What really causes falling productivity growth — an energy-based explanation

What really causes falling productivity growth? The answer seems to be very much energy-related. Human labor by itself does not cause productivity growth. It is human labor, leveraged by various tools, that leads to productivity growth. These tools are made using energy, and they often use energy to operate. A decrease in energy consumption by the business sector can be expected to lead to falling productivity growth. In this post, I will explain why such a pattern can be expected, and show that, in fact, such a pattern is happening in the United States.

Figure 4. Total amount of energy used by Commercial and Industrial Sector (excluding transportation) based on EIA Energy Consumption by Sector, divided by Bureau of Labor Statistics Total Non-Farm Employees by Year.

Preview of Figure 4. Total quantity of per capita energy used by the US Commercial and Industrial Sectors (excluding transportation). Computed by dividing EIA Energy Consumption by Sector by Total Non-Farm Employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


The problem of falling productivity growth seems to be a concern to many economists. An August Wall Street Journal article is titled, Productivity Slump Threatens Economy’s Long-Term Growth. The article says, “Productivity is a key ingredient in determining future growth in wages, prices and overall economic output.”

The general trend in falling productivity growth does not seem to be particularly recent.  OECD data shows a long-term pattern of slowing productivity growth, dating back to the 1970s for many developed economies.

Figure 1. Five-year average growth in productivity based on OECD data

Figure 1. Five-year average growth in productivity per hour worked based on OECD data.

Falling productivity can be expected to affect wages. Figure 2 shows that in the United States, wages for both low and high paid workers increased much faster than inflation between 1948 and 1968. Between 1968 and 1981, wages for both sets of workers stopped rising. After 1981, wages for high paid workers (“Top 10 percent”) have risen much faster than for the bottom 90%.  This reflects the way this lower productivity has been distributed to the work force. Low-wage workers have been affected to a much greater extent than high-wage workers.

Figure 2. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 2. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis of IRS data, published in Forbes.

A Major Culprit in Falling Productivity Seems to Be Diminishing Returns with Respect to Oil Extraction

Many people believe that the only oil problem we need to worry about is the possibility that supply will “run out” at some point in the future. In my opinion, the real problem is different. What we are experiencing is diminishing marginal returns with respect to oil supply. In other words, it is becoming increasingly expensive to extract and process oil. Total costs, including wages for human labor, the cost of capital, the cost of energy to extract the oil, and required tax payments, are rising ever higher. Businesses are finding it nearly impossible to earn a reasonable profit extracting oil. If oil producers want to cover all of their costs, they need to borrow an increasing amount of money simply to cover normal business expenses, including the development of new fields (to replace currently depleting fields) and the payment of dividends.

Figure 3. Bloomberg exhibit showing that returns for three large oil companies on a "cash" basis fell after 2008, and are now at 50-year lows. CROCI means "Cash Return On Capital Invested." Bloomberg source.

Figure 3. Bloomberg exhibit showing that returns for three large oil companies on a “cash” basis fell after 2008, and are now at 50-year lows. CROCI means “Cash Return On Capital Invested.” Bloomberg source.

The problem of diminishing marginal returns extends to other commodity types as well, such as coal, natural gas, fresh water, and metals. Oil is especially important, because it is energy-dense and easy to transport, making it the world’s most-used fossil fuel. At the same time, we are experiencing rising costs for pollution control of various kinds, including attempts to prevent climate change.

The combination of diminishing returns for commodity production together with rising pollution control costs tends to make the world economy increasingly inefficient. This increased inefficiency affects the cost of producing many things that consumers value, including food, fresh water, housing, and transportation. Indirectly, the ability of businesses to create jobs that pay well is affected, also. I believe that this growing inefficiency in producing goods and services is the basis for the falling growth in productivity that appears in Figure 1.

Why Diminishing Returns with Respect to Energy Supplies Are Likely to be the Culprit in Falling Productivity

There are several basic issues that make our economy vulnerable to the impacts of diminishing returns:

  1. Energy plays a critical role in creating goods and services, and thus in economic growth.
  2. Energy that is very inexpensive to produce is important in setting up a benevolent cycle of greater productivity and more economic growth.
  3. Diminishing returns for oil and other energy products lead to higher costs of production. If these higher costs of production are passed through to the consumer as higher prices, this leads to what we think of as a recession, and a slow-down in economic growth.
  4. The timing of falling productivity “matches up” with falling energy consumption on the part of employers, and also with high oil prices.

Energy plays a critical role in economic growth because energy is necessary for all kinds of economic activity. Energy allows transportation to take place; it allows heating to take place, so metals can be smelted and chemical reactions of many kinds can take place; it allows the use of computers and the internet. When workarounds for problems are needed–for example, increased pollution control, or deeper wells, or desalination plants–all of these workarounds also require the use of energy products. So, the problem is not simply that it takes more fossil fuel energy to create energy products. Many other parts of the economy, including pollution control and extraction of fresh water and minerals, become more demanding of energy supplies as well.

Cheap-to-produce oil and other types of energy are important in setting up a cycle of economic growth. We think of productivity growth as being something that an employee is able to do. In fact, productivity growth is enabled by the use of “tools” that the employer (or the government) gives workers, allowing these workers to create more goods and services per hour worked. These tools can be either physical tools, such as machinery, computers, vehicles, and roads, or they can be tools provided through more specialization and training. In the case of physical tools, it is clear that energy is used both to create and operate the tools. In the case of specialization, energy is needed in a more indirect way; extra energy allows the economy to have sufficient surpluses to permit training of specialized workers, and also to allow them to have higher wages later.

Thus, we can think of human labor as being increasingly leveraged by energy-related tools. In fact, if we divide energy consumption of businesses (commercial and industrial) by the total number of non-farm employees in the United States, we find that energy consumption per employee falls very much according to the pattern we might expect, based on the rise and then fall in productivity growth shown in Figures 1 and 2. A slowdown in energy leveraging seems to correlate with the decline in the rate of productivity growth.

Figure 4. Total amount of energy used by Commercial and Industrial Sector (excluding transportation) based on EIA Energy Consumption by Sector, divided by Bureau of Labor Statistics Total Non-Farm Employees by Year.

Figure 4. Total quantity of per capita energy used by the US Commercial and Industrial Sectors (excluding transportation). Computed by dividing EIA Energy Consumption by Sector by Total Non-Farm Employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Figure 4 shows that energy consumption per employee reached a peak in 1973. Energy consumption per employee started falling in 1974. This date corresponds to the first major run-up in oil prices (Figure 5). Oil prices, on an inflation-adjusted basis, have never returned to the very low level experienced prior to 1973.

Figure 4. Historical annual average price of oil, for a grade of crude similar to "Brent," based on data of 2016 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 5. Historical annual average price of oil, for a grade of crude similar to “Brent,” based on data of 2016 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

The period between the end of World War II and the early 1970s was generally a period in which inflation-adjusted oil prices were under $20 per barrel. At this very low price level, it made sense to add a new interstate highway system and to greatly upgrade the electric grid and the oil pipeline distribution systems. Once oil became high-priced, the US greatly backed away from leveraging worker productivity with such big projects. Other changes began as well, including gradually shifting manufacturing to other countries. These countries typically had lower labor costs and a cheaper energy mix (more coal and hydroelectric, and less oil).

The first run-up in prices occurred after US oil supply reached a peak in 1970 (Figure 5). According to a presentation by Steve Kopits, the second run-up in prices started occurring about 1999 (Figure 6). By then, we reached a point where a disproportionate share of the cheap-to-extract oil had already been removed. Oil producers needed to start work on new oil fields in areas where extraction costs were higher.

Figure 5. Figure by Steve Kopits of Westwood Douglas showing trends in world oil exploration and production costs per barrel. CAGR is "Compound Annual Growth Rate."

Figure 6. Figure by Steve Kopits of Westwood Douglas showing trends in world oil exploration and production costs per barrel. CAGR is “Compound Annual Growth Rate.”

Oil’s diminishing returns affect the economy. As we reach diminishing returns with respect to oil production, the cost of producing additional barrels of oil tends to increase. If this higher cost is passed on to goods made directly and indirectly with oil products, we find that the prices of many products rise. Food costs are particularly affected, because oil is used extensively in agriculture and in transporting goods to market. Higher oil prices affect the cost of other types of goods, because many goods–even coal–are transported using oil. The higher cost of oil tends to ripple throughout the entire economy.

The problem, however, is that higher oil costs lead to lower productivity, because employers and governments tend to purchase fewer energy products for the benefit of their workers when oil prices are high. We end up with a mismatch:

  • The cost of oil products, and many other products, tends to rise.
  • The productivity of workers tends to grow more slowly. Wages rise very slowly, if at all. They certainly do not keep up with soaring oil prices.

The result of this mismatch is recession, as occurred in the 2007-2009 period. Economist James Hamilton has shown that 10 out of 11 post-World War II recessions were associated with oil price spikes. A 2004 IEA report states, “.  .  . a sustained $10 per barrel increase in oil prices from $25 to $35 would result in the OECD as a whole losing 0.4% of GDP in the first and second years of higher prices. Inflation would rise by half a percentage point and unemployment would also increase.”

A Second Way Diminishing Returns Can Work Out Badly: Prices that Are Too Low and Oversupply

In the preceding section, I explained how oil prices, if passed on to the consumer via higher prices of other goods, could lead to recession. Because our economy is a networked system, the situation doesn’t need to work this way to come out badly. There is an alternative scenario in which oil prices stay too low for businesses extracting oil to make an adequate profit. In this scenario, it is businesses, rather than consumers, who find that they have a huge financial problem. This is the problem we are encountering now. In fact, it is not just oil-producers who have a profitability problem; the profitability problem extends to businesses producing coal, natural gas, metals, and many kinds of agricultural commodities.

The reason why this kind of low-price scenario can take place (despite rising costs) is because workers are also consumers. We saw in Figure 2 that the wages of the lower 90% of workers tend to lag behind when energy consumption per worker is falling. There are a very many workers in the bottom 90%. If the wages of these workers lag behind, homes, cars, vacations, and many other kinds of discretionary goods become less affordable. The reduced demand for these finished products leads to lower demand for a wide range of commodities. This lower demand tends to push commodity prices of many kinds lower, even though the cost of production is rising. As a result, profits for a wide range of commodity producers tend to fall in a way similar to that shown in Figure 3.

It may be that we can expect a recessionary impact, a short time after profits fall. According to Deutsche Bank:

Profit margins always peak in advance of recession. Indeed, there has not been one business cycle in the post-WWII era where this has not been the case. The reason margins are a leading indicator is simple: When corporate profitability declines, a pullback in spending and hiring eventually ensues.

The article goes on to show that there is a lag of about two years between the time of profit compression and the time when recession hits. The amount of variability is quite high, with one recession coming as soon as 4 quarters after a fall in profitability, and two coming as late as 15 or 16 quarters after a fall in profits. The median lag was 8 quarters, and the average lag was 9 quarters.

This Deutsche Bank description of the cause of recessions gives an explanation why Hamilton encountered recessions after oil price spikes. These rising oil prices affected one of the costs of production for most companies. These rising costs compressed profits, and eventually led to recession.

This description of the cause of recession shows how recession can also ensue if commodity prices remain too low for an extended period. We know that oil prices began falling in the third quarter of 2014. It is now two years later. Profit margins of many commodity producers have been squeezed. We have already seen layoffs in the oil and coal industries. In this low-priced situation, companies are affected unevenly: some benefit from low prices, while others are hurt by low prices.

Commodities are often essential to economies, especially for countries that export commodities. These exporters are especially likely to be affected by low prices. Impacts are likely to include civil disorder and falling production, similar to what we are now seeing in Venezuela.

Oil importers are dependent on oil exporters, so eventually oil imports must drop. Low oil prices are likely to lead to a drop in locally produced oil products as well. As a result, we can expect that less oil and fewer other energy products will be available for leveraging the labor of human workers. If past patterns hold, we can expect a further decline in productivity growth. Rising oil prices are not really a solution either, because, as we have seen, they tend to lead to recession.

Diminishing Marginal Returns Don’t Just Go Away by Themselves

Economists claim that the law of diminishing marginal returns operates only in the short run, because in the long run, all factors of production are variable. This statement might be true, if we lived in a world without limits. In fact, the amount of arable land is very  close to fixed. We have not found a way to stop population growth, either. As a result, the amount of arable land per person is falling. We need to keep finding ways to produce increasing amounts of food per arable acre of land. Doing so typically requires energy products, including oil.

We are having similar problems with fresh water supply. We can solve our falling fresh water per capita problem with deeper wells, long-distance transport, or desalination. Any of these workarounds requires energy products.

Of course, we have had diminishing returns with respect to oil supply since the 1970s. We have not yet found a reasonable workaround. Intermittent electricity is not a reasonable substitute; it does not power existing airplanes, trucks and most cars. When all costs are considered, intermittent electricity tends to be very expensive. Experience shows that if subsidies are given for intermittent electricity, they are needed for other types of electricity generation as well.

Figure 7. Figure by Euan Mearns showing relationship between installed wind + solar capacity and European electricity rates. Source Energy Matters.

Figure 7. Figure by Euan Mearns showing relationship between installed wind + solar capacity and European electricity rates. Source Energy Matters.

The belief that diminishing marginal returns are temporary is probably related to the belief that there are substitutes for everything, including energy supplies. Unfortunately, this is not the case; the laws of thermodynamics dictate otherwise.

As a result, when businesses use falling amounts of energy per capita, we should not be surprised if productivity lags, and if wages for many workers barely rise with inflation. It is possible to get some productivity gains through education, but it is very unlikely that these gains are as large as when more capital goods are used, as well as more direct use of energy.  There are also clearly diminishing returns with respect to education and training; for example, if we need 10,000 additional dentists per year, training 50,000 additional dentists per year would not be helpful.

Can We Solve Our Productivity Problem with Lower Interest Rates, or with Increased Deficit Spending?

I wouldn’t count on it. Our problem is an energy problem.

Increased deficit spending could perhaps raise commodity prices a bit, and thus help the profitability of companies producing commodities. The reason commodity prices might rise is because increased spending by governments would act to supplement the low spending by workers who are suffering from low growth in wages. The sale of goods might rise for a while, but productivity of workers would still lag. Economic growth would, at best, remain very slow. If the economy were headed for recession or the collapse of commodity exporters, that situation would continue to be the case.

Lower interest rates would likely be even less helpful than deficit spending. There is no guarantee that these low interest rates would lead to increased spending on capital goods that would benefit workers. Banks in Europe and Japan would likely have even more problem with adequate profitability than they do now. Bank failure would become even more of a concern than it is now.

Our problem is really a lack of very cheap-to-produce energy that can be used to inexpensively leverage the labor of human workers. This energy needs to be of the correct kind to match the requirements of existing equipment. Without this leveraging, it is likely to be impossible to fix our productivity problem.




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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2,051 Responses to What really causes falling productivity growth — an energy-based explanation

  1. MG says:

    The Slovak baking industry faces collapse due to low wages and lack of workforce:


    The Slovak financial group Penta entered the meat packer sector 8 years ago and they say that this investment is the only loss-generating investment in their protfolio, as their biggest meat packer company in Slovakia faces possible bankruptcy:


    Evidently, the low wages and the low prices of the products versus costs make these food processing businesses uneconomical…

    Well, who works in the bakeries and meat packer companies in the US?


    • MG says:

      It is clear that the physical labor in these cases is sold too cheaply.

    • I expect that wages of the general public are not high enough to afford expensive meat and bakery dishes. At least part of what has gone up is the cost of raising the food the animals eat and the grain used by bakeries; also the cost of transport and of baking (since 2000, if not recently). The easiest thing to try to keep down is wages. There have not really been improvements in “productivity” I expect. The same number of bakers make the same number of loaves of bread as they always have (at least since mixers have been added, etc.).

      • MG says:

        Yes, you have to eat every day, but you buy electronics, home appliances, cars or houses using loans and mortgages once for a certain (longer) period. That is why these industrial sectors are hit by the lack of affordability as the first ones and the food production has long been subsidized.

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    It’s the one opinion that Donald Trump and his opponents seem to share: America’s airports are so bad, it’s like “they’re from a third world country,” as Trump said in the first debate. Vice President Joe Biden used the same phrase to describe New York’s LaGuardia two years ago. Much of the flying public seems to roughly agree.

    The sentiment is understandable if you’ve recently transited through a gleaming airport in Singapore, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur. Where LaGuardia has low-end souvenir shops, grim food courts and cramped concourses, these airports have butterfly gardens, jungle trails and sound-proofed, WiFi-enabled snooze cubes. It’s enough to drive a frequent flier to distraction. And it makes you wonder why the world’s biggest economy can’t keep pace.

    One obvious reason is that American infrastructure is chronically underfunded.

    McKinsey recently estimated that the U.S. needs to spend about $125 billion more a year simply to maintain its infrastructure at current levels, let alone make improvements.


    • ejhr2015 says:

      Basically the USA is a tired nation [so are nearly all the first world nations] It just can’t be bothered with modernising its infrastructure, and probably also daunted by the huge problem it faces in doing that. It could do it and the resultant GDP improvement would make it look like money well spent. But NO, they are broke! Even Barry said so and he really understands money!!! All the politicians understand money so they can’t afford to set up infrastructure, and have to cut welfare and healthcare. Anything except the military and perks for the rich are fair game.

      Europe too has this tired air about it. I lived in Italy for nearly 11 years through the 70’s. It was far from a tired nation then. But on my last visit in 2008, just before the GFC, there was an air of resignation and tiredness that was palpable. God knows what its like today, but I doubt its better.

      Waiting for the end. I wonder if deep down but not verbalised, there is this fear.

      • The infrastructure of the US, Europe, and Japan was built when oil prices were less than $20 per barrel, at today’s prices. We cannot afford to do more than replace occasional pieces as they wear out. We have many electricity transformers that would likely be near the end of their lifetimes, and a lot of pipeline that is likely near the end of its lifetime. We can’t afford to undertake a fix up program at this point–just wait for leaks, and make as few fixes as possible.

    • maybe it’s because the american infrastructure was first ti establish itself, it’s the first to collapse.

      you can see the same thing in english roads–lovely winding streets that seem to go nowhere—but theyre left overs from 000s of years ago—and we love them that way

      in the usa they knew how to make straight roads so did so

      the very latest airports took lessons on how not to build them from mistakes made earlier.
      no point in rebuilding old airports because oilis going to run out anyway

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    “It Cannot Be Allowed To Fail”: Germany Pursuing “Discrete Talks” With The US Over Deutsche Bank



    Hmmm… what happens if it cannot be stopped from failing?

    • It is a US fine that seems to be the immediate problem (although long-term inadequate profitability is also a problem). Hence, “. . . the fate of Deutsche Bank is, at this moment, in the hands of Obama, and while he will certainly relent and not push Europe into a full-blown banking crisis, Germany will “own” the US for the foreseeable future,” according to the ZeroHedge author.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        The media still continues to blame DB’s woes on the assumed $14 billion DOJ settlement related to RMBS of the housing bubble era. While that is undoubtedly a good part of what might be unsettling some folks, it is but the symptom not the cause. It was reported on CNBC (via The Guardian) that,

        “When you look at what’s going on in the Deutsche Bank options, you’re seeing a lot of puts being bought,” said Daniel Deming, managing director at KKM Financial. “So you’re getting some concerns that this could turn into something bigger.”

        From the outside that seems almost overstated because “something” bigger isn’t ever reported. In unbiased reality, this “something” has been building for weeks, perhaps months. If I had to guess, it is being transmuted by pressure aimed squarely at Asia, alternating at times between Japan and China. In China, “it” has forced a total reorientation of immediate liquidity priorities. That cannot be overstated.

        From the outside that seems almost overstated because “something” bigger isn’t ever reported. In unbiased reality, this “something” has been building for weeks, perhaps months. If I had to guess, it is being transmuted by pressure aimed squarely at Asia, alternating at times between Japan and China. In China, “it” has forced a total reorientation of immediate liquidity priorities. That cannot be overstated.

        The effects are not obscured in eurodollars, as you might be forced to suspect from either the lack of reporting on it or the intensity to which absurd excuses are applied to make it all seem benign nothingness. The “something bigger” is right there out in the open, easy to see for anyone willing to put in but a bare minimum amount of effort:

        While attention is rightly focused on Deutsche Bank it is only so because the bank is the most visible symptom being the most vulnerable participant in this “something.” DB is just an outbreak so prominent that the mainstream can no longer pretend there is nothing worth reporting – but they can still obscure why that might be, focusing on the canard about the DOJ settlement. This is a systemic issue, one that is as plain as Deutsche’s stock price.

        Liquidity risk is indicated pretty much everywhere, a direct assault not just on mainstream conventions about monetary policy but monetary competency itself. As Alan Greenspan said in June 2000:

        More http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/be-warned-the-deutsche-bank-implosion-is-about-something-far-bigger-than-the-14-billion-doj-settlement/?utm_source=ReviveOldPost&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    This is reminiscent of The Green Brigaders Lament re: fossil fuels…. they want us to stop burning them …. they do not offer a substitute …and they do not recognize that the foundation on which sits they cups of organic fair trade coffee — is made of oil and coal…

    If coal and oil are the foundation — finance and debt are the steel girders that allow the building to reach for the sky…. as the building must go forever higher — otherwise it collapse…. debt must always rise…

    Of course due to the fact that we live in a finite world — the higher we go the more steel we need…. eventually though … no matter how much steel we use — the building can go no higher… and then it collapses …

    Mish does not understand this … many do not… most do not….


  5. Fast Eddy says:

    My rather lengthy response to CTG has been swallowed by the censors….

    Yet Keith continues to bang on about solar space…. with impunity

    Go figure

  6. el mar says:


    Sounds terrible!
    el mar

  7. Yoshua says:

    The IMF Is Worried About the World’s $152 Trillion Debt Pile


    Slow global growth is making it difficult to pay off the obligations, “setting the stage for a vicious feedback loop in which lower growth hampers deleveraging and the debt overhang exacerbates the slowdown,” said the Washington-based fund.

    • it’s the ponzi pile, to give it its exact title

      • A Real Black Person says:

        What they conveniently keep refusing to acknowledge are the LACK of investments with double digit returns which would fuel sufficient growth to pay off debt. Even before I became fully aware of our predicament, I was aware of a situation the mainstream media referred to occasionally. The situation is that there was and is too much capital. The mainstream media also called ” too much capital”, too much savings. This surplus capital would almost always end up causing bubbles because of a lack of good investments. I knew this back in 2007. I didn’t know the lack of good investment opportunities is because we were reaching limits to growth. I knew that theoretically that there were limits but, like many people, I thought technology could be the answer and we were far away from the limits. . .

        • investments are worthless without indigenous energy to back them up

          equally, technology is no use without backup energy

          which why we’re screwed

          • A Real Black Person says:

            The high oil prices in 2007 suggested that there wasn’t enough available energy to allow a large number of people to commute long distances to work AND industrialize the developing world. A lack of worthwhile investments may be behind why capital has been leaving some developing economies for the last two years.

            The technology for flying cars is here. The resources for it is not available.

            No one can come up and say “we’re screwed” because it’s not socially acceptable, this but investors will often say something “can’t scale”. Flying cars “can’t scale”. Wind turbines “can’t scale. ”

            There was also a telling passage in either Scientific American or Popular Science, I read a few years ago, that we would be lucky if we had sidewalks in the next couple of decades when discussing mega-infrastructure projects. This was completely out of character for the magazine.

            In an episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s science show on PBS where he suggested that continued Progess on the medical science front could lead to a crowded world where many people would be walking around begging for water. I”m not sure how he was allowed to say that.

            • agreed

              then if you take the ”begging for water” notion a stage further—that’s impossible because you can only live for 3 days or so without water, let alone go around begging for it.
              These guys never think stuff through

        • hkeithhenson says:

          ” I thought technology could be the answer”

          It certainly could be. But you have to ask the engineers how to solve the problem and then listen to what they say. It is also a good idea to stabilized the population. That’s much harder.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Engineers fix things by building machines and moving dirt.
            When this becomes the problem, rather than the solution, they don’t understand.
            (this may be the reason for the large number of climate change deniers among engineers)

          • energy delivers new technology

            technology does not deliver new energy

          • A Real Black Person says:

            Engineers cannot solve what is ultimately not an engineering problem.

            Asking engineers to solve resource problems only allows the problem to be hidden for a while longer at best.* Engineers rarely solve problems, especially non-engineering problems.

            The population does not need to stabilize. It needs to decline to what can be sustained without industrialization. Consumption needs to follow a similar path. Neither a sustained population decline , or a drastic reduction in consumption is going to occur because it goes against all human biological instincts, including those of engineers. A a sustained population decline , and a drastic reduction in consumption, are to the average person, the symptoms of a calamity.

            It’s easier to promote a false technological fixes such as electric SUVs that derive their power from renewable energy or space-based solar energy…and make a large sum of money Elon Musk and Al Gore’s carbon credits come to mind.

            *At worst, they propose “solutions” that either bankrupt societies or are quickly found to be unworkable economically.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              When I am the Totalitarian of the Post BAU World….. (running the kingdom out of my 20 ft container on the south island of new zealand)….

              My first edict will be:

              Death to All Farmers

              My second edict will be:

              Death to all Engineers

            • Ed says:

              Yes, yes, yes, a lower population one way or the other.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “a lower population one way or the other”

              Do you object to the absolute population numbers or to the density of people? I.e., would you care if there were a few trillion people scattered around the solar system?

              I should add that I don’t expect this to happen. I think a “solution” where people move out of biological bodies and into something like the Matrix is more likely. That would leave the human race extinct by the definition of having a breeding population. Vinge and Stross have both complained about how hard it is to write stories about such a world.

            • Ed says:

              FE, my edict death to all tyrants.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Easier said than done.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “sustained without industrialization”

              In the long run, the human race–if it stays on one planet–has no future. The only way to get off is to industrialize space.

              Google Tabby’s star. We might not be the first.

            • my tabby is only interested in saving mankind if mankind supplies catfood and a warm place to sleep

      • Yoshua says:


        • Kurt says:

          Fusion reactor would give a great deal more usable energy. Now if we could just get the darn thing to work one of these decades.

          • Ert says:

            According to a new guest article from Robert L. Hirsch that probably won’t happen: http://euanmearns.com/imagining-fusion-power/ – really worth the short read… the approach to tackle the topic is certainly fun to read.

            • Kurt says:

              Interesting. I tend to think that it is possible, but that we are not intelligent enough to figure it out.

            • Ert says:


              Possible yes, but not something that we are likely figure out in time (and scale up) to prolong the current game to stretch out the time in which until our predicament hits us in the face.

            • doomphd says:

              Thanks for that link to Robert Hirsch’s recent guest post on fusion research. In sum, Hirsch’s argument is exactly the same argument my colleague uses to promote his concept of Velocity Impact Fusion, link here: http://www.fusionenergysolutions.net/

              The old magnetic, and laser confinement approaches to hot fusion reactors are flawed. Nevertheless, a whole lot of funds an effort have been expended upon these designs. Poor engineering.

      • Now finally ready to be rebooted via SDR issuance, either in one step (theoretically) or realistically more likely during series of USD credit purges out of the system..

      • Greg Machala says:

        Exactly! Out monetary system is on big ponzi scheme folks. The IMF just admitted the debt treadmill is a ponzi scheme! This could be an historic occasion. Let Bernie Madoff out of prison and pronounce this day in history a tax free national holiday.

    • Big surprise! For a while, China was able to grow without adding a whole lot of debt. That time is long gone.

      The high cost of oil extraction, the low prices for commodities of all types, and the large amount of debt outstanding make the situation dangerous. Without QE, interest rates would quickly rise, causing a huge amount of debt defaults. Debt defaults may occur, even with continued QE. At some point, QE reaches limits–interferes too much with “normal” securities use.

      • Yoshua says:

        The next step is fiscal stimulus ? The world is going total Japan ?

        • This article has some interesting graphs regarding how well (or not) Japan has been doing: http://www.alhambrapartners.com/2016/10/03/there-really-is-nothing-left-to-the-money-illusion/

          • Yoshua says:

            So when the total energy reaches a plateau and governments starts to consume a larger share of the energy, then the population will just be forced to adjust and consume less ?

            The companies growth will flat line, no matter who consumes their out put, since the total energy has flat lined ?

            • it’s happening right now in Saudi

              Saudi uses 1/3rd of its oil to keep its citizens alive (literally)–desal water—cooling—food buying

              but that is a diminishing resorce, while the population is rising.
              When the rising and falling graphs cross over—-ten years from now max—kaboom

              the whole middle east goes up in flames, because the saudis, just like everybody else think prosperity is a combination of votes and prayers.

        • “Top insiders” discussing the next plans for either overt or not so overt permanent monetary base liftathlons, aka helicopter money implementation tactics, lot of hidden gems spilled inside.

          Instadoomers weep loudly, cry hard, and hide behind mama skirts, because we have NOT seen nothing yet.. http://voxeu.org/article/helicopter-money-policy-option

          ps actually lets put serious bets out there, xxx or x,xxx or xx,xxxx % of gdp debt next time around?

          • the grammar error of double not is allowed is such extreme cases, lolz

            • Van Kent says:

              I like helicopter money. Money for nothing and ch-cks for free. What’s not to like. But really, it’s been around for decades already..

              Norway, Sweden and Finland have many ways by which the state pays its citizens. Got a kid? Ok, take some cash. Want a mortage? Ok, take some cash. Need an education? Hey buddy, take some more cash. Homeless? Come on.. please take this cash already..

              And take a look what good helicopter has done for the Nordics.. http://www.tradingeconomics.com/sweden/gdp-growth

              Helicopter is nothing new. It’s just something old in a new package.

              But YES, we are agreed upon that we have seen NOTHING yet..

            • Well, for the real helicopter drop, they plan some spectacular stuff.
              First of all they need to abolish cash, attempts were made, but some road blocks and negatives are already apparent. So now they come up with the clever solution, basically having two separate rates for cash, value for your physical cash will be quoted at some ever changing fluctuating exchange rate against the virtual electronic bank account cash via your local central bank. There would be hardly any opposition to such scheme as this would start moving between these two only by %fractions and later just few percents apart. But at the crucial “history making” thresholds aka crisis, they will phase in the real blood transfusion, setting suddenly the exchange rate cash-cash at e.g. 40-80% difference, robbing the holders (“horders”) of the real physical cash of everything.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Instant doomer — that would imply a certainty that collapse was days away. It could be — it could happen this afternoon — maybe Doosh Bank is the trigger… maybe the CBs will be powerless to prevent its collapse….

            We cannot know when collapse will come — but what we can know is that when it does come — it will be rapid.

            When global growth goes negative – and the central banks cannot reverse that…. the jackals will be at our throats within days….

            Just imagine how quickly things would unravel if QE were stopped today. It was all fine – and then Lehman died…. and then it wasn’t…. very quickly.

            It’s like I point a rifle at your head — no problem right — but then I pull the trigger… in a split second life turns to death.

            Now imagine a situation where Japan announces the mother of the mother of the mother of all QE and various other stimuli — and their markets puke…. their currency turns to dust….

            At some point the policies will fail.

            • The policies fail, at some point.

              What I learned from looking for answers around late 1990s, living through the 3x market bubbles, peculiar domestic and geopolitical events, lurking around PO and FW related forums, is the relativity of time per single human life. First and second generation peak oilers, who are by now mostly gone, would just marvel at the opulent oil production graphs of today (e.g. at fractionalflow website) and shake heads in disbelief about the debt levels recorded at the same time..

              You see, it’s little bit of a story of young, bright, yet a bit dogmatic German officer, who is in the late spring of 1945 watching the Soviets pressing from the East of Elbe/Rhine while the Anglo Americans approaching on the west shores of these rivers. And from sheer desperation of the moment he picks up the pistol and ends the story, while his less impatient buddies are to live long long after the WWII, enjoying sometime’s up to their 90s years of age, millions deposited on the account, and surrounded by happy families.

              I certainly don’t picture such expansionary happy end outcome at this very different stage, nevertheless I simply foresee decades of “slow history” in the making.

    • To know what’s going on, one has to focus on the bodily language and face expression of IMF’s Mr. Lagarde, lolz, around the festivities surrounding the launch of newly adjusted SDR basket.. It was clearly along the lines “.. fffee, that was close, thanks Asians for the patience and support, now I can safely retire without material worry for myself, as well as the guaranteed nest egg of my wider euro elite family..”

  8. Demographic trends marching on faster than assumed?
    According to following article, today third of youngsters age bellow 15years old are of migration related background, while the ethnic German baby boomers wave is about to retire..

    Obviously, for the neo-Maoist instadoomers this doesn’t mean anything as they preach instant death trick magic – occurring at some pin point of time not far away. However, for the realist observers of wider and broader natural cycles this helps to guide-predict the future “civilization nucleus” borders. As we know Sweden, most of Benelux, France and southern – central, quite likely large enclaves of northern Italy as well are already lost to the Caliphate. Some parts of southern and eastern Germany and Austria are debatable variables. So, clearly a division line drops, forms and carves on the line of Finland, Baltic, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Real Macedonia (not neo-Greeks) lolz.., Turkey, and southern tip of Russia. Hopefully the Persians will sooner or later again keep the Gulf madness in check.

    Again, I’m not necessarily talking about preserving carz, planes, computers and electric fridges, which for the spoiled instadoomers define the boundaries of civilization.

    • psile says:

      What do you mean by “Real Macedonia (not neo-Greeks)”?

      Are you implying that the Slavs, who only arrived in the Balkans during the 6-7th centuries A.D. and who currently make up the majority of the Republic of Macedonia have more of a stake in the legacy of ancient Macedonia, than the Greeks of today do, who all speak a variety of the same Greek (Koine) that Alexander did?

      • Correct. It might have been taken as offensive remark (little joke) to some Greeks, certainly not intended, but solely from judging ~recent events, when FYROM police and army with 1/xx of Greek resources at least tried stop the northbound border bursting march of “barbarians” – while Greeks serving under the NATO/EU yoke, did with all that hardware exactly nothing to protect the EU border, and on many instances even escorted the boats from opposite shores, instead of turning them away from European waters as in non violent manner as possible. One could say in retrospect it was in fact cunning plan how to help end the Merkel US protectorate regime in Germany few decades earlier, but I doubt that’s was genuine Greek plan, more like a domino effect, coincidence of history and karmic blow-back.

        • Yoshua says:

          Europe will turn into a kiIIing field again. We can’t get along with each others… having an alien body inside our communities will make it so much more fun !

    • Ed says:

      Let us remember the Moors occupied Spain longer than the English have occupied England.

      • xabier says:

        Not quite right, although often said for some reason:

        The first major settlements of Saxons were established here in Eastern England by 441 AD, and they were invited, not invaders – mercenaries for hire (low-wage immigrant workers if you like, the work being killing which they were quite good at .)

        The Arab-Berber army arrived in Spain in 711, at the invitation of the Jews who were subject to terrible persecution by the Christian barbarian rulers of Spain, (they later got massacred by the Arabs) and the last were expelled in the early 17th century after too many rebellions.

        On this flimsy basis, the Muslim fanatics want to take Spain back into Islam, on the ‘once in, never out’ rule which governs their faith.

        In the end, it will be a matter of who is strongest regardless of historical claims.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘instant death trick magic’

      I don’t know that phrase – I should learn DelusiSTANI if I am to comment on the subject so frequently

  9. Ed says:

    FE says my future food will be slow moving and too weak to fight back but a bit lean. Stew? Soup?

    • bandits101 says:

      FE predicts the past. Everyone has ancestors. Just think about you’re distance if you go back six or so generations you have 64 another generation 128 ancestors. Follow the lines of one or all of those ancestors and you conclude that you are indeed very special. You would say that someone or some group ensured the events of every one of your ancestors was pre ordained but of course your life is one of seven and a half billion alive today due to natural events.

      People that “predict the past” look at selected past events find something unique and assign divine intervention or intelligent design to an outcome. They of course have not and cannot predict the future they simply guess but they want you to believe that their conclusions are the only possible explanation.

    • Kanghi says:

      FE, I find that comment a bit ironic from a person who moved to NZ countryside homestead together with hoards of stuff in containers, gun & ammo and hidden gold stash in the forest 😉 I think you have done your best to have softerst landing possible and not being on among the first who run out of food after two days of not going to shop, like the majority of the westerns world.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You are referring to Fast Eddy 6.0….. that model expired well over 18 months ago…. all subsequent models were programmed to recognize that all doomsday preparations are futile….

        We are onto version11.0…. this latest new and improved model is not only redesigned to be more handsome and alluring…. but also has a built in list of things needed for the End of World Party that will fit into a 20 foot container … that is as far as the software will allow him to think in terms of prepping…

        • Fast Eddy says:

          BTW…. Fast Eddy 1.0 smoked hopium… read the NY Times… despised Fox… thought the POTUS election was important… hated Monstanto… thought Scott Nearing was impressive…. and believed all sorts of other nonsense….

          Evolution is possible….

        • xabier says:


          Did hope really die when the German (?) solar pump turned out to be rubbish?

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Not really….that was just one of many nails….

            It was on the wane when I realized that virtually all food is produced using petro-chemicals…. and that fixing the soil takes years…

            It was completely extinguished when I found this:

            Assuming a 50-100% Cs137 release during a spent fuel fire, [8] the consequence of the Cs-137 exceed those of the Chernobyl accident 8-17 times (2MCi release from Chernobyl). Based on the wedge model, the contaminated land areas can be estimated. [9] For example, for a scenario of a 50% Cs-137 release from a 400 t SNF pool, about 95,000 km² (as far as 1,350 km) would be contaminated above 15 Ci/km² (as compared to 10,000 km² contaminated area above 15 Ci/km² at Chernobyl).

            A typical 1 GWe PWR core contains about 80 t fuels. Each year about one third of the core fuel is discharged into the pool. A pool with 15 year storage capacity will hold about 400 t spent fuel. To estimate the Cs-137 inventory in the pool, for example, we assume the Cs137 inventory at shutdown is about 0.1 MCi/tU with a burn-up of 50,000 MWt-day/tU, thus the pool with 400 t of ten year old SNF would hold about 33 MCi Cs-137. [7]



            • Kanghi says:

              FE, Actually fixing the soils doens`t take long at all, all you need is good compost tea`s and good feed for the soil life to kickstart, that reduces the recovery time to one season, but of course to have really good layer of water absorbent soil takes some years to build. Harder thing to get over in population level food supply is the fact that we do everything with machines nowadays and that is a big stone in the shoe.
              Spend fuel pools is the another matter 🙁
              Nevertheless, laters versions of FE are still in better off than the most urban populations around the world.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What do you eat while you fix the soil?

              Where will you get manure when the animals that normally would provide manure will be eaten soon after the grocery stores close.

              A number of people who are involved in the science of permaculture – one was the trainer for BC Organics in Canada – another has written research for the NZ government — informed me that generally you are looking at a minimum of 3 years to repair petro chemical damaged soil.

              I have never tried to do it but a friend with a farm in Australia said he tried — they composted it year after year — but nothing would grow. They eventually gave up

      • psile says:

        That’s FE’s prerogative…ain’t it Eddy?

        As for me, I’d rather be here when the big one explodes!


  10. Fast Eddy says:

    What we need is a FW Lite. And an FW Elite

    What happens is that anyone who lands on the site gets a chance to spew their Koombaya …. and then they get a few chances to understand that they had it all wrong…. they learn … and they become useful contributors…

    If they refuse to learn — a box is ticked in the admin of FW…. designating them as FW Lite….

    Whenever they comment on anything email alerts only go to other FW Lite members…. FW Elite members don’t get those alerts….

    FW Lite members do not get alerts for posts from FW Elite members.

    • Van Kent says:

      The content of the commentary on FW Elite might be a bit short.
      – Norman: That’s All Folks! Goodbye.
      – Gail: Agreed. Bye.

      Maybe we all need this constant reassurance, from all who are willing to comment, that we really have looked at all the angles possible..

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Yes. But I propose only dropping people to the Lite channel if they persistently resist facts and logic

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    Profits at roughly a quarter of Chinese companies in a Reuters analysis were too low in the first half of this year to cover their debt servicing obligations, as earnings languish and loan burdens increase.

    Corporate China sits on $18 trillion in debt, equivalent to about 169 percent of China’s GDP, but few firms reported feeling the heat.

    Instead, lenders are heeding Beijing’s call to support the real economy and so are rolling over company debt or granting repayment waivers, sometimes for years, specialist lawyers and investors said.

    This is evidence that China may be in for a long period of Japan-like stagnation rather than a single event triggering a crisis – what some economists call a “Lehman moment” after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, which touched off the global financial crisis.

    “They are kicking the can down the road for stability in the short term,” said Roland Mieth, Singapore-based emerging markets portfolio manager for U.S. fund manager PIMCO. “China can maintain status quo for many years to come, like Japan did with their leverage, without triggering a financial crisis.”


    Yes Roland… I am sure that this won’t ever morph into a massive collapse… China has it all under control

    • Yoshua says:

      IMF has now embraced the Yen, Yuan, Euro, Pound and Dollar to its bosom. These five cans have been kicked so hard for so long now.

      Everybody is ready to slit each others throats but IMF will now be the consigliere who keeps some form of peace between them ? The last thing we need now is a mafia war.

  12. Van Kent says:

    100, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95 … 5, 4, 3 and now 2 months left to save earth.

    • Canuck1867 says:

      Maybe they will come with an updated article saying we have another 100 months to save the planet…after all we humans have perfected the kicking the can down the road game to a tee…however the road is approaching the end, and at the end of a road is a cliff…and the can WILL fall off that cliff!

  13. “The One and Only Texas Wind Boom

    “Wind power has transformed the heart of fossil-fuel country. Can the rest of the United States follow suit?

    “by Richard Martin October 3, 2016
    “… Overall, wind still represents less than 20 percent of the state’s generation capacity—a number that dips into the low single digits on calm, hot summer days. And even with the wind power boom, the state’s total estimated carbon emissions were the highest in the nation in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available—up 5 percent from the previous year.”

    How could even Texas’ wind power exist, without the fossil-fuel-based infrastructure?
    Is there anywhere on Earth where even just the AC power grid gets even nearly half its input from IRE (intermittent renewable energy)?
    Could even hydroelectric or geothermal energy exist without that fossil-fuel-based infrastructure?

  14. Canuck1867 says:

    I find this quote very fitting for our times:

    Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
    ~ The Buddha (Dhammapada)

  15. Canuck1867 says:

    This is an excellent comment posted on Tom Lewis’s website The Daily Impact some time ago:

    “You were born into captivity (same as the rest of us) and didn’t know anything about fossil fuel use (or agriculture, population overshoot, shopping for junk we don’t need – all of industrial civilization) being detrimental to the environment until MUCH later, so there’s no going back or trying to atone for anything. Try to enjoy the time you have left by living a life of excellence… and being as loving and kind as you can.” — Commenter Tom (not Lewis)

  16. dolph says:

    The question you are asking is, do the Hebrews know about collapse?

    I bet they do but they really don’t have any answers, as nobody does. It’s why they are doubling down on pushing more debt into the system.

    • CTG says:

      To me, it does not matter who/what caused it. Happen it will and everyone will be impacted. It is an ELE (extinct level event) and it is really a stupid idea to think that some groups will be spared. When the financial world goes, everything goes. Anyone wants to disagree with me on that? If yes, please give me specific points and not just trolling.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I could not agree more.

      • Van Kent says:

        Wellcome to FW CTG and yes, we are in perfect agreement.

      • richard says:

        You’ve bought into, or been brainwashed into the idea that the world cannot survive without bankers. I’ll agree that you need bankers to fight wars, but ordinary life, not so much, despite paypal and credit card companies forcing themselves into transactions.
        Around 2009, when there were still problems, and on earlier occasions, people began creating their own money. In Roman times they even accepted money known to be fake at face value.
        So, there will be problems, and maybe debt forgiveness will get taxed, but there will still be chocolate. It might even be money.

        • CTG says:

          Richard, do you have any experience in logistics and “just in time” (JIT) inventory management? If you don’t have, then I can give you a short course. JIT does not exist 30 years ago. Do you own any businesses before? Have you run a factory before? Have you managed a commercial entity before?

          Have a look at

          • richard says:

            Strawman much? What exactly, does banking have to do with JIT logistics?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I see you turned on your anti-logic force field….

            • CTG says:

              Richard, if you have experience in running a business, especially export and import, would you want to pay me up front for a container of products? Would you want to keep a lot of inventory to run your business especially if your products are expensive? If you are the importer of a large machine, do you want to keep spare parts for all your products? Do you want to use cash and not credit when it comes to purchasing parts from suppliers around the world?

              Honestly, I am pretty surprised by the statement “does banking have to do with JIT logistics?” Everyone who is connected to the modern world requires banking, be it your salary credit to buying a product online.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What is a ‘Letter Of Credit’

              A letter of credit is a letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount. In the event that the buyer is unable to make payment on the purchase, the bank will be required to cover the full or remaining amount of the purchase. Due to the nature of international dealings, including factors such as distance, differing laws in each country, and difficulty in knowing each party personally, the use of letters of credit has become a very important aspect of international trade.

              BREAKING DOWN ‘Letter Of Credit’
              Because a letter of credit is typically a negotiable instrument, the issuing bank pays the beneficiary or any bank nominated by the beneficiary. If a letter of credit is transferrable, the beneficiary may assign another entity, such as a corporate parent or a third party, the right to draw.

              Funding a Letter of Credit

              Banks typically require a pledge of securities or cash as collateral for issuing a letter of credit. Banks also collect a fee for service, typically a percentage of the size of the letter of credit. The International Chamber of Commerce Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits oversees letters of credit used in international transactions.
              Example of a Letter of Credit

              Citibank offers letters of credit for buyers in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East who may have difficulty obtaining international credit on their own. Citibank’s letters of credit help exporters minimize the importer’s country risk and the issuing bank’s commercial credit risk. Citibank can provide letters of credit typically within two business days, guaranteeing payment by the confirming Citibank branch. This benefit is especially valuable when a client is located in a potentially unstable economic environment.
              Types of Letters of Credit

              A commercial letter of credit is a direct payment method in which the issuing bank makes the payments to the beneficiary. In contrast, a standby letter of credit is a secondary payment method in which the bank pays the beneficiary only when the holder cannot.

              A revolving letter of credit lets the customer make any number of draws within a certain limit during a specific time period. A traveler’s letter of credit guarantees the issuing banks will honor drafts made at certain foreign banks.

              A confirmed letter of credit involves a bank other than the issuing bank guaranteeing the letter of credit. The second bank is the confirming bank, typically the seller’s bank. The confirming bank ensures payment under the letter of credit if the holder and the issuing bank default. The issuing bank in international transactions typically requests this arrangement.


        • Canuck1867 says:

          Quickly we need to get the FE-Signal out…We have a BAU-Liter in our midst…Calling FE, calling
          FE lolllll

        • Richard, my understanding is that you are an engineer. Engineers often seem to have the view that the “physical” is all that there is. All of the financial stuff is non-sense; we could just start over with something new; it doesn’t matter. This is where “peak oil” theory came from. It really was the basis of the 1972 Limits to Growth study. It is a big part of my criticism of “overly simple” models which give misleading results.

          Unfortunately, the more I look at energy extraction, the more I am convinced that it depends on the economy, which is a networked system. We absolutely have to have a financial system that is “pulling strings,” telling people where to invest, and deciding who gets how much of the output of the economy. The same system helps move some of the goods to the government sector, so that the government sector gets part of the output as well.

          The system fails when the financial portion of this networked system can no longer hold together. The wages of non-elite workers fall too low to afford the output of the system. Debt (at ever-lower interest rates) can sort of cover up the problem for a while, but not permanently. Eventually, something goes wrong. There are huge debt defaults. Governments and quasi-governments (like the EU) fail. Demand for commodities cannot stay high enough. Prices fall too low, and the whole system collapses.

          • Fast Eddy says:


          • Karl says:


            I don’t disagree with your view of the networked nature of the economy, but I still cant shake the feeling that some strong authoritarianism could keep a lot of the system held together for a long time to come. Assuming the elites are willing to use martial law, nationalization, etc., won’t they be able to keep the electricity on and the tractors rolling? I’m thinking specifically of cities in war zones, USSR during collapse, and places like North Korea. Those places and situations saw the collapse of finance and disruption of logistics, but people still managed to survive. I know those examples were geographically isolated, and the non afflicted areas were able to provide some goods and services.

            We (in the USA) still have a lot of legacy conventional oil production. We have a lot of coal. Its not enough for us all to continue to own cars and shop at Walmart for Chinese consumer goods, but it surely is sufficient (in the physical sense) to run the tractors, trains, power plants, etc. to keep us alive (at least for decades). Heck, India only used 4.1 million barrels/day in 2015, with a population well in excess of 1 billion people. Can’t the Army just show up at all of the crucial businesses and pieces of infrastructure, point some rifles and order everyone to keep working?

            • There are a lot of problems with minimums, which make it virtually impossible to go backward. For example, we have a huge amount of roads, pipelines (natural gas, oil, water, and sewage), transmission lines, and internet equipments/lines to keep operating. It is hard to say, “We will just forget the ones to cities of less than 5,000 people,” or some other way of dropping the total. Somehow the whole system needs to keep going.

              At the same time, refineries cannot run at 25% of capacity. They are optimized for particular kinds of oil. Pipelines can’t operate at 10% full. We need to be able to staff all of these functions with people who can earn a reasonable wage. So there are significant overhead costs involved, whether we realize it or not.

              Each of these requirements lead to yet more requirements. We need replacement parts for all of the equipment that we expect to operate. We need helicopters to repair transmission lines and wind turbines. In order for these things to happen, we need workers who can drive to work in cars. We don’t have any way of contracting back to, say, the level of resources we used in the 1950s. It is as if we built an ever-higher structure, optimizing as we went along. In doing our optimization, we pulled out the lower levels of the structure, so we can’t go backward. We can’t use horses for transportation again, because the manure would be too big a problem, and because it would take too much land to grow food to feed them. You have to think about all of the details.

            • i can only shake my head

              borrow Eddy’s wall

              and bang my head against it

            • xabier says:

              At the end of the Roman Empire in Britain, a whole small town -an important metal-working centre it seems – just over a mile from here vanished, not even remaining as a village or farmstead.

              Only recent construction work led to rediscovery. All the right resources were in place – wood, water, communications.

              Why did it go?

              The higher imperial structures collapsed, it depended on that network and so couldn’t survive.

              Just ploughed fields for 1,600 years. Now covered with 3,000 university apartments for Chinese students…….

            • yup—i live near wroxeter—4th largest roman town in england, that almost disappeared too.

              when energy input ceases, things just fall apart very rapidly

          • richard says:

            Thanks Gail, differing points of view are always welcome.
            I expect I understand much better than most here the interactions of the financial and the manufacturing world, but to keep my posts short and relevant I omit almost all supporting data. Maybe I should throw some math in.
            When the financial systems g down, I can agree it will be somewhat like switching the internet off. Some things just will not work, and some simpler constructs will continue to work. Governments will introduce rationing. If you think about it, if OPEC and some otheres agree to restrict oil production, a form of rationing is then in place.
            Feel free to disagree, time will reveal all.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘I omit almost all supporting data’

              You also omit common sense, logic, and facts.

              Perhaps you can tell us what your world looks like without a functioning financial system..

              It is very difficult to rip you to pieces when you put no meat on the bone…. I am a top predator…. I want meat — I do not want to gnaw on bones all day long….

              ‘Governments will introduce rationing’ — without a financial system there would be no oil and gas — 99%+ of all ag land is farmed using petro chemicals …. no chemical no crops….

              How do you keep the oil and gas flowing without finance? How do you keep the factories going that provide the computers and rigs and vehicles necessary to extract and refine oil?

              Without the financial system – there would be nothing to ration.

            • CTG says:


              When rationing starts, consumption will drop tremendously. People will not have the money to buy many things. What happen to the sales person manning the shops? Who will by properties? What happen to all the people working in fields related to housing (bankers, mortgage officers, interior designer, curtain makers, sofa makers, furniture shops?).

              Very important point – ** Rationing worked in the past because people are not so interconnected and there are a lot of people working in food production. We have way too many people working in non-food production related fields and there is just simply too many mouths to feed.

              “I expect I understand much better than most here the interactions of the financial and the manufacturing world,”

              ** Can you describe where you have worked? It seems to me that the questions and statements that you have posed do not reflect your experience.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              IF a government can get it’s act together [big if] rationing can better distribute essentials to the whole population, otherwise some will hoard stuff and others will go without. As to all those whose jobs become redundant, the Gov’t will have to give them pensions . Pensions will allow people to buy food and services. It can all work only as long as electronic banking lasts.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              By essentials I assume you mean food.

              That means you need oil and gas to grow the food – pumps and electricity to water the crops — that means you need spare parts – factories – airplanes and ships to get the parts to the farms — you need refineries to refine the oil — you need trucks and trains to move the food…. you need a financial system in place to ensure everyone gets paid

              Basically you need BAU — if you do not have BAU you have nothing.

              There is no middle ground.

            • CTG says:


              IF a government can get it’s act together [big if] rationing can better distribute essentials to the whole population, otherwise some will hoard stuff and others will go without.

              Question – how much can you distribute when everything is JIT. If you live in a small town with 2-3 supermarkets, how much food can you distribute if no trucks come in? The number of cans that can be distributed is very low. I am pretty sure there are not enough packets of rice/wheat/flour for every household in the town. At most 50-100 packets of staples? I am sure you have more than 100 households in the town. If you scale it up to New York or Chicago (high population density) , then you will be lucky to have one can per household.

              ** Please don’t forget the “human side” of things. Even if the enforcement by the government is strict, I doubt it will be orderly and there is also a good chance the troops/police will just take all the food. We do not live in perfect world.

              ** How does pension comes into picture when it is already chaos. If you have rationing, there will be curfew. That goes hand-in-hand. If you have curfew, will you be able to sell any properties or cars? Will the fuel tankers come in?

              Do note that this will be nation-wide. Rationing cannot happen at a local state/county level. Rationing happening at county level happens during natural disaster but not on the breakdown of social order.

            • in uk wartime rationing bread was delivered by a man with a horse drawn van—milk the same
              shops were tiny with no expectation of other than basic foodstuffs

              that is now our problem—expectations

              we expect everything to be on hand 24/7, literally everything we need

              our lives have been built around that

              we cannot go back willingly because we don’t know how

              unwillingly of course is another matter entirely

            • ejhr2015 says:

              There’s no doubt about that, but think of the alternatives!. It can go from FE’s instant destruction back to a slower decline. Either way its curtains. I am responding to the blog which mentioned coupons. There MAY be a place for them. Nobody can say yet.

            • think of the physical size and structure/layout of a supermarket.

              in the days of UK rationing, you were served by a man/woman at a counter, who fetched what you wanted from “somewhere”—person to person.

              now visualise that in modern terms with physically rationed goods—butter, cheese bacon and so on.

              your groceries would have to be physically checked individually in exchange for money and coupons. Stores are geared up with automated checkouts, not people service
              The entire store-system would have to be completely changed to basic food-warehouses with no frills.

              and that’s before you even touch on the problem of getting food TO the outlets, given a future with no oil anyway.

              You cannot supply a walmart with horse drawn carts.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Food wouldn’t be kept in supermarkets, IMO. and petrol will always be available right up to the end.
              Anyway useless thinking only of obstructions, better to think of solutions. Whatever, it will be a short term solution as economies don’t work well in reverse. It really depends on the mix of what survives and what doesn’t. It won’t all go at the same time.

            • If it is not possible to pay employees, it is hard to keep very much operating for very long. But I know that some people worked in Russia, after the fall of the Soviet Union, for close to no wages–it was only the benefits (free housing, free cafeteria lunch, cheap subway system, extensive system of gardens for citizens) that helped keep things going. I think the critical part is keeping the government going. In this case, the Russian government, with all of its benefits, was able to keep going. The question is which governments, with which benefits, are going to be able to keep going for how long. EU superstructure looks likely to fall first, but others will likely fall as well.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              I am relying on the government giving nearly everyone a pension, so they can buy food etc. Essential services jobs would survive, would have to in fact. While critics ignorant of what a Monetary Sovereign Government can do might say it is unaffordable. they need to understand an MS government can never be bankrupted in its own money and can buy whatever and whenever there is something for sale. So in an emergency [as long as banking still has the power on] the government can pay everyone a pension – in fiat money- not silver or gold of course.

            • One question is whether there is anything for sale. If I were a farmer, and there weren’t enough food to go around, I would sell first to other farmers who had food to trade for food. It is not clear that essential items will be for sale.

              The other question is how long the government can exist. If things are falling apart, it is going to be very difficult to keep banking operating. Government will likely fall as soon as banks do.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Definitely. The government will not collapse first as it can spend money . That ability is its ticket to survive longer. We have to say that as long as power is on even if partially collapsed, banking will carry on. It’s all chaos once that goes. As I was just saying we know the end, but not the way.

            • i’ll try again—and give Eddys wall a rest


              governments spend the money they take from you and me, on a JIT basis

              then they borrow even more money, on the assumption that you and me are going to be alive and healthy long enough to pay it back. If by some misfortune we should die, then our debt is transferred to kids—and so on.
              This rolling debt system has worked in the past, because the earth has delivered sufficient resources to allow this to continue. Politicos function via a rear view mirror—as we all do one way or another, so pronounce that it will continue ad infinitum.
              We have no choice but to go ahead with the existing system—it’s the only one we have, or will ever have.
              We are all capitalists to a greater or lesser degree—such is the structure of the society we have locked ourselves into.
              OFW inmates might protest against that—it won’t alter the collective truth of it.

              But we have reached the pointed in history where this cannot go on, because there’s nothing left for future collateral on the debt—the debt being everything governments must borrow to prolong the delusion that everything is going to be fine forever and nations will remain solvent and intact.

              Pensions for instance, have existed for only a century—the exact period of maximum use of fossil fuel in industry.
              That has not been a coincidence.
              Yet the promise is that pensions will go on rising into infinity, despite having nothing to support them in our future.
              You cannot print money to pay pensions

            • Fast Eddy says:

              If there is one thing that I am certain of …. it’s that you are wrong.

            • ejhr2015 says:


            • and where dyou the ”pension cash” comes from?

            • then you just have foodbanks

              let’s not mince words as to what the situation will be

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Yes, all that is possible, even probable. But is there an alternative ? It only works if the government, through the army and police, take control of resources and transport. So farm production will be given primacy whereas private transport will not. Trucks will be given primacy whereas cars will not. The main thing is that a semblance of order prevails and the grid doesn’t go down enough to black out the banks. Lots of provisos to consider. Everyone will get a pension.There will be no Jobs except in essential services. There will be no inflation as there will be no market competition. Etc. Etc… Etc…..

            • Fast Eddy says:


            • so many —most maybe—fail to grasp that we live in an interlocked whole.

              remove private transport by all means, but then you kick out the foundations of government, because government derives its financial stability from the workers who cannot now function without wheels

              governments live hand to mouth, more so than many private citizens, with no assets other that the labour of thier citizens, who will have no income if they have no work
              income is a function of energy, cut that off and the nation dies very rapidly

            • Fast Eddy says:



              Of course this sort of thing could not happen in a civilized place… right?


              I do not anticipate any rationing…. rationing implies a state of emergency…. a temporary situation ….

              This situation will be permanent — so why bother feeding the sheeple when they are already dead? Why go to the trouble to keep them alive for a few days or weeks longer?

              Better to go with a lockdown and let them starve to death …. starved people do not riot….

              If anything keep the TeeVee stations operating … keep the internet running so that Facebook can be accessed…

            • CTG says:

              @ejhr2015 – perhaps you can explain to us in detail how your situation work on on rationing. Please go into details for your solution. For me, I am basically out of ideas how to go about having rationing without destroying confidence and the economy on the whole. It is easy to say “let us think of a solution” when the thinking is done by someone else.

              It is essentially this “thinking is done by someone else” that got us into trouble. Most of the people will just say “nah… the government have smart people to take care of that”.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              You are talking like everything is hunky-dory. It will be on the point of a bad collapse so everyone will be on edge, just like a declaration of war for example. Rationing will be freely accepted. It’s up to some in government to supply the details. Why don’t you have a go?
              It’s not something we will get out of. I think on OFW nobody should imagine we can come back in anything like our current wealth. It’s only purpose is to try to manage things and avoid instant chaos. Not that we can be certain but it may slow down the cliff. We only know the end, so it makes sense to make plans. It’s no good finding out we could have made use of rationing but had no plans. It may not help if it doesn’t work out, but not to have a plan is remiss.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              When the financial system blows up global trade stops. That means no petrol – no electricity – no food.

              Plan? What plan? Can you provide us with such a plan might look like?

              How do you grow food without petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides when the soil is dead?

              How do you operate machinery without petrol?

              Where do you get spare parts for the machinery?

              How do you pump oil without computers and spare parts?

              How do you refine oil without same?

              If you could produce food how do you get it to where it is needed?

              The only plan there is or can be is the one we are seeing — keep BAU going for as long as possible — because when BAU stops —- there is only death – and darkness.

              There will be no food. Absolutely nothing. Because 7.4 billion people will kill everything that moves…very dog, every cat, every cow, every chicken, every deer, every fish……and rip everything from the ground that can be eaten. And we’ll murder each other in the process.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          You have a profound lack of understanding of the importance of the financial system.

          i.e. you are taking a lot for granted….

          Think about what your life would be like if there were no debt markets —- would you own a house? a car?

          • Karl says:

            I didn’t say that I would be living a cushy middle class existence. I know living standards are going to plummet. I know resources are running short. I just remain unconvinced that everyone on planet earth is going to lay down and die the minute the financial system tanks. I think that a command economy and a police state can keep the lights on for a while (a la Soviet Russia) after globalism dies. Not forever, but for a while, maybe even long enough to take care of your spent fuel pools.

            I know a long stair step collapse isn’t as exciting as “thunderdome”, but it seems like the most plausible outcome to me.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Everyone will eventually just lie down and die….

              Characteristic symptoms of starvation include:

              shrinkage of such vital organs as the heart, lungs, ovaries, or testes, and gradual loss of their functions.

              chronic diarrhea.


              reduction in muscle mass and consequent weakness.

              lowered body temperature combined with extreme sensitivity to cold.

              However before that happens and while the little food that remains holds out… I am quite confident that there will be epic levels of violence… disease … rape …. I am sure many will resort to eating human meat….

              This will not be a recession – or a depression — or a world war — or a famine…

              It is the end of energy.

              I can understand how the concept is difficult to grasp… to accept… but that is what comes next… there is no BAU Lite… there is only darkness…

              It will be like stepping out of Elon’s landing craft onto the surface of Mars without a space suit…. believing Mars is the new earth …

              Trying to downsize is impossible http://www.endofmore.com/?p=1464

            • can always count on Eddy for a spot of cheerful truthtelling

            • DJ says:

              Why is so many so enthusiastic about central planned command economy? Because it has been so succesful in other times and places?

              Like Venezuela.

              I think there is better odds hoping for people with critical jobs showing up at work even after the salary does not come.

            • CTG says:

              Karl, a police state or martial law does not work if it is a big or interconnected country like USA, Japan, China or Europe. It just too complex. Does the police state introduce capital controls? What happens to the parts that are produced in that country? Can the population work in the factory that produces that parts that are required in a factory in my country? Let us say California goes into martial law. There are many factories in California that produces special parts for semiconductor industries. Specialized parts with lots of IP (you cannot copy) and very expensive. This part requires sub-parts that are manufactured in Boston and Texas. Questions that needs to be answered

              1. Do the banks provide letter of credits that is sent to Boston and Texas?
              2. Can the company access its cash in the bank account?
              3. Will the workers be able to work in the factory?
              4. Will there be disruption to utilities viewing that not many workers can work in power plants anymore? Curfew? too many people dead?
              5. Will the part be shipped out in time. Will the lead time for delivery goes from 1 month to 5 months? In that 5 months, will the company survive?
              6. Will my factory who bought this part survive? The part is critical to my production.

              With martial law, consumption will drop. Will the economy survive? What happen to the workers in restaurants? Will there be sufficient cash to distribute to all the people in the society? Will electronic payment works? Is the internet functional?

              Will people buy properties there anymore? What about the real estate agent? the guy that fixes air-conditioners, the restaurant that caters mainly to real estate people?

              Martial law in a small country is not an issue but in large and interconnected country, it is a big issue. You need to think out of the box and look at supply chains. How many workers are going to be out of work? Who is going to feed them? How will the government collect taxes?

              These are not so simple to answer.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Good points.

              I think we will get a brief attempt at martial law — but it will not be an attempt to establish BAU Lite – that is not possible.

              Instead I see it as a lock down period — keeping people off the streets in the cities — preventing total chaos…. they will be told to wait quietly until the state of emergency clears — and we return to normal (‘green shoots’ are on the way) …. meanwhile they starve to death….

              Basically a final desperate attempt to keep the carcass of BAU on ice for a few more weeks or months….

          • Karl says:

            Fortunately, I am in my 30’s and will live (or die slowly enough of radiation sickness) to see which of us is right.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              No need to wait… just review Collapse Lite in 2008…


              As you can see – the financial system – and the global economy would have collapsed if the central banks had not acted in 2008…

              The central banks stepped in to assure financial institutions that they would not allow another Lehman to happen….

              If they had not done that you would have starved to death…

              They continue to honour their word that they will not allow another important financial institution to fail….

              If they just stand back and let Doosh Bank collapse…

              You will starve.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              “Doosh” bank is a problem of Germany’s own making. It cannot be bailed out a la the GFC bailouts. The germans made sure there were no handouts to Greece and the others PIIGS so they have to do all of them if Deutsch Bank is to get funding or a buy out. Schadenfreude writ large.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              If the German people decide they do not agree with a bail out of Doosh what can they do?

              Elect another government? Go for it…. Greece did that… did it change their story

              Take to the streets in protest? Spray them with tear gas as with Occupy and Hong Kong…. if they still don’t budget kill them – as in Cairo ….

              If that does not work — take their children and hold them over fire …. ‘whatever it takes’

              The masses do not understand the nature of the beast…. nor can they be allowed to understand without precipitating the end….

              They cannot be permitted to upset the cart prematurely by disagreeing with policies that are being enacted for one purpose — to delay the extinction.

              Doosh will not be allowed to collapse without all efforts being made to save it… because if it does …. BAU collapses… and the extinction begins.

              That does not mean Doosh bank can be saved….

            • Karl says:

              Fast Eddy , you will surely die because you are mentally weak. Perhaps you were born into a soft middle class existence and therefore cant fathom a much poorer, rougher world. Instant death is preferable to toil and struggle for you. That is understandable, and I don’t fault you for your worldview. The proliferation of mentally and physically weak people was a ramification of technology eliminating natural selection. Their lot will undoubtedly be culled by the future that is nearly upon us.

              You greatly underestimate the will of others to survive, however. I would raid my neighbors for their last can of corn and serve it with a side of long pig before I lay down and die. My duty to my family commands it. And I know many others are more ruthless and determined than me, which is why I prepare as diligently as I do. You’re like a flower in a greenhouse that knows it would snap in the wind beyond the glass, and so cant fathom that others can bend and not break. You and I may perish, but humanity will survive.

            • thereya go Eddy

              a place at the front of the cull queue (or line in colonial-speak)

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Pampered? Well… my ‘father’ .. who spent more time in bars than at home .. was a truck driver… my mother was left to raise 3 kids on very meager resources…. yes I suppose I was pampered if you compare my upbringing to that of someone raised in the third world……

              Eventually I was able to parlay my advantageous upbringing into a reasonably successful career in business… I was able to tap into pappa’s extensive network of contacts…. and when I needed start-up capital there was the trust fund waiting when I turned 21!

              Here’s a photo of me and my entitled friends… that’s me with the green sweater tied round my neck….


              ‘physically weak’ Very much so….

              The most I ever weighed in when I played ice hockey was 80kg… if only I had more height and say 10kg more meat on the bones… unfortunately I now have this nagging shoulder problem from smashing into people much bigger than me too many times… the doctor tells me I need surgery …. but so long as I can do pretty much everything other than throw overhand …. I just leave it — because I will be dead soon anyway…

              But this situation is different than any of that…

              Radiation and starvation trump mental and physical toughness ….

              It will also trump bravado … as you will find out.

            • Van Kent says:

              What the next few years has to offer us is nothing short of a total nightmare. There will be wave, after wave, after wave, after wave, after wave, of bad getting worse.

              Karl I’m not saying I doubt your resolve, ruthlessness or capabilities. But what we are facing, is impossible. Say you can handle yourself. Say you got food and water stored up. Say you got gunns and ammo. Those will amount to sh-t, against the odds set against us. You can not defend yourself or your family against disease. Against hordes, after hordes, after hordes of raiding lunatics. Against drought, bad weather and crops failing every year. You can not defend your family against the biospehere collapsing, superstorms and habitat loss. What we are up against is unwinnable.

              And no, humanity will not survive. As the science looks right now, the oceans will die, and our species, every single last one of us will go away. This is the last generation of our species, or the next to the last. But after that.. That’s it. It’s over.

            • sheesh

              sounds like the full complement of finite worldsters on steroids

            • Fast Eddy says:


              We must pound the hope out of Karl. So that he can enjoy the short time that remains.

            • Ert says:

              I can add to Van Kent’s statements a recent speak of Paul Ehrlich. Listen to minute 9:00 to minute 9:30 – thats say it all…. more and more realitze whats coming and that it is to late to maneuver out of it…


              .. its now about the theme of Asimovs “Foundation” Novels… somehow try to get things right to push some people and knowledge through the coming turmoil.

            • Van Kent says:

              Setting it up short and sweet is something I picked up from you Norman. Thanks 👍

            • good to know i’m useful for something

          • richard says:

            I could provide a reading list if you so request. I’d suggest “Killing the Host” by Michael Hudson as a strting point.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I have launched a new website called http://www.onewordbookreviews.com…. I read the intro of a book on the flap… then I review the book using one word… here’s the review for that book:


              I did consider ‘nonsense’ but I thought rubbish was more encompassing.

            • richard says:

              I’ll take that to mean “I have no clue”
              By the way, re
              “Think about what your life would be like if there were no debt markets”
              Have a think about what you actually wrote …
              And then think what life was like _before_ banks got involved in mortgage lending. (OK maybe life was different in the USA)

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Do you own your home?

              Do you own a car?

              Did you finance them?

            • richard says:

              If your reading and comprehension skills aren’t up to scratch, maybe a video will help:

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Actually …. I do most of my reading via audio books these days….

              Unfortunately I have that last 6 Danielle Steele books to get through before I can take up your recommendation ….

            • richard says:

              “If they refuse to learn — a box is ticked in the admin of FW…. designating them as FW Lite…. ”

  17. CTG says:

    Events can move from the impossible to the inevitable without every stopping at the probably. Alexis De Tocqueville

    • Fast Eddy says:

      That is an incredible summary … I like the finish:

      Prudent Actions to Strongly Consider

      There are no specific actions you can take.

      I wonder if these guys understand why all this is happening….

      • CTG says:

        There are many interesting articles in the link

        The Clear and Present Danger List

        1. European banking collapse with immediate global contagion (ground zero: Deutsche Bank)
        2. European banking collapse (ground zero: Italian banking sector)
        3. Economic collapse of Japan.
        4. Cyberterrorism/cyberwarfare/sabotage affecting US infrastructure (e.g. financial markets, power grid, internet)
        5. The collapse of the European Union due to a successful Brexit-like referendum in France or Italy.

        These links are good for those who don’t understand the financial implication that will be the sole cause of the collapse.


        • Fast Eddy says:

          Given the CBs will stand behind all of these institutions to the very end…. I wonder what the trigger looks like….

          Where is the chink in the armour….

          • doomphd says:

            FE, you’ve really been on a roll the past couple of days. We need Don Stewart to post something in the role of The Cooler.

    • There is an amazing amount of “stuff” in the Grey Swans. The author understands a big part of the problem, without understanding our problem with respect to diminishing returns with respect to energy extraction, mining, and fresh water extraction. Of course, population is growing, creating a need for our resource extraction and GDP to keep growing. Those issues set us up for failure.

      One issue that strikes me that I don’t think the report discusses is that falling interest rates prop up the value of bonds and stocks on the balance sheets of insurance companies (GAAP financials statements, not “statutory” statements to regulators). Thus, financial results for insurance companies have tended to be propped up since 1981, thanks to falling interest rates. Rising interest rates, or increasing debt defaults, would have a hugely negative effect on insurance companies.

      I would expect some of the same issue happens with pension funds–certainly the stock portion of these funds, which is typically very substantial. Stock prices are very high now, thanks to low interest rates. If there is a problem with debt defaults, pension funds will be hit very hard.

  18. CTG says:

    The elites, TPTB or whatever they are known are not smart. If you ever have a chance to meet any of these rich people, not billionaires but just those with more than 50m, then you will know how they act. If they are old, then probably, they think but their children, born rich knows nothing and loves to spend money on expensive gifts, girls and glamour. Nothing else do they know. Their Ivy League degree are bought.

    I have worked with many top management people from large multinationals. Why they are totally detached from reality? Very simple – they are surrounded by sycophants and “yes man”. I am a consultant to them and they love to be treated like kings where nobody says “no” to them. The “yes men” will always say the leader is right even though he is totally wrong. If you cannot be a ‘yes man”, then you quit your job as there are many others who are willing to take their place. You can literally make a lot of money from doing it as you are privy to secret deals or insider information. You get to live a jet-set life, fine dining, meet up with other rich people and possibly have a great and entertaining life. So, do you want to let all those go by just believing in reality?

    It is those self-man millionaires who worked hard from early age, made their money who are smart. These are the people who runs their own company without going public. These are the companies (small and medium sized) that are being squeezed by the government as they don’t “play ball” with the sycophants of government. These are the company that understand reality and they are a dying breed. The younger generations who are born rich will not understand reality. This is human nature. Read up the history of Buddhism where Siddartha Gautama, who was born in to a royal family got a taste of reality when he left the palace and he subsequently has an enlightenment. Read Oscar Wilde’s “The Happy Prince” here http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/HapPri.shtml if you are not sure about this story.

    I felt very sick dealing with this kind of people, be it the leader or the people who surrounds them. They have breakfast among their group of rich people. They don’t need to read any news as they just ask their personal assistant or those surrounding them. They don’t do any analysis. After that, they take their luxury cars to the office and have a chat, oogled at the secretaries or ladies in the office. For lunch, they go to the poshest restaurant and meet up with their same ground of people (just as stupid as all of them are doing the same thing). The wives will gossip and shared some secrets of staying young or getting a new hair treatment. In the afternoon, they will adjourned to the golf course and then dinner again with the same group of people. They don’ read or do anything special. The socialize and try to get tips of making money without putting in much effort. Scale it up and instead of having breakfast in your city, you fly over to London and have breakfast there. They are enjoying their lives and will not think about end of the world or even “a little radiation is good for you” because none of their personal assistants told them about the radiation from Fukushima. The personal assistants themselves do not know or bother to know as they will be fired for bringing in bad news.

    There are no grand plans from any TPTB to take over the world. There are no New World Order. There are not world government enslaving the whole world. As time dragged on, things become very serious. More bandaged is required. It stops bleeding but it does not cure the wound. Japan was suppose to go so is Europe and USA. More bandages are put and it helped. The wound was found to be serious in 2008 but nothing was put in to cure it. Many countries collapse and things got worse for a majority of the people. If you asked Greece, they have collapsed for 5 years but still have food around as others have not collapse. Rewind 10 years to 2006. Everything is really great. There were no countries that collapsed and everyone looked forward to a bright future. Fast forward to today, Count how many major issues we have from financial to war and global warming. We have experienced collapse but not in our neighbourhood. Over time, it will reach our shores and I think the time is very close.

    All our currencies are fiat. All of them and they are interlinked. Historically, no fiat survived for long. To me, it is not a theory but a law as solid and strong as a Newton’s law of gravity.

    We just have to see how all plays out. No matter mow much denial one can put up, the endgame is set.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      My limited experience with the ultra rich is that they are driven — obsessed — with money — and the prestige that goes along with it.

      No doubt they are intelligent and capable — but loads of people are that yet not ultra rich…. not even moderately wealthy

      To get to that level you really need to have the desire for greatness…for adulation…. for ‘look at me – aren’t I awesome’

      If you want that level of wealth just so you can have a private jet to take leisure trips around the world —- then you will never get it (as I am learning…) ….

      That said – I don’t see the billionaires as being the people who run the world… they are under a much higher power… and that power is not one that has any desire to appear on CNBs or Bloomberg…

      That power hides behind the curtain ….

      • CTG says:

        Their power is an illusion. They think they are in control but they are not.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I am referring to the Fed … the private company that owns the right to print the global reserve currency….

          Without question that gives them the power to directly and indirectly control the world…. if you control the USD and interest rates — you have incredible power

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

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

          Just as past empires – e.g. Britain – ran the world…. so too does the Fed

          Does that mean things always go to plan – absolutely not — they are not gods – they are not infallible… they get things wrong….

          The men who currently run the show have taken control to another level — in addition to owning the money machine they also own the MSM – combined the two and that is the formula for extreme power….

          Now throw in a system that operates primarily on merit — one where huge numbers of people have the opportunity to live large …. and you’ve got the best system ever devised.

          Now I do not mean they micro manage the world… it is more of a macro-management strategy…. if anyone steps out of line they get whacked… if anyone does not buy into the system they get thrown into poverty….

          For the most part they allow the cattle to run the system — the politicians… the bureaucrats… the business leaders…. they make most of the decisions…. but always with an eye to operating within the framework established by the owners of the Fed.

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

          Does that mean they are unopposed – absolutely not — there are always usurpers — waiting for an opening — China and Russia at the moment….

          There are parallels with the mafia… if someone does not repay a loan … no matter how small… if someone steps out of line … no matter how far….. a message must be sent – you are with us or against us — and the stick must be swung…. because one small transgression that goes unpunished will lead to disrespect — and more larger transgressions…

          Does that mean that they have a fix for the problems we are facing — absolutely not. They are desperate – they are without question frightened…. because they see most of the iceberg…

          We see only the tip — we have to guess what is below the surface.

            • The Fed would be very frightened if it did understand what is happening.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘We’ve noted for over 7 years that the Federal Reserve has no idea what it’s doing.’

              A couple of comments…

              If the Fed did not know what it was doing — then how has BAU continued for 7+ years? Have they just been lucky? I have pointed to a string of specific policies from the Fed that have prevented BAU from collapsing…..

              And here’s a better question for all these geniuses —- if the Fed does not know what they are doing then pray tell what should they be doing that would make things better than they are?

              I am all ears…


            • no financier, however stupid clever or seemingly far sighted, can do more than the rest of us.

              the financial juggernaut is driven in the way we all drive, with the windscreen replaced by a big curved mirror—next years forecasts are based on last years ”performance” what else can there be?

              Right now I have a comfortable life—I can’t “imagine” it being any different
              I might die tomorrow (watch this blogspace) but that is beyond my imagination, so i plan for a repeat of yesterday.
              I paid into a pension 40 years ago–it now pays me. Anybody 40 years younger than me can only think the same way—what other options are there?

              Wall st financiers are no different—they just operate on a different scale thats all

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Wall St financiers are not driving the train…. the owners of the Fed drive the train….

              Notice how when Yellen speaks… the financiers hang on every word …. because that gives them clues as to how to position themselves….

              Gail has posted on numerous occasions charts that tie recessions to high oil prices.

              Does anyone believe that the Fed does not have those same charts — actually that the Fed does not have access to far more detailed information and analysis of the impact of high oil prices?

              Does anyone really think that the Fed was just sitting there watching oil prices run up to $147 without the alarm bells ringing? Did they shrug that off without recognizing that this was a problem?

              Of course not. They are not stupid people.

              They know that high oil prices destroy growth. A 7 year old could recognize that.

              We blow the living daylights out of countries specifically to keep the price of oil at a level that will allow growth to continue.

              Cheap oil is life. It is everything. Without it there is nothing.

              And I am to believe that the Fed does not understand this?

              That they are not spending every minute of the day trying to work out how to keep BAU alive in the face of oil that gets more expensive to extract by the day?

              Me does think that people buying into what the financial gurus are saying — that the Fed is clueless and that their policies are going to run the ship into the rocks….

              It is the financial gurus who are clueless — they are the ones who do not understand what the disease is — they believe that all we need to do is return to sound policies….sound economics…. that we need to let the bad air out — and the ship will be righted…

              They refuse to acknowledge that the problem is of a more profound nature….

              They seem to believe the worst case scenario is a Great Depression …

              So on one hand you have the central banks — with policies that have kept BAU alive – just imagine if they had not acted in 2008…. because they understand that there is no tomorrow….

              And on the other hand we have thousands of pundits — who believe tomorrow will be smelling of roses — if only the central banks would come to their senses… because they do not understand – or refuse to understand — the dire nature of the situation

              I ask again — if the central banks are clueless — then what should they have done — and what should they be doing … to mitigate the end of cheap oil?

            • Van Kent says:

              I have heard it so often, that it might be a common cognitive fallacy of our species; “THEY will take care of it”. Apparently our species has a very strong feeling that the grown-ups know what they are doing, and will make everything ok again.

              Somehow it really IS a frightening thought that we are now moving quickly towards our ELE. And the best think tank, the best analysis, the best intelligence, of what’s going on, is not in the FED, or the WB, or in the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, MI6 or any University in the world ,or any other super-institution. But the best intelligence our species has to offer, in the most important time of our species, is a bunch of blogs and a bunch of commentators on one of the internet blogs. Spooky! When are the grown-ups coming back again??

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The central banks knows exactly what they are doing. And they have done an outstanding job of keeping the horse of out the glue factory for over a decade now…

              Let’s revisit:

              The Beginning of the End

              JUNE 13, 2003 – There is increasing evidence that massive economic stimulus — monetary, courtesy of the Federal Reserve, and fiscal, thanks to the president and supply-side minded lawmakers — is taking hold. The magnitude of the policy turnaround, which caps a constructive, multi-year reflation process, should overwhelm the economic negatives — including the drag from expensive oil and poor finances at the state- and local-government levels.

              Expensive oil and its impact on other energy costs remains a concern.

              The current level of U.S. monetary stimulus is massive. Real interest rates have fallen 5.2 percent from December 2000 to March 2003, reaching -1.2 percent. A swing of this magnitude may be historical.

              Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/207227/reversal-fortune-david-malpass

              Oil Price Lift Off: https://economatters.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/crude-oil-prices-by-the-what-matters-weblog-1998-2009-monthly-averages-data-by-the-eia-updated-may-162009.jpg

              The central banks know that expensive oil is the death knell for an economy :

              According to the OECD Economics Department and the International Monetary Fund Research Department, a sustained $10 per barrel increase in oil prices from $25 to $35 would result in the OECD as a whole losing 0.4% of GDP in the first and second years of higher prices. http://www.iea.org/textbase/npsum/high_oil04sum.pdf

              The central banks would have known that conventional oil was approaching peak (which it did in 2005)…

              The central banks did a masterful job of balancing the need for higher oil prices to ensure that investment flowed into new oil production (fracking in particular)…. while using gimmicks (including the housing bubble) to ensure economic growth continued.

              We are at this very moment reaping the benefits of these policies…. the costs have been sunk to bring production online .while prices were high …. and that oil continues to hit the market in spite of much lower oil prices… if the wells had not been sunk when oil was $100+ then there would be no glut now — there would be no wells being sunk… and we’d bones in the dust…

              Further on this — the central banks have done an amazing job of keeping markets alive for this long — they have engaged in a range of policies including QE which has floated all boats…

              Imagine what would happen if interest rates had remained at say 5%…. or even 1%…. ZIRP has resulted in massive stimulus…. just think what would happen to the auto market without such low rates… and the housing market…

              Then we have the stock market… nearly two years of declining profits yet the markets remain buoyant — all on the back of buy backs — with money provided by the central banks…. of course this is not sustainable… but it is more sustainable that what would happen if the central banks had shut off the tap — again — we’d be bones in the dirt long ago…

              Recall China some 6 months ago — it looked like their gig was up — the markets were collapsing … fear and loathing were in the air…. and then lo and behold in stepped the central bank — indirectly buying up the market — threatening short sellers with prison …

              And what happened — China lives to fight another day — all courtesy of the PBOC.

              I really tire of Stockman, and Roberts, and Zero Hedge… and all the big names screaming at the Fed for being so stupid — so corrupt …

              They seem to believe that the central banks should stop meddling in the markets — let the market forces take over… and we will get a reset…

              That is utterly ridiculous…. we saw what happened in 2008 when the central banks stepped back on Lehman…. there is not stepping back…. there will be no reset no matter what anyone does…

              The Fed is doing exactly what needs to be done. They are doing ‘whatever it takes’ to keep this horse out of the glue factory for as long as possible

              Will it save us? Of course it will not.

              The best we can hope for is that the end gets delayed another month… another year….

              I am amazed that they have been able to keep things together this long.

              What an incredible performance.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Because Washington’s Blog (and many more prominent men) says the don’t know what they are doing …. then I should just accept that… in spite of the fact that the actions of the Fed have kept me alive far longer than I expected?

              You posted a very comprehensive analysis yesterday detailing the policies of the Fed.

              Are you – and the likes of Washington – suggesting that the Fed should not have introduced these policies?

              Should they not have stepped in post Lehman to back stop the financial system and get trade moving?

              Should QE and ZIRP never have happened?

              Should the PBOC not have stepped in to stop the Chinese market route?

              Should the BOJ stop its stimulus?

              Should the ECB let Doosh Bank collapse?

              What about the Italian banks — should the market forces be allowed to deal with that?

              1/4 of all Chinese companies cannot make interest payments — should the PBOC not lent them more money — should they be allowed to fail?

              At what juncture should they have said – hey fellas — we have gone to far — we need to change course?

              From my vantage point — they made the right decisions in 2008 — if not we would be dead.

              But they did cross the Rubicon….and once you do that there was/is no turning back….

              ‘Whatever it takes’ — is exactly that — you do whatever you have to to buy another day ….

              You bite you scratch you tear you claw…. you cheat … you tip the rules upside down…. you kill… you torture…. you throw babies onto the fire….. because if you fail to act …. the extinction begins….

              Can anyone suggest some alternatives?

            • CTG says:

              Fast Eddy, yes.. it is luck that holds us together. They just know one thing – print money and lower interest rates. It can continue going on since 2007 is because of two things – lucky because the masses (population) does not know anything about this and life goes on. Second – lucky because there is some resiliency or momentum in the system and that keeps it going. Over a period time, the momentum loses steam and more cracks appear. In 2007, nothing much is cracking and things are still booming. Money printing is rampant to keep the stock market up and yes, the money trickled down to the masses. As more and more countries goes in to Negative Interest Rate, the cracks become more severe. We still have plenty of developing countries still have a growing economy.

              The masses are still in the dark over this issue but more and more people are getting aware of this as the momentum is getting less and less. In fact, it is already close to stopping. Too many bankruptcies, etc.

              In 2007, I did not believe that the wheels of economy will fall off. It is only after 2013 that I began to realize that things are not so great. For some people, they realized it earlier and some later. There are some who are not even aware of it. For those who are not aware of it, they are usually the “rich type”. The super rich are not even aware of it. The disruption to the system has already reached the masses and many are waking up. The media finds it hard to understand.

              I am just viewing this from the perspective of psychology. You need to look at the body language of the speakers like Yellen or Draghi. Not just the text. Those people DO NOT write the text or speech. They are written and they present only. They know something is wrong and exactly how severe it is, they don’t know. Yes, they are very detached from the real world and I can vouch for that.

              There are many highly academic people who are very stubborn, in the sense that what they believe is always 100% true and they don’t want to change their point of view even if they are wrong. This will show that “they don’t know anything” and some of them are actually believe that all others are wrong and he is right. I have met up with a guy with PhD in mechanical engineering and a very capable guy with many inventions. He is such a fervent denier of climate change that nothing can sway him. Over a discussion, when data is presented where it shows the average monthly temperature of a certain location in my country where it shows a very significant upward trend from 26C in 1960s to 30C in 2000s, he said that it is caused by development and has nothing to do with climate change. This means they really believe in what they want to believe in.

              These people (CBs like Draghi) are surrounded by “yes men” and they don’t go out and have lunch with the masses. They don’t do grocery shopping. They don’t pump gasoline/petrol in the car. They just read reports from BLS, Census and other statistics departments. They don’t interact with other people but their own people. Like royalty, they have no idea what is outside their ivory tower.

              Have a look at the following videos:

              Do you think Ben Bernake lied? I don’t think all the CBs lied. They strongly believe in what they are doing is correct. Just have a look at the facial expression and gestures. If they firmly believe what they are doing is correct, then they don’t know what they are doing because until the day the whole thing collapse, they still believe that what they did was correct.

              Did you read that there are lot of ex-CBs who came out and talked “the opposite” of what they say when they are CBs? They sound frustrated with their ex-colleagues. These ex-CBs are already not part of the group. They may have been outside and some of them see what they are doing is not right. That is why they voice out.

              The saying that the markets can stay rational longer than you is valid but time is getting shorter and shorter. Just a super tanker going full speed, you need distance and time to reverse course.You can let it glide until it stops and then kick the engine into reverse. Alternatively, if spin the propeller in reverse, it will slow down the tanker considerably but at one point of time, the tanker will only stop for a very short while before it goes into reverse. We are now probably at a point where the tanker is stopping or has already in reverse mode.

              So, in conclusion, from my experience with “experts” in the field, they are very stubborn and will not change their viewpoint. They will always believe that they are right even data shows they are wrong (that is if they have access to the right data!). Therefore, they still think they are right in whatever they are doing. To the public, what they are doing may be wrong but they still think they are right.

              Analyse all the videos and see for yourself if they are doing their best to maintain BAU. I would rather think they are just doing it for the sake of doing it and not because they want to maintain BAU but to maintain that they “know” what they are doing (they are the experts).

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘They know something is wrong and exactly how severe it is, they don’t know. Yes, they are very detached from the real world and I can vouch for that’

              They know exactly what the problem is — and they know exactly how it ends — and yet they must get in front of the cameras and lie to the masses — they must inspire confidence that the system is not in danger of total collapse

              Because if they fail — the world collapses. The pressure must be enormous.

              They are doing quite a lot more than just printing money and dropping interest rates…

              Take for instance shale oil.

              Do you think that that the massive amounts of shale oil being pumped out of the ground since 2008 is a matter of luck?

              1. The Fed had to instruct the MSM to lie to create the ‘Saudi America’ hype to get the ball rolling – to incite greed in punters convincing them to invest in something that makes no sense.

              2. The Fed had to make shale exempt from environmental laws. If not then shale would not have happened.

              3. The Fed had to drive the price of oil over $100 to ensure the shale wells were sunk. (If you don’t think the Fed can do that then shall we discuss how the Fed controls interest rates and gold and the housing market…)

              Essentially oil that should never have come out of the ground — is coming out of the ground. And it has helped to offset peak conventional oil. It has delayed the end of civilization.

              Because of Fed policies. Very complex policies.

              This has nothing to do with luck. This is the greatest team of chess masters assembled in a match against the end of days.

              I have listed nearly a dozen other things the CBs have done that have kept BAU alive. None of those are luck. These are well thought through.

              Consider this….

              The Pentagon is constantly working through thousands of scenarios in their war games room — they game some of the most absurd, unlikely scenarios – so that they are prepared — so that they have a game plan.

              Billions of dollars are spent on the games and the game plans…. no stone is left unturned… because the survival of an empire depends on thoroughness….

              It is utterly absurd to think that the Federal reserve and their franchises around the world do not understand the nature of the problem — and that they are not throwing every intellectual resource they have at this problem.

              This is the ultimate war game — it is real —- the enemy is massed at the gates — he is relentless… he will take no prisoners… show no mercy…. he will slaughter every last one of us…. he is invincible….

              He is probing the wall — today it is Doosh Bank… Tomorrow it will be Credit Suisse… next it might be the Chinese stock market tanking again…. perhaps subprime autos gets lobbed over the wall in a few months….

              What will the Fed do? How will they respond to each of these new attacks?

              Are they just hollering ‘more QE – lower rates’ while they eat Twinkies and play video games?

              Of course not — they are trying to anticipate these attacks — and when attacks come that were unexpected they are pulling out their policy hoses and dousing the flames…

              How can this be luck?

              We can see what they are doing (and many are criticizing them… claiming they are blowing up the system — yet failing to understand if they did not act — there would be no system) …

              And it has worked for 15 years now… ever since the extraction costs started to rise….

              I cannot see how they could have done anything differently….. in fact to even suggest that they could have done something differently would make me ridiculous….

              I am one person looking at the tip of the iceberg — they have every resource at their finger tips…they have data on how much oil the Saudi’s have left … when shale will peak setc….

              They have the best minds sticking fingers into holes in the dyke that I cannot even see…

              I have posted this on a few sites —- it distills the problem down to the simplest of terms

              Yet people still insist that the CB’s are idiots/bumbling fools/corrupt/insane…. or just plain lucky….

              According to the OECD Economics Department and the International Monetary Fund Research Department, a sustained $10 per barrel increase in oil prices from $25 to $35 would result in the OECD as a whole losing 0.4% of GDP in the first and second years of higher prices. http://www.iea.org/textbase/npsum/high_oil04sum.pdf

              This is straight from the mouthpieces of the Fed. They KNOW that high priced oil destroys the economy. They KNOW that high priced oil causes recessions. They KNOW that we are out of cheap to extract oil.

              I think it is safe to say that they would be aware of this….



              I struggle to understand how anyone can possibly believe that the Fed is not aware that the problems we have in the economy are directly related to the above.

              I applaud Bernanke and Friends for giving me over a decade of bonus life…. they have done a masterful job….

              For those who buy into the Zero Hedge line that the Fed is the problem — that the Fed is clueless…

              I continue to stand waiting on suggestions as to what these bumbling fools could have done better?

              Of course nobody will respond to this ….

              The Fed has acted with very specific policies — that have kept BAU alive over a very long period of time.

              That is not luck.

              That is not the inertia of the system.

              One wrong step along the way — one failure to act decisively, wisely— and the system blows sky high.

              And we would already be dead.

              And as we all know ….. if the Fed people would just read Finite World they would come to their senses — they would understand the problem — and they would act accordingly — and things would be so much better than they are now.

              Yes… of course….

            • Eddy—-they did read Finite World

              and went Arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              so fracking is all your fault

            • Van Kent says:

              Who recommends FED chairmans? Who dictates Bank of International Settlement policies? Why was the EU and ECB built? Who coordinates US Pentagon currency war strategies with macro policies, foreign policies and internal executive orders from the US president. They seem oddly cohesive, if its coordination done by experts who don’t know jack sh-t.

              And don’t tell me it’s coordinated by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

              We know the US has a Deep State that commits horrendus crimes. We know the crazy US neocons only respect power and strength. So.. Who has been coordinating everything, the things that are out in the open and the deep state and the crazy neocons?


            • Fast Eddy says:

              If my post ever gets released… there is a bit about how the Pentagon spends billions on preparing for every imaginable contingency…

              Yet the Fed is just bumbling along like a drunk in the rain … relying on luck to keep the train on the tracks….

              The chain of the command for the Pentagon ends at this building:


            • CTG says:

              Agree to disagree. Some of them know what is happening. Many of them don’t. Those who knows may have already left. I am not saying the entire government apparatus are cluelss. They know something is wrong but could not pinpoint it and they just see what happens next. I have met with many people, some very high level, some with great insider knowledge but they just don’t have the capability to see the overall picture.

              The know they sneezed and it is not good to sneeze badly. They know by taking cold tablets/pills will “cure” but they have no idea why they sneeze. Just take a cold pill when you sneeze that is all they know. Do a few generations and everyone will know that cold tablets work. Over time, the real root cause will be apparent on why you sneeze in the first place. By then it is too late.

              FE, what you say is correct just lately (last 2-3 years) but I don’t agree that they know about it in 2008 or 2011.

              If you ask me, in 2015/2016, yes. they know but it is too late already.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I think the number of people who know would be very limited – and these would not people any of us would likely have any contact with….

              I think they would be limited to very senior government officials, military figures and bureaucrats…

              And even if we had contact with such people — they would not tell us what they know.

              This would be highly classified — why leak this info when there is nothing to be gained — and everything to be lost….

              At the end of the day this is war — not a shooting war but nevertheless a war — every resource available is being fired at the Beast — if his claw so much as reaches over the top of the wall the defenders immediately fling boiling oil onto it — forcing a retreat….

              But the Beast will never stop — he gains strength by the day — he will eventually breach the wall….


            • Fast Eddy says:

              As for when did they know …. I think they have known for decades…. If I recall Gail posted a speech by a top US general on this topic from the 50’s or perhaps 60’s….

              The thing is…

              The high priests know that oil is the master resource…. WW1 was fought over oil … we are constantly killing to ensure the flow of cheap oil is not disrupted…

              The high priests also have information on how much cheap oil remains — this information is not for public consumption….

              The more extreme policy measures started to be rolled out around the time of this:


              This is when the gloves came off…. peak conventional was approaching —- this would have been no surprise — and the game plan was put in play…. the code name as perhaps ‘Whatever It Takes’

              The plan evolves as the situation progresses — but ultimately the theme is — forget about the rules of economics…. we do whatever is necessary to keep the game going as long as possible.

              The end result is guaranteed — it will be a total victory for the opponent … in the meantime let’s bloody the Beast’s nose… let’s not lie down and die….

              The gloves come off:

              JUNE 13, 2003 – There is increasing evidence that massive economic stimulus — monetary, courtesy of the Federal Reserve, and fiscal, thanks to the president and supply-side minded lawmakers — is taking hold.

              The magnitude of the policy turnaround, which caps a constructive, multi-year reflation process, should overwhelm the economic negatives — including the drag from expensive oil and poor finances at the state- and local-government levels.

              Expensive oil and its impact on other energy costs remains a concern.

              The current level of U.S. monetary stimulus is massive.

              Real interest rates have fallen 5.2 percent from December 2000 to March 2003, reaching -1.2 percent. A swing of this magnitude may be historical.

              Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/207227/reversal-fortune-david-malpass

            • Rising energy and food prices were a problem, way back in 2003. This was back in Greenspan’s era. Lowering interest rates was of course the answer.

            • CTG says:

              FE, probably the very top level know but now, it is not possible to hide anymore….

    • On the broader topic of “now or never” it seems the psychos-lite are getting angry as they realized probably blew their chances, I was not aware of that, but even from the wiki site, the Russians have had for a decades and still have some problems with their latest gen nuclear triad, in particular their topol-m scaled down submarine version (Trident equivalent yet lighter) failed in half of the tests during past decade or so. Only now they have build up several new subs for it to visit the southern seas as well, like during USSR times patrolling the globe. Obviously, they have got lotsa other older nukes either for silos or airforce. Now, you add the various new potent anti-aircraft/carrier systems, which have been deployed recently, and again the former superiority of the west is denied at many places, mostly around naval choke points.

      So, in fact we are living at stage in which nuclear war is very probable, due to lack of former parity/balance, which is being reconstructed pretty fast.

      • Because one of the functions of subs in triad for such “doomerious conflict scenario” is in fact the “mop up function” – basically aiming at the key command structure and civilian infrastructure, which survived the first round of nuclear exchange, where you can expect certain% of failed launches-deliveries from silos and aircraft.

        And that’s the question TPTB are preoccupied the most on this topic, because it makes their own survival /triage gamble suddenly less probable.

  19. MG says:

    Steen Jakobsen, the chief economist at Denmark’s Saxo Bank, says that Donald Trump will be the US president:


    I do not agree. Although there are anti-estabilshment sentiments and Donald Trump can be very close to winning, he will lose.

    Hillary Clinton proved to be addresing older age groups vis-a-vis Sanders, which is a big, big, big plus:


    I would say that the poor health of Hillary Clinton during the campaign could bring her the votes from the older age groups that she needs to win against Donald Trump, because her poor health made her more appealing to the older voters, as it reminded them that they need healthcare…

    The young voters are not so much important. And if they vote, they vote for Clinton, not for Trump.


    • Fast Eddy says:

      It does not matter who wins. Surely Mr Obama is living proof of that….

      That said – I am endorsing Trump. He is by far the more entertaining of the two candidates.

      Also – I enjoy watching liberals pull their hair out.

      • hands Eddy the ritual sword to fall on

      • Ken Fisher (a person who wants to help people invest their money) claims that the ideal situation is when the president is of one political party, and congress is dominated by the opposite political party. In such a case, no meaningful legislation can pass.

        • greg machala says:

          At this stage I am not sure there can be any meaningful legislation. We as a society in the USA have painted ourselves into a corner with endless wars, destructive growth and technology. I don’t think there is anywhere left to go or anything left for the USA to exploit. Not to mention there isn’t enough energy or resources to even maintain what we already have.

          I still do not quite understand how Hillary and Trump came to be the two choices to lead this mess. But they do offer a rather boisterous diversion. Perhaps diversion is the last tool in the Fed’s playbook.

    • As we know from history, usually presidents don’t affect much, and if they try they are warned and nudged, or eventually executed like dogs in the street. Nevertheless at certain junctions of history, they perhaps can via the “butterfly effect” like choosing some people in the admin move some trends a bit.

      In any case, there seems to be a lot of unusual (at least for US elections) dynamics going on today, which could severely influence the outcome.

      Firstly, due to widespread use of electronic voting machines (and past frauds), plus peculiar voting system of electors, the popular vote doesn’t mean much, this is not plebiscite as we know it from the rest of the world.. Either candidate can fraudulently sway ~15% of the votes, and quite likely nothing happens. Obviously, this could backfire in the case of hugely polarized situation on the backdrop of real poverty-chaos, we are not there yet.

      Secondly, even not much (geo-)politics, economics, not mentioning “finite world issues” topic following public is openly dismayed from scrutiny producing in the end such two “top candidates” selection, so this favors small turn out on the voting day.

      Thirdly, both primaries resulted in quite deep barriers among dissatisfied tribes of people, e.g. quasi socialists standing behind Bernie Sanders, won’t vote at all or in some instances even hold their noses and vote for Trump instead.

      Fourthly, the “mighty wurlizter” no longer works, there are no “genuine” big rallies for these candidates. They could not even prefabricate the previous strategy of “first black president” which was a clearly typical prefab Manchurian candidate stuff anyway, as he is not of true black american origin in the first place, not mentioning the pre-emptive Nobel prize charade as another big joke.. But look now, the supposedly world’s first ~70yrs old women president project is rather shallow theme sequel to previous pony tricks.

    • consider another scenario in Trump vs Clinton.
      Neither of them can resolve to energy/population looming crisis, yet each promises “growth”

      So the voters, in the main, will be voting for their version of ”prosperity” according to who they think can deliver it. But we worldsters know that prosperity is just a mirage, and will not sustain itself beyond the 2030s, or even the early 2020s

      Suppose El Trumpo gets in—-just suppose.

      The economy will accellerate its tailspin, and he wont know what to do about it.
      By the end of his term (assuming he isn’t impeached first) The economy will be in meltdown because there’s insufficient energy in the system to sustain it.
      trump gets the blame, though he is not ultimately at fault…the system is

      Come 2020, you have another POTUS election in the face of obvious and mounting chaos.

      Then a jesusfreak steps forward—(youve tried every other kind of con artist)–so he gets elected.
      Breakdown of society continues—the heathens arent praying hard enough.

      The godbotherer is “forced” to declare martial law to restore law and order—(the Union is threatening to break up)
      The military falls into line—they always do so long as the government is paying their wages.
      Once the country is under martial law it will stay that way…you can forget the constitution.

      Democracy is the child of prosperity—mass poverty and privation make it an orphan.

      By the mid 20s you could well have a theofascist dictatorship (Trump is already imitating Hitler very well—his successor will be better at it) hanging onto the last vestiges of the USA as parts of it secede, through lack of energy to hold it together.

      If Clinton gets elected, the same scenario could pan out.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Based on their stated policy noises, Clinton would try to shut down fossil fuel production in “the homeland” and erect 500 million solar panels, presumably imported from China, while Trump would try to ramp up US oil, oil and gas production. If they were to follow through on their respective energy promises, what difference, at this point, would it make?

      • If a solution to our problems were really possible, it might be possible to make an intelligent choice. We have a predicament, though, rather than a problem with potential solutions.

        • greg machala says:

          “We have a predicament, though, rather than a problem with potential solutions.” – Very well put. We do not have a problem…we have a predicament. Predicaments do not have solutions.

  20. Yoshua says:

    Base Metals Are Back in a Bull Market


    China is growing ! The stimulus is working !

  21. Van Kent says:

    Business is Booming!

    “Bill Gates has huge shelters under every one of his homes, in Rancho Santa Fe and Washington. His head of security visited with us a couple years ago, and for these multibillionaires, a few million is nothing. It’s really just the newest form of insurance.” http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/bunker-builders-anticipate-lucrative-trumpocalypse-932748

    • If the problem is very temporary, and the bunker is well stocked, it might be helpful. Otherwise, it delays the inevitable by a short period.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Not too dissimilar to a life sentence in prison….

        • Van Kent says:

          Looks like the shelters will come in handy.

          an unprecedented 40 million Russian citizens, as well as 200,000 specialists from “emergency rescue divisions” and 50,000 units of equipment are set to take part in a four day-long civil defense, emergency evacuation and disaster preparedness drill, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-03/40-million-russians-take-part-radiation-disaster-drill-days-after-us-general-warns-w

          First Germany stocking up on water and food. Then Russia having huge preparedness drills. Those are the things we should seeing, everywhere..

          Gearing up for WWIII is actually exactly what governments can be doing to prepaire for a global financial SHTF collapse.

        • DJ says:

          Still most would prefer that over the electric chair.

          And you could safely drop your soap in the shower.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Yes given the option — I’d happily check into an underground bunker with 10 years of food and drink in stock…. thousands of books… and every quality movie every made…

            I do wonder where the power will come from for these underground bunkers though…. if there are massive diesel tanks would the smoke not give you away…. solar panels would be stolen or smashed….

    • Perhaps we are temporarily saved by more debt from China, or something similar.

    • richard says:

      We are at an interesting point in time. The excess production and consumption of the past is fading, mines have closed, and prices seem to have bottomed. Some are hoping that demand will increase, and are hoping that they can modernise and survive. The problem is, stored material is still in the system, and with interest rates quite low, there is no pressure to sell, so the status quo and persist for quite a while.

  22. dolph says:

    Drop whatever you are doing folks. The collapse has begun in full today. It really is the end of the world now.

    Kim Kardashian was robbed.

  23. el mar says:

    I still grieve – but it helps to have learned, from following the latest discoveries in neurobiology, that our behavior is no more a matter of individual choice than that of a lizard. Free will is an illusion and the idea that our ancestors were once upon a time consciously in harmony within natural confines is a myth. Once humans found fire it enabled us to grow beyond any countervailing constraints and just like any species given the opportunity to expand endlessly, that’s exactly what we have done, periodically bumping up against limits that led to starvation, war and genocide. We now live in the unique moment where we have reached the end of global resources, and although a few of us can see where this will lead, most will remain in denial to the very end. It’s an unsolvable predicament. Carpe diem.



    el mar

    • Yorchichan says:

      Best three sites on the web: WitsEndNJ, MegaCancer and OFW. None of them have a donate button. Coincidence?

    • There certainly is a lot built in. But I think that there is still some choice built in. It would be a very boring world otherwise.

      • individually we can and do make choices

        but as a herd we do not.

        The Amish decided not to take part in our industrial society—fine. But the ultimate destruction brought by it will not exempt them.

        we can only move in a collective manner that is to our mutual (herd) benefit—-as proof of that, we are doing it right now, by heading towards self destruction. Individually we can do things that appear to go against that, and deny it. coming up with ”proof” that our sustainability’ is infinite and how our gods wont allow it.
        But individuals are of no consequence in the grand scheme of things.

        Our mass self destructive forces will ultimately benefit humankind by culling our numbers to a more sustainable level.—-unpleasant as that may be for individuals

        If the culling overshoots, then its an “oops” moment for mother nature, who will advertise a vacancy for another “stupid sapiens” species to replace us

    • Greg Machala says:

      Reminds me of a sign I saw posted outside a West Texas ranch home. The sign
      had a logo of a wind turbine with an “X” across it stating:
      “Preserver Our Heritage.” It is ironic on so many levels. Not the least of which is we have no real heritage to preserve. Our heritage is a virtual world. It doesn’t really exist without massive inflows of finite energy supplies. Second, we couldn’t preserve it if we had it because we are going to run out of finite energy supplies.

    • Fast Eddy says:

    • John Roberts says:

      Free will is miss understood it is the ability to choose not the ability to define. In the context of this very site intelligence is the ability to recognize ones limits. One must learn how to live in his environment. All organisms on earth do accept the most intelligent who seem immune to reason. Why?

    • Canuck1867 says:

      ++++++ Excellent comment!!!!! My favourite expression since waking up to all of this 6 years ago: Carpe Diem, now more then ever….because right now we’re in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs and 2 strikes….

  24. el mar says:

    Humans can explain the biology of worms, but not of humans!

  25. CTG says:

    I just read through 500 comments with a lot of people talking about robots and computers replacing humans. This type of replacement can only happen in science fiction. We don’t have the technology or capability to have a “conscious computer or robot”. Our current technological limitation is restricting robots and computers to “do things faster and more accurate”. There is no “thought capability”

    We don’t have quantum computing and neither do we have any type of breakthrough in software nor a change in the paradigm in programming. Our computer is still using binary systems and it is just a “yes” or “no”. There is no “grey area” where we humans are very good – perception, reasoning and at instances, thinking out of the box.

    Semiconductors are just chips from silicon. I know a lot about it as I used to make them in factories that I worked until recently. It gets faster and faster until it hits the limits set by physics. The games you play and the graphics become more and more realistic. No matter how photo-realistic the graphics is, our eye takes less than 1 sec to discern that it is not real.



    Computers and software have a terrible time telling you how many chickens are there in the photos above. How? Have algorithm that counts the heads? What if the heads are not shown? What if only half a chicken is shown in the picture or if the chicken is upside down ? What if there is a picture of a fake chicken or a drawing or a chicken in the image? will the algorithm think it is a real chicken?

    A 5-year old child who can count will tell you with great ease how many chickens are there in any picture but a supercomputer made from the current technology will never be able to do that. An old 1995 Pentium may take 3 hours to do that work and a new i7 from Intel will take 30 secs to do it but it still cannot be able to tell you how many chickens are there in the photo.

    Software is a sequence of steps that a computer executes. If it is not defined, it will not be executed. Artificial intelligence is nothing more than a bunch of codes that makes people think it is smart but essentially it is not capable or any high-level cognitive thinking.

    Can a robot repair a robot? No, it cannot. What it can do is to replace a faulty part with a good part. That is not repairing. Repairing is something that requires skills, knowledge and high-level thinking.

    Example: The metal arm is a little bend, thus, it caused the arm to slightly scratch the side panel and the powder flakes from the side panel painting caused the fan to have lower efficiency. This cause the encoder chip (which lies at the bottom of the box) to heat up and causing memory error that we see on the screen.

    Can a robot or AI fix that? Definitely not. Even an inexperienced technician or engineer cannot fix that as they don’t know where to look for.

    What will the robot do? I don’t know? If it is memory error, then the “repairing robot” might just change the memory module. If it does not work or happens again, it might just change the memory module again. If it is not working, then it will junk the defective robot.

    We cannot have operation manuals for everything. We know a lot about this. In an advanced factory where we are certified by ISO, we need to have manuals for reference and training. For simple, straightforward and highly frequent errors, we can have a manual or instruction on how to repair it. We cannot have a set of manuals for every single issue. There are thousands of parts in a complex machine (or robot for that matter) and thousands of things can go wrong and the scenario is different for each case. The root cause is different for each case. In the factory, the engineers always fight with the management. The management always insist of manuals and instuctions to be written down. The engineers just simply give up and left the company. They are not hired to write manuals but to repair and maintain the machines. The engineers just screamed “Do I need to write a manual or how to put in a screw?” or “Do I need to write a manual and instruction to ask the operator not to knock the LCD monitor over as it will fall and break?”

    We humans designed very complex machines that are required to maintain modern civilizations. We don’t have any “fallback plan” when it fails. If internet goes down, many companies like FedEx, UPS, banks, transport company, Facebook, Google will just “disappear”. FedEx does not have the capability to use Fax or telex to conduct their business. In the quest for “efficiency”, nothing is spent on maintaining a backup system that is more “primitive”. That is the reason whu I am in agreement with many here who says that “if it goes, all goes”.

    There is no BAU Lite. The elites are nothing more than a bunch of “Low IQ” people who are out of touch with reality. There are no elites who are out to conquer the world. What happened at Fukushima shows clearly that there are no “elites who are making the general population slaves”. There are no elites who has all these planned out. They are the people who will believe that they are being told that “a little radiation is good for you”. There are no plans by Central Banks of the world to enslave us. It has already been noted many times in many websites that they accidentally mentioned “they are making up on the go”. They have no idea what will happen next.

    Currently, we are being very lucky that we are still here. Our brain is still very primitive. It has less than 50,000 years of evolution when we try to settle down from our hunter-gatherer’s time. For the last 300 years, our brains and bodies cannot adjust to the speed of change. Do we ever hear of depression among the hunter gatherer’s or any animals. Depression, psychological or psychiatric problems are very “modern” and getting from bad to worse. Why? Our brains cannot handle it. Our bodies cannot handle it. We are tuned to the rhythm of the moon, day and night, season to season. We are not suppose to have “light” at night other than the moon or some fire which will extinguished after a few hours. Our bodies have adapted and evolved to that type of condition for a million years until 1807. The first street lamp was in London at 1807 and we have screwed our biological processes since then. Our bodies need time at night to rejuvenate and recover. We are not doing that now, thanks to fossil fuel. We are not suppose to travel so fast and across time zones so quickly. That is why we have jet lag. That is a signal from our body. We are getting less and less smarter (in terms of IQ) as compared to those living in the 1800s.

    We are also being hit by cognitive dissonance, normalcy bias, outright denial and simply refuse to face facts. Even on this website, there are so many people coming in and blabbering on points that do not make sense, pie in the sky projects or even shutting off their brains when it comes to confronting cold facts of reality. Reality is just too hardsh for most people. Can anyone imagine asking a very decently dressed office worker to junk all that nice clothes and work in the fields planting and harvesting food under the hot sun? He will rather believe in delusions than to take the hard reality that his life is nothing more than walking past Potemkin’s village.

    Calhoun’s mice experiment has already shown what will happen and it was a disastrous and precipitous drop in population. With humans, I am not surprised that all will be over within a matter of days. Just think about this joke in Singapore that has been circulating around for decades – When children are asked where do chicken comes from, the answer – supermarket. There is a huge and significant meaning and consequences behind that answer but as usual, homo sapiens will brush that aside until it is just way too late.

    • CTG—-you are hereby awarded the FW common sense medal of honour

      treasure it—they are very rarely handed out


    • DJ says:

      We were mostly playing what if. Except smite who was dreaming about sxe.

      Good post.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I wonder if smite’s battery has run out of juice. It did try it’s best to mimic a human…. but as we could see — there is a long way to go before that can be done convincingly….

    • Tim Groves says:

      Looks like our future robotic overlords are toast. And maybe that’s just as well. They’ll never replace us until they can replace what’s most devious about us.

    • Jarle B says:


    • CTG says:

      Our present world is filled with people who has no first hand knowledge or experience but keep on talking as though they are the experts. We have so many academics who knows only “in theory” like in “all else being equal” or “ceteris paribus”.

      Academics, visionaries are so out of touch with the real world. In my life, I have come to know the CEO of an air-conditioning company in my country asking his chief R&D manager to repair his house’s air-cond as it was spoilt. He could not do it but the technician at the nearby air-condition shop can it within 10mins. Same concept. The R&D people, the experts, the professionals, the academic, the trolls on blogs just “talk only”. They basically are not qualified to talk at all. They have no real world knowledge on what is happening outside. They are in a “silo”.

      There are a few websites on peak oil with all the charts showing how much oil can be recovered. Do you think it will work if the crew suddenly realise that the big screw that joins the drill tower to the platform is defective and have to wait for 2 weeks for the part to arrive from China? The management will not understand and keeps on pressing the crew. Those who cannot take it will leave and find another job. Does the management care? NO but when it comes to a time when it is not possible to find that screw, even if oil is so easy to find (stick a straw in and out it spurts), no one can get the oil. No parts

      Just by simply saying “Renewables will be our saviour” is nothing more than saying “I am god, please listen to me”. Ask the technician who works in the solar farm, the hydroelectric dam, the grid, the power plant and ask them what happens if internet is down, what if trucks stop working for a few days or a few months. Maybe the technician will tell you that if you don’t take a special stick to clean the solar panels, the efficiency will drop dramatically due to dust. Does the management know? NO. They don’t care. They don’t bother.

      The Space Shuttle Challenger explosion was due to a frozen “O-ring” that engineers has warned about. The Fukushima engineers has warned about the dangers of nuclear reactors. In the Titanic, the boiler man, engineers and those who works in the lower level told the captain that the ship can sink as it is taking in water but what the captain (top management) say? Titanic cannot sink ! Enron has many signs of failure and people try to tell the top management. What happens? The same thing. Shrugged off.

      There are many examples where the “lower level” people who has first hand knowledge warned about the impending dangers but what did the top level people do ? shrugged it off and say that the lower level people are “useless” and knows nothing.

      I am really frustrated at all these trolls on the internet who are not even qualified to talk about this. They have ZERO experience, ZERO technical knowledge and just regurgitate what is given to them. There is nothing between the ears, thus, they cannot process that information but hope that you are so agitated. I am already way past the point of debating with these people. I just simple say to myself that “I don’t pick a fight with the stupid”.

      • My experience with people coming from academia is that they need to churn out papers. They like to have something that is comparable to something else–whether or not it is in real life. So they fit too many things into the same mold, because they don’t really understand the processes involved and how they are different. Sitting down and actually learning how the processes work takes some time and effort.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And what is really irritating… is even when someone with experience and knowledge explains how they are wrong …. they refuse to accept that they are wrong… and day after day they just pour out the same nonsense….

        Simple Definition of stupid

        : not intelligent : having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things

        : not sensible or logical

      • Tim Groves says:

        Very good post, CTG.

        On that last paragraph, it really isn’t worth getting frustrated about internet trolls. So don’t take them seriously, just smile and keep telling yourself not to pick fights with the stupid.

    • Pintada says:

      Dear CTG;

      From a former programmer – thank you CTG! Common sense is not so common, and I am glad to see real intelligence does still exist on the blogosphere!

      Thanks again,

      • CTG says:

        I was into computing as well. had my first computer in 1988. dabbled with programming, database, etc.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      DelusiSTAN is not looking so good after taking that direct hit to their HQ….


    • The direction of your rant is understandable, but misplaced in the sense of uninformed..
      For example, planting and harvesting food under the hot sun ? Why?!
      Do it under perennial shade next time, dear Einsteinchen..

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Seriously….. why don’t you trundle off to peak prosperity….

      • CTG says:

        worldofhanumanotg, it depends on where you stay. In my country, it is all hot and sunny and the vegetables here require lots of sun. If it is in the shade, sorry it will not grow. I learned the hard way. Most of the people in this blog lives in a temperate region and all the articles are about temperate climate. I know about this but this is not what is happening everywhere in the world.

        How about some carbohydrates? I know it is not good but do we have a choice? I am not sure if you can even survive just eating vegetables. Chew like a panda for 10 hours a day with low calorific food value? I did mention before that academics just take our required calorific requirement like 2000kcal per day and our farm products 4000 kcal per day. Enough to feed 4 people. Yeah right. That amounts to eating 4kgs of vegetables per person per day. Academic point of view, just divide out you get it. Reality? who wants to chew 4kgs of vegetables per day. If you need 5 hours a day to chew through the vegetables, where are you going to find time to tend to the farm?

        I just read somewhere that there a guy who had a huge harvest of squash. Are you planning to eat squash everyday for the next 5 to 10 days? Looks good on paper but when you try to eat continuously 5 days, well, think about it.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          As has been stated previously on FW…. even if anyone could survive the end of BAU…. they will wish themselves dead….

          Squash for breakfast dinner and lunch …. rampant disease… no medicine… pulling out a rotted tooth with a pair of plyers… working like a beast in a constant struggle to grow enough food to survive…chopping trees and wood with an axe…. dragging it home…. washing clothes by hand…. the threat of violence…. no electricity… no petrol…. endless drudgery…. endless suffering….

        • DJ says:

          It was me. And my point was the same as yours, kg food does not say much. Eating 15 kg squash each day is not possible, and would still lead to malnutrition.

    • Ed says:

      Each day Facebook has one billion pictures uploaded. Within two second each picture is captioned by a neural network. Things like “small boy playing on a beach”, “Siamese cat”, “golden Retriever dog”, many chickens eating from the ground”. Yann LeCun give a good example of counting sheep in a large group.

      • CTG says:

        Unless we have a new way of doing things, AI will never be reality. It looks intelligent or smart but it does not know what it is doing. It cannot be used to repair machines or do things that needs awareness. It can learn what you are doing and can be your personal assistant. It knows that if you sleep late, you need to wake up late and if you wake up early, you need a cup of coffee. Those can be programmed. It can be an assistant to you but never really think about what to do. It cannot be used to troubleshoot problems or coming out with suggestions on doing things.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Case in point…. a computer can calculate 2,987,098,987, 546,000.009654345566777 x 7,590,999,876,564,312,000,987,990.00098766655443322 divided by 987.88854323556677999000 in a millisecond…

          That does not mean it is smart.

        • bandits101 says:

          I can’t for the life of me understand why any of this is entertained. There is not enough energy in the future to support human beings, let alone machines that use vast amounts of energy, far more than an extremely efficient mammal such as us that has evolved over millions of years. The only future for robots is the tethered variety.

          A useful, fractionally sentient labour saving robot requires vastly more computing power than the desktop you have in your study. To exercise the computations, servos, gears and hydraulics are required…more energy is required. They must be maintained. They are constructed using vast amounts of energy and rare materials. If they were viable they would be walking around and working on the bottom of the ocean or on the Moon. They are as big a pipe dream as, fusion machines in the attic, colonies on Mars or Alpha Centauri, space solar and peace on Earth.

          • CTG says:

            exactly. these are pie in the sky. Cheap and easy money now. May have funds for this projects. Once funds are pulled, it will be stopped. As I say conscious robots/AI happens in science fiction only. It can happen but not now or in this current situation we are in..

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “There is not enough energy in the future to support human beings,”

            Let’s apply a bit of math. Call current consumption 15,000 GW and population ~7.5 G people. That works out to ~2 kW/person. It’s not distributed evenly, of course, the highest are around 4-5 times the average, so let’s target consumption at 10 kW/person. For the present population that would be 75 TW. A human burns around a 0.1 kW in food, so 10 kW is about 100 times as much energy as is in their food. Decades ago G. Harry Stein calculated the capacity of power satellites in GEO at 177 TW, so the world population living at US energy consumption rate could be supported on that energy source alone.

            Of course the vast majority of the sun’s energy goes right by the Earth and out into deep space. It’s possible to capture most of it, which would support a really large population.

            This could have happened already. There is a star discovered by the Kepler mission which blinks and fades in a way that suggest it may be surrounded by artificial mega structures. Google Tabby’s Star for details.

            • Fast Eddy says:


              The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:

              The large cost of launching a satellite into space

              Inaccessibility: Maintenance of an earth-based solar panel is relatively simple, but construction and maintenance on a solar panel in space would typically be done telerobotically. In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.

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

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

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

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

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

            • CTG says:

              This kind of calculation is exactly what I had mentioned earlier. Our farm produces XXXXX of calories per day and we have YYY people, there, based on calculations, we have sufficient energy to feed everyone.

              Three people went hunting and one of them was a economist/engineer/mathematician. They saw a lion. The first person fired a shot, it was missed 3 inches to the right. The second guy fired and it missed 3 inches to the left. The economist/engineer/mathematician jumped up with joy and said “we hit the target”.

              There are many cases we don’t take into account “human nature” or “human reaction”. We did not take into account greed, complacency, etc.

              I have commented before that if you have a bountiful harvest of squash and each has XXX calories, we will be able to have enough calories for 5 days for my family. Try eating squash 3 meals a day for 5 days. Do you think that will happen?

              In theory, yes ! Practically? No.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “bountiful harvest of squash”

              Many years ago a friend of mine had just such a problem. However, he also had a bunch of pigs, who just love squash. Problem solved. I should note the that I ate one of those pigs. The lard was essentially vegetable oil from the squash seeds. Lowest melting fat I have ever seen.

              The worse I know is that we use 10 C of external energy for every food C. That’s planting, fertilizers, transport, etc. The biggest single element was cooking food. A population with a hundred times as much energy available as is in their food that can’t feed itself deserves to starve.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            It is being entertained because the MSM for whatever reason would like us to entertain the thought….

            Just as they would like us to entertain the thought that solar panels will save the world… that we can fly off to Mars when we finish wrecking earth ….

            The question is — why does the MSM want us to embrace this robot meme…. why do they publish nonsense such as robots will be building skyscrapers and driving 18 wheel trucks?

            I am not certain what the agenda is …. likely it all ties in with the technology will save us matrix….

  26. MG says:

    There was an interesting comment about the humans being frugivores by somebody in the comments on this site.

    I would say that the fire served the first humanodis firstly as the means to “ripen” the unripe fruit. E.g. green bananas need cooking to become edible. That way the supply of fruit could be increased for a short term. Burning the biomass allowed the spread of savannah and its species that in turn were hunted and cooked. That way the supply of food was increased further or preserved (as the forest was burned down) an so on towards agriculture.

    • MG says:

      Was the forbidden fruit mentioned in the Bible a fruit that needed to be cooked to become edible? And the whole story of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden in the Bible being a shadowy description about the increase of the food supply specifically on the line “fruit – unripe fruit – meat” using fire? This seems to be very probable.

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    coming soon to your neighbourhood… only much worse…

    • Fast Eddy says:

      The thing that irritates me about these combat photographers … well actually two things…

      1. They go to great lengths to justify why they put their lives on the line …. what a total load of sh*t… they do it primarily for the adrenaline rush… their biggest fear is being labelled a war tourist… gimme a break — of course they are all war tourists…

      See the ‘serious’ journalists marveling at the bombed out buildings and ‘crazy’ gunfire… the grand adventure ends with two of them dead and one critically injured…


      2. They are part of the propaganda machine — yet they do not recognize this — they think they are on the side of justice – when in reality it is usually the opposite — and they get killed or maimed…. low-paid MSM cannon fodder….

  28. MG says:

    Why the wages in Slovakia are so low in comparison to GDP, labour productivity or the rising profits of the companies?


    One of the reasons is high capital intensity, as the companies need to repay costly machines and robots, i.e. the big share of the revenues goes to depreciation.

    The ring graph shows the division of the GDP:

    black – profits of the companies
    gray – depreciation of the companies
    red – wages of the workers


    Source: the abovmentioned article

    • I am wondering if high prices of fuels/electricity have also played a role in the low wages. Also, competition with countries where labor costs are cheaper.

      • MG says:

        I would say the influence of the cheaper oil can be seen in the last chart (lower right corner): the sharp rise of the profitability (as the percentage of GDP) of the companies is seen in 2015. Based on that, the tax income of the Slovak government also goes up today.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        Low fuel prices and the humble shipping container put world wide labor into one bucket. It use to be that clothing, for example, had to be made close to where it was sold because of shipping cost and loses stolen in transit. The container lowered shipping cost and reduced losses so much that it became practical to employ workers where the labor cost was very low.

  29. Fast Eddy says:

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to the J.ewish community on Sunday for his earlier remarks, in which he compared his war on drugs with the way Adolf H.itler slaughtered J.ews.

    “I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Je.ws murdered,” he said Sunday in a speech at a festival carried live on television.


    It is ok to call the el.ders minion a son of a who-re. But the franchise cannot be sullied with derogatory inferences.

  30. Yoshua says:

    IMF says RMB’s inclusion into SDR basket ‘historic milestone’ for China


    International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde(C), IMF deputy managing director Zhang Tao(3rd L), IMF executive director for China Jin Zhongxia (3rd R) and IMF secretary Lin Jianhai(2nd R) pose for a group photo after Lagarde’s briefing on launch of the new Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket including the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB) in Washington D.C., the United States, Sept. 30, 2016. IMF on Friday announced the launch of the new SDR basket including the Chinese RMB, saying it was “an important and historic milestone” for China, the IMF and the international monetary system. Photo: Xinhua

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday announced the launch of a new elite reserve currency basket including the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB), hailing it a “historic milestone” for China, the IMF and the international monetary system.

    “As of tomorrow, the renminbi will be considered by the international community as a freely usable international currency, and will join the basket of the Special Drawing Right (SDR) together with the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the British pound,” Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, announced here Friday.

    This was “the first time” in the history that the SDR basket was expanded, she noted.

    “The inclusion of the renminbi in the Special Drawing Right basket will further diversify it, and will make its composition more representative of the global currencies and the global economy,” Lagarde said.

    The IMF chief also said the RMB’s inclusion is “an important step” in the integration of Chinese economy into the global financial and monetary system and it reflects the progress made in reforming China’s monetary, foreign exchange, and financial systems.

    Jin Zhongxia, IMF executive director for China told Xinhua that this is “a new starting point” for China’s economic reforms and development, and that China will continue pushing for financial reforms following the RMB’s formal inclusion into the reserve currency basket.

    “The continuation and deepening of these efforts, with appropriate safeguards, will bring about a more robust international monetary and financial system, which in turn will be good for the stability and growth of China and of the international economy,” Lagarde said.

    The RMB’s global reserve status also means that it will become the first emerging market currency that can be used to settle IMF credits and debts, experts said.

    “There’s never before been a currency of emerging markets that is being used for international transactions in the IMF to borrow and lend. This is the first time that has ever happened,” Tamim Bayoumi, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Xinhua.

    “I think it’s a very important signal that the world is coming to terms with growing importance of emerging markets, not only in terms of trade, but also in terms of finance,” he said.

    The executive board of the IMF on Friday also decided the amounts of each currency in the new SDR basket, which will remain fixed over the next five years until the next review of the SDR basket.

    “As exchange rates move amongst the major currencies the effective weights will fluctuate, but the currency amounts, the amount of renminbi, the amount of US dollars, euro, yen, and sterling are fixed,” Andrew Tweedie, Director of the IMF’s Finance Department, told reporters in a conference call last week.

    The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. It can be exchanged among governments for freely usable currencies in times of need.

    Last November, the IMF decided to include the RMB in the SDR basket as a fifth currency, effective Oct. 1, 2016.

  31. Van Kent says:

    In 2014, radiation on California beaches increased by 500 percent. In response, government officials said that the radiation was coming from a mysterious “unknown” source and was nothing to worry about.

    Fukushima Radiation Has Contaminated The Entire Pacific Ocean (And It’s Going To Get Worse) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-02/fukushima-radiation-has-contaminated-entire-pacific-ocean-and-its-going-get-worse

  32. interguru says:

    Here is an interesting literary take on our inability to get our minds around climate change.

    Ghosh [the author] has done what few can achieve so effortlessly: make us take a step out of our immediate, narrow world in order to question our anthropocentric privileges. Ghosh’s book mocks our obsession with predicting the future: our greatest failures may in fact be found under our nose, in the climate around us. Indeed, not to see that our path is leading us not to a bright future, but to self-annihilation is the sign of a deranged mind.

    Of Literature and Fossil Fuels – Los Angeles Review of Books

    • Yoshua says:

      The Phanerozoic Eon started some 500 million years ago and gave birth to complex life on this planet. The carbon dioxide level at that time was 4500 ppm (particles per million) in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxides are building blocks of life used by plants and planktons. The planet was warm, moist and the poles had no ice at that time.

      In the Mesozoic Era 250 million years ago (in the age of reptiles) the carbon dioxide level had fallen to 2000 ppm after plant life and planktons using carbon dioxide under millions of years had lived, died and been pressed into the earths crust. The planet was still a Green House planet though and the poles where free from ice.

      In the Cenozoic Era 50 million years ago (in the age of mammals and birds) the Azolla event took place which caused the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere to collapse to 200 ppm. The temperature dropped and the poles where now covered in ice. The planet started to have Ice Ages 2 million years ago which threatened to turn the planet into a snowball with a following extinction of life.

      Humans learned to master the magical force of fire most likely because it was so bleeping cold. The burning of fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) has increased the carbon dioxide level to 400 ppm and reversed the trend from a Snowball planet towards a Green House planet.

      • xabier says:

        The Gods taught us.

        Or we stole the knowledge from Heaven.

        See the myths, silly or not.

        Something to mull over as I burn great fires of oak and ash this winter, brought to me by the fossil-fuelled truck (but split by hand with axe and wedges ……:)

        • Yoshua says:

          The knowledge was stolen from Heaven under the noses of the sleeping Gods.
          After tasting the knowledge of luxifer we became naked like the Gods after losing our fur.
          With the loss of our innocence we had to cover our selves with fig leaves…

    • Thanks! The article says (among other things), “Asia has learned that every ‘family in the world cannot have two cars, a washing machine and a refrigerator — not because of technical or economic limitations but because humanity would asphyxiate in the process.’ Not all the promises of modernity can be kept, and this is something that, through Asia, the whole world has to learn.”

      The author sees the issue as a climate issue. I think it is a broader issue as well. We can’t increase debt enough. We can’t get commodity prices up high enough. There are resources available, but the entropy (of several kinds) is too much to extract them.

      • Ed says:

        So warfare will decide who gets the two cars … and who dies.

      • unfortunately the individuall chinese or indian or african will simply not lie down in meek acceptance that shiny whirry things cannot , and never will, belong to him.

        therefore competition for these things will go on, because they are seen to be available and possible.

        politicians promise them in order to stay in office a while longer.

        On the other hand, we in the developed west who have them, will not willingly surrender them for the common good, and go back to beating dirty clothes on stones at the riverbank or consuming suspect food

  33. dolph says:

    What I’ve noticed on internet forums is that nobody puts the whole thing together. If they did, they might be much more pessimistic. This goes to show you just how far marketing and American style optimism has affected the whole world.

    Race (and religion, for example) seems beyond the ability for rational people to cope with and understand. Even here. You just hide it under the rug and pretend not to notice. You pretend not to notice that both America and humanity as a whole is deeply divided by race. You also pretend not to notice that far from being 21st century, technological wonders, we are still going around believing, living our entire lives around, and indeed killing, based upon the myths of goat herders 2000 years ago.

    See, that’s the thing isn’t it. That’s how this is all going to play out…intractable divisions of race, nationhood, and religion, as the promise of globalization improving the living standards of all fails. This must be the case.

    • Van Kent says:

      To my experience the Chinese in general are deeply racist people. And most of them don’t have the myths of goat herders bothering their mindsets.

      In general it seems our species has this hubris of exceptionalism, when we have cold hard data, that our species can be duped in to believing unto death any ridiculous myth..

      • Artleads says:

        I don’t know much about the Chinese, except that where I come from they were a small minority, and even deeply victimized groups felt it quite normal to treat them in a very racist way. So I agree. We are prejudiced about nearly everything, and numbers play a great role in that respect.

        Beyond that, I’ve been saying that we have to substitute “land” and “place” for these prejudices. We have to make our immediate small-community work (be relatively survivable) and throw out all the other BS–gender, race, able-ness, age, national origin, etc.– we’re burdened with. We must consider this like bailing out water from a listing boat in which all are sailing together. There is no room for even a single other concern.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I lived and worked in China for two decades – mostly HK but a stint on the Mainland.

          This is one of the most racist places on the planet.

          And there is no pretense of political correctness — I have seen some abhorrent examples of racism not only to foreigners – particularly those of dark skin — in Hong Kong it is popular sport to spit venom at the inferior Mainland Chinese tourists … rather ironic considering most HK people are at best second generation descendants of Mainlanders….

          The Mainland is no better.

          Anecdotally … some years ago I was going on a trek with a friend who is west indian but born in Canada – trying on hiking shoes… he asked to try a few pairs… the salesman became unruly and said ‘you indian make up your mind!’

          Same guy – another shop — I was allowed to try on clothes — he was not.

          • Artleads says:

            Lovely world we live in, huh?

            • doomphd says:

              Ever wonder why most Chinese look basically the same? Their ancestors drove out and/or killed all other races from Mongolia down through SE Asia and out to Tibet. The Polynesian and later Melansian migrations into the SW Pacific ca. 1000 AD were probably from pressure to leave SE Asia or be annihilated. Japan is a similar story, starting with Korean invasions that drove the indigenous peoples away or were killed. Today, some of the few indigeous peoples left populate Okinawa and a few islands to the south of the main Japanese islands. Racial tolerance is not in their genes, so to speak.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Anyone can become Japanese these days. They stopped beheading and boiling to death shipwrecked sailors some time ago. But like getting to Carnegie Hall, you gotta practice! It’s no good showing up in Japan and demanding the natives comply with your Western or Eastern ways, or flaunting your victimization and indulging in public pouting and pity parties. The Japanese in general are not at all into drama queens of either sex and they wish people like that would just go away.

  34. adonis says:

    fast eddie and world of hanuman ,the point i am trying to make is that about 25 % cut from real wages ie pensions and wages will lead to less money going around for other people or economic activity will be reduced , thats the problem that i beleive gail has been warning us about this is what leads to the financial system collapse without cheap or easy oil in the form of wage ,pension increases or acess to easy debt, trickle down economics is reduced leading to the system collapsing and we get plunged back into the ‘stone age’,

  35. Ed says:

    We have noted many times that police and army are the weak link for ruling elite. A more efficient and reliable solution is needed by the elite. The answer robots. Yes, they need energy and spare parts but they do not need a car to commute, a house, education for their children, health care, pension, food.

    Happily the militaries of the world are funding robots with an open hand.