The Energy Problem behind Trump’s Election

The energy problem behind Trump’s election is not the one people have been looking for. Instead, it is an energy problem that leads to low wages for many workers in the US, and high unemployment rates in the European Union. (The different outcomes reflect different minimum wage laws. Higher minimum wages tend to lead to higher unemployment rates; lower minimum wages tend to lead to higher employment, but unsatisfactory wage levels for many.) The energy problem is also reflected as low prices of oil and other commodities.

To try to solve the energy problem, we use approaches that involve increasing complexity, including new technology and globalization. As we add more and more complexity, these approaches tend to work less and less well. In fact, they can become a problem in themselves, because they tend to redistribute wealth toward the top of the employment hierarchy, and they increase “overhead” for the economy as a whole.

In this material, I explain how inadequate energy supplies can appear as either low wages or as high prices. Basically, if energy supplies are inadequate, workers tend to be less productive because they have fewer or less advanced tools to work with. Their lower wages reflect lower productivity (Slide 20).  Slide 6 offers some additional insights.

Trump’s election seems to reflect the cooling effect that our energy problems are having on the economy as a whole. Citizens are increasingly unhappy with their wage situation, and want a major change. Trump’s election may at least temporarily have a beneficial effect, since it may work in the direction of reducing complexity.

Long term, however, it is hard to see that the policies of any elected official will be able to fix our underlying energy problems.

I wrote up my post as a presentation. It can be downloaded at this link: The Energy Problem Behind Trump’s Election. I thought this might be a way of putting together quite a bit of material into one place. I have displayed the images of the PDF below the fold, for those who would like to read them as a post.

I hope the large number of images does not cause viewing problems. Let me know if you have suggestions for making this material more accessible.

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Section 1: Trump’s Election Reflects the Winds of Contraction

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Section 2: The Surprising Role of Energy

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Section 3: Humans’ Unusual Use of Energy

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Section 4: The Role of Complexity

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Section 5: Where we are now with respect to energy and the economy

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Section 6: Trump’s Solution and Final Thoughts

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About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,893 Responses to The Energy Problem behind Trump’s Election

  1. Fast Eddy says:

    Trump reverses stance by turning to Goldman alumni for key roles
    https://www.ft.com/content/395b6eee-b750-11e6-961e-a1acd97f622d

    As expected….

    And he won’t be firing Janet….

    Remember hope and change?

  2. https://www.sott.net/article/333965-Global-freezing-15-year-ice-age-predicted-to-hit-in-only-4-years-as-sun-prepares-to-hibernate

    A 15-YEAR long mini ice age could be due to hit the Northern hemisphere in just FOUR years as the sun prepares for ‘hibernation’ – triggering a barrage of cataclysmic events.

    A team of experts have warned that huge seismic events, including volcanic eruptions, plunging global temperatures and destabilization of the Earth’s crust will become more common after worrying changes to the surface of the Sun were recorded.

    It could take up to 15 years for solar activity to return to normal with extreme weather and freezing temperatures continuing until 2035.

    The warning will infuriate environmental campaigners who argue by 2030 the world faces increased sea levels and flooding due to glacial melt at the poles.

    Solar activity, measured by the appearance of sun spots, has been declining at a greater rate than at any other time in history, it has emerged.

    The Sun is now without spots for the first time in five years after 21 days of minimal activity were observed through the course of 2016.

    Although spots reappeared sporadically during the summer, repeated slumps of no activity were recorded through the year.

    The trend has prompted scientists to warn that the world is hurtling towards a historic solar minimum event with output potentially dropping to an all-time low.

    The phenomena are thought to drive extreme cold weather in Europe, including Britain, Northern America and across the lower southern hemisphere affecting New Zealand and parts of South America.

    They have also been linked to major earthquakes in tremor hotspots igniting fears that major cities including Tokyo and Los Angeles could be facing the next ‘big one’.

    https://www.sott.net/article/333489-Ice-Age-Cometh-Scientists-concerned-approaching-solar-minimum-could-plunge-Earth-into-deep-freeze

    Britain has been plunged into a cold snap over the past week as the country heads towards winter, but things were a lot chillier only a few hundred years ago.

    The period from the mid-14th century to the 19th century in Europe was referred to as the ‘Little Ice Age’ due to the severity of the climate at the time.

    Frost Fairs used to spring up on the River Thames in the latter part of this period, with the river freezing over at least 23 times since the 1300s – the last time in 1814.

    The structure of Old London Bridge at the time made the river more likely to freeze over because ice chunks got caught between breakwaters which slowed its flow.

    But some scientists believe we could now be heading for a ‘mini ice age’ following concerns that the sun is currently in its quietest period for more than a century.

    Earlier this year in June, Vencore Weather claimed the sun had gone into ‘cueball mode’, with images from Nasa showing no large visible sunspots on its surface.

    Astronomers said this was not unusual, with solar activity going up and down in 11-year cycles – with us currently being in Cycle 24, which began in 2008.

    However, researchers warned that if the current trend continues, then the Earth could be heading for a ‘mini ice age’.

    Activity remained low for around four days after June 4, which followed another period of inactivity in February when an image showed the sun in cueball mode.

    Vencore Weather, which has worked with the US Air Force Weather Agency, said in June that the blank sun signalled that ‘the next solar minimum is approaching’.
    The previous solar cycle, 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms.

    During a solar maximum, huge sunspots and intense solar flares are a daily occurrence, while the opposite occurs during a solar minimum.

    Solar flares are almost non-existent while whole weeks go by without a sunspot to break the monotony of the blank sun – and this is what we are experiencing now.

    The longest solar minimum on record, the Maunder Minimum of 1645 to 1715, lasted an incredible 70 years, with sunspots rarely observed during this period.

    The period of quiet coincided with the Little Ice Age, a series of extraordinarily bitter winters in Earth’s northern hemisphere.

    Many researchers believe low solar activity, acting in concert with increased volcanism and possible changes in ocean current patterns, played a role in this.

    A study last year claimed to have cracked predicting solar cycles – and says that between 2020 and 2030 solar cycles will cancel each other out.

    And this, say experts including Northumbria University’s Professor Valentina Zharkova, will lead to another Maunder Minimum.

    • I don’t know about these things. I know that the world has spent an awfully lot of years in ice ages. If we had not taken up farming, I expect we would have been back in an ice age by now. There has been an awfully lot of nonsense written that assumes climate is stable for the long term. It clearly is not.

      Humans lived through previous ice ages (something that shocked me, when I figured it out). I suppose a few could live through future ice ages as well.

      • when humans ”lived through ice ages” what that means is they gradually moved ahead of advancing ice sheets.

        if ice advance min to max took say—2000 years, then there would be no memory of ”what was before”—only that winters were maybe chillier this year than 10 years ago.

        all species had to keep ahead of the ice, and with only a few hundred thousand humans, it didn’t matter much so long as there was enough game to hunt.

        the inuit have shown that living on the ice edges can be done indefinitely.
        There is even a theory that they crossed the Atlantic from europe during the ice age by that means, on a long gradual basis of movement,—seems perfectly logical to me, no reason why they couldnt have done that.

        • DJ says:

          But does not the inuits, more than any other native americans, look asian?

          • InAlaska says:

            I know a lot of Inuit people personally and lived in Kotzebue for 4 years. They definitely have a more Asian cast to their looks. The DNA bears it out. They are masterfully cold adapted and can live in the frozen world indefinitely, however, the relied on the marine mammals who live under the sea ice for everything.

      • doomphd says:

        Humans have lived through ice ages, but human civilizations have not. Civilizations are a phenomenon of the Holocene period (last 10,000 years). It will be back to bands of hunter-gatherers living near the equator, assuming no extinction event occurs prior due to our little global warming experiment. An amazing knowledge loss and reset. We are the Krull of Forbidden Planet.

    • Jeremy says:

      Perhaps we should first consider….

      From the Stanford Solar Center
      During the initial discovery period of global climate change, the magnitude of the influence of the Sun on Earth’s climate was not well understood. Since the early 1990s, however, extensive research was put into determining what role, if any, the Sun has in global warming or climate change.
      A recent review paper, put together by both solar and climate scientists, details these studies: Solar Influences on Climate. Their bottom line: though the Sun may play some small role, “it is nevertheless much smaller than the estimated radiative forcing due to anthropogenic changes.” That is, human activities are the primary factor in global climate change.
      Sunpsots, CO2 and Temperatures
      http://solar-center.stanford.edu/images/600px-Temp-sunspot-co2.svg-sm.jpg

      Also consider the author of the article Svanes posted…a Nathan Rao,

      http://www.nathanrao.com

      I have covered stories across the board from high-profile court cases and Government cabinet meetings to celebrity and politician interviews, consumer issues, health features, royal weddings and general news.

      I have also written a bit about the weather – actually I racked up around 200 front pages on the subject while at the Express.

      I became passionate about storms and blizzards, Spanish plumes, low pressure, high pressure, isobars, weather bombs, Azores highs – everything and anything meteorological.

      Hardly one to take seriously about the weather, never mind climate science!

      http://beforeitsnews.com/climategate/2011/05/uk-super-summer-to-last-months-by-nathan-rao-635140.html

    • Volvo740 says:

      Let’s see that in the measurements before we see conclude that this solar minimum will have a large effect. Right now temperature is exploding upwards.

      http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/

  3. Jeremy says:

    Thought I would share this interview of Noam Chomsky about elect President Trump

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jB54XxbgI0E

  4. MG says:

    Not only in the area of fuel consumption:

    Real-world vehicle fuel consumption gap continues to widen in Europe

    http://www.theicct.org/news/press-release-europe-real-world-vehicle-fuel-consumption-gap-continues-to-widen

    But there is also the widening gap between the real-world abilities of the university graduates, as when you are not able pass the exams at one unversity, you simply go to another university that will accept your money and give you the university degree.

    Or if one priest in the Church rejects to provide you the sacraments, you can go to another, who, with lowering the standards, will provide you the required services.

    What is common to all these cases? It is the implosion, which caused by the falling energy available per capita and the resulting weakening demand, when more and more incentives (or bribes?) must be provided to keep the consumption of products and services going on…

    • MG says:

      Or the energy per capita may look like being the same, but when the extraction of (natural) resources, their processing, production and delivery of the products and services consume more energy, you are left with less products and services.

    • The link you provide above is interesting. It points out that less than half of the on-paper reductions in CO2 emissions since 2001 have been realized in practice in Europe. The article explains:

      “About three quarters of the gap between laboratory test results and real-world driving is explained by vehicle manufacturers exploiting loopholes in the current regulation,” summarizes Dr. Peter Mock, Managing Director of ICCT Europe. For example, manufacturers can decide to specially prepare the vehicle’s tires for testing or to fully recharge the vehicle’s battery before testing—measures that are not forbidden by regulation, but at the same time are not representative of real-world driving. Another quarter of the gap is explained by the deployment of technologies that have a greater effect on fuel consumption during laboratory testing than under real-world driving conditions, such as stop-start technology, and by ensuring that options that tend to increase fuel consumption—such as running the vehicle’s air conditioning— are turned off during laboratory testing.

      I know that in the US, in at least some calculations, auto manufacturers were charged for only the amount of “oil” a vehicle used, not “oil + ethanol.” This gave them an incentive to create a large number of “Flex Fuel” very large vehicles. If they could, in theory, run on 85% ethanol, they would be charged for only the 15% oil that the vehicles used in their miles per gallon charge that is incorporated in calculations showing whether the manufacturer is meeting fleet goals in fuel usage. Of course, there are so few E-85 gasoline stations and the fuel costs so much that very few use it.

  5. MG says:

    WTI Oil Prices Surge as OPEC Agrees to Cut Output by 1.2 Million BPD

    http://www.economiccalendar.com/2016/11/30/wti-oil-prices-surge-as-opec-agrees-to-cut-output-by-1-2-million-bpd/

    The big surprise for OPEC will be the imploding consumption…

    • Greg Machala says:

      Be interesting to see if this price rise gains any traction or if it slips back into the 40s again. We have been on this roller coaster ride in oil price swings between $40 and $50 for quite some time now.

    • Christian says:

      “The big surprise for OPEC will be the imploding consumption…”

      What do you mean with that? They are expecting an 1.2 mbpd implosion. In fact, it’s an 1.8 mbpd implosion, as Russia and some other nopec are also supposed to participate in the cut

      • MG says:

        I meant that they will be surprised when they see that what they do is not just output cut, but also consumption cut, which brings the prices back to lower levels again.

        • Christian says:

          Well, I am not so sure this will happen, not so quickly at least

          • InAlaska says:

            Cut production. Price goes up. Demand goes down. Implosion.

            • Christian says:

              I suppose that’s the demand side point of view. The offer one could be: Syriak and Libya are already a big mess and Venezuela is a bit ugly, so now it’s up to the demand side to suffer a bit

              Perhaps Korowicz would say that implosion will last longer if pressure is more evenly distributed among the hubs

            • Christian says:

              It’s the roller coaster. It’s rather like this:

              Cut production. Price goes up. Demand goes down. Price goes down. Cut production. Price goes up. Demand goes down. Price goes down. Cut production. Price goes up. Demand goes down. Price goes down.

              Rinse and repeat, and in the process the volume of oil, the amount of matter, shrinks

            • Somewhere along the line, governments of oil exporters collapse.

            • Christian says:

              Wonder if this assumption matchs a specific financial arquitechture. Perhaps we can conclude that an SDR backed arrangement would be preferable to a single currency backed one, as it is today and as it would be if the ruble is let free to set the rules

            • Christian says:

              We can say the “cut” (so called cut, because we’re not sure it will be respected) is just a response to the very high dollar value of today + the fact that the Fed says there is 100% chance of a rate hike in a couple of weeks

              It’s the same thing we are already living but with stronger words and somewhat assuming peak oil has already been achieved last november. IEA has already talked about “peak demand”, so it’s not bizarre producers are talking about “cuts”

            • It may also be that Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries have cut back enough on investment that they can see that their production is going to drop. The agreement gives them “cover” when it actually does drop.

            • Christian says:

              SDR will run smoother

            • Christian says:

              “It may also be that Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries have cut back enough on investment that they can see that their production is going to drop. The agreement gives them “cover” when it actually does drop.”

              You’re probably right. It’s the same with Trump’s “protectionism”, he knows world trade is starting to fade anyway

            • Stefeun says:

              The art of politics,
              Make believe you change things by voluntary action, while in fact you’re merely following uncontrollable trends.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              It would be a nice story to tell investors when Aramco lists…

              See – we have a lot of oil left — we have just decided to cut back — that will mean that down the road our reserves remain massive — and then you will reap the rewards of having jumped in bed with us now.

  6. richardA says:

    There the breakeven price to produce oil, and there’s the breakeven price when a nation needs to pay for its imports.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-opec-meeting-usa-shale-idUSKBN13P0C8
    “Dunn County’s cost is about the same as Iran’s, and a little higher than Iraq’s. Dunn County produces about 200,000 barrels of oil a day, about a fifth of daily production in the state.”

    • A lot of the cost of oil is the cost of taxes, to keep the economy going. The Middle Eastern economies very definitely need these high taxes. We need them in the US as well. A lot of what gets “shorted” when prices are too low is tax revenue. This is part of the reason the system behaves so bizarrely. The producers can make money at the low price, but the system as a whole cannot “work,” because the government doesn’t obtain enough taxes.

      I have yet to see a renewables proposal that explains where all of the tax revenue will come from, if we switch to renewables. Taxes are terribly important, but they get overlooked!

  7. dolph says:

    There is no deflation in food, just like there is no deflation in anything. I pay close attention to this. If you look carefully, you will see smaller and smaller portions, sometimes embarassingly so. I will admit that food inflation is not outrageous yet in America, but it’s getting there.

    All costs increase over time, it’s the way the industrial system works. Big banks issue enormous amounts of debts to governments and businesses, the costs are borne by all of us.

    As long as they convince you that deflation is taking place, they can take your eyes off the inflation and get away with it. All fiat currencies globally are inflating, some faster than others, but the direction is always inflationary.

    Oh, by the way, there is no way you can protect yourself from it. Because anything you choose to buy, will rust or go obsolete, and then when it’s time to buy more the price is inflated. Take food as an example, yet again. Do any of you really believe you will be living on food stores 5 years from now? No, which means 5 years from now, you will be buying food which will be more expensive.

    Inflation eats through society, causing divisions between poor and rich, young and old. It makes a mockery of economic calculation, and rewards the worst behaviors and punishes prudence and saving. Inflation is the final endpoint of all human civilizations, and ours will be no different.

      • Jeremy says:

        Best get another 20 foot container now, while there is a fire sale!

        Basically I have always concluded that is how people would view the end of the oil age. A predicament created by someone. They would blame the FED for having interest rates to high, or too low. They would blame the politicians for not doing XYZ. They would blame the oil companies, the robots, the National Association of Dog Catchers; literally anything but the depletion of vital resources. The problem has to be something that humans are not doing right now; it can never be something that they have already done! It will never be irreparable!

        Everyone knows that because we can develop and use technology, as dictated by the “command of God”, that our avenue to failure can only be paved by our own ineptitude. We have been given unlimited potential to overcome any obstacle. For some strange reason that ineptitude can always be found residing someplace else? The victim of it can never be the perpetrator. For an omnipotent creature depletion can only be an inconvenience. “They” will think of something! That will always be the case; right up until “They” don’t.

        They will hang the politicians, shoot the dog catchers, and decry the FED’s evil intent. Never so much as an inch will they abandon their residence of central position. Not once will they admit that they have squandered Earth’s finite and limited resources. Humans where delivered a ton of ability to remake the world. Apparently not one ounce of wisdom was included.
        Shortonoilposted this on another website.

        Apparently, we are very clever without any intelligence…go, Eddy, go!

      • The Bloomberg commodity index is not quite as low now as it was at the beginning of 2016, which is when your chart seems to end. There definitely has been a long term trend down, however.

    • Volvo740 says:

      The cost of rice has fallen from a relatively stable $15 in 2012-2014 to just under $10 today. It feels like a petrodollar thing. Future – I have no idea. But right now people in India have (almost) NO MONEY. So little demand from those 1.3B people right now.

      http://www.tradingeconomics.com/commodity/rice

      • DJ says:

        Still rice price increases a percent or two or three every year. In the supermarket.

        • InAlaska says:

          You can get a 50 pound bag of rice at Costco for $13. Think how long a person can live on 50 pounds of rice! Get a pallet. You’re good for years.

          • DJ says:

            Bags are smaller and slightly more expensive in my country. But your argument holds.

            A pound a day is mild starvation, an taxed hour at minimum wage buys 20-25 pounds.

            Still I only have about 150 pounds. And not even a barrel to dig down.

      • Not good at all!

    • Jeremy says:

      Dolph, I agree! The statisticians are hiding the inflation very cleverly!. Financial tricks, as well as , product production and packaging hides it. Suits the government and bankers to keep the system appearing all is well…while it is caving in.
      Example, someone had a craving for ice cream sandwiches and came back from the store. Shocked because each one was at least a 1/3 lighter/smaller than last time bought.
      Sorry, guys…you can hide it just so long.
      Florida Power and Light had an ongoing commercial campaign in recent months about how everything has increased in price except for their electricity. Put a positive spin on how they contained costs by working hard to deliver!
      Guess what…just the other day the regultary commission approved a BIG rate hike!!!
      Like I didn’t see that coming…next stop hyperinflation.

      FPL requested a $1.3 billion rate hike at the beginning of the year. But after the company cut that request to a still-massive $811 million, the Florida Public Service Commission unanimously approved the company’s request today.

      According to the Miami Herald, FPL’s monthly charges will jump by $400 million this January, and then another $411 million over the following three years. For the average consumer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, the bill will eventually jump by about $10 per month, or roughly $120 per year.

      Cruelly, FPL isn’t asking for extra money because it’s struggling to make ends meet. By almost any account, the increase is motivated by corporate greed, and little else: FPL earned more than $1.6 billion in profits last year, and the rate increase will send that number even further skyward.
      From what I see, everything is getting more expensive!

      • Artleads says:

        Food prices are also rising where I live. And the power company is raising rates in January as well. Looks like a conspiracy… 🙂

      • All fossil fuel prices are way too low. In addition, the credits given for wind and solar are absurdly high, when they are added to the grid. The utilities aren’t kidding when they say higher rates are needed. I am sure that even with these higher rates, they are paying only the depressed prices for coal and natural gas that the market is currently charging.

      • richardA says:

        Inflation is a variable concept, hence, before you blame the statisticians, be very sure what you mean. The intended meaning of inflation was the effect of increasing the money supply, much like blowing a bubble. Most people use inflation to mean price inflation, and that ends to be subjective, like in the story of the supermarket checkout girl. The same people who complained about the price of potatoes during the day were buying double whiskys at night without a murmur.
        But back to statisticians. They divide the cost of X goods by Y prices and get Z cost per unit. This gets compared with last year’s Z or the Z of a decade past. Simple. The thing that most people don’t get is the cause of inflation, and that it results from government spending money it shouldn’t have, but almost nobody wants to complain about that.

    • A Real Black Person says:

      Well thank you for your Bernie Sanders-inspired-let’s-blame-the-banks-and-capitalism-for-everything-analysis.The problem is not loans, it is the inability of borrowers to pay it back.

      ” Inflation is the final endpoint of all human civilizations, and ours will be no different.”
      That’s one way of putting it.
      With no economic growth, it makes little sense for banks to loan out money…
      In reality….
      Without a sense of mutual gain, cooperation between large and diverse groups of people doesn’t make sense.

      • A Real Black Person says:

        Banks should not try to squeeze blood out of stones by insisiting on bail-outs, bail-ins and banning cash and making student loans non-dischargable in order to create the illusion that growth is continuing….but that would cause industrial civilization to unravel.

        • InAlaska says:

          Capitalism IS at fault. It is access to capital that allowed the first oil wells to be drilled which kick started the consumption machine. Capitalism on a finite planet is a flawed condition.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            You are kidding… right? This is a joke? How many drinks have you had today?

            ………….

            You are serious? Wow!

            You are so lost in so many ways … where do I start?

            A little history perhaps?

            BAU – which you appear to despise — was kicked off when we worked out how to harness the power of coal — at a time when the world’s forests were being decimated.

            If we had not worked out how to use coal — we would have burned up all the easy to access wood… and we would have had no source of energy whatsoever.

            The age of metals would have been over and we would have been left digging in the dirt with sticks.

            Fast Forward — do you like the fact that you do not live in a mud hut – do you like having tools and hunting rifles and fishing rods and a chainsaw — do you like being able to visit a doctor or dentist when you are ailing – do you like having vehicles – and roads – and schools and all the wonderful things that BAU has provided for you?

            Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…

            Some people on this web site could read the articles 100x over… and they still would not get it…

            We could explain (and have) things to some people as if they were a 10 year old — and still they would not get it…

            Which again begs the question – why are you here? Do you enjoy mockery? Do you enjoy being exposed as having the mental horsepower of a child? Do you like abuse?

            Ya I know — I am a bully — a prick — an SOB…. let rip … let fly…. throw tomatoes…

          • the capital consumption machine started with the ultra cheap production of iron (1709)

            that allowed production of viable steam engines in quantity

            that allowed extraction of water from deep coalmines, and thus extraction of vast quantities of coal, which in turn allowed access to more and more mineral resources.

            it became a system of ”forward debt” where each ton of iron or coal provided collateral for the next.
            thus deep oil was accessed with steam power —this revved up the debt economy even faster, the same debt system applied to trade and shipping, railways, military hardware and so on—nations had to borrow money to fight wars, which is how the Rothschilds cleaned up—they held the collateral for everybody’s future—which worked fine until now.

            the system is falling apart because the collateral level is falling away—in other words we burned all the cheap oil and coal in mortgaging our future.
            Essentially the world is slipping into sub prime, and the Rothschilds (et al) will find themselves owning nothing.

            but neither will anyone else

            • Right. This is Wrigley’s image of the growth of coal use in England, starting as early as 1561.

              Wrigley - Coal consumption in England from 1561

            • hkeithhenson says:

              Civilization may fail from a lack of cheap energy, but it will be like a man dying of thirst in a downpour. We have hardly started to tap the energy of our star.

              Though you might be amused because we can see a case where the locals seem to have tapped a substantial part of the output of their star, dimmed it by 15% over the last century.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852

              Whatever is blocking the light in the big dips, they seem to be very far out and the area is in the same order of magnitude as the star–which is somewhat larger and hotter than the Sun. Is there any sensible reason for the large size of the objects and their low temperature (below 65 K)? It may be that energy is not as much of a problem as the waste heat from a very large population.

              Real global warming comes when we are importing so much energy from space that the planet over heats. We can solve that (for a while) with sunshades, but the long term solution might be to move out to 60 AU.

            • i would like to enter into discussion with you on this thread

              but if i did—i would end up banging my head against Eddys wall

              An he has threatened to sue me if I cause any more damage to it

          • A Real Black Person says:

            Economic growth can occur under any system.

            Capitalism came after an unprecedented surge in population in Northern Europe following a series of technological innovations that allowed more food to be grown.

            A good percentage of economic growth can be attributed to human population growth.

            There’s a reason why true sustainability involves severe restriction of the use of technology to primitive tools.

  8. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/energy
    Brent up over 4 bucks, to price over $50 a barrel on OPEC deal!

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes the roller coaster oil price swings more than 10% in 24Hrs on the deal. But, $50 is outside of the goldilocks zone so something will probably beat it back down to $45 soon LOL.

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    Just a thought…

    If all humans were like Koombaya loving DelusiSTANIS — in that they rejected all facts and logic — had no common sense….. and refused to change their minds on issues when facts and logic dictate a change…

    We would not be in the position we are now…

    We’d have never progressed to the point of learning how to use fire… the wheel… and so on…

    • I am wondering if what is happening on the rich poor split of cities, has to do with home and rent costs. Along the East Coast, only the rich can live in the big cities. Others need to move elsewhere. The shift to higher income people matches with housing costs. Where economies have been doing less well, rents and housing costs are lower, a different group of people can live.

  10. Christian says:

    X, how do you say “las vueltas de la vida” in english?

    Funny those myriad chinese bicicles morphed into cars, and those myriad europeans cars are morphing into bikes

    https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/nov/30/cycling-revolution-bikes-outnumber-cars-first-time-copenhagen-denmark

    • Humorous! There is also the quote http://www.quotes.net/quote/58496

      My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.

      I think there are too many generation in the camel quote by Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

      • saudi oil was discovered in the 1930s, and will be gone by the 2030s

        there are 3 or 4 generations in a century—-that pins down the quote quite neatly

        Problem is instead of 1m people wanting camels to ride on, there will be 40m
        It’s the camels i feel sorry for

        • Fast Eddy says:

          My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will starve and die of radiation poisoning.

        • Good point about too many people.

          The Saudis will be back to camels when they can no longer import enough food for their people, which may be before 2030.

          I understand that generations are quite short in countries where girls marry young. You may be right.

  11. Artleads says:

    THE RENT SQUEEZE

    “A key point: higher rents may mean less demand for other things, hurting the consumer economy. “The rising share of income devoted to rent may be an important contributor to what economists dub secular stagnation, the inability of our economy to generate the robust demand required to sustain economic growth.” Weighed down by rents, especially in major cities, the economy has fewer chances to provide for income growth: a vicious cycle. ”

    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/11/are-rising-rents-to-blame-for-economic-stagnation/506258/?utm_source=SFTwitter

    • Rising rents; rising health car; more need for education. Young people especially get squeezed.

      • A Real Black Person says:

        I thought the rising rents was the results of economic policies to prevent deflation.
        If so, can’t reasonable rents be voted into existence?

      • A Real Black Person says:

        Someone must be benefiting from the higher cost of education. Additional amenities and services don’t explain higher tuition rates.

        Higher real estate prices have been politically supported because it may be a covert tax on younger workers to support a growing elderly population. . .
        DJ said,”peoples pension money is invested in mortgage bonds.
        I’d go further and suggest “”peoples pension money is invested in the value of their property”.

        Obamacare was more close to being a blatant tax increase on young workers to support the elderly. Of course, the people who appose it don’t realize that. People who appose Obamacare fall into two camps. They will blame rising healthcare insurance premiums on greedy drug companies and government corruption that gives certain companies monopolies.

        • DJ says:

          If RE bubble pops the pension money vanishes but the debt remains. Unfortunately there is no longer possible to borrow against the house, and that is the only way maintainance is affordable.

          Yes those born in the 40s have been able to cash in big time, and is spending this now keeping growth going for a while longer.

        • Regarding the higher cost of education: Part of the rising cost of higher education is the idiocy that says that the vast majority of faculty members must publish huge numbers of academic papers to retain their jobs. They must also apply for grants, to fund this research. All of this nonsense supports a whole layer of administration within colleges/universities. Also, the teaching loads of faculty members get reduced, to accommodate all of this research. Many new journals, mostly “pay to publish” journals, have sprung up, to meet the new demand for article publication. Actual teaching of the students increasingly gets pushed off to “adjunct faculty,” who have lesser credentials, and get paid (not very much) for each course they teach. If you are lucky, they are retired, and doing this to supplement retirement income. Or they may be trying to piece together an adequate income, by teaching a large number of courses for different universities.

          You are right about higher real estate prices acting as a pension supplement for a large number of elderly. If they can sell their homes, they can use the extra funds to pay for alternative housing on a monthly basis.

          I agree too, that Obamacare was more close to being a blatant tax increase on young workers to support the elderly. Government programs seem to be aimed at “social equity,” whatever that is deemed to be.

    • Artleads says:

      community of 200 tiny homes to help ease housing crunch

      http://www.denverpost.com/2016/11/16/salida-community-tiny-homes-housing-crunch/

      “La Junta-based Sprout Tiny Homes wants to build 200 rentals — ranging from 200 to 800 square feet — on 19 acres the company owns along the Arkansas River. Salida annexed the property in March. The homes will be on permanent foundations. The River View at Cleora neighborhood will include a community center with a catering kitchen, fitness center, community garden, storage units, 5 acres of parks and trails. Rents will run $750 to $1,400, which includes all utilities. About a third of the units will be available as short-term rentals, alleviating the pressure in Salida, where a little more than 100 homes are available for vacation rental.”

      The puzzle is why it takes so long for such obvious measures to be enacted.

      • Callmemeow says:

        “The puzzle is why it takes so long for such obvious measures to be enacted.”
        Ive got a tuff shed I mean tiny home for rent for $900 if your interested. But only because I believe in sustainability,

      • Christian says:

        $750 for a 200 ft. “house”? That’s a good business… for the renter

        Toilets are included in those 200 ft., or is it also about community toilets?

        Ha ha, I’m not serious, or just a bit

        • Artleads says:

          The article mentions utilities that are paid by the renters. All commercially built tiny houses have toilets. I wondered how the owners swallow the costs of wasted water, gas or electricity. Maybe they pay a base price and over-users pay the rest?

          You may not know about the vast burgeoning tiny house movement in America.

          https://search.aol.com/aol/search?s_it=webmail-hawaii1-basicaol&q=%22tiny%20house%20nation%22

          • Christian says:

            You’re right, I know almost nothing about it. But I’ve seen one note in a newspaper here, perhaps I can jump into this new business…

            Of course there are many utilities and houses have toilets, so I was somewhat joking about the price.

            I don’t get what do you mean by “to swallow the costs”. The usual procedure is that energy is metered and paid by the renters

            • Artleads says:

              The article stated that utilities were covered in the rent.

            • I presume that rents can be raised as needed. Also, once the electric grid stops functioning, there won’t be any utilities to buy. So these units are of temporary benefit, unless we can figure out a way around the many problems that not having water/sewer/heat/ventilation create. Disease would spread very easily, for example.

            • Christian says:

              Oops

      • DJ says:

        Affordable living would pop the RE bubble.

        • Artleads says:

          What would happen if it did?

          • DJ says:

            That depends on the rules of respective country I suppose.

            If you are stuck with the debt even if you leave the house then you will try to avoid moving. You will lower consumtion. If you are unemployed maybe you can’t move to get a job because you’re stuck in your house.

            On the other side of the deal peoples pension money is invested in mortgage bonds.

            A popped RE bubble would not be good.

            • Artleads says:

              Thanks. I guess a cost/benefit examination of burst v no burst it would help toward knowing what to recommend? I agree. Burst doesn’t sound good. But I need to know more.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            See 2007 — x 1,000,000,000,000

  12. Fast Eddy says:

    General Motors Co. stands to lose as much as $9,000 on every Chevrolet Bolt that leaves a showroom once the all-electric subcompact starts rolling out. Sounds crazy, but the damage makes perfect business sense under the no pain, no gain policy driving the electric-vehicle boom in the U.S.

    Can that really happen? “The idea that automakers will sell 40 percent of their vehicles at a loss in California is ludicrous,” said Eric Noble, president of the CarLab, a consulting company in Orange, California, who reckons most electric cars lose at least $10,000 per sale.

    The industry’s willing to take the hit on a small scale now. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s battery-powered Fiat 500e is made for California alone, and Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in 2014 that it was losing $14,000 per sale.

    More https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-30/gm-s-ready-to-lose-9-000-a-pop-and-chase-the-electric-car-boom

    • Guest says:

      Who says you can’t get something for nothing!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Funny anecdote… I was in Hong Kong last week having some beers with a buddy who works for the vampire squid…

        A Tesla drives by and I mention how they lose thousands per vehicle…. he says ya … what a scam that is…

        Then I said … but they make up for those loses by selling larger volumes….

        Silence…. silence… silence…

        Then he says – how does that work?

        You know — you lose money on something but if you sell more you make money….

        A bit more silence…. then … I chuckle….

        Ah…. I get he says — you are joking…. I thought one of us was going insane for a moment there…

        • Greg Machala says:

          For some reason, your story reminds me of of the state of the oil industry. But, rather than selling more they pump more LOL.

        • Kurt says:

          I was in Hong Kong a few years back. My wife and me were flying back through Tokyo and we were a little worried about the connection there. Started talking to a guy in the lobby of our hotel in HK. He said not to worry, we’d be fine and Tokyo airport was great for connections. He’d been going in and out of China for twenty years. We’d just spent six weeks there. I told him it seemed like the wealth disparity was pretty intense. He said, “there are two kinds of people in China, the filthy rich and the dirt poor. In a few more years, it will be the same thing in the U.S. “. I think he was right.

    • We need a system that produces more taxes for the government. Where do they come from, if we are no longer using gasoline? Perhaps we need to be taxing the cars as well.

      • Artleads says:

        I come across info that I should save but don’t. So I don’t have a good framework for the following. It’s just a notion that might relate to FW discussions about using embedded energy…

        Tourism seems to be an economic engine that depends on the unique geography, economy and history of places. That might mean profiting through diversification rather than homogenization of places. If so, it points to an economic and fairly stable way to use embedded energy.

        “Kurth also sees tourism as a way to help preserve small farms that are characteristic to Humboldt County.”

        “One thing we can all agree on is we want to see small, family, sustainable farms,” he said. “I really see tourism as being a huge part of that because it allows you to diversify your income.”

      • A Real Black Person says:

        The answer, at least in my areas, to tax revenue and to jobs creation is more legalized gambling.
        It doesn’t require spending a lot of money training people or a lot of commodities.
        This is in proximity to a major tech hub in the U.S…The state has growing deficit despite its reputation as being home to a large number of highly educated, highly paid and highly skilled workers.

        Why aren’t they investing in what has worked for (20%) of the economy for the last thirty years?

        • Artleads says:

          Never thought of that.

        • DJ says:

          “The state has growing deficit despite its reputation as being home to a large number of highly educated, highly paid and highly skilled workers.”

          They believe they will have a tax base in the future after the IT companies have become profitable?

          • A Real Black Person says:

            When I say “tech” I’m not merely referring to Information technology. There are a lot of established high-tech companies located in my state. There are biotech companies located here…there are engineering firms. There is, in theory, a tax base base. The companies that exist in the high-tech hub don’t seem to be sucking at the government’s teat but I can’t verify how much in taxes they pay. I don’t know how profitable the high-tech sector is, in general. My guess is that the state deficit is probably widening because growing government services is outpacing any growth in business revenue. I also think Mitt Romney 47% comment–where many workers’ wages are too low to contribute to the tax base may be true.

            • I know that the consulting firm I worked for (now Willis Towers Watson) moved its headquarters to Ireland, with the addition of Willis, because Ireland has a lower tax rate than the US. This has happened a lot, with businesses that look like they are US domiciled, but figure out how to avoid taxes by moving their operations overseas. Also, consulting actuarial firms helped companies to set up “offshore” insurance companies, domiciled in locations such as the Cayman Islands or Barbados, more or less as tax avoidance schemes.

              Chasing down businesses for taxes is a “fool’s errand.” The big ones, with most of the funds, are international in scope. Even the little ones figure out ways to move as much revenue offshore as possible. Taxes on fossil fuels have been a reliable way of getting revenue, because extraction companies cannot move their operations offshore. Taxation of personal income also works, but it is necessary to tax low income people as well as high income people, and even this doesn’t yield enough revenue, when government promises are as big as they are today. The other approach is to tax imports–something that was done in the past, but has been discouraged with globalization.

              Taxation is really a way of moving some of the “surplus energy” from one part of the economy to the government. Governments need this surplus energy to fund all of their programs. If renewables really aren’t providing surplus energy–instead they are just drains on the economy–they cannot afford these taxes. This should be a strong indication that there is something seriously wrong with the ability of these devices to support the economy.

  13. justsayin says:

    The information presented on this blog has influenced my religious beliefs. If all of the principles ala jJesus, Bhudha, Allah were in fact all knowing why was this finite planet exponential growth not addressed in their teachings.

    It is widely acknowledged that post fossil fuels the first decade or two will be spent salvaging energy as it is stored in materials from when it is abundant.

    Is not each of our bodies in fact a construct created by fossil fuels?

    Could it be that what we have been taught as a metaphor “eat my body drink my blood” is in fact not intended as a metaphor?

    Would it not make sense that the tribe elders ( of which I am one) would let their body be consumed if their was limited food so that the younger could live thus reducing population and allowing the innocents- children- to live?

    Are we not being primed for this?

    Zombies- what do they do- eat flesh.

    The antagonists of the matrix film -harvested human energy.

    Vampires ecetera ecetera. The theme is a recurring one and very popular.

    • Tango Oscar says:

      Interesting thoughts. I think you’re right in your assertion that there is no omniscient “god” in the way religion teaches. Whoever our designer was it was definitely not all-knowing or our current physical form was accidental; I think it’s likely a bit of both.

      All of us have these ideas in our head of what a BAU collapse will be like including what we’ve read, what media we’re exposed to, dreams even. But none of us actually know in what order what chaos will ensue or how it will all end. Yes we’ll probably all die, but we were going to anyways. Our fate was likely sealed upon birth.

      Speaking of entertainment you bring up the Matrix. I had mono the last couple of months and watched it while bed-ridden for the first time in a decade. I’ve gained a lot of insight about the nonphysical world since then. I think some of the ideas central to The Matrix are much closer to reality than people think.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If there is a ‘god’ then I would imagine him/her to be a very vicious 5 year old…. like one of those children that the Khmer Rouge recruited to kill kill kill… or perhaps the Linda Blair character in the Exorcist…

        He/she’s gotta be something truly malevolent to have created something as *&^%$ up as humans.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Yeah, similar to the old testament version of Yahweh. He always threw tantrums when he found out his people were worshiping a golden calf or some nonsense, lol.

          • I think the Old Testament is documentation of the beliefs of people at that time. It was a time when many people died of fighting, very often indirectly over resources. We see how God was viewed by these people at that time. God is viewed as having tantrums. The people are constantly trying to get God to make things work out they way they want–give them victory; get them out of a desert; give them enough resources for their people.

            I see all religions as being self-organized, in more or less the same way. We view religions through the lens of the religion we grew up in. I suppose if we came from a religion that viewed golden calfs as the most important object, we might have that view as well. These other religions most likely had insights about our human predicament and the nature of the universe, incorporated in them as well.

    • I am not as negative as you are on this situation. Humans are special in that they have learned to use supplemental energy, in the form of burned biomass or burned fossil fuels, or nuclear. Humans’ use of supplemental energy has allowed humans’ to develop bigger brains. It has also allowed human population to explode, as humans repeatedly outsmarted the competition.

      Perhaps the rapid growth of human population is the way that God planned things to work out. In fact, it is possible that the entire universe was created for the benefit of humans. The existence of life on other planets seems to be very rare. The various religions document insights that various populations have gained, on how the system seems to work, and what actions seem to work best for humans to be satisfied in this life. The importance of energy and light comes up many places.

      We all know that we cannot live forever on this world. This happens partly because of our limited life spans, but also because the economy here cannot last forever.

      Even if we were like other plants and animals, and lived only within the budget of the solar energy that we share with other species (instead of supplementing it with stored energy from elsewhere, we would find that the ecosystems we lived in would not last forever. Climates would change. There would be other changes as well, for example in the number of top predators in the area of the world where these more limited humans might be able to live. These changes might very well eliminate our entire species at some point, or at least greatly diminish its numbers.

      It is easy to think we humans have all the answers, but I am afraid we do not. We think we are in charge of the economy, but we really are not. We think that God must want to act in a particular way (making us like other animals, for example), but that is not necessarily the case. Maybe we were meant to be different. There are a lot of things we simply do not know for certain.

      • Artleads says:

        “We think that God must want to act in a particular way (making us like other animals, for example), but that is not necessarily the case. Maybe we were meant to be different. There are a lot of things we simply do not know for certain.”

        I’ve listened to a lot of Terrence McKenna’s videos. (There’s a whole series of them that last over an hour each>) The sound on this clip isn’t good, but at least it’s short. What you both are suggesting doesn’t seem too much at variance.

        http://search.aol.com/aol/video?q=terrence+mckenna+and+human+purpose&v_t=webmail-hawaii1-basicaol

      • Justsayin says:

        Gail I would like to thank you for your tolerance. It is another one of your exceptional qualities.

        “I am not as negative as you are on this situation.”
        Im not sure what that means. Arnt you often called that adjective from people reacting to the facts you present?

        “Perhaps the rapid growth of human population is the way that God planned things to work out.”
        I see. So we should continue, More the merrier?

        “In fact, it is possible that the entire universe was created for the benefit of humans. ”

        I hear this trumpeted often when someone is reinforcing their entitlement to consume. I think this works against the qualities i would consider in touch with god- graciousness, kindness compassion, service, selflessness.

        “These changes might very well eliminate our entire species at some point, or at least greatly diminish its numbers.”

        Im really rather shocked Gail. The facts so eloquently presented on this blog are that not “living within our budget” will result in horrific events involving much suffering amongst our species (not even considering the other life forms we share the planet with) .Consider the title of your blog. Yet you are arguing against “living within our budget” with hypothetical scenarios very far detached from our situation, Contrast this with your usual level headed analysis based on what our actual situation is and your disdain for those presenting non realistic scenarios. I am disappointed. You are one of the only people if not the only person I have ever known who has the courage to confront our actions. I respect you as a great teacher.

        If a individual is proceeding down a path that disrespects other people, life forms, and their selves i do not consider it a path of god. It is clear to me that as a species our path is similar. This is a personal belief and I suppose it could be considered negative. Is confronting self destructive behavior really more negative than continuing it? I say no.
        I say confronting destructive behavior in peaceful logical manner is in fact the work of god, That is why i will always see you Gail as a worker for God.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          No comment on the god stuff…

          But I do know we need to consume ever more till the end of time — otherwise the global economy will collapse …

          And we will be digging in the dirt with sticks….

          Let me know if you disagree — or if you do not understand why increased consumption is necessary.

        • Artleads says:

          It’s hard to figure out what human life is about. We have SO much intelligence–while using only a fraction of it–that we don’t know how to use it. I’ve sometimes thought that truth for humans is paradoxical. So thinking that the universe is made for humans doesn’t necessarily mean disrespect or exploitation of anything. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. The bible tells us to dominate the earth and be stewards of it at the same time.

        • I don’t think we really have control over the things that we would like to have control over., such as population. We can reduce population through “bad” ways (war, atomic bombs, intentional release of pathogens, abortion, killing female infants), but trying to reduce it through “good” ways (birth control, education of women, programs to promote smaller families, such as used by China) don’t work very well. In fact, there is a question whether we should try to force our values on other cultures. Also, these approaches are energy intensive, so really don’t work long term.

          We humans are dissipative structures, and most of the things that change on the earth are dissipative structures. As such, our function is to dissipate energy as efficiently as possible. One way of doing this is through having lots of children (as many as we can afford) and always wanting “more” and “better” goods and services. This was sort of a shock to me, since I was always brought up to not be too concerned about having the “best” house, or the “nicest” clothes. Mental health seems to come from keeping our “wants” at or below our ability to pay for goods and services–something that religions seem to teach. In a sense, our desire for a job that pays as well as possible, is another way we maximize our consumption of goods and services. (If a high-paying job is available, and we choose not to take it, someone else will take it, giving that person the opportunity to buy more goods and services.)

          When it comes to dissipating energy, co-operation is a better strategy than competition, especially when there are more than enough resources to go around. From this point of view, the values of caring and compassion for other humans are part of this strategy. Religions often reinforce these patterns. Religions can often reinforce fighting, and reduction of population through war, because of differences in population. I would expect that very often this fighting comes when resources are scarce. It is part of the overall pattern of keeping population in balance with available resources. The same situation works for other animals. No matter how concerned we are for other humans, it is virtually impossible to carry this concern over to all living creatures. We cannot avoid stepping on insects, even if we can find ways to avoid eating meat.

          I do not think that we humans really have a way of “living within our budget.” We are physically adapted to requiring external energy so that we can cook some of our food, and so that we can do all of the other things necessary to maintaining our population (making clothing, building homes, heating homes, creating businesses and governments so that we can do these things). There has been a great deal of mis-information spread about, saying that we humans are using “two earths” worth of resources, or some such thing. This is absurd. We are using stored solar energy in the form of fossil fuels, and irreplaceable good-quality ores of uranium and of many metals. There is no way that a person can value these irreplaceable items in terms of “number of earths.” Even aquifers that don’t replenish in any reasonable timeframe are irreplaceable.

          Even if we were each to reduce our personal usage by 50%, it would make no sense in the long run. A dissipative structure is set up to maximize energy consumption. No matter how awful it may seem to us, our savings would be transferred to others, perhaps in Africa, so that they, too, could dissipate more energy. Perhaps they could have a higher standard of living. The effect would likely be pretty much the same in terns of depleting resources, causing global warming, and the other bad effects we see.

          What is destructive behavior? This is something we will all differ on. My father grew up on the island of Madagascar, as a child of missionary parents. There, when twins were born, Medicine Men encouraged mothers to pick out the stronger of the two infants, and only nurse that one. Clearly, this was partly a way of keeping population down. It would tend to eliminate weak infants, who might not be as good contributors as adults. It also made certain that breast milk was adequate for the child who was nursed, and that the mother’s health was not taxed by trying to make milk for two children. Needless to say, missionaries stopped this practice. They also brought in more resources (health care, latrines, schooling), so that population rapidly rose (not necessarily good).

          I know that in many places, (not necessarily Madagascar), it has been the practice to let infants and toddler die (take them to the edge of the city and abandon them), if they are clearly handicapped. At a time when the population was barely able to care for itself, much less raise handicapped children to adulthood, I can understand this practice. As resources have increased, and Christianity has spread, there has been a strong push to keep every child, no matter how handicapped, alive. Clearly this is not helpful from a natural selection point of view. There has also been a push to keep the very elderly alive, no matter how much it costs. If we don’t have enough resources, we most likely will have to make different decisions.

          • Artleads says:

            The second paragraph seems to promote having more children, and meanwhile the last paragraph (which I would have subscribed to) to do the opposite?

            • It all comes down to what a given civilization considers an appropriate way to hold down population. In recent times, with all of our energy, we have convinced ourselves that we must keep every human being alive, whether they have very low birth weight, or are suffering from a practically incurable disability, or are very elderly.

              In fact, many civilizations have made different choices, based on their more limited resources. I think the right answer depends on the resource situation at the time. “Good” and “bad” vary depending on context.

      • Joebanana says:

        Great post Gail. It is all a great mystery but I do not think we are so hardwired that we have no say in our actions. When I hear people say that I’m reminded of the the guy taking Dave’s order here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8YAK8oMEKI

    • Greg Machala says:

      The car finance bubble is about to pop. Time for another round of cash-for-clunkers.

    • DJ says:

      Trade in price of car less than remaining debt.
      This is added to full price of new car.

    • Difference between “value of car for resale” and “amount still owed on loan,” when this amount is negative.

    • DJ says:

      In a near future everything will be bought on credit (mortgage free if you are young) with close to no interest, paid with helicopter money.

        • DJ says:

          You can’t do an authentic test that is limited in time, and you must enroll people who has jobs.

          UBI is the future! (Until there is no more future.)

        • Ert says:

          This is only a discussion in surplus-lala-land where people don’t grasp what the cause for prosperity is.

          When external energy input diminishes people have to work more for less to keep the productivity up. Thats the reason behind people work longer hours in worse jobs for less money and still not making ends meet.

          I really getting angry about all those ideas, including that renewable will save us all, from people who do not understand anything.

          Last thing which poped up in my email was that my city wants to establish “climate neutral mobility” until 2050. Reducing emissions by 95% and use 50% less energy by providing the same or better mobility (and growth….). Do those people get anything? Like basic level physics and entropy?

          • DJ says:

            As long as there is surplus AND unemployable people there must be a mechanism to transfer surplus to those unemployable.

            A low bureaucracy system frees some, maybe employable, people from useless administrative tasks.

            UBI does not make any sense at all with open borders or if full employment is a goal.

            • Ert says:

              UBI does not make any sense at all with open borders or if full employment is a goal.”

              Very good points! And if you want to depress wages – like in Germany, where even unemployed with minimum existential benefits have to work for 1€/hour in some jobs that officially should not compete with real jobs, then this doesn’t make any sense at all.

            • Or if there is no surplus.

            • DJ says:

              But there is a surplus (for now) otherwise everyone would not be fed, clothed and housed and more.

              The big difference between UBI and what we have now is you don’t have to pretend to try to find work or to not being able to work.

              And like Ert suggested minimum wage could be lowered to nothing when the wage is on top of UBI.

            • ubi has been mooted in several countries

              none of their economic ”wizards” seem to grasp the problem with it.

              that if people sit at home doing nothing, they still have a calorific demand for food intake, say 2500c a day.
              this has to come from somewhere, and ultimately that ”somewhere” is mother earth. And getting food out of the ground and onto plates requires energy input.
              At current usage, that input is10x what goes down our collective necks, so that’s 25000 c a day—per person.
              If 250 people get UBI, then you can be sure everyone will demand UBI fairly quickly, so that means entire populations will expect 25000c a day to be magicked out of thin air.

              But folks sitting at home are economically inactive—deadweight on their national economy. they produce nothing, so effectively the food producers (farmers etc.) will have to work to keep them well fed in idleness—because once UBI gets ingrained into any national system, it will be impossible to remove.

              But the farmers will be paid for the food they produce—won’t they?
              Of course they will, through the UBI payments handed out to citizens.

              So where does that money come from?
              Taxation of course. To sustain UBI the tax wealth of any nation must be diverted into UBI cash.
              That taxation can only come from those who make and sell stuff—which, logically means that they too will be supporting UBI recipients. (along with the farmers)

              Quickly the contagion will spread, so that fewer and fewer people will elect to work at all.
              As I see it, work itself is to become an elective function.
              Why should they work if UBI takes care of all their material needs. (roof, food, health and so on.)

              when the nation collapses, the inclination to work will no longer be there….after all—prosperity can be voted into office, so just change the government and start over.

            • Working has costs involved. A person needs transportation to get to work. The hours may be irregular and interfere with normal activities Workers are often expected to dress in a certain way, necessitating new clothes. Many people have day care costs for either a child or an elderly parent to consider. The family’s tax bracket will be higher if a spouse works. All of these things mean that a job has to pay reasonably well, to make sense at all for most people.

            • DJ says:

              If it is politically possible is another question.

              Can it be accepterad without consensus that full employment is impossible?

              If full employment IS impossible that raises question about why immigration and why educating people that never will work.

            • Volvo740 says:

              I think you could argue that Sweden has some form of UBI today. I think in principle that if you have nothing, and know how to apply, the government will find you an apartment and a little bit of money so you can scrape by. You can’t have any assets or a car or anything, but you may not have to starve. There is a word for this: Socialfall

          • Froggman says:

            Ha, this sounds like the types of goals we have where I work (City government). I’m one of the planners who (publicly) pushes for plans like this with dramatic GHG reductions, but I share your sentiment. It’s more than “a dollar short and a day late”, it’s trillions of dollars short and a hundred years too late…

        • At least they have the good sense to try the experiment on 250 people.

        • Skram one says:

          Until Industrial Civilization actually does collapse,…and no one knows that day or year, AI and machines continue to take the place of human labor. Is it impossible to imagine average human beings being somewhat the benefactors of this productivity? Or should the Corporatocracy take it all? And seeing that the machines require nothing in return, nor are they consumers, who, has the money to buy the stuff it produces?

          I certainly don’t have a strong stance on the issue, but I think it is something we must consider while we wait for collapse.

          • Artleads says:

            “And seeing that the machines require nothing in return…”

            Machines require care. If you mistreat them they don’t work as well.

      • Ert says:

        I though about if I enter that game… if everything goes down anyway… why not?

        The issue I decided against it: The rules change all the time now… and if you enter the system (i.e. the debt game) things can get pretty ugly fast. To retain maximal control and flexibility in and of my life I downsize and stay off debt. That makes me much more financially and geographically mobile.

      • Greg Machala says:

        It is so amazing the value that is placed on imaginary digital money. I just have this picture in my head of what money means to people: big smiles, air horns and unicorns flying overhead after winning the lottery. There is this completely unfounded (without precedent) belief that infinite money printing will lead to prosperity. As a society, how have we become so stupid?

        • DJ says:

          If you don’t give out the money proportionally money printing redistributes resources. Inflation is an easier way to steal money than taxes.

          • We haven’t been able to produce inflation by printing money recently. The inflation produced seems to be asset price inflation. This makes it harder for working people to afford assets, like houses and farms.

            • Christian says:

              The developped world has not produced inflation because they doesn’t want to. It is just a very, very big lie. Printing money for wall street will only inflate stocks and dividends. If you print the money and use it to raise wages, you’ll have general inflation just announcing you’ll do it

            • If you print money and use it for wages, your goods will not be competitive on the world market, unless your currency drops so low that the price of imports becomes a problem. I don’t think printing money really works for creating inflation. If it did, Japan would be in great shape.

            • Stefeun says:

              Gail, you say:
              “I don’t think printing money really works for creating inflation.”

              Printing money doesn’t create real wealth, that’s for sure, but with respect to inflation, how else would you explain it, else than giving a higher price (arbitrary figure) to a given energy input?

              Probably I missed something here, but at least, if money printing doesn’t create inflation (when used in real economy), it seems necessary for it to happen. Cause? Consequence?

            • Stefeun, there are two kinds of inflation (1) asset price inflation and (2) commodity price inflation.

              Asset price inflation is fairly easy to create. Lowering interest rates tends to create asset price inflation. Making the rich wealthier, by making the economy more complex, also seems to work. Adding more debt–something that seems to come with lower interest rates–tends to work as well. So printing money will create asset price inflation.

              Commodity price inflation comes from either (a) diminishing returns in commodity production, and non-elite workers having enough money to pay the higher costs reflected by diminishing returns. This can happen if many more workers are joining the work force, and if wages are rising quite rapidly. This happened in the pearly 1970s.

              Alternatively, commodity price inflation can come from (b) growing demand from non-elite workers, coming from a combination of wages growth (or lack of growth) and debt growth. In theory, this debt growth can come from printed money. The problem is that printing money will tend to lower the value of a currency, relative to other currencies. So even if a country prints money, and gives the money as a bonus to its workers, the action may not really benefit its workers very much, because the value of the currency will drop relative to other currencies. Commodities from outside the country will thus become more expensive, making them less affordable for workers, despite the printed money. So it is really very difficult to do, unless the country is completely self-sufficient in commodity production. If this is the case, the drop in the value of their currency will not be a problem.

            • More complexity = more overhead for the economy, less left over for wages.

            • Stefeun says:

              Thanks Gail for explaining the distinction between asset and commodity types of inflation.

              It’s fairly complex ; I understand that for commodity-inflation there are quite a lot of feedback loops depending on the position and exchanges of the country vis à vis all the others,
              And wrt asset-inflation, it erodes savings and reduces debt, but increases market-value of the capital goods. I guess there are quite complex feedback-loops here too.
              Wonder if the inflation target of 2% is only artificial, i.e. only to keep the nominal figures growing.

            • I think they need the 2% inflation target to make debt reasonably repayable. With interest rates as low as they are, the 2% inflation target makes inflation-adjusted interest rates negative. With a negative “real” interest rate, almost any “investment” should be worthwhile.

            • Stefeun says:

              You’re right, Gail.
              What matters is not the inflation by itself (since it’s basically more money for the same thing), rather the gap between inflation and other parameters, such as interest rates, wages, foreign currencies, etc.., its evolution along time (governance + feedback loops) and its sign (+/-), which determines the volumes and direction of the money-pumping.

              A complex system by itself, where each parameter has an impact on all others.
              I’ll stop here to try and avoid too big a headache.

            • Christian says:

              That’s the “Developped world problem” (I suppose Japan didn’t gave the money to the poeple neither). We never had this “problem”. I suppose also that it arises from the need/desire to protect a high currency value, which is very important for the capitalists and which is good, to some extent (at least when the volume of jobs is still somewhat enough) for the little people

          • Christian says:

            “Inflation is an easier way to steal money than taxes.”

            Yes and no, it depends. If you are a lender capitalist (i.e. you lend in strong currency, so you’re from the US, Europe or Japan) you can only use taxes because you need a strong currency. That’s why some people can imagine this:

            http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-28/jackson-hole-post-mortem-it-may-take-massive-program-large-enough-shock-taxpayers

            But if you’re a middleman capitalist (i.e. you take strong currency and lend soft currency, so you’re a third world capitalist) you can only use inflation because you don’t even really set the value of your currency.

            Gail, I don’t really get your point with two different inflations, but I am not sure you get the whole picture here:

            “Commodities from outside the country will thus become more expensive, making them less affordable for workers, despite the printed money. So it is really very difficult to do, unless the country is completely self-sufficient in commodity production. If this is the case, the drop in the value of their currency will not be a problem.”

            It’s not only imported commodities that would become more expensive (in local currency), but everything that is imported, wathever. But you’re somewhat right when you say that a self-sufficient economy (but not only reg. commodities) is better suited to withstand currency fluctuation (as it is the russian case).

            And I am not sure what do you mean with “problem”. Problems are relative to someone, i.e. some policy can benefit the 1 percent and not the rest.

            • You are right–it is everything that is imported that becomes a problem, not just the commodities. I was thinking that if the country was 100% self-sufficient in commodities, it could make everything it needed, so it wouldn’t need to import goods. Of course, that isn’t true; a country also needs factories and trained workers to be completely self-sufficient.

              When I look at the charts of the various currencies relative to the US dollar, I am not convinced that we can any longer think of the Euro as a “strong” currency. At one point, it was almost up to $1.60 to the dollar (back in 2008, when oil prices were high); now it is down to a little over 1.06 to the dollar. Likewise, the Japanese yen was high back when oil prices were high in the 2011 period (.0132 to the dollar) when oil prices were much higher, but now are much lower now (.0088). The British pound was very high back in 2008 (over 2.00 part of the time). It is now 1.26. We really need to look at the US dollar as the only “strong” currency. Everyone else is forced to buy oil, priced in dollars.

              It is the 99% of the population that has to benefit (not the 1%), if demand for commodities is going to rise. The US dollar is now so high that it is causing a problem. Raising US interest rates is likely to make the situation even worse. So will cutting rates elsewhere.

            • Christian says:

              You are perhaps right about USD being the only truly strong currency right now, but the other two still are rather base currencies than middlemen ones

              “It is the 99% of the population that has to benefit (not the 1%), if demand for commodities is going to rise. The US dollar is now so high that it is causing a problem. Raising US interest rates is likely to make the situation even worse. So will cutting rates elsewhere.”

              Well, demand won’t rise, and even less given the planned cut, forget it. It’s true USD value es the biggest problem in the global financial system, and one can only wonder what the Fed is expecting will happen in case of a rate hike. But reg. rates elsewhere… our CB had to cut the rate immediately after the election and usd soaring

          • Christian says:

            Besides, reg. problems the 99% is not homogeneous. People with jobs can prefer to be paid in strong currency, but people without it could prefer a devaluation that could bring on jobs because of cheap labor, while this almost only applies to manufacturing.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Plenty of corporations are now paying only the interest on their loans — at very low interest rates…

        Plenty of them are also borrowing new cash to make those payments.

        For those who thought the end of near was years ago and were burned…. what we are seeing now is not somebody crying wolf…

        This cannot last much longer.

  14. Pintada says:

    Dear Finite Worlders;

    http://tpu.ru/en/news-events/987/

    I have been waiting for this to be documented, hoping that I would see some sort of financial crash first. No such luck.

    • Pintada says:

      Sorry, the above is a little too cryptic. Professor Peter Wadhams became worried about methane clathrates several years ago. He had the (still controversial) idea that if you have ice frozen at the bottom of the ocean, and you warm the ocean up, the ice will melt. The mainstream guys say no, the ice will simply stay frozen forever regardless of the ocean temperature or the existence (or absence) of the Arctic Ice cap.

      Come to find out, Wadhams is right! Ice will melt when warmed above its freezing point! A spot of genius there.

      As a result, within the next 10 years someone will see a world 4C warmer than it is right now, and then a few years after that it will be all over for any mammal that weighs more than ~5lbs. With this news, in the race between financial collapse and environmental collapse, environmental collapse is definitely in the lead.

      Even if the financial collapse did happen today, it would be too late for it to do any good. There is a person who posts as “Guy is Right” (or some such), well, he is right.

      • Tango Oscar says:

        Guy just said recently that humans have less than a decade left. All it will technically take is a +2C above average rise to effectively cause our extinction. If we hit +4C in a decade or two, or possibly instantly due to a massive methane burp, it will likely turn our planet into Venus in very short order. In fact methane could already be releasing in large quantities right now, as +40 F above average temps in the Arctic are indicating something is very broken.

        Enter Natalia Shakhova, who “leads the Russia-U.S. Methane Study at the International Arctic Research Center, at the University Alaska Fairbanks and the Pacific Oceanological Institute, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 2004, she has been a leader in methane studies on the East Siberian Shelf, with a focus on climate-driven feedbacks. Over the last five years, she has published more than 20 papers including Science magazine (2010) and Nature (2012).”
        http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/people/nshakhov

        Here is a research paper she was an author of which shows the level of detail and description that goes into what these people are doing in the Arctic. It’s not for everyone.
        http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/2052/20140451

        Here is a 2 year old Youtube video of her explaining very clearly (outside of her accent) what could happen and how it may impact the planet around the 10:00 mark. “If a 3.5% fraction of the methane that has accumulated in the seabed, and to our understanding it’s about 50 gigatons of methane. If it were released in a short period of time, this will effect the climate of our planet in the worst possible way because this might cause increasing temperature of more than 3 degrees celcius.”

    • Ert says:

      They didn’t say whats the quality / quantity of the methane releases…. its not the 50GT… so we will see… can’t change anything on that front anyway…. dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

  15. Fast Eddy says:

    Now this is progress!

    Messages From Space Can Tell You Where to Fish
    http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2016-asia-space-race/space-fishing.html

    • We have a problem with over fishing. How will this help the problem?

      • Artleads says:

        I’m guessing that FE was not promoting the idea. But then…

      • Ert says:

        @Gail

        When there are finally no fish anymore in the oceans – the problem with “overfishing” goes away, too 🙂

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I recently watched a documentary about the Ross Sea — various Koombayaists were rallying the world to stop fishing in the last frontier…

        As if that matters — we would not be fishing at the ends of the earth if we weren’t running out of fish in other areas….

        And then celebrating how we use satellite technologies to make sure we don’t leave a single fish behind in the planet’s other oceans.

        No Fish Left Behind!

        We humans are so (*&&^%% clever!

        • Skram one says:

          Thank God the fish can’t attack us back, or we would need to send the US military in… For humanitarian reasons for sure…

        • Artleads says:

          “Benefits for fisheries

          There is considerable research to show that marine sanctuaries can benefit fisheries. The benefits can include increased commercial and recreation catches along sanctuary boundaries, such as in South Africa and St Lucia, as well as fish and larval spillover underpinning the sustainability of surrounding fisheries in 12 of 14 sanctuaries analysed.”

          http://saveourmarinelife.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/mpa-review.pdf

  16. Ed says:

    FE, when the end is in sight can we all come and live with you?

    • Kurt says:

      I’ll bring the turkey!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Exactly the problem Permies will face when the end comes ….

      Crazy old uncle with the big garden and the shed full of Doomsday Prepper Stuff …. will suddenly be not seem so crazy … and relatives and friends will show up asking for a spot in the oasis….

      • doomphd says:

        com’mon FE, what better way to go than surrrounded by family and friends, those with like mind, and bearing turkeys and other gifts? i’ll bring some single malt.

        • Jeremy says:

          Well, Eddy, we don’t sweat what you see or don’t…like you once wrote to me, “I don’t care what you think”, likewise….rather be at something that MAY provide a means as a PARTIAL solution than whining and being all doom and gloom with your mistress here.
          Funny how she protects her little one….
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=L3ebYaa4b2M

          You provide some good links…but for the most part just seeking attention.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            How is Permie hobby farming a partial solution?

            What part don’t you get?

            No doubt Gail and others – are tired of listening to your endless Koombaya talk — and are on board with my efforts to drive you off to Doomdiner and PeakRipOff… the home of the Permie Hobby Farmer…

            Here’s the thing…

            Some of us are here to learn — we change our positions when another member – or a new article — presents an argument backed up with facts and logic — that dictate a change makes sense.

            Then there are the likes of you — it has been demonstrated that Permie Hobby Farming will not save you.

            You refuse to even test the waters by taking the Challenge.

            You sit there on your hobby farm with your whipper snipper… your mower… you chain saw… your washing machine…. you electric lights — your car/truck…. your fridge … and endless other ‘conveniences’ that require BAU…

            And you scream ‘LOOK AT ME! – I have self-sufficient – I have everything in place to be able to survive this’

      • Pintada says:

        Dear Fast Eddy;

        When you are right, you are right! (Though I will not stop trying, its just who I am.)

        For the near term, keep an eye on http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/foodpricesindex/en/

        Once the food price index hits 220 or so, the s-h-i-t will hit the fan in terms of civic turmoil. People do not like to be hungry.

        http://blogs.umb.edu/paxblog/files/2013/01/denny-1cp4jrk.png

        Terminally yours,
        Pintada

        • This is looking at a few years’ ago’s problems. I expect that the problem will be low food prices that will greatly reduce food production, and people who are unemployed, and therefore unable to buy it, that will be the problem. Saudi Arabia is headed in a different direction now than during Arab Spring. Arab Spring came when energy prices were high. Our problems going forward are likely in the other direction, in other words, low prices.

          • Tango Oscar says:

            Food prices have been deflating for awhile now. Interestingly used cars and trucks appear to be rapidly losing value as well. To me this signals market and debt saturation with a lack in consumer confidence.
            http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

            Wal-Mart just said that lower grocery prices hurt their bottom line. “Grocery prices are in a free-fall. Food prices have declined for nine straight months in the US, marking one of the longest stretches of food deflation in 50 years.”
            http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-grocery-prices-2016-9

            • All of the decreases in prices are connected together. The underlying problem is too few people with high enough wages to afford all of the things that their families need. When there is not enough “demand” for used cars, prices fall. When there is not enough demand for food, prices tend to drop as well. Over-production may be a problem as well, as people invest in new productive capacity, because interest rates are close to zero.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              Wouldn’t natural gas flaring and food waste be signs pointing to over-production as well? I believe America currently sits at around 40% of food wasted or $165 Billion dollars annually.

            • Natural gas flaring seems to me to be a perfectly rational approach to dealing with natural gas which costs more to capture and transport using pipelines than it really is worth in the marketplace. The cost of stripping out undesirable gasses that are co-produced with the natural gas, and then building pipelines is simply too high relative to the value the natural gas gives to society.

              With respect to food, I don’t know. Part of it is the fact that producers have found that they can sell unblemished, regular-shaped produce for more than irregularly shaped produce. Also, what “right” do we have to 100% of the produce that is grown? Don’t other species that feed on produce have a right to some of it as well?

              There are other kinds of losses as well. I understand the losses are particularly high in underdeveloped countries that don’t have access to fast transportation and refrigeration. So the question is, “How much energy are we willing to spend, to get precisely what we want to the right place at the right time?” I expect that some of the issue is trade-offs with other costs. For example, the quantity of bread needed may vary over some range, and producers may somewhat overproduce to always have enough. There is some loss (that goes to non-human species). I am not convinced this is all bad.

              I personally throw out very little food, but I don’t think the end consumer is necessarily the one involved in throwing out food.

              I know that some food that is near its “last sale date” or is left over from big banquets is donated to groups that feed the poor. There is some concern in doing this that the food will “go bad,” or that it will reduce grocery store sales.

          • Pintada says:

            Dear Ms Tverberg;

            A rare opportunity for me to disagree with you. This time, the price of oil will not correlate with the price of food. The last time, the correlation did not indicate causation either. The problem was that there was drought/flooding in all the worlds bread baskets at once. Then when the Russians stopped exporting wheat, (and didn’t the Thais stop exporting rice) the price of food went nuts.

            This time, whether it is this summer or next, droughts in Africa, the western US and other places will drive up the price, and people will do anything to get money for whatever food is available. Match the droughts with exceptional flooding and bingo. So, deflation with other commodities including energy while the price of food goes up.

            We’ll see,
            Pintada

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Agree — food will follow the same path as oil — production costs will rise — but point of sale prices cannot keep up because people cannot afford higher prices — prices will deflate below break even — and food producers end up like oil producers… insolvent – then bankrupt

          • Skram one says:

            Gail,
            I can’t help but wonder… What’s your thoughts on the minimum wage argument here in the States? Do you think raising to $15 per hour is a good thing or bad?

            • Skram one says:

              And I am curious what others here at FW think as well?

            • It would shift the problem from “workers who are working, but not making enough to support themselves,” to “workers without a job at all.” What would happen is that some workers currently making less than $15 per hour would get big raises, but quite a few would lose their jobs.

              Europe has a big problem with high unemployment rates, but it tends to have active unions and high minimum wages. The US has less active unions and lower minimum wages. The US would become more like Europe. I don’t think that either the US or Europe can really afford to pay high benefits to those who are not working, however.

              So all in all, I am not sure that a $15 per hour minimum wage would fix things.

            • Tango Oscar says:

              I think it’s bad. In order to cover the increased costs of higher wages many businesses will be forced to shed employees in order to make ends meet; this is doubly true for small businesses that cannot afford to just bump all of their employee’s wages up. Then the business goes bankrupt and has zero employees, making the problem even worse. Could a company like Wal-Mart afford to bump up their minimum pay? Probably. But when you consider they’re under attack in other areas, such as food price deflation hurting their margins, it would hurt their bottom line substantially enough where stockholders may begin to bail when they see declining profits (which might already be happening). In sum, raising the minimum wage would be bad for both big and small businesses.

            • wages represent the surplus between:

              1 …..the cost of energy necessary to support a business and make it function—ie cost of bought in goods, and running costs of the establishment itself. Energy input etc.

              and 2… The amount of money (which is also a token of energy availability on the part of the customer) which buyers of those goods/services will pay to buy them.

              There is no other source of “wages”. They can only be a proportion of the difference between 1 and 2.

              if 1 and 2 above get too close, then wages are constrained.
              People probably get laid off.
              If there is no gap at all between 1 and 2, there can be no wages because the business folds.

              In the era of the so called “American Dream”, (up to 1970) the gap between 1 and 2 was large, so everybody had (relatively) high wages.
              Why was the gap so large?
              Because the cost of energy input (primarily oil coal and gas) into the manufacturing system was very low, buying momentum (collective debt) was very high.
              Wages represented part of the surplus between buying and selling. Everybody was making and selling stuff to each other as fast as possible on the treadmill of infinity.
              Very few realised (me included) that rising wages were effectively financed by our own rising debt. That debt was affordable as long as we had input of cheap energy.

              Thus if a minimum wage of (say) $15 is established, then the employer has 5 main choices:
              1…increase the price of goods
              2…find cheaper goods to buy in, (which means finding cheaper energy sources back down the line)
              3.. Lay off workers and spread higher wages among fewer employees who have to work harder to maintain output
              4.. decrease the dividends paid to the owners of the company itself.
              5 ..use robots, but robots don’t buy goods—so ultimately a dead end.

              With those choices, any business is being pulled in different directions at once, all factions involved being in a state of denial that prosperity is dependent on cheap energy input, and that the era of cheap energy is over.
              Shareholders in particular regard any business as a cashcow that can be milked as long as its buildings exist, workers seeing ongoing “employment” as an inalienable right—both of those concepts having existed for only the last 200 years or even less.

              This is why our current system must collapse, because we have to burn fuel to create jobs, and energy input will become too expensive for that.

            • Good points! Economic output has to be shared between the payments for supplemental energy and payments for human energy. If supplemental energy is cheap; human energy can get more of the “pot.” If supplemental energy is expensive, then payments for human energy are constrained.

              The only other alternative is that the entire higher cost of energy products falls through to the profit made by the company. The company needs to have a high enough return to continue its operation, so this cannot happen either.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Ultimately… the pie is shrinking…. there are no work-arounds that can give bigger pieces to anyone without taking from the share of someone else…

            • DJ says:

              1 & 2 is already optimized. 4 is avoided at all costs, so 3 & 5 it is.

            • DJ says:

              UBI would kick the can if the minimum wage is too low.

              Minimum wage could be eliminated and in practice you could probably find people willing to work for a handful dollars per hour if this is added to UBI.

              UBI would probably disincentivize automation.

            • Ert says:

              1 & 2 is already optimized. 4 is avoided at all costs, so 3 & 5 it is.

              Thats what my last employers does. Reduction of employees, especially in production and administration, massive automation and it is aimed to increase the regular working hours of the remaining workers again by 5 hours.

              At the same time offices get cramped, privacy is removed, food in the canteen gets worse & they pack more tables/chairs in the same space of the canteen.

        • Christian says:

          Pintada,

          “Once the food price index hits 220 or so, the s-h-i-t will hit the fan in terms of civic turmoil.” What do you mean with that, your graph says we’re at 230…

          This food price theme is very interesting, but I don’t see we grasp it… Some say retail prices are falling, some others that they are rising… Perhpas the situation is not the same in different places. And also perhaps retail prices are not evolving as bulk prices

          And it’s not that everything goes the same path. As we can se there, most bulk prices augmented this year but cereals, the most important stuff have decrased:

          http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/worldfood/images/index_table.jpg

          • DJ says:

            Gasoline at the pump (in Sweden) down 11% fro average of 2012. At the same time producer price down 65% or so.

            I know market price of commodities and electricity but consumer price is up.

            Interestingly mortgage rates are up .2-.3 from the bottom but market rates are flat or down, AND bank profits is still down.

  17. Christian says:

    Zombie rallies are somewhat booming in Argentina, but it’s the first time I see mass wedding

    https://www.rt.com/in-motion/368588-argentina-dead-walk-wedding/

  18. Yoshua says:

    World total energy production reached a plateau last year. Without energy growth there is no economic growth. Population growth won’t help since energy per capita would just fall. Infrastructure work won’t help since it would just take away energy from another part of the economy… the same thing with an industrialization program.

    Energy efficiency would help by producing more goods and services with the same amount of energy.

    Stealing energy from other nations might do the trick.

    Trump and his team will probably be forced to make some tough decisions. Will they succeed or will they announce martial law within 100 days of his presidency?

    Or will he just flip flop and declare war against global warming?

    • lets not jest about Trump and martial law

      When he fails to deliver, and his deplorables figure out they’ve been conned, and there really is nothing out there for them
      then civil unrest and violence becomes certain—as does martial law.

      • Kurt says:

        Yes. This gets back to my point that the U.S. Military will play a large role in coming events. What we need and what we want, we shall take. Although the “we” still seems vague to me.

        • psile says:

          I think this really depends on the nature of the collapse. Total collapse will mean loss of command, communication and control at all levels of state. Like JH Kunstler once quipped, after collapse the government will be lucky be able to answer the phones. A partial one will leave a hella-lot of domestic unrest to try and pacify. Either way, the U.S. as we know it will have ceased to exist.

          Either way, I don’t think we have too many more years left to wait….

        • SymbolikGirl says:

          I wonder how much order the military could really impose on the US, especially if the JIT logistics fail in an area (or across the continent)? The US with maybe a few million soldiers (active, reserve and National Guard) and police trying to contain an urban population of over 300 million, many armed to the teeth. I forsee more of a triage taking place with fortified ‘Green Zones’ being set up in Washington, Manhattan and other wealthy and/or ‘critical’ places while other cities are left to the chaos. Maybe the military will be used to seize or ‘protect’ critical infrastructure and resources like grain silos and food processing plants. I don’t think this could last very long as the fuel and food feeding the soldiers and police runs out, I could see a lot of soldiers either not showing up to the call-up’s or going AWOL to find their families.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        1.6 Billion Rounds of Ammo…. ready and waiting….

    • Yes, I noticed his article. Too many people read the story about the Permian Giant Oil Field and assume it means we are “saved”. Not so, if our real problem is low oil prices, which cannot rise to the level needed to enable extraction.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I noticed an MSM article earlier about how ‘leaner meaner’ shale is an even greater threat to OPEC oil producers …

        Given that break even remains 120+ for most producers — with shale at the high end of that….

        These articles are a total joke….

        The rats are being run around the maze.

    • Greg Machala says:

      Can you imagine how much things would cost if consumers had to pay the real costs of goods. If every worker along the entire supply chain was paid a true living wage for all the resources and labor (that go into say an automobile) the costs would be staggering. In that case I wonder if a typical electric car would cost nearly one million dollars?

    • Jeremy says:

      “Wasn’t aware of it”, always the corporate excuse for misbehaving. The nature of corporations is the concept of “limited responsibility”, to stem prosecution and monetary losses.
      As energy returns dissipate from fossil fuels, the return of human energy will be exploited.
      What is happening there in the Congo has been done throughout history.
      At on time, the running shoe brand “New Balance” prided itself as manufacturer located in the United States in areas where needed jobs were scarce…inner city….
      Well, seems they are using Vietnam now for those needed jobs….
      Suppose China is too expensive

      Here’s what 5 of your favorite products would cost if they were made in the US

      http://www.aol.com/article/2016/11/27/heres-what-5-of-your-favorite-products-would-cost-if-they-were/21614982/

      A large percentage of footwear is made in Asian countries included in the TPP, and about 97 to 99% of sports footwear that’s sold in the US is made in other countries, according to the pro-trade group Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America.

      The TPP would have reduced or eliminated tariffs for shoes imported from Vietnam and other countries, which might have reduced the overall cost of sneakers in the US. Companies like Adidas and Nike, which has 26 footwear factories in Vietnam, supported the trade partnership.

      New Balance, however, opposed the deal. On its website, the company boasts that it makes or assembles 4 million pairs of athletic footwear per year in the USA. New Balance labels its domestically made pairs for consumers, which also makes apparent the difference in price between those shoes and the ones made offshore.

      New Balance shoes range in price from $65 to $399, but the American-made pairs start at $165 and get as expensive as $399. (The most expensive pair on the New Balance website is indeed made in the US.) That means none of the lowest-priced pairs are manufactured domestically.

      A similar contrast is also visible in Reebok’s shoes. The company makes a Postal Express line, which is made in the US and designed specifically to meet the needs of postal workers. But the shoes range from $167-$230, whereas Reebok’s regular athletic footwear costs between $80 and $165.

      Its always about the money

    • DJ says:

      Indirect proof of why automation works. In a western country the mining would involve a lot of machinery. But in Congo the wage is a dollar per hour, or day. So shovel and bucket is optimal.

      EV = 900 X smartphone in cobalt.
      And we are having problems with only smartphones and laptops.

    • Pintada says:

      Dear Stefeun;

      Interesting article thanks.

      Obviously, what is described by the Post will not last. Someone will consolidate a large area of real estate (bribe the people in charge to force the natives out) and put in a modern mine. Then, the suffering of the locals can really begin, because the little river will be diverted or damed to provide water for the mine, the people will starve or move to the “city” (wherever that is). The bureaucrats typically tell the locals that they will all get high paying, easy, safe jobs which is an obvious lie since none of the diggers are diesel mechanics, heavy equipment operators, electricians, etc.. The labor is brought in from abroad.

      The miners complain now, but the Post article just makes it obvious that a huge opportunity for a modern miner is laying there waiting to be used for the good of western consumers. They would have been better served if the Post had not published.

      Funny world,
      Pintada

      • Stefeun says:

        Pintada,
        You’re right, the evolution you describe has been going on for decades, for gold, (blood-)diamonds, etc.. Especially in Africa, but not only (Guyana, ..)

        As soon as a spot is promising, multinationals come in, and the natives must either move, or become clandestine (“illegal mining”) and victims of pollution due to heavy metals a.s.o.
        Just an example among hundreds, gold pollution in Nigeria:
        http://www.afrik-news.com/article17744.html

        I posted the WP article to show the pattern remains the same with “new” minerals. I expect there are similar cases with Bolivian lithium, Chinese rare earths, etc..
        Of course, the purchasers of raw minerals and the final users (us) are never informed about the origin of the products. Talk about voluntary blinders, but on the other hand, would we really have the possibility to escape?

    • Artleads says:

      Stefeun,

      This is about the city–different subject. Couldn’t resist sharing it with you.

      “But a city constructed for The Modern Order disrupts this sensual experience. Modernity and its prescriptions atomize us, into destinations, into cars, into consumers, into whatever we want to define as not the sensual experience. We close off our minds from the sensual, from wedding the crowd. The cold, rational use of urban space is a product of a certain economic ideology tied to efficiency and speed (the profit motive). In the arena of place, by taking a turtle for a walk, you disassemble the logic of the profit motive city—its imposition on your body and mind.”

      http://www.planetizen.com/node/89951/argument-inefficient-city-starting-spatial-justice

      • Stefeun says:

        Artleads,
        Thanks, this seems to go along with my own labeling of the Technosphere, the “Square Bubble”.

        “Square”, because most of what we have created is made of straight lines and right angles, hard and plane surfaces, that almost don’t exist in Nature.
        “Bubble”, because unsustainable and will have to pop.

  19. Fast Eddy says:

    Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides destroying farmlands

    Petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides destroying farmlands

    Traditional farming relied on the planting of diversified crops that attracted a range of insects, some of which are natural enemies of insect pests. Eliminating crop diversity in favor of monoculture crops left the fields without the beneficial insects, and crops became more vulnerable to insect pests, requiring a steady rise in the use of pesticides. Much of the sprayed pesticide runs off into the groundwater and becomes a major source of water pollution in every agricultural region of the world.

    The pesticides also destroy the remaining soil.

    The soil contains millions of microscopic bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa, as well as worms and anthropods. These organisms maintain the fertility and structure of the soil.

    Pesticides destroy these organisms and their complex habitats, hastening the process of soil depletion and erosion.

    American farms lose more than four billion tons of topsoil annually, much of it because of the high-tech farming practices introduced over the past half century. By the 1970s, the U.S. had lost more than one-third of its agricultural topsoil.

    The depletion and erosion, in turn, have required the use of ever-increasing amounts of petrochemical fertilizers to maintain agricultural output. Marginal returns have set in. More and more energy inputs are required to produce smaller gains in net energy yield…

    Moreover, high energy agriculture is now a major contributor to global warming. ..reliance on petrochemical fertilizers has increased the release of nitrous oxide, a potent global warming gas.

    http://www.encognitive.com/node/2189

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Disadvantages of Chemical Fertilizer

      Chemical fertilizers destroy the friability of soil.

      Chemical fertilizers contain acids, including sulfuric and hydrochloric acids. These acids dissolve “soil crumbs”, the material that holds rock particles together.
      While the fertilizers help a plant to grow, they do not do much for the soil. They do not help to improve the health or structure of the soil. Hence, when chemical fertilizers are used for prolonged duration, the soil gets damaged as the trace nutrients are not replenished in the soil.

      When these cementing materials are destroyed, the result is a compacted surface that prevents rain water from entering the soil.

      Chemical fertilizers affect micro-organisms living in the soil.

      The acidity of chemical fertilizers also adversely affects the soil ph, thereby changing the kinds of microorganisms that can live in the soil. Using chemical fertilizers for a prolonged period of time upsets the pH of the soil, causes an increase in pests and does away with the beneficial microbes present in the soil. These are beneficial microorganisms that provide plants with natural immunity to diseases.

      Chemical fertilizers leach away into our ground water without fully benefiting the plant.

      Highly soluble fertilizer dissolves into the soil quite rapidly. Since plants can only absorb a certain amount of nutrition at a time, much of the fertilizer simply leaches away.
      Not only is this leaching detrimental to our ground water, these chemicals also seep into the subsoil. There they interact with clay, forming impermeable layers called “hardpan”.
      Bottom line: Money is wasted, soil conditions are undermined, and plants are not nurtured.

      http://www.agrotechnomarket.com/2014/07/disadvantages-of-chemical-fertilizer.html

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Another anecdote…

        I hired this organization to train me and our gardeners in Bali — two trainers were on site daily for 4 months showing us how to set up a large organic operation — everything from garden design to seed saving.

        http://www.idepfoundation.org/en/

        I recall a conversation with one of the trainers … he told me virtually all farming in bali involves chemical fertilizers and pesticides…

        He indicated that some farmers were approaching them because the price of these fertilizers was skyrocketing as oil and gas prices had blasted off…

        They initially began using these chemicals because they could grow an extra crop — but now the cost of the chemicals was more than the extra crop could fetch at the market.

        How to go back to the original organic ways of farming they asked…

        ‘Years of organic imputs’ they were told…

        The farmers were distraught – how could they go without a crop for years?

        So I asked … what did they do?

        The IDEP trainer said they suggested a compromise — reclaim the land for organic farming little by little — take 10-15% of the land and rejuvenate it with organic inputs…. while continuing to use chemicals on the rest….

        IDEP was offering seminars to farmers who were caught in the chemical trap — and guess who sent thugs to bust up the seminars…

        Monsanto….

        Starvation. Extinction.

        • Jarle B says:

          What a wonderful world it is…

          • dolph says:

            Monsanto is neither good nor evil, nor are any corporations. They simply have access to debt financing, fictitious capital, whereas others do not. Farming in the modern world is not done for any environmental purpose like maintaining the quality of the soil. Nor is it done with any respect to plant or animal life, or quality of food. It is done to continually feed the global plantation of 7+ billion human workers, and to increase profit (but I repeat myself).

            Oh, my bad. I didn’t realize you guys thought farming was about producing nutritious food in an environmentally conscious manner. Sorry, I have this habit of telling people how the matrix functions. I know, we are probably better left to delusions and feel good propaganda.

            • Greg Machala says:

              Yep everything is done for profit. That includes extractive industries. If extracting resources becomes uneconomic, other means will be used to offset the losses or bankruptcy will be declared.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              We need cheap food to keep 7.4 people fed – and not rioting.

              Monsanto products help ensure that harvests are plentiful and that food remains cheap.

              Therefore Monsanto is a force for good.

              Without the likes of Monsanto and the other contributors to the green revolution — collapse would have hit us long ago…

              That said – if collapse had hit before the green revolution – and nuclear energy…

              We could have returned to living as hunter gatherers…. we would not likely have faced extinction.

            • Artleads says:

              “We need cheap food to keep 7.4 people fed – and not rioting.”

              If you close your borders to them, what do you care if they riot?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Yes I suppose you can just tell your own citizens to eat cake … and they’ll remain docile when a cabbage costs 20 bucks

            • Artleads says:

              “Yes I suppose you can just tell your own citizens to eat cake … and they’ll remain docile when a cabbage costs 20 bucks”

              When you mentioned 7+ billion, my mind jumped overseas to places like Asia and Africa. But of course the number includes many in our (formerly liberal democratic) world as well. I can see the latter (we) concerning us personally. But if we close our borders to the other 5-6 billion, that would take a load off our minds?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What about the rioting hordes within your borders?

            • Artleads says:

              “What about the rioting hordes within your borders?”

              The Fema camps that are said to already be in waiting are supposed to remove those people. But if they can’t operate, and things get really ugly, you still don’t need to be concerned about 7+ billion people rioting.

            • DJ says:

              Just above 1M “refugees” caused a crisis in Europe in 2015. US accepts a similar amount of people.

              This is enough to cause building of febces and walls.

              Population increases 80M per year, mostly outside the wall.

      • xabier says:

        I recently read something to the effect that ‘Now we know we have been destroying the soil in the UK, (for the last 60 years or so) we can do something about it!’

        Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

        I don’t think many people can face the magnitude of this problem.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I look out my window and commercial orchards and vegetable gardens and find it hard to believe that without chemicals the soil they grow in would be not much more useful than concrete…

          How can it be?

          When we were setting up our gardens … I remember asking the consultant about this as I wanted to see if the BC Organics person was exaggerating….

          His response: the soil down there is dead – the microorganisms have been wiped out by chemicals — it is a sponge to hold more chemicals — and it serves as a base to hold up the plants — but remove the chemicals and it is useless.

          We couldn’t have done a better job of guaranteeing our extinction if we had purposely set out to do so…. we’ve ruined our soils … and we’ve filled ponds with toxic materials that will poison us once BAU dies.

          Aren’t we humans clever!

          • Van Kent says:

            “Aren’t we humans clever!”..

            That’s a huge part of the problem, now, and in any of the potential futures, I think. The GRAND narrative has been about humans learning technology and having “progress”.. it’s the why, in the why the zombies can’t see what’s happening.. it’s because of the GRAND narrative is the reality the zombies are living in.. humans are clever.. humans are the greatest.. humans have a linear constant progress historically.. humans are destined for the stars.. technology will solve everything.. energy will always be magically available.. humans are clever..

            It takes courage to live outside the GRAND narrative.. it’s not easy.. to remove the veil and to really look at where we are.. and where we are going.. to look in to the void and to not to be afraid..

            We killed a planet.. we consumed resources that will never-ever be available again.. we poisoned the oceans.. we caused a greater mass extinction then the dinosaur asteroid.. all the so called “solutions” are just more poison to kill a planet, even quicker.. we are on the brink of making our own species extinct..

            When I look at the visions of the green futures, the green vertical farm skyscrapers.. in stainless steel and polycarbonate.. that’s STILL the GRAND narrative I’m looking at.. that’s still the big fat lie..

            What Norman Borlaugs “green revolution” really should have looked like?? Not a quick fix.. to bring in a robust strain of wheat.. fix the problem with one thing.. no.. all the real solutions, and all the real narratives about the future would be intergenerational narratives..

            The Romans built aqueducts that were intergenerational. The Sumerians built qanats and irrigation canals that were intergenerational. Any REAL narrative for the future would have to be a intergenerational plan of bawaris, qanats, artificial fish ponds and irrigation canals. Biochar, composting toilets and biogas digesters (or anaerobic digesters). Growing, and having a intergenerational plan for all kinds of fruit trees just about everywhere where it’s in any way possible. And to have herb gardens/ or walls, near the kitchens, or growing potatoes, or sweet potatoes, in boxes, near the kitchens. But an intergenerational narrative.. well.. that’s NOT the GRAND narrative.. all of the above have nothing to do with quick fixes.. stainless steel and polycarbonate.. an intergenerational narrative is something different.. it looks and it feels a while lot different from the GRAND narrative..

            But anyone alive in 2100, the only way they could possibly be that.. they would have to have a very robust intergenerational narrative.. and if any of our species survive the century after that, they could not have a GRAND narrative in any way. The only survivors.. would be the ones with a very very strong intergenerational narrative..

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The only narrative that I can see that would have made a difference would have been if we had continued living in a very primitive state – without fire.

            • Van Kent says:

              The Egyptians had a 3000 year run. The Sumerians a 2000 year run.

              If the Romans could build aqueducts and the Sumerians qanats, then building a intergenerational culture based on logic fact and realism, shouldn’t be utterly impossible.

              Greece, Portugal, Spain, Rome, the Phoenicians, they destroyed their forests by building huge fleets of ships. Population density didn’t grow as large to cause deforestation by fuel use..

              It’s just that we don’t know how to build an intergenerational culture..

              Maybe we need a Fast Eddy who keeps repeating and repeating and repeating and repeating..  “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Oh no no no….. although I do believe a virtually no tech lifestyle would have been the only sustainable option ….

              I am quite happy that we chose the high tech road…..

              I much prefer my cushy life to one of living in a cave .. or a straw hut…. worrying about my next meal … and if someone from another tribe was going to cave my head in with a boulder…

              I love BAU. I adore BAU. I will miss BAU

            • psile says:

              Take heart. In a few million years the Earth will be pristine again. The Earth abides until our variable star, the Sun, becomes a red giant about 500 million years from now.

            • The earth and its biosphere is a dissipative structure. It will be a cold, dead planet, long before the sun stops shining.

            • psile says:

              Should be good for one more glorious flourishing of life before that happens. Would love to come back in 5 million years time, just to see the splendour of it all.

            • psile says:

              Awesome, and it sounds so affordable. Just supply one advanced technological civilisation with the power to reanimate the dead and voila. Should be easy!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Tim — another application for the spent fuel rod project…. these freezers need a power supply otherwise the heads will rot….

              Let’s make it happen! FW members get a 20% discount?

            • The only way an intergenerational plan works is if population is virtually level. If population is rising quickly, it quickly outgrows any solution.

  20. adonis says:

    maybe theirs something wrong with the grass

  21. Yoshua says:

    The increasing decay of our old milk cow continues. It eats more and more grass and produces less and less milk of decaying quality.

    • Pintada says:

      Dear Yoshua;

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lz0IT4Uk2xQ

      Hamberger,
      Pintada

      • common phenomenon says:

        Foreigners mocking foreigners now. Disgraceful. Collapse continues apace. Is it the fault of the French that they speak as though they have their tongue in two orifices at once?

        Go to Scandinavia, where it gets very cold, and they always sound as if they’re trying to suppress a sneeze. Yet snow is almost extinct now, so why do they still speak like that?

  22. Jarle B says:

    Meanwhile in Norway:

    1) Lot of talk about “grønt skifte” (green change), the transition to a sustainable society. Very few details of course, and if any, only totally unrealistic plans.

    2) More talk and action regarding offshore oil production in the north. No mention of it being a hostile place both to humans and equipment – and very expensive.

    We climbed high, the fall will hurt.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      And the Saudi’s are going to transition away from an oil economy…

      Obviously there is no transitioning away — they can’t even sell sand for cement because their sand is not suitable…

      What is amusing is that the likes of the Bloomberg presstitutes pump out this rubbish — without even wondering what might happen if you unplug one of the top suppliers of oil from global production …

      And nor does this occur to their readers because they are just like rats being run around a maze… they are unthinking drones….

  23. dolph says:

    The story that you guys are missing is that capitalism works both on the way up and the way down. We’ve already seen this to be the case. Capital just shifts from productive enterprises to waste enterprises, and finally scavenging, recycling, grift, corruption, middle man type stuff. It can do this because financial capital is purely fictitious, and as such can be generated in infinite amounts and transferred anywhere in the world at the click of a mouse button. The victory of financial capital is complete. There is no other industry whose zombie profits are never in doubt because they can be made whole just be digits on a screen.

    Capitalism doesn’t work in a sustainable (relatively speaking) society that is neither growing nor shrinking. And yes, there are many examples in the past. As long as the empires and expansive impulse was checked, there are many civilizations which have lasted for hundreds of years.

    Thereby, we can predict that we won’t see the end of the capital system for some time. The entire way down, the essential structures will remain intact. I’m telling you now that capitalism will even survive the breakup of the United States. What use do banks and corporations have for an ungovernable nation of rubes? None at all, particularly if global dollar reserves decline.

    • on the way ”up” the world was a series of fascist states of various sizes and unpleasantness.
      Europe was a conglomerate of fiefdoms, where the lord had the power of life and death over his subjects on the merest whim
      The term fascist hadn’t been invented, but that’s what they were—Armed thugs running states as a gangster economy, subverting a ”capitalist system” for their own ends,

      Then we had the industrial revolution, and over a short period of time, prosperity (capital) was spread more evenly—that became our democracy.

      As our prosperity leaves us the concept of democracy will also fade away, and the fascist system will rise again, to take over the declining economic system.
      One might say this is happening right now. Civil disorder is inevitable as the crash hits, the fascist regime will use force to maintain order.

      It might be called capitalism on the way up or down, but the real definition of it will be a fascist grab, and dictatorship.

      • dolph says:

        Well I still think we shy away from calling capital what it is, because we fear how the alternatives were much worse.
        But horrible as they were, how does it compare with the relentless waste of billions of years of accumulated resources, and the destruction of the biosphere? Capital is doing this. Not fascism or communism, which, in my opinion were clumsy attempts to restrain capital.
        The problem is capitalism. It is a feature, not a bug, of capitalism to lay waste to everything in an attempt to make fictitious profits go to infinity. Because we haven’t found an alternative, it is axiomatic that capitalism will burn through everything and the system will finally collapse in environmental exhaustion and mass death of humans, until every last trace of our civilization is gone, leaving future hunter/gatherers to scratch their heads, huddled around campfires, wondering about the giants who built and then destroyed everything. Little will they be able to diagnose the problem as we are able to. “They wanted more dollars. Dollars were their God. And they were willing to sacrifice the planet, and every single human generation to come, for this God”

        • A Real Black Person says:

          Our problem industrialization, not capitalism. Industrialization allowed more humans to consume more. IMO, it’s exponential human population growth that is threatening the biosphere. Frivolous consumption is part of the problem but is not the whole problem.

          Any organism without checks on its population will self-replicate until there isn’t enough food anymore. Humans are not an exception.

          • industrialisation has been the direct product of capitalist mindset

            The capitalist seeks to increase his capital. industry delivers that increase

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “Any organism without checks on its population will self-replicate until there isn’t enough food anymore. Humans are not an exception.”

            I think humans might be an exception. Beyond some level of “well off” and female education the average number of children per woman falls to less than two. That’s happened in Japan, most of Europe, and recently in Iran and Mexico. China is a special case.

            Of course, it’s far from clear that there are enough resources left to bring the rest up to “well off,” also the reproductive response to wealth may not be the same for all human groups.

            • DJ says:

              I can think of a category countries that are well off thanks too black goo that has not lowered fertility rate.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” well off thanks too black goo”

              Right, but even Saudi Arabia has come down to replacement (2.1 children per woman)
              https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sa.html
              and Iran which is well below.

              Which country are you thinking about?

            • DJ says:

              That is what happens when you look at a somewhat dated wikipedia chart.

              I admit that the large oil exporters that still have somewhat high birth rate are those that have avoided becoming well off.

              I assume TFR can adjust to having children later in life.

            • DJ says:

              It also helps keeping fertility down if women mostly have male babies.

              https://populationpyramid.net/saudi-arabia/2016/

            • In the case of Saudi Arabia, I think that they mostly imported male adult workers into the country.

            • A Real Black Person says:

              You are attempting to blame capitalism for behavior that precedes it is dumb.

              Humans couldn’t ” the waste of billions of years of accumulated resources” contribute to ” the destruction of the biosphere” without fossil fuels.
              My point is that there is no way industrialization could have happened without the laying “waste to billions of years of accumulated resources” and contributing to “the destruction of the biosphere”.

              Restraining growth means restraining individual behavior. How successful have attempts at eugenics or voluntary poverty been throughout the world?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Funny how people criticize … then in their next breathe they are enjoying the fruits of all this ‘wasting of resources’… they have another cup of fresh brewed coffee (shipped to them using oil)…. they turn on the AC (waste of resources) …. they jump in their car to go to the mall (waste of resources) … they drive on a sealed road (waste of resources)… and on and on and on….

        • merrifield says:

          Dolph, yes, it will be “interesting” to see whether economic or ecological collapse does us in first.

        • when the first hunter gather decided to build a wall to enclose his sources of energy, he became a capitalist
          since then, the differences have only been a matter of scale.
          such arrangements were never on a ”communal” scale or intention, and asthey rolled up into states and kingdoms, fascist rule became inevitable—ie total rule by one man

          that was the european feudal system, where peasants were literally part of his property.
          but of course they didn’t have sufficient indigenous energy to seriously ‘waste’ the land very much.

          all that changed when we found a way to use hydrocarbon fuel—then we had the lethal combination of capitalism harnessed to unlimited power.
          That meant game over for the planet.

          • Artleads says:

            I’ve always hated money more than industry. I can find beauty and poetry in machines, but money is pure ugliness.

            • well—-if your money really is that ugly, i wouldn’t mind babysitting it for you until it grows up beautiful

            • DJ says:

              Problem is older than money. The first human that claimed ownership of land (and the morons that respected that).

            • xabier says:

              The beauty of machines, and of craft work with hand tools, etc, lies in transformation, a core human desire. Even splitting logs with a good axe satisfies this, and building a fire just right.

              Capitalism, though, doesn’t really care about the job well done, except in so far as it affects the bottom line.

              Mixing with the very wealthy, but not being rich (and not capable of becoming so) , I have often pondered the lure and fascination of great wealth.

              It seems to me that capitalists get really excited about all the potential transformations that their money represents to their imaginations: it is the conquest of Death and the evading of limits as much as it is power over others.

              The Soviet industrial system also excited and inspired the masses with the idea of material transformation: ‘Things Are Getting Better, Comrades!’), and Hitler -in part – sought an American-style society and consumer economy, but with permanent slaves selected by race (unlike the Romans who enslaved just about anyone they could regardless of race and allowed many of them to buy their freedom ).

              It is also the most absorbing of games, another profound human impulse: how exciting to watch those zeros grow!

              ‘You can do so much with it!’ as one said to me. But he actually just sits and gloats over it mostly – so dull.

              Sauron wanted to order things, and ended up creating only ever-expanding evil -ugliness and violence and a devastated Nature – and being corrupted by his desires and vanity: no fool old Tolkein……

              Midas wanted everything to be gold, until he found he had nothing to eat.

            • Stefeun says:

              Xabier,
              I also regret “the love of work well done”.

              Today only figures are considered, it’s the reign of quantity, no matter what the quality is.
              The result is that workers aren’t invested anymore, and any task is quickly done, just to get rid of it. The users, or final customers, have to claim and struggle for everything, wether crappy stuff or bad service.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I once read something about what drives tycoons to want more…

              It was not really money for the sake of money — such people have far more than they could ever spend …

              It was more how one measures up against one’s peers….

              One guy makes 500m per year — the other makes only 250m per year…. he feels inferior

              There is also the tale of the wealthy man who buys a fairly sizable boat — feels really good about himself — then he pulls into marina with mega yachts — and he feels like sh–t.

            • Jeremy says:

              Robert Graves…”There may be no money in poetry…but neither is their poetry in money”

            • Artleads says:

              The thing is, Norm, I have no money for you to babysit. 🙂

              “Robert Graves…”There may be no money in poetry…but neither is their poetry in money”

              Thanks, Jeremy. Always figured that.

            • and i thought you were going to become my new best friend

              oh well

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Neil Young and Leonard Cohen have done quite well with poetry.

          • Jeremy says:

            Jim Morrison….add the beat to poetry…. the hard part is to say no to the money

            • Jeremy says:

              Densmore said the rift started in 2003, when Cadillac offered the band a record-breaking $15 million deal. Krieger and Manzarek wanted the deal but Densmore balked, recalling a studio session in 1968 when Jim Morrison, the band’s enigmatic lead singer who died in 1971, discovered the band was considering taking $75,000 for a Buick ad. In that commercial, the car company would use the band’s hit “Light My Fire,” changing the lyrics from “Come on baby light my fire” to “Come on Buick light my fire.”
              500 Greatest Albums of All Time: ‘The Doors’
              “Jim told us he couldn’t trust us anymore,” Densmore tells Rolling Stone. “We had agreed that we would never use our music in any commercial, but the money Buick offered us had been hard to refuse. Jim accused us of making a deal with the devil and said he would smash a Buick with a sledgehammer onstage if we let them [change the lyrics].”

              http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-doors-john-densmore-talks-about-the-bands-ugly-six-year-feud-20130508

            • Christian says:

              Cool. Light my Fire is my phone’s ringtone (:-)

            • doomphd says:

              I will always love and admire Neil Young for his buying of the Lionel Model Train Company, which saved them from bankruptcy so they could continue making great model train sets and accessories for kids of all ages. Great musician, also.

          • Pintada says:

            Dear Norman Pagget;

            “when the first hunter gather decided to build a wall to enclose …”

            Sorry, no. Hunter/gatherers do not build walls by definition. Once they build a wall they are a farmer or a herdsman.

            Just a quibble,
            Pintada

            • as you say—just a quibble.

              but

              tracing back 10k years or so, there had to be someone, almost certainly Eddy’s 1000x grandfather, who had the bright idea to build a wall or some kind of enclosure to claim his own patch of land, stop hunting and gathering etc and grow his own energy resources.
              His significant other had probably been nagging at him to stay home more and stop wandering off so often.

              no doubt all his hunter gatherer chums laffed at him, and said he was a doomster, and that being a capitalist was a dead end, no future in it, and carried on hunting and gathering while he built himself a mini empire.

              But somebody had to be the first capitalist

  24. adonis says:

    just how bad will things get these words are fitting = Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us[f] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their[g] wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”

    • Ed says:

      There will certainly be much wrath. But I do not think it is God’s wrath it is entirely our own doing. We have know better for 300 years at least. Before effective contraceptive there may have been no good solutions but now it is low cost, low pain, socially possible but still we refuse to act. Entirely our own fault.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If we had controlled population (good luck with that!) then we would be living like primitive people do… we would not have any of the modern conveniences that we have.

        The economy must grow or it collapses — one of the biggest drivers of growth (1/3 of it) is related to population growth.

        • Crates says:

          Effectively, the other 2/3 parts are energy and debt. Well many fools in my country still do not understand !!!

    • I have doubts that all of this stuff is true–in the Bible or not.

  25. Ed says:

    What does Trump do? Stopping a few jobs from leaving is not growth. If he can stop the bottom half of the population from breeding that would be a step forward and then lots and lots of nuclear. The nuclear could be place in South America and shipped back as electric.

    • Ed says:

      Or, massive coal extraction in the US hopefully Alaska and burned in Alaska shipped back as electric.

    • At some point uranium becomes a problem, unless it is reprocessed. Not to mention a few other problem, mentioned by FE. Right now, low uranium prices are a problem, just as low fossil fuel prices are a problem.

  26. Olsen says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqIt93dDG1M —-
    Just in case you get anxious about the futurehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqIt93dDG1M
    ….

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Guy has some good advice.

      Enjoy the little time that remains

    • Holy smoke…………..that took the wind out of the interviewers sails.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It would have been useful if he had explained how he reached his conclusions….

        • Tango Oscar says:

          Who, Guy? Guy explains it. The temperature is going to be too high and we’re going to have no habitat (food) left. 2016 is on pace to be 1.2 C above baseline and when we reach 2 C that’s it. Game over very quickly after that. It’s at least one order of magnitude faster than the previous mass die-off. That same exponential rate of change is beginning to show up with melting ice, rising CO2, sea level rise, etc…

          • Ert says: