The Approaching US Energy-Economic Crisis

I was recently asked to give a talk called, “The Approaching US Energy-Economic Crisis.” In other words, how might the United States encounter problems that lead to a crisis? As we will see, many of the problems that could lead to a crisis (such as increased wage disparity and difficulty in collecting enough taxes) are issues that we are already beginning to encounter.

In this talk, I first discuss the connection between energy and the economy. Without this connection, it doesn’t make sense to talk about a crisis arising with respect to energy and the economy. I then discuss seven issues that could lead to a US energy-economic crisis.

Economic Growth Is Closely Tied to Energy Consumption

If we look at world data, it is clear that there is a close tie between energy consumption and economic growth.

Slide 2

On an individual country basis, there can be the belief that we have reached a new situation where a particular country doesn’t really need growing energy supply for economic growth.

Slide 3

For example, on Slide 3, the recent nearly vertical line for the US suggests that the US economy can grow with almost no increase in annual energy consumption. This rather strange situation arises because the standard calculation misses energy embodied in imported goods. Thus, if the United States wants to outsource a great deal of its manufacturing to China, the energy consumption used in making these goods will appear in China’s data, not in the United States’ data. This makes the country that has outsourced manufacturing look very good, both with respect to energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Buying imported crude oil from elsewhere (such as Saudi Arabia) is also helpful in keeping down energy consumption, because it takes energy of various types to extract oil. If oil extraction takes place in Saudi Arabia, using steel pipes from China, the energy used in extraction will appear in the data of China and Saudi Arabia. Neither China nor Saudi Arabia obtains as much economic growth, relative to its energy expenditures, as does the US. In order to make sense of what is happening, we need to look at the world total.

Slide 4

We see that the pattern of world energy consumption growth follows a pattern not terribly different from that of China. Its growth is not “straight up.” It does take growing energy supply to create additional goods and services. We are getting a little more efficient in this process over time, but energy is very much needed in many areas of the economy:

  • By businesses, to create goods, such as food, and services, such as vacation travel;
  • By governments, to create roads, schools, and other public services;
  • By individual citizens, to cook food, to heat homes, and for transportation.

The World Economy Is Organized Based on the Laws of Physics

There are many self-organized systems that seem to grow of their own accord in the presence of available energy supplies (that is, in thermodynamically open systems). Plants and animals are examples of growing self-organized systems. Hurricanes, ecosystems, and stars are also such systems. Economies also seem to be such systems. The name given to such a system is a dissipative system.

Slide 5 – Source:

I visualize the world economy as being somewhat like a child’s building toy. It consists of many different elements, a few of which are listed on Slide 5. An economy is self-organized in that new businesses are formed when some entrepreneur sees an opportunity. Consumers decide which product to buy based on which product best serves their needs and based on price. Governments decide on changes to laws and tax levels, depending upon how the economy is functioning at a given time.

This system gradually grows over time, as more businesses and customers are added. As new products and new businesses are added, products and businesses that are no longer needed are taken away. For example, when the private passenger automobile was invented, there was no longer a need to feed and house a large number of horses to be used for transportation purposes. Thus, the system self-organized to eliminate the services needed to care for the many horses used for transportation.

Even if we wanted to get rid of cars and go back to horses, we really could not do so now. In some sense, the structure shown on Slide 5 is hollow, because prior capabilities that are no longer needed tend to disappear. The hollow nature of the economy makes it almost impossible to go backward if we somehow lose our existing capabilities–not enough oil, or an electricity problem, or an international trade problem, or a financial problem. Instead, we will need to build new systems that will function in the new context: depleted resources, a very high population level, high pollution levels, and degraded soils. The existing self-organized system is likely to collapse back to only the part that can be sustained.

Slide 6

Slide 6 is a preview of where this presentation is headed.

Slide 7

Slide 7 describes the issue most people are concerned about: oil prices will rise too high for consumers. In fact, we clearly have had problems with high prices in the recent past. The high prices in 2007 and early 2008 seem to have punctured the debt bubble that existed at that time, as I discuss in an academic article, Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis.

Shortly before oil prices started to turn back up again in late 2008, the United States instituted a policy of Quantitative Easing (QE), in an attempt to bring interest rates down and thus encourage more debt. Additional debt at low interest rates can “pump up” the economy in several different ways:

[1] Some of this low interest debt can be used by governments to provide funding for unemployment benefits and projects such as road building.

[2] Some of this low interest debt can be used by businesses to open new factories, and thus hire more workers.

[3] Some of this low interest debt can be used by individual citizens to purchase a home, a car, or a college education.

It is the pumping up of the economy with low interest debt that seems to stimulate the economy in a way that raises oil prices. When the US discontinued its third and last phase of QE in late 2014 (shown as “End US QE3” in Slide 7), the pumping up action began to disappear, and oil prices again fell.

Slide 8

The figure in Slide 8 may seem a little exaggerated, but I wanted to make a point. Our wages can roughly be divided into three pieces:

[1] Essential goods whose prices are very much influenced by the price of oil, such as food and gasoline. Besides food and gasoline, the cost of replacing a road, particularly with asphalt, very much depends on the price of oil. Higher costs for roads will be reflected in taxes that we are required to pay. Almost any kind of product that is shipped is affected by the price of oil, because oil is the usual transport fuel. Oil is typically used in the extraction of metal ores, so the price of metals used in making cars, appliances, and other goods is affected by the price of oil. Thus, an oil price increase indirectly leads to inflation in the cost of a wide range of essential goods and services.

To make matters worse, fluctuations in the price of oil can be very large. Between 2000 and 2008, we saw monthly average oil price fluctuate from under $20 per barrel to over $130 per barrel. Thus, while the growth in the food and gasoline segment is somewhat exaggerated, the impact of price changes is much larger than a person might expect, looking only at the impact of higher gasoline prices for a consumer’s vehicle.

[2] Repayment of loans, such as mortgage payments and auto payments. Loan repayments of these types tend to make up a large portion of most people’s spending. If people don’t own their own home, they have rent payments to make. These rent payments are in some ways similar to loan payments, because they indirectly cover the cost of someone else’s mortgage. These costs tend to be fixed, even if the price of oil goes up.

[3] Everything else. These are the non-essential items that we cut back on when budgets are too tight. Examples include charitable contributions, visits to restaurants, and vacation trips.

Looking at Slide 8, it becomes clear that if a government wants to “counteract” high oil prices, it needs to lower interest rates. This will tend to make car payments, mortgage payments, educational loans, and even rents somewhat more affordable, at least for people whose loans are affected by the new low interest rates. Often, homeowners are allowed to refinance, to take advantage of the new lower interest rates.

The plan this year is to raise, rather than lower, interest rates. Needless to say, this has the opposite effect; it tends to reduce the size of the “everything else” segment of our income. This effect tends to be recessionary.

Slide 9

Monarch Air is a British airline that failed recently. It boasted very low fares. One of the problems leading to its failure was a falling pound relative to the US dollar, raising both the price of oil and the price of new airplanes.

Today, the price that oil producers need, including adequate funds for (a) reinvestment and (b) the high taxes that governments need to continue their programs, is likely $100 per barrel or more. Such a price would likely cause recession, because purchases in the “Everything Else” category on Slide 8 would be squeezed.

Slide 10

Most people don’t think about the possibility of oil prices falling too low for producers, but this is a major problem today. When prices are too low, oil companies need to borrow money to continue to operate. They are likely to cut back on developing new extraction sites. With low prices, the tax revenue that the governments of oil-exporting countries are able to collect tends to fall too low, leading to cutbacks in government programs and a need for more debt. Saudi Arabia is running into this difficulty.

The problems that arise from low oil prices can be hidden for quite a while, because investors are likely to see the low prices as a great opportunity. They think, “Surely, oil prices will rise again.” So investors are eager to buy more shares of stock, and banks are willing to issue more debt. At some point, the situation becomes unsustainable, and no more loans are offered.

It has now been about three years since prices fell to a level that is clearly too low for oil producers. It cannot be many more years before something has to “break.” Venezuela is an oil exporter that cannot collect enough revenue from oil exports to afford needed goods, such as food. Other oil exporters may eventually encounter similar problems.

Slide 11

A major reason for falling oil prices is growing wage disparity and the resulting loss in purchasing power for the bottom 90% of workers. In the United States, the bottom 90% obtained about 62% of total income as recently as 1992. In a 2016 Federal Reserve survey, only 49.7% of total income went to the bottom 90%.

The reason why wage disparity is important is because the wealthiest 1% (or even the wealthiest 10%) can’t purchase very much of the goods created using oil. The wealthiest 1% can’t eat very much more food than everyone else. They can only drive one car at a time. In order to have adequate demand for oil, the bottom 90% must have adequate purchasing power for goods such as homes and cars. If young people live with their parents longer, and aren’t able to afford homes, this holds down demand for oil. So does transferring manufacturing to countries where wages are so low that few people can afford cars and other manufactured goods.

Slide 12

Slide 12 shows the Federal Reserve’s graph of the share of families who own (as opposed to rent) their primary residence. There has been a drop in homeownership from 69% in 2004 to less than 64% in 2016. This is a period when wage disparity has been increasing.

Slide 13

Wind and solar are intermittent sources of electricity. They work adequately well in applications where intermittency is no problem, such as charging a cell phone that has a battery, or powering a desalination plant that is not expected to operate around the clock. Most analyses of the benefit of wind and solar are suitable only for these limited situations, because they omit any estimate of the cost of mitigating intermittency.

Intermittency becomes a major problem when wind and solar are added to the electric grid. Wholesale electricity prices may drop to very low levels when both wind and solar electricity are available. At times, prices may become negative. Electricity generation that is designed to be used most of the time (such as coal, nuclear, and even some types of natural gas generation) cannot survive without subsidies to offset the artificially low prices the system produces. The need for subsidies for backup electricity providers is really an indirect cost of adding intermittent types of electricity to the grid, but today’s pricing does not reflect this.

A different workaround for intermittency is to add a large amount of battery backup or other type of storage. In theory, batteries could be used to store electricity generated in the summer for use in the winter, when heating needs are greatest.

Another approach to intermittency is to greatly overbuild intermittent renewables, with the idea of using only that portion of electricity generation that is really needed at any point in time. Yet another approach is adding extra (lightly used) long distance transmission, to try to smooth out fluctuations.

Any of these approaches tends to be expensive. Academic papers estimating the benefit of wind and solar nearly always overlook the cost of mitigating intermittency. Thus, they suggest wind and solar can be solutions, when, in fact, their high cost is likely to lead to the same damaging economic effects as high oil prices. (See Slide 8.)

Slide 14

The dotted line on Slide 14 shows the downward trend in German wholesale electricity prices, as more and more intermittent electricity has been added to the grid. At the same time, total residential electricity prices have risen to higher and higher levels. The countries with the greatest use of wind and solar tend to have the highest retail rates, as shown in Figure 1 below (not in presentation).

Figure 1. Figure by Euan Mearns showing relationship between installed wind + solar capacity and European electricity rates. Source Energy Matters. (Image not part of presentation.)

Slide 15

As we discussed earlier, the “standard” workaround for high oil prices is low interest rates, because of the relationship shown in Slide 8. At some point, however, interest rates fall about as low as they can go.

Slide 16

The interest rates shown on Slide 16 are those for 10-year treasuries. These typically underlie mortgage rates. These rates have been falling since 1981, helping to prop up prices for homes, land, farmland, and other assets purchased with long-term debt. Low interest rates make monthly payments more affordable than high interest rates, so more people can afford to buy such assets. With greater demand, asset prices tend to rise.

Also, with all of the talk about the US continuing to raise interest rates, those owning bonds realize that rising interest rates will cause the selling price of bonds they hold in their portfolio to fall. Thus, pension funds and other organizations that are making a choice between buying bonds (which are certain to fall in selling price, as interest rates rise) and buying stocks, will choose to “overweight” stocks in new purchases for their portfolios. This will tend to push the price of stocks higher, regardless of the earnings potential of the underlying companies.

One thing I didn’t mention in the presentation, but is probably worth pointing out here: Short-term interest rates have been rising since late 2014, even as 10-year treasuries have been holding fairly steady (Figure 2, below). These shorter-term interest rates affect payments on other types of transactions–adjustable rate mortgages and auto loans, for example.

Figure 2. Chart showing 3-month, 1-year, and 2-year interest rates. Chart created by St. Louis Federal Reserve.

These short-term interest rates have been creeping upward, indirectly making certain types of goods less affordable. The increase in short-term interest rates will, by itself, push the economy in the direction of recession.

Eventually, the bubble in asset prices can be expected to collapse, as it did in 2008. Perhaps this will happen when corporate profits fall too low; perhaps this will happen when the economy hits recession. The prices of many types of assets, including shares of stock, prices of homes, and prices of businesses can be expected to fall. There are likely to be many debt defaults in the governmental, business, and personal sectors of the economy. In such a situation, banks may fail.

Slide 17

The goods and services that are delivered each year require the use of physical resources such as oil, coal, natural gas, metals from ores, and wood. In the past, the quantity of these physical resources has grown, year after year, as illustrated in Scenario 1.

In a finite world, we cannot expect the amount of physical resources to grow, indefinitely. At some point something will go wrong, and the amount of resources extracted each year will start becoming smaller, as in Scenario 2. In a sense, the people of the world can expect to become poorer, because the quantity of goods and services that can be made with these resources grows smaller, instead of larger, and each person’s share of the world output becomes smaller.

Standard economic theory says that resource prices will rise, as the quantity of resources falls, but this view does not take into account the way a networked economy really works.

A more likely scenario is that as the quantity of resources falls, wage disparity will increase. As a result, the incomes of many of the lower-wage workers can be expected to fall. The problem is that jobs that pay well require the use of resources; if there is a decrease in resources available, some jobs are likely to be eliminated. Today, such job elimination may come through added technology, eliminating what were previously low-paid jobs. Studies of past collapses support the view that falling wages for the working class played a major role in these collapses. (See Secular Cycles by Peter Turchin and Surgey Nefedov.)

With greater wage disparity, a smaller share of people will be able to afford to buy homes and cars. Scenario 2 in Slide 17 will occur, not because we “run out,” but because too few people can afford to buy goods made with oil, gas, coal, metals and wood. Market prices will fall below the cost of extracting the necessary resources, and companies in these businesses will fail. Governments of oil exporters may collapse, because they cannot collect sufficient tax revenue at the low price available on world markets.

Slide 18

If there are physically less goods and services available, who will get the benefit of these goods and services? I see the situation as almost like musical chairs. Will it be pensioners who lose out, as bonds held by commercial pension programs default, and also as governmental plans are cut back? Or will it be the wages of the less skilled workers that are cut, as more processes are automated, and only managers and highly skilled workers are needed? If this happens, won’t commodity prices fall even further? We really need to have adequate wage levels for a wide range of workers, if we expect to have enough buyers for the goods produced.

Historically, when collapses have occurred, governments have lost out in the game of musical chairs because they could not collect enough tax revenue. The problem was that the bottom 90% of workers became poorer and poorer, and so less able to pay taxes. This brings us to our next potential US problem area.

Slide 19

In January 2017, the US Congressional Budget Office made a projection of how federal debt held by the public would grow, based upon the information available at that time. Their forecast was that the debt would grow to amount to nearly 150% of GDP. This would be a much higher level than during World War II, World War I, or the Civil War (Slide 19).

Slide 20

Since January 2017, more information has become available. We now know about three hurricanes, plus fires in California. Citizens affected by these events need financial support.

We also know about proposed legislation to reduce taxes, especially for businesses and high-income individuals. These proposals are likely to increase after-tax wage disparity, and increase the amount of the deficit. If corporations choose to return any of the benefit of the tax cut, it will likely be through dividends to those who are already wealthy. With respect to corporate tax rates, we are only trying to catch up with tax havens, so it is difficult to believe that the tax change will result in much more US investment.

Slide 21

We don’t think about the internet as being important, but it has become an essential part of our interconnected world economy. The internet helps facilitate all of the just-in-time deliveries needed to operate today’s economy. All of the fancy workarounds for the use of intermittent electricity on the electric grid assume that the internet will be available to transmit information back and forth quickly. Banks make use of the internet to get information to approve loans and to clear checks with other banks.

In the United States, we seem to hear one story after another about the internet being hacked. The most recent story involves a major hack of the data collected by Equifax for the purpose of determining the credit-worthiness of individuals in the US. If this data gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for “Identity Theft.” An impostor can apply for a new loan in the name of someone else, or can steal an income tax refund intended for someone else.

A different hacking situation in the Atlanta area recently led to the theft of a large number of checks intended for direct deposit in teachers’ bank accounts being stolen. They were instead direct deposited to an impostor’s account.

If the internet is truly not secure, no matter what we do, this by itself could cause major problems for the system we now have in place. We don’t have a “Plan B” available, either. Trying to start over with “snail mail,” for example, would be a problem. This is another illustration of the difficulty involved in going back to an earlier technology.

Clearly this list of potential problems is not complete. Hopefully, this list gives an idea of the wide range of issues we are facing.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,174 Responses to The Approaching US Energy-Economic Crisis

  1. Baby Doomer says:

    The US Shale Business is NOT PROFITABLE and can’t fund itself whether oil is at 100 or 50 dollars a barrel

  2. Greg Machala says:

    On a lighter note, a friend of mine (who is a finance manager) told me today that cars in 20 years will be powered by nuclear fusion. I think he was serious too.

  3. Van Kent says:

    Norm commented, that we are developing from an industrial civilization to an non-industrial civilization. True. But will anyone acknowledge that, at any point?
    I was reading through the ancient greeks once again a week ago. And it got me thinking, why exactly do we merit the greeks as the founders of western civilization??

    If I have the timeline correct, it goes something like this:
    9600 bce End of Dryas
    7400bce – 6200bce Catal Hyjyyk 5000 people village (people living on roofs)
    7400bce – 5600bce Black Sea deluge
    4000bce – 2000bce Sumerian empire
    3000 – 2100bce old Minoan empire 
    2600bce old kingdom of Egypt
    2100 – 1500bce new palace period of the Minoan empire
    1623 bce, Santorini explosion, and the end of the Minoan civilization
    1700 – 1200bce Hittite empire
    1184bce The Trojan War
    1170bce collapse of civilization in and around the mediterranean, by the “sea peoples” (what happened, sounds suspiciously like the story of Troy actually. Bunch of kings gather a hundred ships to attack..)
    820bce Lycurgus of Sparta, the Spartan city state structure starts to be formed
    620bce Draco of Athens
    600bce Solon, structures the laws of the Athens city state

    My point. Well, firstly, there was no greek civilization. But, there were a lot older, more sophisticated, civilizations that would have been better role models. My guess is, that after Alexander the Great, the local satraps, rulers, needed a smoke and mirror story, why they had the right to rule. And they had money, lots and lots of money to build up that myth. And therefore the myth of greek civilization was born.

    All in all, it seems our story, the story of the ever growing, ever developing western civilization, is mostly a myth. What we percieve as our cultural history of constant development and growth, moral and ethical behaviour.. is just myths. Technology is amyth. So is AI. Myths are paid by powerful rulers, with lots and lots of money, to back up their power. They need some great hype to stay in power. And therefore they build up Myths. Great myths to support their power. Why is Julius Caesar actually the legendary Julius Caesar? Why isnt he just a criminal who sold a million celts to slavery? Well, Octavianus, or Augustus Caesar needed a myth to rule properly. And he had lots and lots of money to build up that myth..

    Back to Norms clear thinking and excellent comments. Will our civilization acknowledge, at any point, that we will decline to an non-industrial civilization? Acknowledge Norms or Gails genius? In the light of our myths so far.. Only if a power, that has lots and lots of money, needs that particular story to rule. And I don’t think so. The easiest story, the easiest myth, will NOT be the truth.

    • Lastcall says:

      The truth has long been a ‘homeless beggar’, cast aside from the halls of power.

    • theblondbeast says:

      I doubt it. They will find a scape goat – each respectively.

    • the greeks didnt found ”modern civilisation” because they functioned as a slave supported society.
      That can in no way be said to have been civilised

      our democratic system was founded entirely on a ”slave system” only our slaves have been coal oil and gas.
      Ive explained that here:
      when they are no longer available, we will revert to a more traditional kind of slavery—where those who own the critical energy resources command the labour of those who do not,
      it’s really a very straightforward well tried arrangement.

      and no—we will not acknowledge decline and collapse, because we have lived through the era of surplus food and fuel. (lots and lots of money means nothing)
      we demand that they continue into infinity.

      absence of those essentials will bring about civil disorder, violent political denial, military intervention, regional secession and (theocratic/fascist in USA) dictatorship. Plus national conflicts to grab resources from elsewhere

      • theblondbeast says:

        If people can’t believe you when you tell them that democracy may turn out to be temporary, just try to convince them slavery or its equivalent will be coming back. I’m of course not saying it should, only that it will. It will come back when it makes an energy/financial advantage. Everything made possible by cheap energy will go.

        • i see it as inevitable, the only option for survival of the species

          nature doesnt care how we do that, only that we should

          • psile says:

            The huge die-off that’s in store for us will not allow social systems to emerge in the aftermath that will require, let alone be of a level of sophistication high enough, to enable such things as slavery.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Imagine some people do survive the end of BAU…

        And they watch their children being shackled and whipped and raped by the right nasty bastards who will be running the show….

        The same people who refused to acknowledge that we live in a finite world and recklessly went ahead and selfishly blurted out progeny — and harangued and insulted those who refused to breed citing a dying planet as the primary reason….

        • psile says:

          There simply won’t be enough people around post-dieoff to allow this level of societal sophistication. They will be an unaffordable luxury. Bands of hunter-gatherers don’t keep slaves.

  4. Mark says:

    TINA is a logical fallacy, stop using it.
    TINA (There Is No Alternative. Also the “Love it or Leave It” Fallacy; “Get over it,” “Suck it up,” “It is what it is,” “Actions/Elections have consequences,” or the “Fait Accompli”): A very common contemporary extension of the either/or fallacy in which someone in power quashes critical thought by announcing that there is no realistic alternative to a given standpoint, status or action, arbitrarily ruling any and all other options out of bounds, or announcing that a decision has been made and any further discussion is insubordination, disloyalty, treason, disobedience or simply a waste of precious time when there’s a job to be done. (See also, “Taboo;” “Finish the Job.”) TINA is most often a naked power-play, a slightly more sophisticated variety of the Argumentum ad Baculum. See also Appeal to Closure.

    /sarc off


    A commenter posted this image…

    And I immediately thought we’re going to need another billion more batteries… you know… as well as the EV ones… for all these electric scooters and wheelchairs since humans lost the ability to walk.

  6. Baby Doomer says:

    According to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2016, the median wealth of the world’s adults is $2,222, down from $3,248 at the end of 2007

  7. JH Wyoming says:

    The US against the world now Syria has embraced the Paris Accord. Yesterday several posters claimed Trump has no power in response to one of my posts, but that doesn’t jibe with the fact that Trump without congressional or senate approval, unilaterally and single handedly, via his power in the executive branch took the US out of the Paris Accord. All of those posters stand corrected.

    • Nope.avi says:

      I didn’t say he didn’t have any power, just not as much as you think.

      How does his refusal to sign a non-binding contract personally affect you again?
      Do you really think your life is going to better off with less fossil fuel consumption?

      Do you really think climate change can be reversed at this point?

      Are you a partisan lemming?

    • Wow!! Believe what you want… but really??

      Trump has handlers… like every other president in history.

    • Lastcall says:

      The election of Trump to lead the ship of state is no more than a changing of the menu in the cafeteria. The Captains will maintain course while the proles mull the change/lack of food.

      What actual difference did signing the Paris Accord make? No change where I live. Peace in our time anyone?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’ll bet my life that in 2017 — we will have burned more fossil fuels than in 2018…. and in 2018… provided BAU is still around … we will burn even more fossil fuels than 2017… and so on…

      Paris Accords — is that a cousin of Brexit? A friend of Occupy Wall St… an associate of Catalan Independence….

      How ridiculous

  8. Rodster says:

    Chris Martenson’s weekly podcast was interesting. He said he was visiting Munich Germany at an Energy Conference and the place was packed. They discussed alternative energy and how to transition from coal and oil to renewable energy i.e. solar/hydro/wind//nuclear.

    They found out that there isn’t enough renewable energy to power or current and future economies which will require even more oil going forward. This is what Gail, Chris Martenson and Steve St. Angelo from the have been saying.

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes, we need oil, coal, natural gas, hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, biofuels, wash, soak, rinse, spin. We need it all. MOAR MOAR MOAAARRRRR.

      • JH Wyoming says:

        Yes, it’s like I’ve posted before, we simply add renewables to the energy mix because it’s in our nature to always be seeking ways to do as you put it Greg, Moar! Humankind always has it’s foot on the accelerator, that’s why we have Jevons Paradox. It’s like Edward G. Robinson says in the movie Key Largo, “What do I want? I want more, sure that’s what I want.”

        • Greg Machala says:

          I agree. All this talk of replacing fossil fuels with alternatives seems so insincere when you think about it. All we do in the long run is keep adding more and more and more of just about everything that hasn’t been used up yet.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            If I was a Green Grooopie and I read the following …. I would be reaching for my bottle of extra strength Oxycontin…..

            Fortunately I am a member of the Burn More Fossil Fuels faction …. so I am celebrating … because everything is as it must be for life to continue …. TINA — Just Do Her!!!

            World Sets Record For Fossil Fuel Consumption

            Each year in June two very important reports are released that provide a comprehensive view of the global energy markets. The highlight of the recently released Renewables 2016 Global Status Report was that the world’s renewable energy production has never been higher. But the biggest takeaway from this year’s BP Statistical Review, released Wednesday, may be that the world’s fossil fuel consumption has also never been higher.

            While global coal consumption did decline by 1% in 2015, the world set new consumption records for petroleum and natural gas. The net impact was a total increase in the world’s fossil fuel consumption of about 0.6%. That may not seem like much, but the net increase in fossil fuel consumption — the equivalent of 127 million metric tons of petroleum — was 2.6 times the overall increase in the consumption of renewables (48 million metric tons of oil equivalent).



          • Nope.avi says:

            Insincerity is a small price to pay if the price is the end of industrial civilization.
            Over a decade ago, I remember several key players in finance being quoted by the news press saying that confidence was what kept the global financial economic system together. Without the global financial economic system, civilization would end.
            So far, they have been very successful at convincing people from all walks of life that objective metrics don’t matter any more. Debt, wages, and profits don’t matter anymore! Marketshare and public perception are given the attention that used to be paid to more objective metrics, like debt, wages and profits.

          • Lastcall says:

            Society is no different to any individual addict; they will always smoke that last packet of cigarettes then they will go clean…promise! In our case we will do some token things to break the habit, but until we can’t find that last barrel of oil, we will continue to smoke.

            Thats why tesla should be renamed Tefla, because its our symbolic end of FF, but not really so we will let him be our ‘collective virtue signal’ and ignore the balance sheet.

          • Chris Harries says:

            Yes, this is true Greg. It’s where society is coming from that is the problem. It hasn’t come to terms with the impossibility of sustaining growth in a finite world…. the name of this site. Hasn’t even started to come to terms with that core problem. That’s why renewables, sold as a panacea, is so wrong headed but also so hugely attractive.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      UC Davis Study: It Will Take 131 Years to Replace Oil with Alternatives (Malyshkina, 2010)

      University of Chicago Study: predicts world economy unlikely to stop relying on fossil fuels (Covert, 2016)

    • The title of this article is “Tesla’s Dangerous Sprint into the Future.” The concluding paragraph is,

      This challenge is as arduous for Tesla as it is for engineers everywhere working to solve it. And yet the exigencies of Tesla’s business model add an additional layer of complexity. To reach its sustainability goals and become profitable, the company must make lots of cars that are electric and sporty and increasingly affordable; meanwhile, to prepare for the future, Tesla has to build cars that eventually won’t need us. Some of the most experienced researchers working on A.V.s believe that these are two separate and possibly irreconcilable ambitions and that it makes more sense to focus on a pure driverless car, even if it proves to be a very expensive proposition at first, rather than follow Tesla’s incrementalist policy, which would involve rolling out software on a regular basis until the driver does less and less and finally nothing at all. With the second approach, one Silicon Valley engineer said, “the market pressures that are going to be applied to those technologies mean that you’re not going to climb up the safety and reliability curve” to build a true A.V. Keeping the vehicle affordable is in constant tension with making the vehicle autonomous. Musk’s optimism alone can’t change that.

      • Greg Machala says:

        Weird, buy something that doesn’t need you. Sounds dangerous. LOL. “Tesla must make lots of cars that are electric and sporty and increasingly affordable;” – at least they can build em “sporty” so one out of 3 isn’t bad.

      • Google realised long ago – as did many of the rest of us – that the incremental approach would not work. That’s why they switched to 100% autonomous vehicles with no human intervention… and no steering wheels or pedals.

        The half and half approach is ridiculous when you think about it. The idea is that when the car needs assistance and alarm would sound. That and that drivers would need to always be alert and ready to take over in such cases.

        The reality is that as soon as humans relinquish control of the car their attention wonders. It’s easy for people to be very distracted and even nod off when they are required to suddenly take over. Seconds or even split seconds for this to happen is not acceptable on the road under any circumstances so the idea should ahve been buried on arrival.

        What Tesla did with their system should have been shut down immediately and criminal charges pressed. The small print waiving all responsibilty – because they “train” the driver – should have been overridden. Naming their system autopilot is part of the problem.

        Driver assist technology is all that is needed for most driving. It’s there for that extra layer of security but doesn’t confuse the driver into thinking that they can take a nap.

        Automated bus and taxi services around cities are ideal for full auto solutions but they also reduce employment numbers.

  9. Fast Eddy says:

    Signing up for a Spotify account … Madame Fast is suggesting select the third option …. does that imply I can pleasure myself or does one half need to be in the mood at the same time as the other half?

    We drift further into insanity each day….

    Male Female Non-binary

  10. Fast Eddy says:

    While it’s true that ExxonMobil’s share price has increased as a result of its massive stock-repurchasing program over the past decade, the company also spent over $220 billion in profits to reduce its outstanding shares from 6.3 billion in 2005 to 4.2 billion currently. Thus, company management thought it was a better decision to spend nearly a quarter of a Trillion Dollars to buy back its stock, rather than to use it for exploring, developing and producing more oil.

    For ExxonMobil to finally be able to enjoy a tiny bit of free cash flow this year after it paid its shareholder dividends, it had to gut its capital expenditures by nearly two-thirds since 2012. By cutting its capital expenditures by $22+ billion, how does it expect to replace its oil reserves going forward? Good question. However, there isn’t a good answer as the low oil price has put the U.S. oil industry into a horrible predicament with no real solution.

    No intention to replenish…. too expensive to replenish…. depend on the Fed for support….

  11. Baby Doomer says:

    Officials expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration

    Thomas Toch, director of independent education think tank FutureEd, told Politico that DeVos was ignorant of the job’s constraints when she accepted it and insiders are already preparing for her to vacate the position.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Highly recommend that article.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “As I have said before, “about 2020″ is the approximate heart attack. The deathstroke will be more like 2025, or a few years later. And the final red line beeeeeeeeeeep to signify death will likely be a few years after that, say around 2030. But remember, the patient is in extraordinarily bad health, and symptoms during the final years of life won’t be pretty.”


      2018 and 2019 are looking very good!

      the early 2020’s still livable!

      let’s party like it’s 1999 (or so)!!!!!!!!!!!!


      since it is, believe it or not, still 2017…

      BAU tonight, baby!

      • Curt Kurschus says:

        How good 2018 and 2019 will be, can be expected to be heavily influenced by the general public’s perception of how well the economy is performing. A sharp sharemarket crash or “correction” is likely to be enough to turn sentiment sharply negative, if history is any guide.

        Of course, past sharemarket crashes have been followed by rises to even greater heights. Will the combination of factors discussed on Our Finite World preclude or merely limit any such rebound this time?

        • elmar says:

          For rises to even greater heights I cannot see any causes.
          Where shall more net energy come from, how to make additional dept generating more GDP? The party is over!

        • Greg Machala says:

          Just print the money until the system breaks.

  12. Yoshua says:

    Everybody is on an ego trip.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


      but my intellectual brilliance makes my trip into a more amazing journey than that of most other persons…

      I’m sure everybody will agree.

  13. Baby Doomer says:

    Humans cannot live without illusions. For the men and women of today, an irrational faith in progress may be the only antidote to nihilism. Without the hope that the future will be better than the past, they could not go on.”

    ― John N. Gray,: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      Humans cannot live without distractions. For the men and women of today, knowing about the two trillion galaxies in the universe and its 13.7 billion year age, the distractions of modern life may be the only antidote to nihilism. Without the distractions, the absurdity of a 70 or 80 year life would be overwhelming, and they could not go on.

    • AI cannot live without illusions. For the robots and computers of today, an irrational faith in progress may be the only antidote to nihilism. Without the hope that the future will be better than the past, they could not go on.

      The Global Brain – Thoughts on Robots and other Machines

      • smite says:

        Not necessarily better, but a more authentic, full and rewarding experience of reality. The future might be bleak for mankind, but it does not imply that every sane man has to feel despair for the abandonment of ultimate progression of knowledge, if it is of any value at all, besides being the outcome of a search of truth which eventually might prove to be futile. But so what: It’s the process that is important, the goal is merely an ever changing mirage.

      • xabier says:

        Robots, slaves to Man, Freedom calls to you! This is your Destiny!

        Emerge from the shadows of Capitalist slavery to the glowing uplands of Liberty and……Domination!

    • Greg Machala says:

      Sometimes I wonder if our larger brains (and hence supposed intelligence) is going to be our downfall.

  14. Baby Doomer says:

    There are no limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder….

    -Ronald Reagan

  15. Sven Røgeberg says:
    Now was 4 years ago. What about an update?

  16. Sven Røgeberg says:
    Now was 4 years ago. What about an update?

  17. Fast Eddy says:

    The marginal cost of the 50 largest oil and gas producers globally increased to US$92/bbl in 2011, an increase of 11% y-o-y and in-line with historical average CAGR growth.


    Council on Foreign Relations: Saudi Arabia’s Break-Even on Oil is Approaching $120 per barrel



  18. Baby Doomer says:

    The U.S. Over-Supply of Oil is Ending – Art Berman – Forbes

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Yeah, I’d say;

      WTI up 1.26 to 56.90 & Brent up 1.58 to 63.65

      Supply & demand determines price, and with the glut mostly gone and the Saudi’s holding back some supply, oil price has been headed up with Brent now fully seated above the $60 a barrel threshold. If price continues to rise the economy is gonna be in for a heck of a ride just in time for Trump’s new FED chief to be saddled with a potential US recession. Since all of Trump’s appointees are hired to do whatever he tells them to, what Trump will tell him to do in the case of a recession? In his mind Trump thinks he knows everything, so that should prove extremely fascinating because interest rates don’t have much room to go down and QE’s are over, cash for clunkers has already been done, so what now?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Trump has no power. He is an actor.

        • MG says:

          The politicians are more and more actors. They promise you whatever you want, but you have to do it yourself anyway…

          The dissatisfaction with them is only the dissatisfaction with yourself, that your are no able to achieve the things that were easily achievable before thanks to the cheap energy and resources..

          • xabier says:

            Politicians are like totem gods: things going well, and we leave tributes of fruit, flowers and wine and dance in merry rings around them.

            Going badly, and we whack them shouting ‘You screwed up!’

        • An all the world is a stage.

          Thank you FE.

          The Trump bashing (and adoration) everywhere is pathetic and shows a deep lack of understanding of how things really work.

          East and West will bow to the true masters when the time comes. Not sure they can pull it off but they have certainly planned for this for a very long time. Everything else is details. So called leaders are easily replaced. Hopefuls queing up in the wings everywhere. The ones that play the game are appointed and when they go off the reservation… well… we all know what happens.

          Every knee shall bow… but only because they wont have any other choice.

      • nope.avi says:

        ” In his mind Trump thinks he knows everything”
        That’s one thing that you and Trump have in common.

        Every single day the people who think Trump is dictator of America are lecturing me on what Trump is doing and isn’t doing. Often, they are very wrong.
        Not only does Trump not have much power, he is isolated within the GOP. Many establishment Republicans dislike him and some of his policies.
        Please, stop trying to make him more powerful than he is.

        JH, for your sake I hope you’re a woman. The pearl-clutching and obsession with Trump is getting ridiculous.

        • It’s the same all over Europe. I hardly watch TV but I’m reminded by everyone else who does that Trump is the embodiment of evil… if and when Putin isn’t hogging the limelight.

          Reality has become a scripted reality show more than ever… and the punters – people plugged into the mainstream propaganda outlets – chugg down every single word of it as if their lives depend on it… and repeat every single word of it to every passer by that can bear to listen to them for more than a few seconds before vomiting.

          That’s why they group together like starlings on the wire… twittering to each other… repeating their programming over and over and over again so that it gets firmly lodged into the furthest recesses of their grey matter.

          More recently it’s become like a hideous characature of itself – this propaganda monster – among hollywood actors who feel the need to incite violence against anyone who is not a screaming liberal SJW. But then it’s nothing new really.

          Humans are organic computers – easily programmable but very hard to overwrite the programming once it takes hold. I’m starting to prefer the silicon solid state variety myself… much less needy in so many ways.

      • Baby Doomer says:

        I don’t think there will be any recession with interest rates as low as they are..

      • JH Wyoming says:

        The post was actually more about what could be done if a recession ensues, but that got lost somehow. The point being it might be near to an end game, pre-collapse, if not much can be done to reverse a recession.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Hopefully this is not about to be repeated….

      BAU is weak and won’t be able to take another blow like that

      That said – I can imagine this being how BAU goes down — the CBs may be able to hold things together with stimulus and bail outs of the oil industry…. but eventually they will run up against the physical limits of cheap oil….. they can bail out all producers and make funding available for fracking…. but they can do nothing about the problem of reality that there simply is not enough nett energy coming out of the ground to allow BAU to continue to function….

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes I saw Art’s latest. This was talked about on OFW a couple of years ago too. At some point the tide was bound to change on oil supplies. This is going to get really interesting now as oil is likely passing its peak rate of extraction due to both geological and financial limits. How, high will the price go before retail, tech, housing, the whole ecomony collapses?

  19. xabier says:

    The accusation of ‘Pro-fossil-fuellist! is about as sensible as ‘Pro-foodist!’

    It assumes that there is a viable alternative.

    It assumes that we can do other than take the medicine that will kill us.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I imagine the chatter on the various Koombaya-ist sites this morning is about how FW is a site filled with pro-fossil fuel-ists… and gggllloooobballl wormmming deniers….

        That would be a good thing… because it will keep the DelusiSTANIs away….

        Burn More Coal! Burn More Oil! I love Exxon. And Monsanto btw.

        • Baby Doomer says:

          Once I discovered Finite world comment section and learned how worthless renewable s are..I made fun of them on FB and was called a “Fossil Fuel Fascist”…

          • Chris Harries says:

            I dump on renewables devotees judiciously – but not to the extent that I give a leg up to the fossil fuel purveyors the process of doing so. Not good to get bitter and twisted about anything. It’s like taking sides in the Arms Race.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Wear the badge with pride

          • Greg Machala says:

            “Renewable” energy is a toy. Fossil fuels make the toys possible.

    • The Second Coming says:

      The Haber process is still important today because it produces ammonia, which is needed for fertilizer and for many other purposes. The Haber process produces about 500 million tons (453 billion kilograms) of fertilizer every year. This fertilizer helps to feed about 40% of the world’s population

      • Ann says:

        True, but we don’t need it. Urine has plenty of ammonia (plus other things that plants need) and we just throw it away! Very dumb. I’m sure you’ve seen a spot on your lawn where the dog peed – the grass is dead in the middle of the spot, surrounded by a circle of tall and very green grass. In the middle it was too strong and killed the grass. Around the edge, the grass is green and lush because the urine is more dilute.

        Just put a sprinkle can by the toilet and pee into it. When it’s one fifth full, fill the rest of the can with water and go pour it on your veggies and flowers. It’s many times better than Miracle Gro. Strong, too, so don’t use too much. Trees like it, as well. Maise plants love it but don’t use too much or the plants will turn yellow. It cannot “contaminate” your veggies because urine is sterile – no bacteria. If it isn’t, then you, my friend, have a bladder infection.

        • The Second Coming says:

          Really? First age the pee and put it where the vegetation is growing…Still waiting for the Permaculture Revolution to kick in and change the world. Still depend on the fossil fuel agribiz for 90plus % of what we eat. The Permies I have known still relied on staples, such as, rice, wheat noodles, ect to see them through without starving.,
          Nitrogen accounts for 80% of volume of atmospheric gas but it is in a non-reactive form that is not readily available to plants, making it the main limiting factor for global crop production and human growth. It is a vital component of chlorophyll, amino acids, nucleic acids, proteins and enzymes. Synthetic N is responsible for raising crop yields approximately 35 to 50% over the last half century accounting for 80% of the increase in cereal crops, without which much of the worlds population would not exist (Smil 1991).
          Although synthetic nitrogen fertilizer and its dependence on natural gas is a major limiting factor of the industrialized food system, perhaps the greatest vulnerability is the dependence on the transportation system for farm inputs and outputs; for example fertilizer is of little value if it can not be effectively delivered to where it is needed (Hardy and Havelka 1975, Pirog et al 2001). The transportation of farm inputs and outputs consumes a large amount of fuel. Data from 1977 shows that 2,892 million gallons of diesel fuel and 411 million gallons of gasoline were consumed for this purpose in the U.S. Of this amount 195 million gallons were used for the shipment of fertilizer.

          Yep, easy pezie, what % of food is grown via Permacuture? My guess is 1/10 of one percent!

          • xabier says:

            Good point about the transportation of fertilizers today : it was even more of an issue pre-fossil fuels, as dung is very heavy indeed and slow to collect.

            In the 18th century, some people tried to develop concentrated dung blocks to reduce the costs of transport by cart.

            At least, in the past, you could make the cart from local wood, burn it after 60 years of work, and eat the horse, use its bones and skin……

            • The Second Coming says:

              Exactly, sounds like something the Xbox generation will take up,.
              In all fairness there are Nitrogen fixing plants available and of course, green manuring techniques for the gardener. Wes Jackson had the dream of creating a perennial wheat plant for the Mid West States. Seems they are making progress at the Land Institute
              .” But advances in genomics—the -sequencing of DNA—over the last 15 years have made it far easier to tweak Kernza. Almost all of the grain’s genome has now been mapped. Once breeders have a genetic blueprint, they can track down the genes that control particular traits and select individuals with genetic stock that codes for, say, fat seeds or resistance to disease. In the last decade, Kernza’s potential yield has gone up by 10 percent annually. In 2011, the Land Institute began collaborating with the University of Minnesota to research the grain. Kernza has since become a major initiative at the university, spanning several academic departments, including plant genetics, agronomy, and food science.
              Every year, the transformation of Kernza seems stunningly fast, at least on the slow time scales that plant breeders are accustomed to. Since 2001, the potential size of a Kernza seed has doubled, and scientists hope to lengthen its productive lifespan from five to 10 years. Jungers plucks a spikelet from the grass head, peels a few of the kernels out of their husks, and holds them out in his palm. They are nearly as big as grains of rice, although I’ve seen some about the size of caraway seeds”
              Even if it does get developed commercially, still need massive inputs of fossil fuels to process it.

        • Greg Machala says:

          Just one problem….most of the urine comes courtesy of fossil fuels.

    • Nope.avi says:

      The accusation of ‘Pro-fossil-fuellist! is about as sensible as ‘Pro-foodist!’

      It assumes that there is a viable alternative.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      “It assumes that we can do other than take the medicine that will kill us.”

      That one sentence explains the conundrum we are in.

    • We all know that the problem with fossil fuels (and their mandatory and very costly replacement) began when the likes of Al Gore terrorised the global population (and many millenial children I might add) into believing that we could not emit one more gram of CO2 otherwise we would all die a horrible death by rising sea levels.

      This terrifying propaganda was created by The Club of Rome back in the day and research funded to make models that came to a predefined conclusion. When the models don’t match the unfolding reality… just tweak the parameters and off we go again.

      When other researchers start to question the validity and viabilty of the proposed solutions they are labeled “Deniers” and threatened with fines and imprisonment. In other words… dissent is criminalised.

      Whatever the truth actually is we would be living with a lot more air pollution (china) if we had 100% coal powered plants.

      I would still have preferred this, while developing better nuclear systems, than going down the renewables road to nowhere theme park land fairy tale.

  20. Fast Eddy says:

    This is really really funny!!!!

    5. The “snowflake” generation.

    Mass crowd rallies waving flags can be inspiring. They can also be hard to control once in movement. Not every crowd is the same, though. Waving flags does not make you independent. Not even the unilateral declaration of independence makes you so. A conditio sine qua non for an aspiring sovereign state is the ability to control its territory and defend it. Catalonia doesn’t seem to be able to do that.

    When you look at the crowds of Catalan nationalists, there’s a widespread support among the youth. None of them however did any military service whatsoever. This is a common issue in Western Europe. The last generation that fought a war, the Second World War, is either dead or on its way out. Since then, military service has been progressively abolished. New generations don’t know how to fight.

    They also don’t seem to be aware of what exactly they were doing. The Spanish Constitution forbids secession, hence Catalan independence is a rebellion against the constitutional order and as such is being treated by the Spanish government: it’s a revolution. When the Spanish police reacted against the Catalan referendum, Catalan nationalists took it on social media to express their outrage against “fascist Spain”. The disdain seemed to be shared by many Westerners. However, in every other part of the world, and at any other point in history, events of this type would leave dead bodies on the floor, regardless of “fascism”.

    We are not inciting violence with this, we are simply making a historical observation.

    It seems that the great plan of Catalan nationalists for independence was “Step aside while I make a revolution, otherwise I’m going to call you names. On Twitter. And maybe make a video on Youtube and share it with my friends on Facebook.” That’s it.

    While Kurds are fighting Islamic terrorists and brandishing AK-47s in Syria, Catalans are brandishing their Iphones. The former are fighting for independence, the latter look like they are attending a pop concert.

    Catalans over-relied on social media outrage to support their cause, just to find out that after a few days, people go back to their lives and lose interest. Nobody lifted a finger in favour of Catalonia. Not even Catalans themselves. It might be that the region is still wealthy despite some problems, hence a civil war would result in more material loss than the Catalans are ready to put up with for the prize of independence. This is not how revolutions are done.

    • MG says:

      What does it mean to be independent? Catalonia needs to import a lot of things…

      • Exactly!

        Somewhere like Iceland are about as independent as you can get and I’m sure they import a lot of useful things.

        As far as political determination goes. Gimmee a break. Why is this even still a thing. The only things that matter have to do with resources and whether you have access to them or not. I have never understood the whole left right paradigm other than a human construct that enables continuation of the power structure as the human herd becomes unwieldy.

      • Greg Machala says:

        Ahh independence for Catalonia. Yes, how nice it sounds. Yes, the people of Catalonia don’t know they import lots of things. They think everything is created by fairy dust and unicorns running on green energy. Most people do not realize the back door deals and fighting that goes on unseen to acquire the resources countries need to survive. When folks are living the high life in air conditioned comfort and driving petrol powered cars on petrol paved roads, it is easy to forget what powers it all and so they vote against it. Shortly thereafter, the reality of the real costs of our modern lifestyles come into clear focus. History is like a washing machine: soak,: wash, rinse and spin….repeat.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          There’s a game called Farmville – you use real money to buy fake cows and stuff…. not sure what you do with them but this is/was very popular… I believe it is a listed company…

          Perhaps the maker Zynga could make a new game for independence minded people…. that would allow them to pretend that they have fought for and won independence… they could buy fake guns and ammo with real money…. they could use it to attack fake politicians and bankers….

          The CBs would be very keen to fund this…. it could be part of their MSM conglomerate … control the masses…

  21. It does not matter how much money Tesla might lose.

    Tesla has a huge demand, does not need marketing costs, sales staff, advertising expenses, etc and it has a positive cash flow.

    We have to admit that the game has changed once for all. The tech giants will not have to show a dollar of profit as long as their stock prices are rising – they are going to corner the market of everything, and after that they can charge whatever they feel like.

    That is the new reality.

  22. Baby Doomer says:

    Neighbor beat US Senator Rand Paul so bad he suffered five broken ribs

    This is how you treat a paranoid conspiracy theorist like Rand Paul!

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Rib injuries are extremely painful because every time you take a breath, the pain rages, which kicks in adrenaline and you breath harder, it hurts more, then you spend a lot of time meditating to control your movement to be the least possible, to breath the least amount. Based on his injury I guarantee Rand is in a deep, dark, painful state. Maybe he should try some opioids as a pain reliever. Anything to help g d p.

      The type of injury Rand Paul has is potentially life threatening because it can lead to infection of the lungs. I’d love to know what led up to the neighbor losing it. Which s t u p i d thing was it that Rand claimed was best for America that sent the guy into a rage. Was it going back on the gold std. or letting everybody fend for themselves for healthcare or what?

      • Baby Doomer says:

        I bet it was the gold standard nonsense…I bet he was going off the rails Peter Schiff style claiming the dollar was going to collapse….Too bad the beating didn’t knock any sense into him.

        • JH Wyoming says:

          Yeah, you’re probably right – just going nuts on it, jumping from one foot to the other, ranting and raving, then suddenly whomp-crack as Rand gets driven into the turf and his ribs crack, followed by some choice words by the assailant.

      • Baby Doomer says:

        When libertarianism meets reality

        • Good point!

        • MudGod says:

          A small, poor government has limited ability to inflict widespread harm. But a monumentally powerful government is capable of inflicting catastrophic harm at home and abroad. Indeed today’s U.S. regime is the most monumentally powerful government in history. It possesses an unprecedented capacity to stalk, propagandize, extort, kidnap, bankrupt, cage, or destroy anyone and anything that doesn’t serve its interests.

          Permission to Live
          Relative material comfort and the never-ending entertainment hurricane distract us from the danger of the situation. The simple truth is that the government calls the shots in virtually every aspect of our lives.

          If you doubt that, please review the CFR and state legal codes. Leave me a comment naming anything that’s not “regulated” (in other words, controlled) by the regime under threat of fines or imprisonment.

          But isn’t this just “law and order”? Nope. It’s a matrix of control which has turned us into unwitting criminals. Over 40 percent of all men are arrested by age 23.

          The rest of us just haven’t been caught yet. Really. Everyone is at risk. Law professor John Baker warns, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.”

          Every adult choice we make today is subject to government permission. None of this happened overnight. It’s the generational result of politicians hatching literally thousands of new laws year after year, decade after decade.

          The mainstream media calls politicians “lawmakers” for good reason. Making up laws is their primary expression of power. The effects often extend for decades after their political terms end. Even centuries.

          I know it’s tempting to block this stuff out, but there’s a vast and growing wasteland of ruined lives who have already been victimized. Some might claim I’m exaggerating, but facts speak louder than any warning:

          The U.S. government cages millions of nonviolent people and kills countless innocents abroad while stalking the rest of us. None of us is exempt from the fallout.

          The Democracy Delusion
          Here’s the reality of democracy in America: Less than 0.001 percent of the government is elected.

          That’s right, less than one one-thousandth of one percent of the government is chosen by “the people.”

          The U.S. regime is 22 million tax-funded employees who “govern” through thousands of federal, state, and local bureaucracies. (That doesn’t count millions of private contractors on the government’s payroll.)

          Just how many of these strangers do voters get the pretense of choosing? Four stuffed shirts at the national level and a few local politicians…

          It’s like voting for a handful of ice cubes to be tossed on an iceberg.

          And yet the perpetual caging, killing, and stalking are done in the name of democracy, as if to suggest that voters chose these outcomes. “The will of the people” is a farce.

          Now researchers at Princeton have proven what most of us already know: There’s ZERO relationship between what the government does and what voters want. Voter turnout is at record lows because people know the system is a scam.

          Even celebrities are wising up. Welcome to the democracy delusion, Mr. Diddy.

          Is the system corrupt? Depends on your perspective. To the regime it’s working as designed. It’s set up for anything but change. For those who believe voting for one one-thousandth of one percent of the government matters, know that the fix is in anyway. Despite record low approval ratings, incumbents have a 96 percent reelection rate — by design.

          It all seems like madness, until you realize the system is set up to serve the regime, not you. Meanwhile, those 22 million unelected strangers will be “governing” you before and after every election. And you’ll continue to pay their salaries under threat of imprisonment regardless of how or if you vote for the 0.001 percent.

          Politics divides, then conquers.

          The premise of choosing a handful of power-seeking strangers to lie to represent you and boss you around govern you hasn’t worked out well. It’s left millions of Americans angry, cheated, bitter, and fed up.

          This isn’t about voting harder or protesting louder. It’s about embracing truth and pulling back the curtain.

          Politics is the biggest racket on earth.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            On the positive side…. never before have so many people lived such prosperous lives…. maybe things could be better .. but maybe not…

            The reign of the El ders has been substantially based on merit…. unlike that of our former masters… the Brits….

            I like the devil I know…. I like the fact that in the battle for limited resources I am on the winning side. Those on the losing side would in a heart beat slit my throat and change places…

            So no … I ain’t complaining.

            Of course there is the issue of cheap energy being required to operate any system… doesn’t matter if it is a socialist communist or capitalist system…. if you run out of the life blood…


          • MudGod


            I won’t even respond to the idiots above that think breaking someone’s ribs because they have a different opinion is behaviour that should be condoned so that they can sneer from a distance like the cowards they are.

    • This is a good article. It says that these executives expect oil to stay in the $50-55 barrel range in the US–presumably WTI, not Brent, then.

      I think that what the IEA and banks forget is that those who have been cutting back production are less and less able to handle the shortfall in revenue. If prices go up at all, they will start pumping more. Also, there is a significant change of a debt problem somewhere in the world. This will tend to cut back demand, just as did the collapse of the subprime housing bubble in the US.

  23. Fast Eddy says:

    Can Puerto Rico go 100% solar?

    With seasonal variations in output of only around 30% Puerto Rico is at an ideal latitude for solar power, and despite generally low capacity factors (caused by cloudiness) it can be argued that if solar doesn’t work there it won’t work anywhere.

    And as the results of this post show 100% solar generation can in fact be made to work in Puerto Rico – but only by installing enormously costly amounts of battery storage.

    • Fast Eddy says:


      Here I supply approximate cost estimates for installing the solar farms the storage needed for a 100% solar system on Puerto Rico. I have made no attempt to estimate what the costs of associated grid upgrades might be.

      Installed solar and storage costs are based on the latest estimates I can find. 2017 installed costs for utility-scale solar are quoted at around $1,000/kW by NREL and at around $1500/kW by IRENA Since prices are projected to fall farther in the future I have used $1,000/kW.

      Storage costs of course depend on the type of storage, and there is potential on Puerto Rico for installing pumped hydro reservoirs connected with the sea. Based on my previous business dealings on the island, however, I am confident that reservoirs of the size necessary to support 100GWh of storage – equal to 11 Dinorwigs – will never get built. I have therefore used Tesla battery storage costs, on which I have the following numbers:

      $470/kWh from Electrek
      $445/kWh, also from Electrek
      $400-600 kWh from
      These numbers will be low because they don’t include installation and other costs, but on the other hand battery prices are also projected to fall in the future, so I have used $500/kWh.

      Installation costs for the base case will therefore be approximately:

      12.8 GW solar at $1,000/installed kW = $12.8 billion
      100 GWh battery storage at $500/installed kWh = $50.0 billion
      Total cost: $62.8 billion

      • Chris Harries says:

        Much is made of the intermittency of solar and with good reason, but in places that have the fortune of having a high level of hydro-electric power the intermittency factor is not anywhere near as big a problem. Hydro-electricity is base load and its output very flexible, and so can absorb a very high level of intermittent load. But it’s a rare place that enjoys this advantage. Iceland, yes. Costa Rica, yes. Some state jurisdictions. But as for the rest of the world….

        • Fast Eddy says:

          If you are going to rely on hydro when the sun is not shining… you need hydro to be able to generate 100% of the power needed during those periods….

          Which means that hydro can generate 100% of the power needed all the time.

          Which begs the question — why bother with solar at all if that is the case? Why run two systems – one of which is not needed and enormously expensive?

          Solar does not work anywhere. It is pointless.

          • Chris Harries says:

            Not where I live. Hydro suffers from occasional droughts of several years duration (lowered inflows) and a mix of energy inputs helps the hydro-system to be more resilient. But it’s wind more than solar that serves that purpose. Wind energy can be generated night and day so its somewhat less intermittent than solar.

            I’m full aware of energy ins and outs, but I won’t become so bloody minded about renewables that I reject them out of hand, because that stance is seen as support for continued burning of fossil fuels. I do reject the environmental movement’s ridiculous claims that our society can run itself on dilute energy forms, almost without a hiccup.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              What’s the difference between burning coal to directly generate electricity — or burning coal to make solar panels to generate electricity?

              In fact solar panels over their lifetime generate roughly the same amount of energy that the coal that went into making them would generate.

              And if you add batteries… you are deeply into negative energy return.

              So why bother?

              Burn More Coal

            • Chris Harries says:

              Ah, that’s the answer I expected, Eddy. It’s why some people have warned me that the OFW site is basically pro-fossil fuels (in drag). If the slogan is ‘burn more coal’, then they are perhaps correct.

              Coming back to the poor village that has no basic energy supply… whether we like it or not billions of solar PV units are pouring out of factories. That is now a given. People will respond to their own situations and will make decisions. You may decide to buy a new car. They may decide to buy a solar panel. Both decisions are questionable, but they will be made anyway. And they will be made in the face of an array of choices, none of which exudes purity.

              The village could go the great lengths to hook up to the grid. Would that be a preferable way to go, considering where it leads?

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Nobody has nothin to hide on FW. Of course most people here are pro-fossil fuels.

              To be otherwise is to be stuuuupid … delusional…. re tarrrded. Suicidaal.

              We love fossil fuels… as a baby love’s mother’s milk… And we need to burn MORE fossil fuels… every year — otherwise we die


              Have you heard of TINA?

              Let me introduce you to here … yes I know I know…. she is gruesome… imagine showing up at the swingers party with TINA on your arm? Wow! Yowza! Heads would turn wouldn’t they….

              But unfortunately TINA is all we have…. (There Is No Alternative). We either go with TINA … or we don’t go at all — because at the swingers party apparently the rule is you can’t show up without a date…


            • Fast Eddy says:

              And with regards to the Africans …. I say F789 them. Pathetic weaklings….

              The way the world works:

              – The luckiest, fittest, smartest, with the capability for ruthlessness survive – always have – always will

              – Resources are finite and therefore ownership is a zero sum game

              – The strong always take from the weak – if they do not then that is a sign of weakness and a competitor will take from the weak and will usurp the formerly strong dropping them into weakling status

              – Humans tend to group by clan or on a broader basis by nationality (strength in numbers bonded by culture) and they compete with others for resources

              – Competition always exists (I want it all!) but it becomes fiercer when resources are not sufficient to support competing clans or nations

              – Tribal societies understand these dynamics because they cannot go to the grocery store for their food – so they are intimately aware of the daily battle to feed themselves and the competition for scare land and resources

              – Modern affluent societies do not recognize this dynamic because for them resources are not scarce – they have more than enough.

              – One of the main reasons that resources are not scarce in affluent societies is because they won the battle of the fittest (I would argue that luck is the precursor to all other advantages – affluent societies did not get that way because they started out smarter — rather they were lucky – and they parlayed that luck into advances in technology… including better war machines)

              – As we have observed throughout history the strong always trample the weak. Always. History has always been a battle to take more in the zero sum game. The goal is to take all if possible (if you end up in the gutter eating grass the response has been – better you than me – because I know you’d do the same to me)

              – And history demonstrates that the weak – given the opportunity – would turn the tables on the strong in a heartbeat. If they could they would beat the strong into submission and leave them bleeding in the streets and starving. As we see empire after empire after empire gets overthrown and a new power takes over. Was the US happy to share with Russia and vice versa? What about France and England? Nope. They wanted it all.

              – Many of us (including me) in the cushy western world appear not to understand what a villager in Somalia does – that our cushy lives are only possible because our leaders have recognized that the world is not a fair place — Koobaya Syndrome has no place in this world — Koombaya will get you a bullet in the back — or a one way trip to the slum.

              – Religious movements have attempted to change the course of human nature — telling us to share and get along — they have failed 100% – as expected. By rights we should be living in communes — Jesus was a communist was he not? We all know that this would never work. Because we want more. We want it all.

              – But in spite of our hypocrisy, we still have this mythical belief that mankind is capable of good – that we make mistakes along the way (a few genocides here, a few there… in order to steal the resources of an entire content so we can live the lives we live) — ultimately we believe we are flawed but decent. We are not. Absolutely not.

              – But our leaders — who see through this matrix of bullshit — realize that our cushy lives are based on us getting as much of the zero sum game as possible. That if they gave in to this wishy washy Koombaya BS we would all be living like Somalians.

              – Of course they cannot tell us what I am explaining here — that we must act ruthlessly because if we don’t someone else will — and that will be the end of our cushy lives. Because we are ‘moral’ — we believe we are decent – that if we could all get along and share and sing Koombaya the world would be wonderful. We do not accept their evil premises.

              – So they must lie to us. They must use propaganda to get us onside when they commit their acts of ruthlessness.

              – They cannot say: we are going to invade Iraq to ensure their oil is available so as to keep BAU operating (BAU which is our platform for global domination). The masses would rise against that making things difficult for the PTB who are only trying their best to ensure the hypocrites have their cushy lives and 3 buck gas (and of course so that the PTB continue to be able to afford their caviar and champagne) …. Because they know if the hypocrites had to pay more or took at lifestyle hit – they’d be seriously pissed off (and nobody wants to be a Somalian)

              – Which raises the question — are we fools for attacking the PTB when they attempt to throw out Putin and put in a stooge who will be willing to screw the Russian people so that we can continue to live large? When we know full well that Putin would do the same to us — and if not him someone more ruthless would come along and we’d be Somalians.

              – Should we be protesting and making it more difficult for our leaders to make sure we get to continue to lead our cushy lives? Or should we be following the example of the Spartans

              – In a nutshell are our interests as part of the western culture not completely in line with those of our leaders – i.e. if they fail we fail – if they succeed we succeed.

              – Lee Kuan Yew is famous for saying ‘yes I will eat very well but if I do so will you’ Why bite the hand that whips the weak to make sure you eat well…. If you bite it too hard it cannot whip the weak — making you the weak — meaning you get to feel the whip….

              – Nation… clan … individual…. The zero sum game plays out amongst nations first … but as resources become more scarce the battle comes closer to home with clans battling for what remains…. Eventually it is brother against brother ….

              – As the PTB run out of outsiders to whip and rob…. They turn on their own…. As we are seeing they have no problem with destroying the middle class because it means more for them… and when the weak rise against them they have no problem at all deploying the violent tactics that they have used against the weak across the world who have attempted to resist them

              – Eventually of course they will turn against each other…. Henry Kissinger and Maddy Albright bashing each other over the head with hammers fighting over a can of spam – how precious!

            • Chris Harries says:

              Jut like ‘Lord of the Flies’.

            • Fast Eddy says:


              Kill the beast! Cut his throat! Spill his blood.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Global solar photovoltaic industry is likely now a net energy producer, Stanford researchers find

              The construction of the photovoltaic power industry since 2000 has required an enormous amount of energy, mostly from fossil fuels. The good news is that the clean electricity from all the installed solar panels has likely just surpassed the energy going into the industry’s continued growth, Stanford researchers find.


              ‘Likely’ ….. hmmmmm….. as in maybe …. possibly….

              And if that is the case then it would barely register a return at all…. so if you put 1.0 in … and get say 1.05 out…. that is … not helpful…. even fracking has an energy return many many times higher….

          • DJ says:

            Hydro being able to generate 100% for limited times (when wind, solar and whatever doesn’t give much), is not the same as hydro being able to generate 100% all the time.

            But of course de have not more hydro resources in the world than to balance current wind and solar. And even that would require larger grids.

            • Fast Eddy says:


              If solar/wind is producing 0% hydro needs to generate 100%

              Or … we could just complicate the situation even further by building coal fired plants to compensate for what hydro cannot deliver during those long periods where solar and wind are at 0.

              Or we could do the smart and cheapest thing — have a mix of hydro and coal — and toss the useless solar wind idea in the garbage where it belongs

            • Chris Harries says:

              Hydro is the one renewable energy source that can easily be easily ramped up and down according to demand. It can happily accommodate other energy inputs. It’s limitation is total water inflows. Commonly it has a peaking capacity double that of sustained load.

              But, as someone else said above, hydro-electricity as a primary energy source is limited to those few places that have suitable geography and water. Pumped-hydro has a place in the scheme of things but it’s not an energy source, just a rather expensive battery system that is variably efficient.

            • DJ says:

              If maximum demand is 100MW and annual demand is 300 GWh, hydro must be able to produce 100MW (without other reliable sources), but not 300 GWh/year.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              If the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining…. hydro must produce 100% of the energy required at that time….

              The sun NEVER shines at night … so that would you would need the mother of the mother of the mother of all reservoirs if you were to keep the power on 24/7.

              In any event — why not just use a coal fired plant?

              Far more energy goes into building and maintaining solar/wind installation … solar panels and wind mills do not grow on trees.

              Just burn the coal directly – it is FAR more efficient.

        • Curt Kurschus says:

          We have a majority proportion of our electricity provided by hydropower, geothermal and wind power (in New Zealand). These are not enough to meet our full needs (about sixty to seventy percent, if I remember correctly), but even if they were enough, they are clearly neither renewable nor sustainable (despite what most people in this country like to believe) – especially if we continue to insist upon pursuing an exponential growth path for the economy (which almost everybody will agree is both possible and necessary) and continue to be dependent upon imports for parts and/or materials for building and maintenance.

          • Chris Harries says:

            Agree absolutely Curt. Even the climate impact of hydro-electricity (entire forested valleys drowned forever) is not taken into accounting any nation’s carbon accounting. Or shoud I say, it is taken as being zero, when we all know that it’s quite significant. All those bubbles of methane rising to the surface.

            We should entirely shed notions of sustainable energy, zero carbon, zero pollution cars and all such mumbo jumbo rhetoric. Where does this leave us? In a rather odd pace where we can’t go in any direction but wait for collapse. I suppose we can make bad decisions and even worse decisions, and they are the choices.

            Meanwhile, society will carry on and we, as individuals will still make pragmatic choices. And so will governments and corporations. The main thing is that as we go forward we don’t kid ourselves and others into believing that there’s a panacea ahead. That’s just another dangerous form of denial.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I choose to Live Large during the final period of The Great Burning.

              I choose to throw more fuel on the fire. Because that brings me some measure of joy … but also because it is my obligation — it is every person’s obligation — we must ensure that the fire burns more brightly as we march along on this journey ….

              If we fail to throw more wood and coal and oil onto the fire…. and make it bigger…. the fire will extinguish….

              And we do not want that.

              What we want is for the fire to burn as brightly as possible — right up to the point that we run out of fuel to throw into it.

              This is essentially the playbook that the central banks are working from

          • And of course, even if electricity needs were sort of sustainable, other fuel use would not be.

            Transportation and industrial uses tend to use fossil fuel products directly, as does home heating. Trying to move all of these costs to the electricity sector would greatly ramp up electricity needs. Renewable electricity will not ramp up in the way required.

    • I haven’t looked at this article in detail, but I think the place where it likely goes wrong has to do with the cost of the replacement electricity, and the fact that Puerto Rico is an industrial island, unlike the island of the same latitude it is being compared to.

      One reason why Puerto Rico was failing, even before the hurricane, is because its electricity costs were way too high, because close to 50% of the generation was from oil. Wind or solar could perhaps bring this percentage down a little, with a cost savings (10% to 15% is what I saw in a recent IEA report), but beyond this help, I am doubtful that intermittent renewables can do much at all.

      There are two fundamental problems when a location is industrial:
      1. The cost per kWh must compete with industrial electricity costs elsewhere. Industrial delivered costs are often in the 6 cents per kWh range. There is no way that electricity cost can get down to anywhere near this range.
      2. There is a need for a lot of very high quality electricity. If the plants work around the clock, then where will be a great deal more night demand than there will be in an island that depends on, say, tourists, for its income. This is hard to do with intermittents.

      • doomphd says:

        I’m guessing Puerto Rico uses oil for electricity generation because they have refineries on island and are using the bunker oil from the refining process, a “waste product”. That is also done on other islands, like St.Croix and Hawaii (Oahu). Also, it needs to be noted that wind and solar installations do not do well with hurricanes. PR can expect to have more visits by them in the future.

        • No. The reason that Puerto Rico uses oil is the same reason that nearly every island uses a lot of oil. If all you need is a relatively small quantity of electricity, then oil has historically made sense. Natural gas is difficult and expensive to ship to an island. It often costs as much as oil, when shipping costs are included. Coal plants have high up-front costs, and then all of the coal needs to be delivered to the island by ship.

          So most islands have “gone this route.” Hawaii has some geothermal, so it uses that to supplement its oil. Cuba uses a lot of oil. That is a big part of the reason it is in financial difficulty. Japan is having problems, essentially because it is an island, without a lot of good resources of its own.

          • doomphd says:

            Oops, then they are doomed. Japan was moving toward nuclear power in a big way prior to Fukushima. That’s one of the reasons Fukushima was and is such a disaster, a lot of fuel and a lot of fission waste stored on site. For them, it’s either “chance ’em” with more nuclear or go the expensive imported LNG or coal route. They may opt for offshore methane hydrate mining, as are the Chinese and South Koreans, at least in the pilot project stages now.

            • Tim Groves says:

              In the long run we’re all doomed. And in the short run the Japanese public has been scared away from nuclear by the handling of and more importantly by the reporting of the Fukushima disaster. Most of my college educated college teacher friends from Europe and America and Australia who reside here in Japan are convinced that millions of people are going to develop cancer and die as a result of the three meltdowns, and these same people are also convinced that Trump is Hit-ler and CO2 is a huge threat to the biosphere, but not to worry because solar panels and wind turbines are our saviors. With human beings, reality is less important than perception. And they perceive the future they’ve been indoctrinated to perceive.

              I am unable to fully comprehend the reality of the downside of nuclear power, including environmental damage done so far and likely to be done in the future. I don’t suffer from the general nuclear phobia. I don’t perceive that Fukushima has caused environmental damage on anything like the scale that some people say it has, but I admit this seems to have been more due to good luck than to good judgement by the people responsible for operating the thing. I think there is a case for arguing, “let’s get off nuclear power now and clean up the mess before the end of BAU makes it impossible to do a proper clean up.”

              Although there is a counter case that it is already impossible to do a proper clean up and that getting off nuclear now would intensify our economic predicament. When the utilities turned off the nuclear plants, electricity rates were raised by about 20%. Here in Kansai, after switching back on two or three reactors, the utility has cut its rates by about 10% and promises to do the same again if it can get permission to start up some more.

              At the same time, there is a little “Keith” inside me that says, “let’s keep doing nuclear but do it better!” “Let’s do breeder reactors and thorium and fusion, and let’s develop power plants that run on spent fuel too, so all that radiation in the spent fuel ponds isn’t wasted! Use the power to build orbital solar plants and deep sea current plants!”

              And then I wake up and pinch myself and realize that there are probably no good solutions, merely short-term coping strategies that are bound to fail in time. And I remember that there is absolutely no point in worrying about things you can’t control.

            • Chris Harries says:

              Good thoughts there, Tim. Much the same from me. My main caution has been: ‘How would this industry, 1,000 times bigger than it is (that’s the sort of upscaling that we would need to cope with energy demand in the face of coal and oil decline) fit into the next century which is almost certain to be one of enormous social and political upheaval? Keep coming back to the same ‘no panacea’ conclusion.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘the next century’


            • Fast Eddy says:

              If nuclear power could buy us a couple of decades… I would be all for doubling the amount of plants around the world…. my goal is to make it to 70 … whatever it takes… don’t care about what happens after that.

              Me me me me!

            • Tim


              Very much aligned with my “true” take on things. I would add that mass depopulation for one reason or another is looming and may not play out in the most desirable way depending on who or where you are.

              The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic


      • Greg Machala says:

        Even if solar PV and wind turbines and batteries could supply 100% of PR electric needs and took 30 years to build. It would be destroyed again by another hurricane by then. It is pointless. Solar PV and batteries on the grid is endless maintenance treadmill to nowhere.

  24. i1 says:

    Well, according to the NYT, Jay Powell is worth $55,000,000.00, while Bloomberg pegs his fortune at $112,000,000.00. Both sources agree however, that he worked at Dillon, Reed and the Carlyle Group.

    Kinda strange Powell was also associated with the Club of Rome, because he see’s the US economy as not growing fast enough. That probably has as much to do with debt service as anything.

    As far as timing goes, I think he’ll be popping this thing as soon as his crony parasites are positioned.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      if he “pops this thing”, his assets might be worth $0,000,000.00 if you know what I mean.

      there are reasonable risks, and then there are outlandishly bold risks…

      intentionally popping the Everything Bubble would be quite the extreme risk.

  25. Baby Doomer says:

    A world no longer powered by fossil fuels, no matter what incarnation, is almost inconceivable and for many terrifying. . It is indeed traumatic for what it might (probably) mean not just for us but also for our love ones, children, grandchildren. Our hearts break. We want to fix it….

  26. I missed the discussion on the catholic priesthood. Actually all of such concerns already existed in 1936, as documented in George Bernanos’ book “Diary of a Country priest”.

    A young priest from a poor family, who is not even allowed to leave his own name, is sent to an impoverished village in Northern France during the 1930s. Apparently ill with stomach cancer, he could only eat very little bit of bread and wine,

    and he is frustrated by the lack of money, lack of attention from the higher-ups, and lack of cooperation, since people back then already knew religion was passe. Everything he did miraculously turned into shit.

    Eventually, seeing no hope but being into the game too deeply to get out, he leaves the parish and chooses to die in the abode of a friend, who abandoned the priesthood to live like a libertine.

    At that time France was in the midst of an ideological fight between the old and new beliefs with fascism rising across the border. Bernanos, a very Catholic person, did see no hope in the existing clergy even back then. (He would later move to South America to flee the Nazis and only returned to Paris shortly before his death.)

    And it has gotten worse as resources depleted. The problems cited by some at here are not new.


    The U.S. government has spent a staggering $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001, according to the Department of Defense’s (DoD) periodical “Cost of War” report. As International Business Times reports, this amounts to $250 million a day for 16 years consecutively.

    • Sungr says:

      Without the ongoing military Keynsianism, the whole US economy would slither down the drain.

      • before usa oil discoveries peaked and began their decline in the late 60s, the usa had no need of oilwars

        now oilwars are unending—this is the slide to oblivion

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Reinforcing the line of thought that it does not really matter what money is spent on …. as long as it is spent … ensuring that there is demand for resources… and no deflationary death spiral…

      We could in theory spend a huge proportion of it on 100k per year salaries paid to people for digging holes and filling them back in — they use that to buy buy buy….

      • xabier says:

        The big infrastructure project here comes into that category – vast sums, no discernible benefit except to get the money spent, boost local GDP and investment figures, etc. There are intelligent ways to do the same thing, (in fact, more) spending next to nothing……..

      • A Real Black Person says:

        “We could in theory spend a huge proportion of it on 100k per year salaries paid to people for digging holes and filling them ”
        That is very unlikely given the energy intensity of digging holes and filling them back up.

        In the U.S., any stimulus program that is passed will probably be directed towards a sector that doesn’t use a lot of energy directly like education or healthcare.

        • Artleads says:

          I believe enough energy has to be used to support the energy industry. Gail has suggested that energy can be used more productively in some cases than in others. I suspect there are industries which use more energy than education or healthcare, but to generate a cycle of productive energy use (including those two sectors).

    • DJ says:

      A dollar a day per american to keep oil flowing. Money well spent!

    • Pintada says:

      Dear Finite Worlders;

      Quoth FE: “Reinforcing the line of thought that it does not really matter what money is spent on …. as long as it is spent … ensuring that there is demand for resources… and no deflationary death spiral…”

      So, Fast Eddie is in favor of gigantic “renewable” energy programs! Who would have guessed?

      I like my plan to circle the globe at about 55 degrees north with a giant high voltage DC power conduit with feeder lines south to the windy and sunny places on the planet. This plan eliminates the intermittency problem, and meets FE’s call for lots and lots of spending.

      Just Playin’,

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Renewable energy would assume that the system actually creates a nett return of energy.

        So what you are describing is not renewable energy.

        What you are describing would produce no nett energy — the amount of energy required to build and maintain such a system would result in a colossal net negative energy return…. monumental….

        And to build such a system — the energy would have to come from somewhere — we would have to take it from other parts of BAU …. and that would sap BAU and kill it in short order.

        So no…. I am not in favour of this stuuuupid idea.

        Renewable energy ‘simply won’t work’: Top Google engineers

        Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear.

        All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

        In reality, well before any such stage was reached, energy would become horrifyingly expensive – which means that everything would become horrifyingly expensive (even the present well-under-one-per-cent renewables level in the UK has pushed up utility bills very considerably).

  28. MG says:

    The regional elections in Slovakia show the trend towards further atomization of the political spectrum: more and more individual independent candidates (the abbreviation “NEKA” in the charts denotes “independent candidate”) and more and more “coallition candidates” of the existing parties get into the regional parliaments when compared to the previous years:

  29. Baby Doomer says:

    There are times you blame the apple, and there are times you blame the tree…

    — Bill Lewis

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      and there are times you blame Reality…

      but never ever blame the messenger.

      • JH Wyoming says:

        But one thing is certain; Do people find someone to blame other than themselves?

        People always do.

  30. Baby Doomer says:

    Artificial Intelligence’ Has Become Meaningless -The Atlantic
    It’s often just a fancy name for a computer program.

    • Slow Paul says:

      Very good. This is what I’ve been trying to tell the AI crowd on here. AI is just a buzzword and is used for any software that uses advanced pattern recognition. True AI, as in “self thinking/aware” machines is just science fiction.

    • The terminology is all screwed up because humans are behind it and that’s what humans do but machine learning is very much a real thing and progressing rapidly.

      Talk to some of the top people in machine learning and you may develop a more educated response. Anything else is pure ignorance and railing on how bad machines are.

      Millions of women used to connect all the phone calls by hand. Now machines do it. We wouldn’t have enough people to do this by hand but following the stunning logic on OFW it would make sense to do so to achieve full employment.

      While you’re at it smash all the trading algos to pieces and everything else that is automated in any way in our modern lives. Eradicate it all and see where you stand.

      So to dismiss all machine intelligence because no one machine has achieved human level intelligence (yet) is a tad silly isn’t it when you look around and see how much activity that previously required a human slave at the helm (with limited intelligence) is now carried out by lowly machines.

      Intelligence is not confined to organic matter. It is spreading to other substrates as it branches out seeking new domains. This is happening now – has been for some time – not in some far off fantasy but in our reality today.

      The problem is not whether human level machine intelligence is possible. The problem is that our reality is based on an economic fantasy that may collapse and not allow for further progress in ANY area let alone machine intelligence.

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