be able to watch it all—vomit would void the guarantee on your keyboard—but at least scroll forward 4–6 times to get the flavour of the insanity on offer.

    Then listen to the screaming adulation of the believers in his audience—that is where the danger lies—when all his vacuous words are shown to be what they are, they are going to go crazy as the system collapses around them.


      forgot to add the video link on trump—and there was me thinking i was infallible

      • Yoshua says:

        Make America Dream Again.

        The reality is just to awful to counter. The world needs Magic.

        • psile
          psile says:

          A lot of countries are being promised the same thing. I wonder how it will go for them? Lol…

        • Sungr says:

          Look at US commercial TV for a sample. It’s all fantasy dramas. Reality need not apply.

          The GOP Convention is just another such fantasy drama. The fantasists put on the dog & pony show for the public. Meanwhile the real deals are being made behind the scenes.

      • dolph911 says:

        Everything in this world has consequences, and we all sit down to the banquet on a long enough timeline.
        The Europeans of old thought their style of competition between empires would allow them to rule the world forever, until they ran into the problem that well, they might just destroy each other in the process.
        What the world is now suffering from is different but has a similar quality of leaving nothing untouched, that is what I would call Americanism
        Americanism is the belief that:
        -there are no limits in this world; resources, land, money, are infinite, and population can grow infinitely to fill every niche on the planet, and then move into outer space, other planets, other solar systems, other galaxies, until every single corner of the universe is filled with humans
        -technology solves all problems; it’s not merely a tool, but technology is the answer to the predicament of humanity itself…all we need is more technology and we all be happy and live forever
        -people should, at all times, remain optimistic and young in spirit; to grow old is to die, and this must be staved off using whatever means necessary – just take more medicines, have more procedures and plastic surgeries, and you won’t grow old
        -race and religion and class and language and, whatever other differences humans may have, are irrelevant; we will all sing kumbaya under a global, corporate system of infinite progress which will make us all into wealthy consumers

        Now everybody in the world has come to believe these things, so it stands to reason that we will all face the consequences of these delusions

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          It amazes me what doctors can fix, with more surgery and more physical therapy.

          I talked to an orthopedist this morning. She noticed that my little (smallest) finger on one hand does not bend down quite as far as it should. It does, however, work fine, for pretty much all purposes, including holding things, lifting things, and typing. It is hard to notice, if a person isn’t looking for it. She told me that this “problem” could be fixed with surgery followed by physical therapy. She is one of the physicians at Kaiser, and a person might think that Kaiser would be sensible about what they would fix. I said, “No way. It is fine as it is.” We wonder why our health care is so expensive. Everything has to be fixed until it is perfect.

          • Rodster says:

            “She is one of the physicians at Kaiser, and a person might think that Kaiser would be sensible about what they would fix. I said, “No way. It is fine as it is.” We wonder why our health care is so expensive. Everything has to be fixed until it is perfect.”

            It’s actually that they are looking for the slightest problem(s) so as to make more money. It’s the same with college. They tell kids that they need to go to college to get a better paying job. They leave out the fact that the better paying jobs are no longer in the US and all they are doing is feeding the eCONomy with more debt and a worthless diploma.

        • Yoshua says:

          …to fill the universe with Americans who consume stars and smoke black holes in crack pipes…

      • Tim Groves – Japan
        Tim Groves says:

        This has something of the flavor of a revival meeting, with The Donald as Elmer Gantry.

        It is a bit difficult to watch, but I’m persevering. The “Energy” part starts at about 4:00 in.

        After 10 minutes, its clear that for people who want BAU to go on a bit longer, The Donald is your man. “Crooked Hillary” is going continue Obama’s policy of blocking the production of coal, gas, and oil and is going to put up half a billion solar panels, and she’s going “unleash the EPA”.

        He makes things seem so simple, and so easy. “America First.” “Make America Great Again.” He’s a master hypnotist, he says a lot of things that most people want to hear, and he fills his supporters with enthusiasm.

        I’ve been telling my friends since last year that, baring accidents, Donald is going to be the next President. Looking at his presentation here, I would now expect him to win by a landslide.

        • I’ve been thinking Elmer Gantry since Trump appeared on the political stage

          And of course in that context one cannot help bringing in Burt Lancaster, who played Gantry—and Ernst Janning in Judgement at Nuremberg—both rivetting performances by a master of the exposure of charlatans.

          I’ve watched the Ernst Janning speech a dozen times, and each time it moves me deeply, so I put it on here again—because the same words are being spoken again:

          I challenge any thinker on here not to be moved by it

          You are hearing these words again, now. And the same millions are baying their support, mindless of their real meaning—just as the highly cultured and civilised German people did in 1933. Among those cultured people, there was no shortage of willing hands to do the dirty work. 80 years since that episode is merely the blink of an eye in political terms.

          Here in the UK we are not immune this newly rearing monster, in the words spoken by Trump–they are repeating those spoken by Lancaster in this movie, and we are seeing the same rhetoric from leaders across the EU.
          I can only suggest that video is passed around to as many as possible, because the danger is not in Trump, he will be inept as President.
          Instead that same ineptitude will will worsen the chaos and bring forward someone who is not inept. Someone with the political skills to manipulate a crashing economy and institute a regime designed to restore “law and order” in a disintegrating society—again, just like Hitler did. Your 2020 president will be a theocrat.

          The constitution will protect you?
          All it takes is widespread civil unrest, and the government will order the military to take control—and they will do as they are told.
          within days or weeks, you will have a theocratic dictatorship.

          then god help you all.

          • worldofhanumanotg
            worldofhanumanotg says:

            Hm, but it could down downhill even from there, imagine several regionally dispersed “theocratic dictatorships” fighting for resources inside the FUSA borders by the late 2030s, perhaps a bit sooner..

            • lol—i didn’t even go there

              i thought taking us to 2022-ish was enough to deal with at one go

              But if we want to extrapolate beyond 2022, as energy availabilty goes into steep decline, the theofascist who takes over from Trump–(or Hillary for that matter, makes little long term difference)–will be having to deal with growing fractures on ethnic, religious, economic, geographic lines. They are there already of course, but the nation is still a cohesive whole.
              His crazininess will not allow to to face the inevitable, that the growth party is finally over. Instead he will posture and rant that people aren’t praying hard enough.

              But choose your borders; one thing is absolutely beyond doubt, that as the American mainland empire expanded on the iron and steel and oil and coal of its geological windfall, so it must contract as those commodities become too expensive to use to maintain roads, railways and aircraft and military machinery—In other words, the wheeled society that we take for granted, and which Trump et al insist can be forever. Wherever you find yourself in the coming downsized society, you will, above all else, stay put or walk.

              Which is what I’ve said here:

              How can we be certain of that? The Roman empire was a cohesive whole, the most powerful nation on earth held to the centre by a (slow) transport system and political/economic certainties. When they were kicked away–the Roman empire ceased to exist. Even the commonality of language, devolved into the “Romance” tongues across present day Europe.

              Nevertheless the baying followers of Trump and his ilk will continue to insist that Trumpanomics must be forever. Trump will vanish from the political scene–but they, his hungry followers, will not. They are going to get hungrier and more annoyed as it begins to dawn that there is no promised Trumpland . (just like Like Trump U )

              When after 2022 (moving from the mid 20s to the early 30s) it becomes obvious that the government does not have sufficient resources to maintain martial law, then the breakup will begin in earnest. It must, because there will be nothing to prevent it.
              And a fully armed godbothering society will accelerate it, convinced that their version of reality can be made fact, with a combination of guns and prayer and righteousness.
              If that sounds scarily familiar–we are watching it happen right now across the Middle east. Jobless, hope less god obsessed fully armed young men, determined to inflict their misguided thinking on anybody and everybody.

              Right now, the USA has 50m people on food aid, in a country that has convinced itself that passing money had to hand in non-jobs equals infinite growth. When those non jobs are shown to be what they are, you will have 150m or more on food aid, faced with a commercial heirarchy insisting that it is more important to put corn in fuel tanks than on tables.

              One can only be reminded of Marie Antoinette—“let them eat cake”.
              Now there was a woman with a head on her shoulders!
              I guess Trump would have judged her as—-well—you fill in the rest.

            • and in a twisted confirmation of my overlong rant above

              take a look at this

          • Fast Eddy says:

            So you are saying that if anyone survives this…. it won’t be like Little House on the Prairie?

            It won’t be like Kunstler’s world made by hand? Nor will it be a world lead by Toby Hemmingway and Joel Salatin…. with people returning to the earth and dancing about the campfire singing koombaya and drinking organic beer?

            More like Apocalypse Now meets The Road meets Mad Max meets a Christian knock-off of ISIS?

            I take great comfort in the fact that I have no children…. hell on earth is coming….

            • i have 3 kids and 7 grandchildren

              and i fear for them all even though they all reasonably well set up at the moment

            • worldofhanumanotg
              worldofhanumanotg says:

              Speaking about “organics” – very occasionally I put in my shopping cart some little quality alpine stuff be it cheese or schinkenspeck from small scale bio farmers. The pricing is a little bit crazy, starts at ~EUR25 per kg and up. The core of their clientele however are little restaurants-hotels and local aka transplanted city aficionados. Not sure how much demand is going to be there in the future at these price levels. Plus one can imagine even despite additional state subsidies they are all deeply in red gorge of debt because of the new stainless steel equipped working rooms at their farms, special machinery etc.

    • John Roberts says:


      Precisely no clue. But honestly can you blame him? The American rhetoric over the decades is work will set you free. Curiously it was the same slogan above the gates at Aushweitz.

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