The Next Financial Crisis Is Not Far Away

Recently, a Spanish group called “Ecologists in Action” asked me to give them a presentation on what kind of financial crisis we should expect. They wanted to know when it would be and how it would take place.

The answer I had for the group is that we should expect financial collapse quite soon–perhaps as soon as the next few months. Our problem is energy related, but not in the way that most Peak Oil groups describe the problem. It is much more related to the election of President Trump and to the Brexit vote.

I have talked about this subject in various forms before, but not since 2016 energy production and consumption data became available. Most of the slides in this presentation use new BP data, through 2016. A copy of the presentation can be found at this link: The Next Financial Crisis.1

Slide 1

Most people don’t understand how interconnected the world economy is. All they understand is the simple connections that economists make in their models.

Slide 2

Energy is essential to the economy, because energy is what makes objects move, and what provides heat for cooking food and for industrial processes. Energy comes in many forms, including sunlight, human energy, animal energy, and fossil fuels. In today’s world, energy in the form of electricity or petroleum makes possible the many things we think of as technology.

In Slide 2, I illustrate the economy as hollow because we keep adding new layers of the economy on top of the old layers. As new layers (including new products, laws, and consumers) are added, old ones are removed. This is why we can’t necessarily use a prior energy approach. For example, if cars can no longer be used, it would be difficult to transition back to horses. This happens partly because there are few horses today. Also, we do not have the facilities in cities to “park” the horses and to handle the manure, if everyone were to commute using horses. We would have a stinky mess!

Slide 3

In the past, many local civilizations have grown for a while, and then collapsed. In general, after a group finds a way to produce more food (for example, cuts down trees so that citizens have more area to farm) or finds another way to otherwise increase productivity (such as adding irrigation), growth at first continues for a number of generations–until the population reaches the new carrying capacity of the land. Often resources start to degrade as well–for example, soil erosion may become a problem.

At this point, growth flattens out, and wage disparity and growing debt become greater problems. Eventually, unless the group can find a way of increasing the amount of food and other needed goods produced each year (such as finding a way to get food and other materials from territories in other parts of the world, or conquering another local civilization and taking their land), the civilization is headed for collapse. We recently have tried globalization, with exports from China, India, and other Asian nations fueling world economic growth.

At some point, the efforts to keep growing the economy to match rising population become unsuccessful, and collapse sets in. One of the reasons for collapse is that the government cannot collect enough taxes. This happens because with growing wage disparity, many of the workers cannot afford to pay much in taxes. Another problem is greater susceptibility to epidemics, because after-tax income of many workers is not sufficient to afford an adequate diet.

Slide 4

A recent partial collapse of a local civilization was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. When this happened, the government of the Soviet Union disappeared, but the governments of the individual states within the Soviet Union remained. The reason I call this a partial collapse is because the rest of the world was still functioning, so nearly all of the population remained, and the cutback in fuel consumption was just partial. Eventually, the individual member countries were able to function on their own.

Notice that after the Soviet Union collapsed, the consumption of coal, oil and gas collapsed at the same time, over a period of years. Oil and coal use have not come back to anywhere near their earlier level. While the Soviet Union had been a major manufacturer and a leader in space technology, it lost those roles and never regained them. Many types of relatively high-paying jobs have been lost, leading to lower energy consumption.

Slide 5

As nearly as I can tell, one of the major contributing factors to the collapse of the Soviet Union was low oil prices. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter. As oil prices fell, the government could not collect sufficient taxes. This was a major contributing factor to collapse. The collapse from low oil prices did not happen immediately–it took several years after the drop in oil prices. There was a 10-year gap between the highest oil price (1981) and collapse (1991), and a 5-year gap after oil prices dropped to the low 1986 price level.

Slide 6

Venezuela is often in the news because of its inability to afford to import enough food for its population. Slide 3 shows that on an inflation-adjusted basis, world oil prices hit a high point first in 2008, and again in 2011. Since 2011, oil prices slid slowly for a while, then began to slide more quickly in 2014. It is now nine years since the 2008 peak. It is six years since the 2011 peak, and about three years since the big drop in prices began.

One of the reasons for Venezuela’s problems is that with low oil prices, the country has been unable to collect sufficient tax revenue. Also, the value of the currency has dropped, making it difficult for Venezuela to afford food and other products on international markets.

Note that in both Slides 4 and 6, I am showing the amount of energy consumed in the countries shown. The amount consumed represents the amount of energy products that individual citizens, plus businesses, plus the government, can afford. This is why, in both Slides 4 and 6, the quantity of all types of energy products tends to decline at the same time. Affordability affects many types of energy products at once.

Slide 7

Oil importing countries can have troubles when oil prices rise, similar to the problems that oil exporting countries have when oil prices fall. Greece’s energy consumption peaked in 2007. One of Greece’s major products is tourism, and the cost of tourism depends on the price of oil. When the price of oil was high, it adversely affected tourism. Exported goods also became expensive in the world market. Once oil prices dropped (as they have done, especially since 2014), tourism tended to rebound and the financial situation became less dire. But total energy consumption has still tended to decline (top “stacked” chart on Slide 7), indicating that the country is not yet doing well.

Slide 8

Spain follows a pattern similar to Greece’s. By the mid-2000s, high oil prices made Spain less competitive in the world market, leading to falling job opportunities and less energy consumption. Since 2014, very low oil prices have allowed tourism to rebound. Oil consumption has also rebounded a bit. But Spain is still far below its peak in energy consumption in 2007 (top chart on Slide 8), indicating that job opportunities and spending by its citizens are still low.

Slide 9

We hear much about rising manufacturing in the Far East. This has been made possible by the availability of both inexpensive coal supplies and inexpensive labor. India is an example of a country where manufacturing has risen in recent years. Slide 9 shows how rapidly energy consumption–especially coal–has risen in India.

Slide 10

China’s energy consumption grew very rapidly after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. In 2013, however, China’s coal consumption hit a peak and began to decline. One major contributor was the fact that the cheap-to-consume coal that was available nearby had already been extracted. The severe problems that China has had with pollution from coal may also have played a role.

It might be noted that the charts I am showing (from Mazamascience) do not include renewable energy (including wind and solar, plus burned garbage and other “renewables”) used to produce electricity. (The charts do include ethanol and other biofuels within the “oil” category, however.) The omission of wind and solar does not appear to make a material difference, however. Figure 1 shows a chart I made for China, comparing three totals:

(1) Opt. total (Optimistic total) – Totals on the basis BP computes wind and solar. Intermittent wind and solar electricity is assumed to be equivalent to high quality electricity, available 24/7/365, produced by fossil fuel electricity-generating stations.

(2) Likely totals – Wind and solar are assumed to replace only the fuel that creates high quality electricity. The amount of backup generating capacity required is virtually unchanged. More long distance transmission is needed; other enhancements are also needed to bring the electricity up to grid-quality. The credits given for wind and solar are only 38% as much as those given in the BP methodology.

(3) From chart – Mazamascience totals, omitting renewable sources of electricity, other than hydroelectric.

Figure 1. China energy consumption based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017.

It is clear from Figure 1 that adding electricity from renewables (primarily wind and solar) does not make much difference for China, no matter how wind and solar are counted. If they are counted in a realistic manner, they truly add little to China’s energy use. This is also true for the world in total.

Slide 11

If we look at the major parts of world energy consumption, we see that oil (including biofuels) is the largest. Recently, it seems to be growing slightly more quickly than other energy consumption, perhaps because of the low oil price. World coal consumption has been declining since 2014. If coal is historically the least expensive fuel, this is likely a problem. I have not shown a chart with total world energy consumption. It is still growing, but it is growing less rapidly than world population.

Slide 12 – Note: Energy growth includes all types of energy. This includes wind and solar, using wind and solar counted using the optimistic BP approach.

Economists have given the false idea that amount of energy consumption is unimportant. It is true that individual countries can experience lower consumption of energy products, if they begin outsourcing major manufacturing to other countries as they did after the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997. But it doesn’t change the world’s need for growing energy consumption, if the world economy is to grow. The growth in world energy consumption (blue line) tends to be a little lower than the growth in GDP (red line), because of efficiency gains over time.

If we look closely at Slide 12, we can see that drops in energy consumption tend to precede drops in world GDP; rises in energy consumption tend to precede rises in world GDP. This order of events strongly suggests that rising energy consumption is a major cause of world GDP growth.

We don’t have very good evaluations of  GDP amounts for 2015 and 2016. For example, recent world GDP estimates seem to accept without question the very high estimates of economic growth given by China, even though their growth in energy consumption is very much lower in 2014 through 2017. Thus, world economic growth may already be lower than reported amounts.

Slide 13

Most people are not aware of the extreme “power” given by energy products. For example, it is possible for a human to deliver a package, by walking and carrying the package in his hands. Another approach would be to deliver the package using a truck, operated by some form of petroleum. One estimate is that a single gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 500 hours of human labor.

“Energy consumption per capita” is calculated as world energy consumption divided by world population. If this amount is growing, an economy is in some sense becoming more capable of producing goods and services, and thus is becoming wealthier. Workers are likely becoming more productive, because the additional energy per capita allows the use of more and larger machines (including computers) to leverage human labor. The additional productivity allows wages to rise.

With higher incomes, workers can afford to buy an increasing amount of goods and services. Businesses can expand to serve the growing population, and the increasingly wealthy customers. Taxes can rise, so it is possible for governments to provide the services that citizens desire, such as healthcare and pensions. When energy consumption per capita turns negative–even slightly so–these abilities start to disappear. This is the problem we are starting to encounter.

Slide 14 – Note: Energy percentage increases include all energy sources shown by BP. Wind and solar are included using BP’s optimistic approach for counting intermittent renewables, so growth rates for recent years are slightly overstated.

We can look back over the years and see when energy consumption rose and fell. The earliest period shown, 1968 to 1972, had the highest annual growth in energy consumption–over 3% per year–back when oil prices were under $20 per barrel, and thus were quite affordable. (See Slide 5 for a history of inflation-adjusted price levels.) Once prices spiked in the 1973-1974 period, much of the world entered recession, and energy consumption per capita barely rose.

A second drop in consumption (and recession) occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when easy-to-adopt changes were made to cut oil usage and increase efficiency. These included

(a) Closing many electricity-generating plants using oil, and replacing them with other generation.

(b) Replacing many home heating systems operating with oil with systems using other fuels, often more efficiently.

(c) Changing many industrial processes to be powered by electricity instead of burning oil.

(d) Making cars smaller and more fuel-efficient.

Another big drop in world per capita energy consumption occurred with the partial collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This was a somewhat local drop in energy consumption, allowing the rest of the world to continue to grow in its use of energy.

The Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 was, in some sense, another localized crisis that allowed energy consumption to continue to grow in the rest of the world.

Most people remember the Great Recession in the 2007-2009 period, when world per capita growth in energy consumption briefly became negative. Recent data suggests that we are almost in the same adverse situation now, in terms of growth in world per capita energy consumption, as we were then.

Slide 15

What happens when growth in world per capita energy consumption slows and starts to fall? I have listed some of the problems in Slide 15. We start seeing problems with low wages, particularly for people with low-skilled jobs, and the type of political problems we have been experiencing recently.

Part of the problem is that countries with a high-priced mix of energy products start to find their goods and services uncompetitive in the world marketplace. Thus, demand for goods and services from these countries starts to fall. Greece and Spain are examples of countries using a lot of oil in their energy mix. As a result, they became less competitive in the world market when oil prices rose. China and India were favored because they had a less-expensive energy mix, favoring coal.

Slide 16

Slide 16 shows the kinds of comments we have been hearing in recent years, as prices have recently bounced up and down. It is becoming increasingly clear that no price of oil is now satisfactory for all participants in the economy. Prices are either too high for consumers, or too low for the producers. In fact, prices can be unsatisfactory for both consumers and producers at the same time.

On Slide 16, oil prices show considerable volatility. This happens because it is difficult to keep supply and demand exactly balanced; there are many factors determining needed price level, including both the amount consumers can afford and the costs of producers. The bouncing of prices up and down on Slide 16 is to a significant extent in response to interest rate changes, and resulting changes in currency relativities and debt growth.

We are now reaching a point where no interest rate works for all members of the economy. If interest rates are low, pension plans cannot meet their obligations. If interest rates are high, monthly payments for homes and cars become unaffordable for customers. Also, high interest rates tend to raise needed tax levels for governments.

Slide 17

All of these problems are fairly evident already.

Slide 18

The low level of energy consumption growth is of considerable concern. It is this low growth in energy consumption that we would expect to lead to low wage growth worldwide, especially for the non-elite workers.  Our economy needs more rapid growth in energy consumption to provide enough tax revenue for all of our governments and intergovernmental organizations, and to keep the world economy growing quickly enough to prevent large debt defaults.

Slide 19

Economists have confused matters for a long time by their belief that energy prices can and will rise arbitrarily high in inflation-adjusted terms–for example $300 per barrel for oil. If such high prices were really possible, we could extract all of the oil that we have the technical capacity to extract. High-cost renewables would become economically feasible as well.

In fact, affordability is the key issue. When the world economy is stimulated by more debt, only a small part of this additional debt makes its way back to the wages of non-elite workers. With greater global competition in wages, the wages of these workers tend to stay low. The limited demand of these workers tends to keep commodity prices, especially oil prices, from rising very high, for very long.

It is affordability that limits our ability to grow endlessly. While it is possible to argue that more debt might help raise the wages of non-elite workers in a particular country, if one country adds more debt, other currencies around the world can be expected to rebalance. As a result, there would be no real benefit, unless all countries together could add more debt. Even this would be of questionable value, because the whole effort relates to getting oil and other commodity prices to rise to an adequate level for producers; we have already seen that there is no price level that is satisfactory for both producers and consumers.

Slide 20

These symptoms seem to be already beginning to happen.


[1] This presentation is a little different from the original. The presentation I am showing here is entirely in English. The original presentation included some charts in Spanish from Energy Export Data Browser by Mazama Science. With this database, a person can quickly prepare energy charts for any country in a choice of seven languages. I encourage readers to “look up” their own country, in their preferred language.

In this write-up, I include more discussion than in my original talk. I also added Slides 13 and 14, plus Figure 1.

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 inadequate supply.
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3,812 Responses to The Next Financial Crisis Is Not Far Away

  1. Since the proper thread didn’t take the comment anymore, posting here..

    The post Fokushima standards call for (gravity fed) water cooling sprinkles in the spent fuel bldg, among other stuff.. For some reason in your next sentence of rage, you did mix it up with the issue of melting core of reactor. Well, anything can happen, nothing human built is bullet proof, that’s why old, especially sub ~ .5GW reactors are being phased out and *new stuff phased in such as larger output 1.2GW gen3+ reactors placed in airliner crash proof building with passive water cooling within the main reactor dome and other safety sub systems included, like ready pool under the reactor for possible containment breach in case of something unexpected blowing up or core melting during the 60+yrs lifespan of that next gen apparatus etc. Not sure, what kind of security your relative is focusing on there, cafeteria perhaps or you did not listen to him properly? Based on your near zero knowledge on nuclear industry basics and “Time magazine” sources, LoL. Anyway large part of the NA’s NPPs fleet is increasingly renown security hazard, not problem of mine, if they are slow to upgrade the security measures mandated after Fukushima and or slow/not acting at all in replacing the older installations for newest reactor designs..

    Again, fast crash scenario you tend to be more correct, slower staged crash – plateauing the mitigation (and closure) program now under play will not make nuclear energy such universal problem, act accordingly..

    *at least in countries-regions not falling in infrustructure apart like NA

    • Fast Eddy says:

    • Slow Paul says:

      If FE believes that everyone will go back to the stone age in a day, and everyone will lay down to die, then yes there will be a big problem with meltdowns and radiation. His train of thought is very consistent at least.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        When the financial system goes down … the power goes off… and the spent fuel ponds will boil and blow….

        Now if you believe the CBs can just print money forever and prop everything up forever… that there will not be a point where the printing simply has no effect .. and the system collapses into a heap of rubble….

        Then you have nothing to be concerned about…. the ‘they’ have it all under control.

        Meanwhile — because I know what I know — I go skiing for a month from next weekend.

      • Jan Steinman says:

        His train of thought is very consistent at least.

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The good thing about Fast Eddy — is that when he is wrong — he admits it.

          He celebrates it.


          Because it means he is not a stewpid human donkey…. each new epiphany brings him closer to pure truth….

          Stewpid human donkeys cannot understand that — that is why they are stewpid human donkeys — going aimlessly round and round and round….

          • Well, it perhaps takes special determination to dance in lets say own waste products, I’m not surprised you again confirmed such sad fact of posting Donkey YT videos as a attempted rebuttal to my fine & factual articles of current state of nuclear power.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I notice Pintada has disappeared — remember how he used to assail me suggesting ponds could be cooled with air….

              And time and time again I explained to him that this was not possible because rods are stored in dense pack formations…

              That info came this man

              I posted his contact details and suggested Pintada contact him directly and ask him what would happen if the power supply were interrupted – permanently – to the 4000+ spent fuel ponds around the world

              We have not heard from Pintada since…

              Perhaps he got some bad news and is spending his days on a rocking chair numbed by Xanax?

              Here’s the contact info ….. be careful with it…..

              Phone 831.647.4638

            • Not sure why you still march in circles asking the same silly straw-man questions, already answered. I was repeatedly (in this very article debate), specifically mentioning gravity fed water sprinkles as one of the recommended post Fukushima upgrades by the global bodies of nuclear industry.

              In terms of spent fuel, I told you, there is already advanced program of “closing the fuel cycle” where nuclear waste is selected into three main categories according to hazard level (halftime), the most active long term dangerous stuff is poured-melted with added molten glass into “ingots – steel containers” and dumped underground mountains bellow water table, the same for the middle hazard in cheaper way concrete-steel only. The lowest hazard and the most plentiful is brought from the temporary water cooled deposit inside the NPP plant, which is prolly the stuff your seem to be raging about, and could be reprocessed at other facility with a bit of plutonium added into so-called MOX fuel (solid state deposited) for breeder reactor, which in that fashion burns more of that ~97% of energy potential still contained in spent fuel pellets of traditional NPP. In summary, that way both near and long term hazards are liquidated step by step. Despite active research, only one country posses the whole chain of industries to do it, it’s there for everybody to see working on industrial (not lab level) since at least ~2010s for the reprocessing-recycling and real big breeder reactor running since ~2016. It will obviously take more reactors (~6x), which are already in construction or planned to put serious dent into the stockpiles of spent fuel.

              Also, among other things I explained was how older type reactors, usually pre 1980s designs with sub .5GWe output and 40+ lifespan are in many countries being replaced by latest “gen3+” 1.2GWe units (60+ lifespan) with much more safety upgrades, e.g. incl. passive systems to cope with radiation hazards on many different levels, inside the reactor dome as well the spent fuel pond in the bldg nearby. So, again several impacts at once achieved, higher output from single installation with higher safety factor.

            • Fast Eddy says:

  2. Pingback: The Inevitability of DeGrowth | Bill Totten's Weblog

  3. Third World person says:

    the amount of hate people of western people have for indians astounding
    people say on the internet that indians take our job and are sub humans
    i was thinking once bau collopse indians live on western countries will
    be in trouble

    • Third World person says:

      plus this book came on bestseller in recent times
      depicted on indians pretty terrible

      • Cliffhanger says:

        They are in a catch 22 in the western countries now. If they are successful and pay taxes etc. They are seen as someone who has taken a good paying job away from the natives. If they are poor and unsuccessful and on welfare etc. They are seen as a leach on the public and country.

    • xabier says:

      I haven’t met anyone in England who would call Indians sub-human, even the real racists: in fact, they tend to recognise their cleverness.

      Muslims -some of whom are Indian – are, of course, feared by many, and talk of having to expel them all is now much more common, and people often raise the point in conversation.

      But Hindus, no.

      • Third World person says:

        but after muslims next number is brown people
        that included Indians

        • Some increasingly diminishing representatives of the former European population pedigree might claim(dream) of future reconquista v2.0, but I seriously doubt it, there is no common binding left in many western societies (religious, national, cultural, social, intellectual, ..), especially inside UK and France, given current situation and demographic trends of such diverse population into the future. While Spain is a bit different matter, surely without UK, France, and Italy can’t soldier on alone for long.

          Perhaps only token and temporary exceptional cases might happen, e.g. small south eastern rural mountainous enclaves of former France joining Switzerland – Austria, if these can hold their own ground in the first place, which is doubtful mid-long term anyway etc. This also depends on what happens with Germany, and to some degree what the central eastern flank will look like, Hungary, Balkans, Ukraine.. whether Poland manages again in history bleed itself out prematurely even before the next major important round of fight for survival starts etc.

          So, don’t worry..

          • Third World person says:

            good answer but i have one question for people that do not like Indians
            who implemented policy of mass immigration they own white politicians
            so why blame indians or third world people

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Pay back for white ‘immigration’ into India — at least third world immigrants don’t murder and pillage…

            • Tim Groves says:

              good answer but i have one question for people that do not like Indians
              who implemented policy of mass immigration they own white politicians
              so why blame indians or third world people

              “White” politicians and bureaucrats in the UK did indeed implement a policy of mass immigration in the 1950s and 60s. People from “black” Commonwealth countries were encouraged to move to the UK to take up jobs in the public sector, while at the same time indigenous people from the UK were being encouraged to migrate to the “white” Commonwealth by the government’s of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

              But the mass of people in the UK didn’t approve of either policy and didn’t consider the politicians or the bureaucrats as being their own people. Britain has long been a nation that is “against itself”: the various classes and nations have been fighting each other or resenting each other since time immemorial. “Social harmony” is something of an oxymoron in the UK; the two words are mutually exclusive because British society is disharmonious by its very nature.

              It is characteristic of the British, and particularly the working class British,to have a very strong “us vs. them” mentality. for people with this mindset, it’s always “them” implementing policy, never “us”. It’s always “their fault”, never “our fault”. “We are always the victims, never the perpetrators. “They” are the ones to blame. Also, British people are fond of declaring that they are “fair”, especially when they are manifestly not.

              As a result of the social milieu the British live in, a considerable number of them (I would hope it isn’t a majority) will blame “the other” for all sorts of imagined faults, and they will work out plausible sounding reasons why the other is at fault. Before the era of mass immigration, they played this game among the English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh, and also among the various regions and classes within each country—often quite viciously.

              So anyone coming from abroad to live among the British had better be prepared to suffer the slings and arrows of petty-minded vindictiveness and spite from the chronically unhappy and mentally tortured sections of the community who have learned from tradition and formed the habit of hating, blaming, attacking and condemning “the other” for perceived imperfections in their situation.

              But as Xabier says, the Hindus & Sikhs / Indians are generally better liked in the UK than the Muslims / Pakistanis & Bengalis. There is a definite hierarchy of fear and loathing among the haters.

            • Joebanana says:

              When it comes to jobs it really does not matter who it is; resentment builds if you feel somebody got “your” job or resources.

              In saying that, Canada is filled with Indian immigrants. Go to the Toronto airport and half the people working seem to be from India. Indians place a high value on educating themselves, getting work, and taking care of their families. A country could hardly find better immigrants.

              But I will bet a Canadian citizen of Indian decent is just as upset if a company he or she works for out sources their jobs to the third world as anyone else.

  4. Cliffhanger says:

    JP Morgan chief blasts US dysfunction: ‘It’s almost an embarrassment being American’

    • David F. says:

      and it’s almost an embarrassment being American and having “our” Wall Street plundering every other country as much as they possibly can.
      Jaime Dimon is no role model for us Americans.

  5. Although the Roman Empire supposedly fell on 476, it is still continuing as the Republic of Turkey.

    The Ottoman Sultans behaved as they were the successors of Byzantine Empire. Mustafa Kemal, who hated the Ottomans because one of them stole his girlfriend, ended it but the Ottoman bureaucracy,inherited from Romans and Byzantines (many of the bureaucrats were Islamized Greeks and other Slavs) , continued under the Turkish Republic and still continues as of now.

    Technically speaking, every Sultan of Turkey, and Mustafa Kemal and all the Turkish Presidents all the way to Tayyip, are Roman Emperors. Roman Empire never really died.

    BAU will continue in another form as well.

  6. JT Roberts says:

    Wow out of control.

    Living the dream. Why not join the club?

    • David F. says:

      from the article: Within 20 years, he said driving a car will be like having a horse (i.e. rare and totally optional). “There will not be a steering wheel.”

      autonomous cars!
      colonies on Mars!
      (oh, wait, that could be a poem)
      recycled poop!

      his status as a visionary will take a big hit in the coming years.
      well, IF there isn’t The Collapse in the meantime.
      which we know is very unlikely.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        musk: a strong-smelling reddish-brown substance which is secreted by the male musk deer for scent-marking

        • JT Roberts says:

          Finally Musk has a legitimate definition.

          Absolutely the most incredible freak to ever walk planet earth. But maybe that’s a planned placement.

          • xabier says:

            A freak indeed, and being paraded – and regarded by all too – as a role model. These are increasingly disquieting times. We are being mocked, by his controllers…….

  7. Mayor of Messina Italy turns off power for incoming migrants..
    GOV sends immediately diesel genset..

  8. Meanwhile in Paris Boulevards..
    Who would have sought colonialism might eventually backfire in few /hundred/ yrs later..

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Half way into this book on the Brits in Afghanistan — the locals have turned on their colonial masters — very nasty stuff…

      I would really hate to be a whitey in a country that has been under colonial rule at some point… resentment may fade… but it does not disappear…

      I am so relieved to be out of Bali …

    • Tim Groves says:

      Never turn your back on the Maoris. They do a frightening war dance. And you are an invader on their turf.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        It does usually not get said — but I pick up a sense of resentment towards the native community in NZ…. mainly related to land rights and funding for cultural and education initiatives…

        Of course that is because the native peoples fought the colonialists to a stand still and have treaties guaranteeing these rights…

        Ironically — the north island Maori’s smashed the shit out of the ones on the south island at one point … and they various tribes were always at each other pre European arrival…

        They even whored off women to the whalers in exchange for guns and ammo used to have a go at other tribes….

        So one should not take solace as a whitey in this ….. when there is not enough to go around humans have been known to eat their own children….

        • Third World person says:

          fast eddy you maori tribes remind me of my country tribes
          called naxalite which are fight over gov of india
          who are trying take there land

        • Kurt says:

          Uh. What are you trying to say?

        • xabier says:

          The English used the same methods in New Zealand as they had employed against the Welsh and Irish 700 years before: find warring tribes, ally with them, then clean up.

          The Spanish also used that method: the Aztecs had lots of native enemies only too happy to join in. A recent excavation of a sacrifice site, showed that most of the prisoners murdered by the Aztecs were not Spanish, but Indians, and also a fair number of slaves from earlier conquests made by the Spanish.

          The Chinese are using a softer version at present, ‘We’ll be your economic partner for development’. Then will come the troops for investment protection…..

          • Artleads says:

            If America knew what it was doing it would foment a war in Africa to push back the Chinese. I’ve thought of the alliance with guerrilla groups, many if not all, being of very nasty disposition…

    • xabier says:

      Yes, ironies of history.

      However, this could be dealt with very easily indeed, if the response were not hampered by current sensibilities: shoot the ringleaders, declare a curfew. Water cannons and tear gas are not sufficient.

      I recall the Louvre was actually shut down not long ago, as the staff were sick of mugger gangs, attacking them and visitors. Not around the entrance, but inside the galleries. The Louvre!

      These sort of people always make a lot of noise if treated gently, but they very much don’t want to die, unlike the Islamo-nutter-‘martyrs’ to whom a bullet is a kind of gift,as it gets them where they long to go…. Once they know what will happen to them, they will stay at indoors.

      Allowing this sort of thing to go on just encourages Right-wing extremists of the very nastiest kind, and is irresponsible.

      • Tim Groves says:

        Allowing this sort of thing to go on just encourages Right-wing extremists of the very nastiest kind, and is irresponsible.

        I was wondering whether that is the whole point. Get the extremists to take action, engineer a breakdown of law and order, and use the situation to bring in martial law?

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Why are terrorist attacks one-offs … why don’t they coordinate dozens of drive through crowd incidents in a short period virtually brutalizing the economy of a city in the process?

          Why don’t terrorists simply fill sacks with petrol — stuff 50 of them in a van — how about 50 sacks 50 vans… then just drive around a city making quick stops to toss them into bathrooms in bars and restaurants — and start massive fires everywhere?

          Something is wrong with the picture — it does seem as if this is staged… or allowed to happen on a very limited basis… just enough….

        • xabier says:

          One can see that ‘Right-wing extremism’ is being used in Europe as an excuse for repression and reduction of liberty of expression……..

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