Nine Reasons Why Globalization Can’t Be Permanent

Since the late 1990s, globalization has seemed to be the great hope for the future. Now this great hope seems to be dimming. Globalization sets up conflict in the area of jobs. Countries around the world compete for development and jobs. If there is not enough cheap-to-produce energy to go around, huge wage disparity is likely to result.

We know from physics and history that economies need to grow, or they collapse. The wage disparity that high-wage countries have been experiencing in recent years is evidence that the world economy is already reaching energy limits. There are no longer enough jobs that pay well to go around. Any drop in energy supply is likely to worsen the job situation.

Most observers miss this problem, because they expect high oil prices to signal energy limits. This time, the signal is low wages for a significant group of workers, rather than high oil prices. This situation is possible in a networked economy, but it is not what most people look for.

Unhappy citizens can be expected to react to the wage disparity problem by electing leaders who favor limits to globalization. This can only play out in terms of reduced globalization.

History and physics suggest that economies without adequate energy supply can be expected to collapse. We have several recent examples of partial collapses, including the Great Depression of the 1930s and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such collapses, or even more extensive collapses, might occur again if we cannot find energy alternatives that can be quickly scaled up to replace oil and coal in the very near term. These replacements need to be cheap-to-produce, non-polluting, and available in huge quantities.

The story that the economy doesn’t really need a growing supply of very cheap-to-produce energy is simply a myth. Let’s look at some of the pieces of this story.

[1] The world economy needs to grow or it collapses. Once all of the nations of the world are included in the world economy, one obvious source of growth (incorporating nations that are not yet industrialized into the world economy) disappears. 

The reason why the world economy needs to grow is because the economy is a self-organized system that operates under the laws of physics. In many ways it is like a two-wheeled bicycle. A bicycle needs to roll quickly enough, or it will fall over. An economy must grow quickly enough, or debt cannot be repaid with interest.

Also, government promises may be a problem with slow growth. Pensions for the elderly are typically paid out of tax revenue collected in that same year. It is easy for a mismatch to take place if the number of younger workers is shrinking or if their wages are lagging behind.

Figure 1. Author’s view of analogies of speeding upright bicycle to speeding economy.

I explain a little more about my bicycle analogy in Will the World Economy Continue to “Roll Along” in 2018?

Economies throughout the ages have collapsed. In some cases, entire civilizations have disappeared. In the past 100 years, partial collapses have included the Great Depression of the 1930s, the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Economic collapses are analogous to bicycles falling over.

[2] A growing supply of energy products is extraordinarily important for keeping the world economy operating.

We can see in Figure 1 that the energy of the person operating a bicycle is very important in allowing the operation of the bicycle to continue. In the world’s economy, the situation is similar, except that we are facing a problem of a world population that is continually growing. In a sense, the economic situation is more like a rapidly growing army of bicycles with riders. Each member of the economy needs goods and services such as food, homes, clothing, and transportation. The members of the economy can collapse individually (for example, growing suicide rate) or in much larger groups (collapsing government of a country).

Figure 2. World population according to the United Nations 2017 historical estimates and Medium forecast of population growth after 2017.

In an economy, we have a choice regarding how much energy to use. If more energy is used, workers can have many tools (such as trucks and computers) to leverage their productivity. If all goods are made with few energy inputs other than human labor, most workers find themselves working in subsistence agriculture. The total amount of goods and services produced in such an economy tends to be very small.

If supplemental energy is used, many more jobs that pay well can be added, and many more goods and services can be created. Workers will be rich enough that they can pay taxes to support representative government that supports many services. The whole economy will look more like that of a rich nation, rather than the economy of Somalia or Haiti.

Individual nations can grow their economies by using available energy supply to create jobs that pay well. Globalization sets up competition for available jobs.

If a given country has a lot of high paying jobs, this is likely to be reflected in high per capita energy consumption for that country. There are two reasons for this phenomenon: (1) it takes energy for an employer to create jobs, and (2) workers can use their wealth to buy goods and services. This wealth buys more goods and services made with energy products.

[3] One measure of how well the world economy is doing is world energy consumption per capita. On this basis, the world economy is already reaching limits.

Figure 3. World energy per capita and world oil price in 2016 US$. Energy amounts from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017. Population estimates from UN 2017 Population data and Medium Estimates.

It is clear from Figure 3 that energy consumption tends to move in the same direction as oil price. If “demand” (which is related to wages) is high, both oil price and the amount of energy products sold will tend to be high. If demand is low, both oil price and the amount of energy products sold will tend to be low.

Since 2014, energy consumption has remained quite high, but oil prices have fallen very low. Today’s oil prices (even at $70 per barrel) are too low for oil producers to make adequate investment in the development of new fields and make other needed expenditures. If this situation does not change, the only direction that production of oil can go is down, rather than up. Prices may temporarily spike, prior to the time production falls.

Looking at energy consumption per capita on Figure 3 (above), we notice that this amount has been fairly flat since 2011. Normally, in a growing world economy, a person would expect energy consumption per capita to rise, as it has most of the time since 1820 (Figure 4).

Figure 4. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects (Appendix) together with BP Statistical Data for 1965 and subsequent, divided by population estimates by Angus Maddison.

The fact that energy consumption per capita has been nearly flat since 2011 is worrying. It is a sign that the world economy may not be growing very rapidly, regardless of what government organizations are reporting to the World Bank. Some subsidized growth should not really be considered economic growth. For example, some Chinese cities have been buying off the country’s housing glut with borrowed money. A better accounting would likely show lower GDP growth for China and the world.

Looking more closely at Figure 3, we note that energy per capita hit a high point in 2013, just before world oil prices began sliding downward. Since then, world energy consumption per capita has been trending downward. This is part of the reason for gluts in supply. Producers had been planning as if normal growth in energy consumption would continue. In fact, something is seriously wrong with demand, so world energy consumption has not been rising as fast as in the past.

The point that is easy to miss is that (a) growing wage disparity plus oil gluts and (b) high oil prices are, in a sense, different ways of reflecting a similar problem, that of an inadequate supply of truly inexpensive-to-produce oil. High-cost-to-produce oil is not acceptable to the economy, because it doesn’t produce enough jobs that pay well, for each barrel produced. If oil prices today truly represented what oil producers (such as Saudi Arabia) need to maintain their production, including adequate tax revenue and funds to develop additional production, oil prices would be well over $100 per barrel.

We are dealing with a situation where no oil price works. Either prices are too high for a large number of consumers or they are too low for a large number of producers. When prices are low, relative to the cost of production, we tend to get wage disparity and gluts.

[4] The reason why energy demand is not growing is related to increased wage disparity. This is a problem for globalization, because globalization acts to increase wage disparity.

In the last section, I mentioned that demand is closely connected to wages. It is really wage disparity that becomes a problem. Goods and services become less affordable for the people most affected by wage disparity: the lower-paid workers. These people cut back on their purchases of goods such as homes and cars. Because there are so many lower-paid workers in the world, demand for energy products, such as oil and coal, fails to grow as rapidly as it otherwise would. This tends to depress prices for these commodities. It doesn’t necessarily reduce production immediately, however, because of the long-term nature of investments and because of the dependence of oil exporters on the revenue from oil.

Figure 5 shows that China and India’s energy consumption per capita has been rising, leaving less for everyone else.

Figure 5. Energy consumption per capita comparison, based on energy data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, and UN 2017 Population Estimates.

A major way that an economy (through the laws of physics) deals with “not enough goods and services to go around” is increased wage disparity. To some extent, this occurs because newly globalized countries can produce manufactured products more cheaply. Reasons for their advantage are varied, but include lower wages and less concern about pollution.

As a result, some jobs that previously would have been added in developed countries are replaced by jobs in newly globalized countries. It is probably not a coincidence that US labor force participation rates started falling about the time that China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Figure 6. US Labor Force Participation Rate, as prepared by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Lower wages for unskilled workers may also occur as the result of immigration, and the resulting greater competition for less skilled jobs. This has been a particular concern in the UK.

[5] Adding China, India, and other countries through globalization temporarily gives a boost to world energy production. This boost disappears as the energy resources of the newly added countries deplete.

Both China and India are primarily coal producers. They rapidly ramped up production since joining the World Trade Organization (in 1995 for India; in 2001 for China). Now China’s coal production is shrinking, falling 11% from 2013 to 2016. Both China and India are major importers of fossil fuels (difference between black line and their own production).

Figure 7. China’s total energy consumption compared to its energy production by type, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

Figure 8. India’s total energy consumption compared to its energy production by type, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

China and India’s big surge in coal production has had a major impact on world coal production. The fact that both countries have needed substantial imports has also added to the growth in coal production in the “Other” category in Figure 9.

Figure 9 also shows that with China’s coal production down since 2013, total world coal production is falling.

Figure 9. World coal production by part of the world, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

Figure 10 shows that world GDP and world energy supply tend to rise and fall together. In fact, energy growth tends to precede GDP growth, strongly suggesting that energy growth is a cause of GDP growth.

Figure 10. World three-year average GDP growth compared to world three-year average energy consumption growth. GDP data is from the World Bank, based on 2010 US$ weights of GDP by country; energy consumption is from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

If a growth in energy consumption is indeed a primary cause of world economic growth, the drop in world coal production shown in Figure 9 is worrying. Coal makes up a large share of world energy supply (28.1% according to Figure 12). If its supply shrinks, it seems likely to cause a decline in world GDP.

Figure 11 shows energy consumption growth on a basis comparable to the energy consumption growth shown on Figure 10, except for different groupings: for the world in total, the world excluding China, and for the combination of the US, EU, and Japan. We can see from Figure 11 that the addition of China and Japan has greatly propped up growth in world energy consumption since 2001, when China joined the World Trade Organization.

Figure 11. Three-year average growth in energy consumption, for the world total; the world less China and India; and for the sum of the United States, the European Union, and Japan. Energy data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

The amount of the “benefit” was greatest in the 2003-2007 period. If we look at Exhibit 10, we see that world economic growth was around 4% per year during that period. This was a recent record high. Now the benefit is rapidly disappearing, reducing the possibility that the world energy consumption can grow as rapidly as in the past.

If we want world energy consumption per capita to rise again, we need a new large rapidly growing source of cheap energy to replace the benefit we received from China and India’s rapidly growing coal extraction. We don’t have any candidates for a suitable replacement. Intermittent renewables (wind and solar) are not candidates at all. According to the IEA, they comprised only 1% of world energy supply in 2015, despite huge investment. They are part of the gray “Other” slice in Figure 11.

Figure 12. Figure prepared by IEA showing Total Primary Energy Supply by type from this IEA document

Academic studies regarding wind and solar have tended to focus on what they “might” do, without considering the cost of grid integration. They have also overlooked the fact that any energy solution, to be a true energy solution, needs to be a huge energy solution. It has been more pleasant to give people the impression that they can somehow operate a huge number of electric cars on a small amount of subsidized intermittent electricity.

[6] On a world basis, energy consumption per capita seems to need to be rising to maintain a healthy economy. 

When energy consumption is growing on a per capita basis, the situation is similar to one in which the average worker has more and more “tools” (such as trucks) available at his/her disposal, and sufficient fuel to operate these tools. It is easy to imagine how such a pattern of growing energy consumption per capita might lead to greater productivity and therefore economic growth.

If we look at historical periods when energy consumption has been approximately flat, we see a world economy with major problems.

Figure 13. World per Capita Energy Consumption with two circles relating to flat consumption. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects (Appendix) together with BP Statistical Data for 1965 and subsequent, divided by population estimates by Angus Maddison.

The flat period of 1920-1940 seems to have been caused by limits reached on coal production, particularly in the United Kingdom, but also elsewhere. World War I , the Great Depression of the 1930s, and World War II all took place around this time period. Charles Hall and Kent Klitgaard in Energy and the Wealth of Nations argue that resource shortages are frequently the underlying cause for wars, including World Wars I and II.

The Great Depression seems to have been a partial economic collapse, indirectly related to great wage disparity at that time. Farmers, in particular, had a difficult time earning adequate wages.

The major event that took place in the 1990 to 2000 period was the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The central government collapsed, leaving the individual republics to operate independently. The Soviet Union also had strong trade relationships with a number of “satellite” countries, including Cuba, North Korea, and several Eastern European countries. In the next section, we will see that this collapse had a serious long-term impact on both the republics making up the Soviet Union and the satellite countries operating more independently.

[7] The example of the Soviet Union shows that collapses can and do happen in the real world. The effects can be long lasting, and can affect trade partners as well as republics making up the original organization.

In Figure 14, the flat period of the 1980-2000 period seems to be related to intentional efforts of the United States, Europe, and other developed countries to conserve oil, after the oil price spikes of the 1970s. For example, smaller, more fuel conserving vehicles were produced, and oil-based electricity generation was converted to other types of generation. Unfortunately, there was still a “backfire” effect related to the intentional cutback in oil consumption. Oil prices fell very low, for an extended period.

The Soviet Union was an oil exporter. The government of the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, indirectly because with these low oil prices, the government could not support adequate new investment in oil and gas extraction. Businesses closed; people lost their jobs. None of the countries shown on the Figures 14 and 15 have as high energy consumption per capita in 2016 as they did back when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Figure 14. Per capita energy consumption for the Soviet Union and three of its satellite countries. Energy data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017. Population data from UN 2017 Population data and Middle Estimates.

The three satellite countries shown on Figure 14 (Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland) seem to be almost as much affected as the republics that had been part of the Soviet Union (Figure 15). This suggests that loss of established trading patterns was very important in this collapse.

Figure 15. Per capita energy consumption for the three largest (by population) republics that made up the Soviet Union. Energy data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017. Population data from UN 2017 Population data and Middle Estimates.

Russia’s per capita energy consumption dropped 29% between peak and trough. It had significant fossil fuel resources, so when prices rose again, it was again able to invest in new oil fields.

Ukraine was a major industrial center. It was significantly impacted by the loss of oil and gas imports. It has never recovered.

The country that seemed to fare best was Uzbekistan. It had little industry before the collapse, so was less dependent on energy imports than most. Of all of the countries shown on Figures 14 and 15, Uzbekistan is the only one that did not lose population.

[8] Today, there seem to be many countries that are not far from collapse. Some of these countries are energy exporters; some are energy importers.

Many of us have read about the problems that Venezuela has been having recently. Ironically, Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Its problem is that at today’s prices, it cannot afford to develop those reserves. The Wikipedia article linked above is labeled 2014-2018 Venezuelan protests. Oil prices dropped to a level much lower than they had been in 2014. It should not be surprising that civil unrest and protests came at the same time.

Figure 16. Monthly average spot Brent oil prices, through December 2017, based on EIA data.

Other oil producers are struggling as well. Saudi Arabia has recently changed leaders, and it is in the process of trying to sell part of its oil company, Saudi Aramco, to investors. The new leader, Mohamed bin Salman, has been trying to get money from wealthy individuals within the country, using an approach that looks to outsiders like a shake-down. These things seem like very strange behaviors, suggesting that the country is experiencing serious financial difficulties. This is not surprising, given the low price of oil since 2014.

On the oil-importer side, Greece seems to frequently need support from the EU. The lower oil prices since 2014 have somewhat helped the country, but the basic shape of the energy consumption per capita chart makes it look like it is struggling to avoid collapse.

Figure 17. Greece energy per capita. Energy data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017; population estimates from UN 2017 Population data and Medium projections.

There are many other countries struggling with falling energy consumption per capita. Figure 18 shows a chart with four such countries.

Figure 18. Energy consumption per capita for Japan, UK, Italy, and Spain. Energy consumption from BP Statistical Review of World Energy; population from UN 2017 Population data and Medium Estimates.

In a sense, even though oil prices have been lower since 2014, prices haven’t been low enough to fix the economic problems these countries have been having.

China is in a different kind of situation that could also lead to its collapse. It built its economy on coal production and rapidly growing debt. Now its coal production is down, and it is difficult for imports and substitution of other fuels to completely compensate. If slowing growth in fuel consumption slows economic growth, debt will become much harder to repay. Major debt defaults could theoretically lead to collapse. If China were to collapse, it would seriously affect the rest of the world because of its extensive trading relationships.

[9] Leaders of countries with increasing wage disparity and unhappy electorates can be expected to make decisions that will move away from globalization. 

Unhappy workers are likely to elect at least some leaders who recognize that globalization is at least a small part of their problems. This is what has happened in the US, with the election of President Trump.

The hope, of course, is that even though the rest of the world is becoming poorer and poorer (essentially because of inadequate growth of cheap-to-produce energy supplies), somehow a particular economy can “wall itself off” from this problem. President Donald Trump is trying to remake trading arrangements, based on this view. The UK Brexit vote was in a sense similar. These are the kinds of actions that can be expected to scale back globalization.


Having enough cheap energy for the world’s population has been a problem for a very long time. When there is enough cheap-to-produce energy to go around, the obvious choice is to co-operate. Thus the trend toward globalization makes sense. When there is not enough cheap-to-produce energy to go around, the obvious choice is to try reduce the effects of globalization and immigration. This is the major reason why globalization can’t last.

We now have problems with both coal and oil. With the decline in China’s coal supplies, we are reaching the point where there are no longer enough cheap energy supplies to go around. At first glance, it looks like there is enough, or perhaps even a superabundance. The problem is that no price works. Producers around the world need higher oil prices, to be compensated for their total cost, including the cost of extraction, developing new fields, and the tax levels governments of exporting countries need. Consumers around the world are already having trouble trying to afford $70 per barrel oil. This is what leads to gluts.

We have been told that adding wind and solar to the electric grid can solve our problems, but this solution is simply absurd. If the world is to go forward as before, it somehow needs a new very large, very cheap supply of energy, to offset our problems with both coal and oil. This new energy supply should not be polluting, either.

At this point, it is hard to see any solution to the energy problems that we are facing. The best we can try to do is “kick the can” down the road a little farther. Perhaps “globalization light” is the way to go.

We live in interesting times!

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.
This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2,343 Responses to Nine Reasons Why Globalization Can’t Be Permanent

  1. Baby Doomer says:

    This Mall Is Only for the Rich, and It’s Doing Fine

    The fanciest shopping center in America is expanding while the rest face a looming retail apocalypse.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      sure, it is, for now…

      but wait and see on June 1st!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. adonis says:

    we are on the verge of a new economic system coming in, which will not be based on exponential growth but first we need the current financial system to implode. T.hat is coming on june the 1st of this year. As the old saying goes ‘ eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ so just enjoy what’s left of our current llifestyles they are soon going to permanently change.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      I think you have the wrong date…

      it took me a long time…

      but I finally found the answer on a “secret” internet site…

      it’s actually February the 18th of this year…

      oh no, that’s TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JH Wyoming says:

      June 1st? Wow, so little to do and so much time. Reverse that.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      My birthday is June 2….Can the end of the world wait one more freaking day? Just my luck….

    • Yorchichan says:

      Not that I doubt you, but what is your evidence?

      PS. Who is T Hat?

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


        I’m pretty sure it’s that the moon will be in the seventh house…

        and Jupiter will be aligned with Mars…

        and June is the 6th month…

        and Saturn is the 6th planet…

        and Saturn has 6 letters…

        so there’s the number of The Beast…

        which means that it will be The Collapse…

        isn’t it obvious?

    • jupiviv says:

      I’m sorry but no. June the first isn’t a monday. The collapse will most definitely happen on a monday.

    • DJ says:

      I remember how you broke down and admitted you were wrong when Dow had a large drop two weeks ago.

  3. Baby Doomer says:

    Retail Apocalypse Accelerates: 200 Winn-Dixie Stores To Close As Parent Goes Bankrupt

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Oh no, not the Winn-Dixie Stores!

      • The Second Coming says:

        Here in South Florida, they closed a Winn Dixie store in to locations in the city I live at and reopened them as a Hispanic Supermarket named BRAVO, which have been doing extremely well these past years with lots of low cost meats, fish and produce.
        Maybe here its a cultural shift as part of the change.

  4. futhark says:

    Apocalypse now for Britain’s retailers as low wages and the web cause ruin.

    Big-name stores are teetering on the brink. Without radical action to bring back shoppers, UK high streets will be wrecked.–gloom-high-street-shift-consumers

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      aren’t these things just symptoms?

      there must be a disease as the root cause.

      the UK is ever more susceptible to disease because they are growing more deficient in vitamin FF.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        thanks, BD…

        I suppose “A Nation” refers to the USA…

        but this must be the situation in the UK as well…

        or even worse over there…

        since the USA has many times more FF than them.

        • jupiviv says:

          I’m a classical music enthusiast, and I’ve bought many of my CDs from Amazon. The more popular ones are good deals, but the historical/old recordings are ludicrously overpriced. RCA’s Arthur Rubinstein boxset sells for the equivalent of 900 dollars, whereas I bought it in a local store for about 250.

          Same for electronics. More common items like flash drives or popular smartphones tend to be underpriced, whereas enthusiast items like desktop gfx cards or audiophile headphones are way overpriced. So it seems Amazon does cater to the broke/near-broke demographic.

          • Baby Doomer says:

            Best Buy just announced they are going to get rid of their CD’s for good. And Target wants to only pay the music companies for the CD’S they sell in their store..

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Shopping via a mouse is now a developed world phenomenon with walk in retail quickly becoming obsolete. No getting dressed up. Forget the risk and cost of transportation. No worries about getting randomly shot by someone going nuts. Just wait for it to get dropped by the front door.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      some books are still printed on paper?

      • Mark says:

        • ITEOTWAWKI says:

          Yeah Mark, he’s the most annoying commenter I have ever seen on any blog…c’mon David come up with a little joke to my comment, go ahead! I’m happy to see though that his comments rarely get any responses…but yours was, how can I put this…touché

          • Mark says:

            ‘The Greek shall inherit the earth’
            ‘Did anyone catch his name?’

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:



            you still mad that The Collapse hasn’t happened yet?

            “it’s going down, and soon!”

            I’m no great comic, but, you know, if I AGREED with your lame view that The Collapse was coming SOON, you would surely think I was funnier…

            by the way…


            BAU tonight, baby!

            • Mark says:

              That “lame view” is held by the host here, but not in a dogmatic way.
              Ever heard of verbal diarrhea?

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              yes, Mark, I tend towards borderline Asperger…

              my interpretation is that our excellent host foresees a financial crisis coming soon.

              and though I try to avoid triangulation…

              our fellow poster iteotwawki seems to think The Collapse is very near…

              thus my memory of his bold assertion many months ago:

              (paraphrased) “you’re right FE, this is going down, and soon!”

              I could be wrong, but I’ll repeat it for the thousandth time: I think The Collapse is a decade or two away.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Hear that, David? It appears that our genius is not universally appreciated.
            But whether your detractors are truly annoyed or just envious we shall probably never know.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              I appreciate your genius, Tim!

              meanwhile, it’s a noble calling to annoy those who think The Collapse is mere hours away!

              onward we go!

            • DJ says:

              You will always be correct. Until the last few hours.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              yes, I am correct as of now…

              if The Collapse happens before 2030, I will admit I was wrong.

              I think it’s the very slow grinding process of Creeping Collapse that annoys many people…

              many of us want to see big spectacular events happen…

              but life usually refuses to be anything but mundane.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              once in a while, Feeble Eddy posts something worthwhile…

              and once in a while I do also…

              rumor has it, he invested in a vineyard recently…


              The Collapse is imminent.

      • Baby Doomer says:

        Paper sales actually outsold e books last year..They are making a slight comeback for whatever reasons…Personally I buy all my books on kindle and I listen to them through my Alexa echo device.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      Lagarde probably has no understanding at all of how FF energy resources are the one true primary support for the global economy…

      she cannot “connect the dots” if her education is missing that dot…

      very much like what has been said here about Pinker…

      her remarks can be ignored.

      • Rufus says:

        A few years ago, I was attending a conference by Yves Cochet, who was at this time leading the green French party. He is a ‘peak oiler’, and the conference theme was about oil depletion and all its consequences. He had been minister for environment in the French government, and also member of the parliament. I had the opportunity to ask a question, so I asked him : ‘I can’t believe that our political leaders are perfectly aware of the primary role of energy in economics, the major role of FF, the fact of depletion, and the predicament of it : how do they take consideration of it ? ’
        His answer was just astonishing (and I just still can’t believe it) : ‘I spoke many times to many leaders about these matters, for example recently to Mrs Lagarde (our minister of economy at this time) : she, or they in general, just simply don’t understand : it’s just out of their frame of mind !’
        In my opinion, it could be just denial. It’s too big.
        But I know that our French political leaders have in general an educational (university) background in ‘political sciences’ (what is that ?), economics, or laws. We have many former lawyers … like the famous Nicholas Sarkozy or Christine Lagarde. ‘Let the scientists and engineers (those weird guys we don’t understand) discover and produce new stuffs, and we, business lawyers and economists will organize the system to make money out of this.’
        I was told that in China, most political leaders have a background in science and engineering. Sounds better to me.

        • So, what he said was…

        • HideAway says:

          I can relate to this in a conversation I had with a mining executive last year, with a geology background. I was a large investor in the company and was questioning him about the feasibility studies on a forthcoming project. In the numbers were figures that projected LOWER fuel prices for the project and transport. I brought up this point in light of the lack of investment of over $2Trillion in oil projects over the last few years and how everyone from GS to Haliburton are forecasting Higher prices in the next few years.

          His answer was straight out of the ‘denial’ handbook, the tight shale oil from the US was going to lower oil prices for years to come, probably decades.
          The companies future rides on this project, so the figures in the feasibility studies are made to make it look profitable, irrespective of their credibility.

          I started to sell my shares straight away.

          The people in high places or power, both in govt and business, just don’t want to look at the real problem because they already know what is there. However not looking gives them “plausible deniability” if/when caught out. They all hope to kick the can down the road a bit longer, get out on top with a nice pension and let someone else worry about the future.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Upon retirement one is faced with the same problem; the shares are not backed by resources so they are comforting digits until they are nothing. Having a “nest egg.” is a constant issue with what is real and what is not and everything becomes more weird each day which is a way of saying less real. I personally very much miss being useful as I was in my profession prior to retirement; it was also my greatest sense of “security.”

          • The issue, unfortunately, is that we cannot run our economy on higher energy prices. Ultimately, that is what is likely to be our downfall. Prices can’t rise, when they need to rise to cover rising costs.

            People have been lied to about it being OK if renewable energy prices are higher. No, it is not. They will collapse the economy, just as any other kind of high-priced energy will. It is the full installed cost that matters, including the extra transmission and other costs.

            This doesn’t really solve our problem. Peak oil people have preached that oil prices must rise, but they really can’t without collapsing the economy.

        • Baby Doomer says:

          I just read the book “Oil and the Western Economic Crisis” …And the author is an Economist at Cambridge University. ..And she argued in the book that the only people in America that really understood how oil and economics are related together was the Federal Reserve. She argued that ever since the 1970’s that basically most economic models had been disproved by the oil shocks we have had.

          • A self-organized system would not be expected to follow the type of models economists put together, based on looking at past patterns regarding a few variables. The whole approach is wrong.

        • Well, overly visible actors like Sarkozy, Lagarde or most of the biz executives are in reality quite far from the true levers of power and the proverbial top of the ladder.

          It’s now very evident the geopolitical events of early-mid 2000s were inspired by some deep state think tank “imminent peak oil” analysis scenario, which simply didn’t pan out (despite the factor of economic build up China/Asia) or taken as precautionary manner anyway at least helped some faction to stay in the prime position for another ~2decades..

          In this light I’d be very skeptical about the near/mid term future for ordinary people say till mid 2030s, if they assume deleting few billion humans might help, they will just do it..

          Again, especially the prop up of China/Asia on purpose is quite stunning development, this could be only explained simply by greed – extension of paradigm for the global order owners, or they for some reason believe in their supreme powers as in later demoting what they had put to work previously. Not sure how they could proceed with such sub scenario given the complexities-cross dependencies of global JITs, but perhaps something like weaponized genetics might be eventually unleashed by this faction to alter the course of recent globalization vectors.

        • Even if they sort of vaguely understand the problem, I think that they think, “Of course, technology will fix it.”

          One thing I discovered in China is that the business/government leaders I met read the same material that everyone else was reading. They read that we had plenty of oil and gas available by fracking. Now that oil prices are low, I am sure that they have no doubt that our problems are gone forever. China decided to let its oil production fall, and buy more oil from outside, because with today’s low oil prices, this was the most economical approach to use.

          Regardless of their background (science or economics), I think that optimism easily takes over.

  5. JH Wyoming says:

    Is this a sign of austerity? Nurses and firemen in Uzbekistan told to ride their bicycles to provide faster, better service. Got to see the pic for the expressions on the nurses – they don’t look too happy.

    • It seems impossible to go “backwards,” even when the result saves time and expense. Once we are used to the warmth and convenience of having a car to drive in, we cannot imagine doing something else that would perhaps work better and give us some exercise at the same time.

  6. Lastcall says:

    Letting off steam takes many forms.

    ‘The Algerian government’s toleration of sheep fighting is a tacit acknowledgement that outlets for male aggression are needed. “Letting these guys have their fun reduces violence in other contexts,” said Youcef Krache, a photographer from Algiers who has spent years documenting sheep fights. “Authorities prefer they get swept up in spectacles rather than politics.” ‘

    • A variation on bull fights?

      • grayfox says:

        This appears to be a forced challenge of ram (male sheep) vs. another ram…not man vs. animal like bull fighting. Somewhat like cockfighting with roosters or dogfights with pit bulls, but those battles are more bloody and more often illegal.

    • xabier says:

      Yes, let them fight sheep, preferable to the alternatives. Algerians were among the worst rapists and murderers of WW2 – the French authorities let them loose to punish ordinary Italians and Germans, something not often referred to.

      • xabier says:

        Hasn’t wild boar killing with a knife become something of a sport in Australia?

        • HideAway says:

          Xabier, it is called locally ‘pig sticking’ and there are many people I know have been involved. It is usually in outback NSW where there a lot of wild pigs, people go there to help the farmers rid the place of feral pigs, and for the ‘sport’.
          It involves letting the dogs loose to catch the pig/pigs (not just boars), the dogs catch up to the pigs and start mauling them. The hunter then comes along with a knife to dispatch the wounded pig.
          The meat is kept and eaten by both hunter and dogs. It must be well cooked to make sure no parasites/deseases cross to humans.

      • Ed says:

        xabier, you should write a book. You bring a southerners point of view and background knowledge that northerners do not have. I often learn new things from you.

        • xabier says:

          Thanks Ed, very kind of you: What I really like is making things that last, which is ironical given what we discuss here!

  7. Artleads says:

    Sorry; this is all over the place, but I had to give it a try.

    JMG has this to say (which I find disappointing):

    “If evolution has no inherent direction, then we aren’t the predestined masters of the cosmos — we could just be one more oddity spawned by evolution, with no guarantee that we’ll be bailed out of the cascading consequences of our own stupidity…”

    This bespeaks too literal a view of reality. Does the universe even exist in some literal way. (?) We understand what exists by comparing or contrasting it to something else, while we have nothing to compare or contrast the so called universe with.

    There are two opposing views as to human specialness: 1) We are just another species of animal. (We are not.) 2) We are above the other animals and are superior to them. (We are not.) We might just be a problem looking for a solution. There is far more intelligence around us than we’re aware of, and time is not long enough for us to ever understand it. We might as well stick to the here and now and make our religion that of surviving.

    Thinking that we’re so special that we can’t kill unwanted fetuses doesn’t help us to survive. That is a scenario of being above other living creatures, which we are killing at an astronomical pace. And since those animals are products of the intelligence around us that we don’t understand, killing them tends to be like cutting off the limb we’re perched on. We also destroy the intelligence in past human culture by destroying their artifacts…with similar effects. Extolling polygamy because it is “our culture” should not be left unchallenged when it comes with no appreciation of what it is destroying. To have more children while not planning for how they affect surrounding living systems might just be folly..

    It would seem that the “cascading consequences of our own stupidity…” results from the belief that we know more than we are capable of knowing. That doesn’t lead to the conclusion that we’re just like other species, or that we have the obligation to displace them.

    • xabier says:

      The only species -probably – which can feel shame when contemplating itself…….

    • The issue is survival of the best adapted to the changing conditions. The random variations allow different approaches to be tested, as conditions change. Thus, there very much is a direction to which variations are chosen. In particular, the best combination for the time/place is chosen. Clearly color of skin is one example. Another example: if intelligence is highly desired in one time/place, it will be selected for; if physical strength and speed is highly desired in another time/place, it will be selected for. I believe that this is why we have as much difference as we do among the races. In the Far East, intelligence and mathematical ability was selected for, because with the high population level, great attention to order and planning was important. We end up with a group that is very good on certain kinds of tests. In Africa, physical strength and speed tended to get selected for. In other parts of the world, it was more of a mix. So we have some groups that do better than others on tests of a particular kind, even if we don’t like the result. Elite schools that use test scores to determine entrance end up with a lot of Asians in the mix. I haven’t seen percentages of actuaries by race, but my impression is that Asians are also over-represented in those who pass the actuarial exams.

      • Ed says:

        Gail I would say more generally areas with long histories of urbanization produce genetic populations with math and business skills China, India, Palestine. Gail, thank you for OFW one of the few places in the world were these ideas can be discussed in public.

      • xabier says:

        There are other subtleties: for instance, at my old college, they found that Chinese maths students educated in the West did well in the entrance exams but tended to be not quite so brilliant in the longer term (still very good of course); in comparison, those who had been educated in China did better later on -more originality.

        Perhaps tougher conditions and selection-pressure in China itself have something to do with this?

        I think I saw that by the 14th century 95% of the population of England were part of the money economy, and so had to know how to calculate. With ‘contactless’ charge cards, we can only regress ie spend and don’t think)?

      • Artleads says:

        No. It’s not all about speed and strength of the African. Africa is very misunderstood. An excerpt of something I posted before. The issue is complex and subtle:


        I single out Africa, for the west, critically the US, denigrates Africa, whereas Africa offers the US, as the hegemonic western power, a second chance. American Africans comprise 13% of the US population, while American African culture predominates throughout the nation. America has such a historical intermingling with African culture that it clearly would have the advantage over China in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with Africa. But it would have to stop using black Americans for target practice and for other oppressive purposes. Meanwhile, all the energy in the room is taken up by people who want to do exactly the opposite of what I recommend, and do it in the name of “making America great again!” A few points about Africa and energy:

        – The surplus energy derived from African slaves’ production of sugar and cotton underpins the industrial revolution.

        – Western civilization overlooks that, and overlooks the natural world that was the catapult draw for African peoples. Western civilization, by the nature of its thought structure, can’t relate to the Africa/nature connection. No wonder the west treats nature as a dead thing and the African as cursed, and no wonder it would destroy its very self by so doing.

        – Rhythm, a major asset of the African, greatly extended a given amount of material energy. The role of rhythm and fractals in producing energy needs to be studied. I suspect that it is the convergence of fractals with rhythm that has led to the predominance of the African in sports and music. Rhythmic work songs helped withstand brutal, killing forced labor.

      • Sven Røgeberg says:

        A reference or a link for these assumptions, Gail? I think the genetical variations are considered the greatest in Africa, due to the fact that the rest of the world has just the few tribes that left Africa around 70,000 years ago as ancestors. So it could be that the best adapted to a polluted and poisoned world after a collapse are the ones living on wast dumps digging after the electronic remains the affluent world has shipped there.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Every heard of the Tiger Mom? Maybe that is why Asians do well in school…

        I would suggest that this is a cultural thing … combined with the fact in places like China… it was not many years ago that the people were living in brutal poverty — observing and wanting the affluence of the west very badly…

        And realizing what had to be done to get that….

        I suspect math skills in America were far better 120+ years ago … when people were ‘hungrier’

    • Tango Oscar says:

      Our knowledge can’t go beyond our knowing, that is nonsense. What’s happened is our technological capabilities have exceeded our understanding of them. It is totally false that humans are superior or special when compared with other life forms. That is pure ethnocentric projections from ignorant westerners. Our technology hasn’t made us superior, it’s merely highlighted our ignorance.

      • It isn’t our technology that has made us superior. It is our use of energy products that has given us an advantage over life forms. We started with burned biomass, and then moved on to all kinds of other approaches. We don’t necessarily understand where we fit in however, and in many ways our technology has made a new, terribly fragile system that has many disadvantages over what nature provides. It temporarily looks wonderful, but if any necessary piece disappears (for example, international trade, electricity, oil extraction, financial system, adequate profits), the system is subject to collapse.

        • greg machala says:

          I agree, it seems the more energy a society has available, the more technology is also available.

        • Tango Oscar says:

          I agree. And I never thought our technology made us superior, it just seems to be the mainstream way of thinking. Clearly the energy that powers said technology is critical.

  8. interguru says:

    For those expecting fusion energy to bail us out.

    ITER is a showcase … for the drawbacks of fusion energy

    This is as predictable as the sun rising. All of the issues were known before a shovelful of dirt was moved. I was at the Office of Fusion during the early design phase. We all knew it was a boondoggle. We nicknamed it “Money ITER.”

    Side comment: The amount of $$ is huge, but it is less than was used to bail out one bank so the sleazy bankers could get their bonuses.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      it’s good income for many scientists…

      isn’t that what science is all about?

      so, in a few decades, after FF declines so much that progress has reversed and the world is in universal poverty…

      some fusion “believers” may still be alive to say:

      “if only we had 10 more years, we could have had fusion by now!”

    • Lastcall says:

      The parasite class tends to change host as circumstances dictate. In times past this fungi used religion as its vector, or it used royal-patronage to do its dirty work. Then it used nation-states, and now it uses technology to extract its pound of

      So this parasite-class will always be with us and will k.ill its’ host then move on. To restrain its influence society needs to be socially healthy and united. This is not the case so we find ourselves burdened again with an oversize ‘hot-air economy’. The larger the bonus, the nearer the endpoint.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      I think one bit of information regarding the ITER that gives it a bad taint, is the simple fact they are not designing in a way to use it for power generation. That in an of itself speaks volumes about their expectations, because if it is so well planned out, then why not include in the plans a way to draw energy if in fact it produces a net energy return? So it’s a boondoggle from day one.

      An overblown, extremely expensive science experiment and the trouble with that is if anything unexpected happens and they realize that some integral part cannot be changed after it’s completed, then to make an alteration would require building a whole new one from scratch, and where’s that money going to come from. But if they can’t even plan how to use the net energy it produces, then that suggests they don’t really know what to expect. They’re just hoping it all turns out good. Even something simpler, like a car will have issues and things will need to be altered, so how could something this complicated not have issues once they begin testing?

      Also, if something works right, it can be made smaller, but in this case they are going super incredibly massive. Therefore it’s not ever going to scale down to fit into a car, a truck, a train, a ship, a jet. If the best case scenario is that it works but can only work if it’s super massive and outrageously expensive, then will it even make sense to build them around the world?

      • JH Wyoming says:

        The one other final thought on fusion which should be scary to everyone, is if they have to be built this big, then we are stuck with centralized energy production which leads to investors and board members demanding ever bigger payouts, which means the end consumer gets shanked.

      • interguru says:

        There are some issues with power generation that have not even been solved on paper. The main one is a first wall, that is the inside of the torus, that will stand up to neutron bombardment, stop the neutrons and transfer the heat to a power generator.

        There are alternative schemes, one of which, Trisops (, I worked on, but they suffer from problems, but their cost is much less. There is so much $$$$ and emotion sunk into the Tokamak design that the powers that be cannot back out.

        • doomphd says:

          “There is so much $$$$ and emotion sunk into the Tokamak design that the powers that be cannot back out.”

          Robert Hirsh called the predicament “circling the wagons”.

  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    S&P biggest weekly gain in 5 years; markets up 6 straight days:

    gotta keep that bubble inflated!

  10. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    so Sven mentioned this talk by Pinker :

    I had time tonight to listen… very entertaining and intelligent presentation of the progress of humans…

    yes, he’s right that there’s been great progress up to the present day… he mostly credits this to affluence and says “affluence is good”… “industrialization” is good… technological progress is good…

    okay, so far…

    here’s what is missing… we hear many facts about the positive trends in the world, but he seems to assume that these trends will continue… poverty is way down, so he mentions the goal of “eradicating extreme poverty by 2030″…

    near the 28 minute mark, he talks about “peaks”… peak resource usage… but he never ever mentions energy resources…

    and he never connects the dots that while “affluence is good”, it was FF resources that brought this increasing affluence to the world through the past few centuries…

    so, he doesn’t realize that his observed progress can and will unwind as the primary support for human progress, which is FF, declines over the next few decades…

    the trend of progress was real, but is reversing.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Pinker is a total bozo and fruit cake…..Typical limousine liberal

    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      Good summery. By the way, when answering questions after his talk he advocates Nuclear power for sub saharan africa, not so called renewables. It’s scaleable, energydense and safe. He doesn’t consider costs.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Humans can not live without illusions. For the men and woman 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

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        I have NO hope that the future will be better than the past…

        and yet, I CAN go on…

        please let Mr. Gray know that he is wrong.

  11. Baby Doomer says:

    Toys R Us ‘facing collapse in days’ if firm fails to pay 15 million tax bill

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Maybe Toys R Us just got it wrong. Instead of a toy store the size of a warehouse, how about using an obsolete indoor baseball stadium. “Toys R Us is having a special on dolls in section 96 on the 3rd deck. Bicycles from China in section 55 on the 2nd level.”

    • xabier says:

      The real problem in the UK is the unaffordability of rentals – simply crazy levels. And very insecure if you get one.

      • Then more young adults are living with parents? That seems to be the situation in the US.

        Also, young adults only renting a room in a shared apartment (without knowing the other people in the apartment) is another trend we are seeing a lot of. Cheaper than renting a whole apartment, or even sharing a two bedroom apartment with a friend.

        • xabier says:

          There is very strong cultural pressure to leave home in Britain -anything is better than living with one’s parents! From leaving for university – preferably in another far-distant town, unlike many parts of Europe with local universities – you are expected not to return. to live.

          I did see an interview with a Brit Amazon employee, and he was living at home, for financial reasons.

          In southern Europe, it is usual to live at home (mama’s cooking!) until you marry, late 20’s or early 30’s, and there is no stigma attached to this. In fact, if you were to leave it would be seen as hurtful.

          However, in the boom years (pre-2008) in Spain it was much more common to move out to a shared apartment. But, then, an 18 yr old could get work in construction and obtain a mortgage on an apartment and a car loan – no longer!

          However, things are going back to the old norm, before Spain joined the global party. All my siblings still live in the family home: the youngest is 23 , the eldest 35, well-paid and married.

          I suspect the youngest two will have trouble leaving, unless they get government jobs which are very scarce now: for instance, no teacher recruitment at all since 2008 in their province, which is a ‘rich’ one. People have been qualifying as teachers, and just waiting at home for the lists to be opened again -you have to sit further exams, not just have degrees in teaching. It is much worse in the South.

          There have been some interesting court cases in Spain about the extent of the parental duty to house and support offspring – some lawyers say it is unlimited. Some parents have, shall we say, disagreed – strongly!

          • JH Wyoming says:

            “There is very strong cultural pressure to leave home in Britain -anything is better than living with one’s parents!”

            I was born in Britain, both parents are British. We moved to the US and now I’m on a ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and have an American wife/children. My opinion is something is wrong with the British culture. My parents constantly fought, my brother rebelled, I later rebelled, and once gone from home at age 21, I never even considered returning. You do know the wealthy Brits get rid of their kids to boarding schools, right. I mean they look forward to getting rid of their own children. In fact, I can only handle being with either parent for short periods of time when visiting. The thing about the British is they are wired so TIGHT there is no flexibility and that’s why they’re so stubborn. Anything that disturbs them is cause for some kind of reaction, big and small, whether that’s passing judgment, laughing at you because they think you said something wrong or acting indignant/arrogant it’s really messed up. Acting indignant is a really big thing. Any chance to stick that nose up in the air and proclaim some kind of judgment is central to that culture. You can tell them to lighten up or loosen up but they can’t. It’s a culture that must have gone wrong somewhere along the line. So glad to be away from it.

  12. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    Friday night, and Les and Steve are in the house:


  13. Baby Doomer says:

    Rio de Janeiro violence: Brazil army to take control of security

    Add Brazil to the list of collapsing countries.

    • Brazil depended on high oil prices, because with high oil prices, it could tax its oil companies heavily and support the treasury.

      • HideAway says:

        As time goes by since the peak in conventional (cheap) oil, it appears that the countries trying to act responsibly by not having large govt deficits are collapsing first.
        I expect most countries to eventually wake up and keep printing money like the US,Europe, China, Japan etc do.
        All the money in the system, keeping interest rates low, and therefore returns for savers (especially the retired) low, overall lowers standards of living.
        I expect increasing inflation in the years ahead, which will also lower standards of living in most countries.

        The overall sum is very simple, energy costs more, both in terms of energy and money, therefore the goods and services have to be more expensive in a world with a growing population. This is especially so given that the easy efficiency gains have already occurred in energy use.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          “All the money in the system, keeping interest rates low, and therefore returns for savers (especially the retired) low, overall lowers standards of living.
          I expect increasing inflation in the years ahead, which will also lower standards of living in most countries.”

          I think this trend towards “lower standards of living” could be closer to the actual future of the next few decades than something like InstaDoom or The Collapse…

          a stair step downsizing to eventual worldwide poverty when FFs are mostly gone…

          I wonder if that it what you’re also thinking?

          • HideAway says:

            Hi Davidinalongtime,
            Yes I see the world getting poorer, but along the way there will be various larger faster steps down, or collapses.
            For me the GFC and the Arab spring were the first major steps down, with creeping collapse since then. Sometime soon there will be another large step down, but as you also stated the bigger ones will happen at different rates to different countries.

            Larger steps down are also possible at any time, for example a shooting war between the Saudi’s and Iran, could instant oil shortages in many countries, leading to spikes in food prices etc. Likewise another financial meltdown in the markets would lead to a sudden curtailment of international trade, due to banks not trusting one another etc.

            My expectation is that apart from creeping collapse, these larger steps down will happen more frequently as we go further into the future. Like you I hope that the big collapse holds off until the 2030’s or later, but that scenario is looking increasingly unlikely to me.

            Dennis Meadows words in a recent video keep ringing in my ears “Look around, this is what collapse looks like”.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              thanks, mate.

              “Look around, this is what collapse looks like”.

              if he’s right, then that’s a good thing!


              I don’t think he intended that kind of interpretation.

            • jupiviv says:

              This is pretty much my point of view, and you’ve articulated it very well. I think the major problem with timing the collapse more accurately than to next decade or two is that we simply do not have enough (reliable) information about the big picture of entropy in resource extraction (oil as well as others). We don’t know exactly when or how the tipping point will occur, only that it will in fact occur in the near future.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              “… when or how the tipping point will occur…”

              that’s almost the whole debate.

            • xabier says:

              ‘What is water? asked the little fishes……

              We are in the collapse process now, and this is what it feels and looks like.

              Personally, I find that this knowledge sets one free in every way.

              Certainly free, for example, to order some more case of excellent wine and enjoy – in good company – them today! Wine, the consolation sent by the gods to mankind…….

            • CTG says:

              The collapsing steps happened 40 years ago when US hits its peak. The collapse did not start in 2008. In hindsight, look around 1970s when debt too off. Why? We have hit limits in certain areas and we are using debt to mask them. The collapse has accelerated since 2000 and we are now at the terminal point of collapse. Remember exponential function is not linear and we humans cannot think exponentially, hence we extrapolate the future base on historical events. In my previous post, I did ask if we see it gets more “difficult” year over year since 2008. It is becoming clearer and apparent now as compared to the year over year difference in the 80s and 90s. Some people are just too early to declare that we are doomed (Erlich?). If anyone says we have decades, it just simply means that he needs to rethink exponential function. Each doubling now takes less time than previously and each doubling gobbles up significantly more resources than previous doubling (Jevon’s paradox). So if you take it linearly, we have a few decades. However, we may find that the cupboard would be bare sooner than most people think.

            • Artleads says:

              “CTG says:
              February 17, 2018 at 8:47 am
              The collapsing steps happened 40 years ago when US hits its peak. The collapse did not start in 2008. ”

              Nice post, CTG.

            • I think that humans have been at the edge of collapse many times, besides many (hundreds or thousands?) civilizations actually collapsing.

              One recent time was the period between WWI and WWII, which included the Great Depression and the Holocaust. We were having problems with coal supply collapsing. Clearly Malthus was concerned about collapse, just before coal supply came on line. The collapse of US in the 1970s was the most recent problem that we had to work around (including concealing the problem with more debt at lower interest rates).

              We temporarily get away from the problem, with more debt or new technology or new resource discoveries (imports from African colonies, for example). And then population grows too much, resources per capita level out, and we are back in trouble again. The latest round of trouble started in 1970, with an extra set of problems developing in 2008.

            • greg machala says:

              The problem with exponential growth is that trouble seems far off when in fact it is just one more doubling time away from catastrophe. Consider the example of the man in the football stadium handcuffed to a chair halfway up and water is filling the sealed stadium. It begins as drops in the grass way down below but doubles every minute. Everything seems ok until he is only minutes away from drowning. Then that last doubling buries him under water almost instantly. Humans do very poorly attempting to time (or tame) exponential growth.

            • HideAway says:

              Good discussion and lots of good points. Many smart people here that do get the big picture, but have their own slight nuances.

              Gail on your point of past civilizations collapsing, they were all mostly separate so others could continue flourishing, this time we have a global civilization that will most likely all collapse at once, except for isolated pockets, because of the shear scale of globalization today.
              My own opinion is that the world on average has not been collapsing since 1970, as the average Chinese person today is much better off than they were in 1970. The US since their own peak (conventional/cheap) oil in 1970 might be worse off on average (or perhaps the median person instead of average). But the US is not the world on average.

              As civilizations have come and gone in the past, and the various near collapses, we have always found ways of employing more energy to keep growth going. Coal peak of the WW1 to WW2 period, found ways to use more energy in the form of oil, so civilization did not collapse.
              Now we have nowhere to turn. There is no cheap easy energy to replace the FF legacy that has allowed our current civilization.

              Nuclear is not the answer!! Whether it is fission or fusion, it is slow and very expensive to build, it produces electrical energy when the greatest problem is a liquid fuel for Agriculture, Mining and Transportation, the 3 base elements that hold all civilizations together.
              To make everything electrical, no matter if it is wind, solar nuclear or some combination, does not help the overall situation as using these offers other restraints in copper or nickel or rare earths etc. We do not have the available metal resources to turn Agriculture, Mining and Transportation to an electrical base, so our civilization has to end with the end of the oil age.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              A partial list of products made from Petroleum (6000 items). One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline.
              The rest (over half) is used to make things like: Although the major use of petroleum is as a fuel, (gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil),
              and petroleum and natural gas are often used to generate electricity, there are many other uses. Here are some of the ways
              petroleum is used in our every day lives. All plastic is made from petroleum and plastic is used almost everywhere: in cars,
              houses, toys, computers and clothing. Asphalt used in road construction is a petroleum product as is the synthetic rubber in the
              tires. Paraffin wax comes from petroleum, as do fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, phonograph records, photographic
              film, furniture, packaging materials, surfboards, paints, and artificial fibers used in clothing, upholstery, and carpet backing.

              Much more

            • There is a good advertisement in which all of the petroleum-based products disappear one by one from a person’s home. Essentially nothing is left.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          “The overall sum is very simple, energy costs more, both in terms of energy and money, therefore the goods and services have to be more expensive in a world with a growing population.”

          true, but then the effects will be uneven throughout the world…

          countries with good FF production and food production should be able to hold off poverty for a longer time…

          and the wealthiest countries have the farthest to fall to reach poverty…

          so overall, poorer countries will be collapsing first…

          sounds trite, and very obvious…

          but isn’t that the actual world we’ve been witnessing in the past few years?

          • HideAway says:

            “countries with good FF production and food production should be able to hold off poverty for a longer time…”

            That is a fairly small list. Will other countries/billions of other people allow these select countries to try and carry on BAU?? I doubt it. Also the world is so interconnected these days, that even those few countries will have huge problems of obtaining many needed goods/spare parts when collapse hits others.

            There so many feedback loops in our complex world, that even the supposedly rich countries can suffer greatly from disruptions elsewhere. Again an example of Australia hit with a sudden oil supply crisis, would immediately affect our ability to produce the huge quantities of grain exported to the Middle East. Turmoil there from food shortages would lead to further problems with oil supply for other regions etc. Australia has a net import of about 70% of oil. I think we only have 2 refineries still in operation, importing nearly all of the finished products.
            It is possible for one relatively minor problem to quickly manifest itself to major problems in other places.

        • Actually, high prices make economies collapse. So the energy prices cannot rise too high. What happens is the oil exporters fail because they cannot get the prices high enough. Middle East producers, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico are all in danger. In theory, richer countries (US, Canada, Norway) could bail out their oil producers.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      5th largest country on Earth.
      One should take note– relative politically literate (way literate, if one is looking at it from a US perspective).
      Of course, El Salvadorian peasants I was conversing on la playa are much more literate than most of the US proletariat.

  14. Lastcall says:

    Like a fish, the rot starts from the head.
    This posting sort of sums up the hysteria that seems to gripping americas political class. Madness that reinforces the idea that the US polity is the greatest danger to the world. When will the US citizens stop this, or is it too late?**k-nation/agitprop-not-news/#more-8951

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Way too late..

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      it is too late.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        totally way too late.

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        • Lastcall says:

          Guess u are right, and we down here in NZ will ride the coat-tails of the current heg.e.mon until we are told otherwise. Was sort of hoping that with all the opportunity there is for analysis of the past and lessons to be learnt, that ‘this time would be different’..yeah rite!

          ….oh well, suppose I may as well keep on planting my trees, might keep someone warm for a while on the way back down the ‘snake of consequences’. The ladder up has been great!

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            yes, the past 7 decades have been the best in all of human history!

            • Dennis Loeffler says:

              Yes, and there will be more good years ahead, unfortunately, there will also be some not so good years.

              It is always different, and it is always the same. We are going forward, it is not all bad; some is remarkably good.
              If it has been done, it can be done.

  15. Dennis L. says:

    My history is weak but there is only one group I know of that has survived thousands of years; adapted to many continents and cultures with considerable success. There is a story I recall about a banker forced to leave continental Europe, fled to England with a modest sum, in a number of years was a very successful banker, family is still around.

    It seems to me that one really does need a group with values tested over centuries; thinking one can form a group in less than a century seems very ambitious (an email arrived today touting a course forming resilient groups). On the whole even a fairly large group that has a common core of time tested values can trust other members of the group, even on different continents.

    Joke from Peterson’s latest book, Moses comes off the mount, tribe is really going to it, Moses tells his group that he has good news and bad news. Good news, “I got Him down from 15 to 10″, bad news, adultery is still one of the rules.” We need trust, even when it is not convenient. Those ten rules have formed a very important part of our Western Civilization, perhaps these rules are what have lead to our successes more so than energy. As for enforcement, for those who break the rules, the Amish way, shun. It is pretty hard to survive on one’s own.

    If it has been done, it can be done.

    • Actually, the tradition of only one spouse at a time (nowhere in the Bible, that I know of) has been helpful as well. This tradition is quite important in keeping world population from exploding faster than it has. Christian countries, Europe, Japan, and China all follow this practice. If a man can have multiple wives, this leads to a much higher birth rate, and higher population growth. The issue is that poor men often cannot afford to have families, even if they marry. If rich men can have multiple wives, this leads to more children being born and surviving to adulthood. Often many of the wives are much younger than the husband. These wives start bearing children early. Polygamy is part of the reason that Africa has such rapid population growth.

  16. Lastcall says:

    Wow, do any of the american citizens who post on here really believe a few hackers on social media are up to the level of Ms Vic re the Ukraine? Too many other meddling/bom.bings to mention but come on.

    Its like George Carlin said, you meet some great individuals, but boy as a group madness ensues.

    You are truly a bewildering hege.mon! When you start believing ‘your’ own lies, its a sad sight.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      as an American, I can say that our government has surely done a large amount of harm to many parts of the world…

      I suppose we’re the big bully of the world…

      “we” have been the latest Empire, and with that position, “we” got to exert our will over the world more than any other country…

      but not that “we” are worse humans than the rest…

      given the opportunity to be The Empire, most other nationalities would likely be just as bad…

      very often, human nature is just awful…

      it’s all throughout history, and well before there was an America.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’m staying in an apartment that sadly has tv… and friends have it droning it on … and I am listening to this madness about how Russians fixed the election …

      They are in one world listening and obviously believing this (because they don’t agree with I laugh at this) … and I am in another world….

  17. JH Wyoming says:

    Not fake news. 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies indicted by Mueller for assisting in Trump election. I suggest this is indirectly related to the high cost of energy, reflected in the increasingly desperate situation of world politics influenced by the need for growth via rising massive debt.

    • JesseJames says:

      Expect Russian revelations and facts on American meddling in foreign elections to start coming out.

    • Greg Machala says:

      What a circus DC has become.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      I hope they bomb Russia and Putin back into the stone ages….We could take their oil and gas reserves as well….Then we could fill in the gap left by fracking and be oil independent!

      • djerek says:

        If you think the US is in a position to win a head on war against Russia then you are mistaken.

        • Baby Doomer says:

          You think Russia could defeat the US, Europe and Israel? I think not…

          • ITEOTWAWKI says:

            Any World War would be extremely short…we are all so intertwined with JIT that a WW would collapse IC fairly quickly, ending IC and obviously the war…

          • JeremyT says:

            “You think Russia could defeat the US, Europe and Israel? I think not…^
            Haha…you think Europeans want to get to Moscow…history tells otherwise, and if you imagine it’ll be anymore inviting if the US(+Israel) gets there first…..ridiculous….you’ve already got too much on your hands, drain that Twamp!

          • psile says:

            Since Russia would reach for the nukes, sooner rather than later, if there were any attack against it by NATO, this is rather a moot point.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      Words written down on a report are “claims”, they are not evidence…..

      Did you learn nothing from the WMD’s lies? And lets not forget what Carl Sagan taught us…”Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”…

    • I think that this has to do with posting fake news on the Internet, rather than any direct meddling in the election.

  18. Baby Doomer says:

    People always say again: We need to save our planet. No, we do not. The planet is going to save itself already. It always has done. Sometimes it took millions of years, but it happened. We should not be worried about the planet, but about the human species.

    -Dennis Meadows

    • xabier says:

      I have it on good authority that the dogs are rather concerned as to what would happen if humans were to do themselves in.

      They are exerting all their influence behind the scenes to instill some rationality in us, or else…..empty bowls for them, the end of millennia of having their food brought to them.

      There is a break-away group in China which entertains different notions as to what would be a desirable end for humankind.

      Dog-hacking of elections may occur.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “We should not be worried about the planet, but about the human species.”


      humans are guaranteed to go extinct, sooner or later…


      we don’t need to worry about the planet or our species.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      “We should not be worried about the planet, but about the human species.”

      That’s what I’ve heard my entire life – ‘people come first’. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place.

  19. Baby Doomer says:

    Trump reportedly endorses 25-cent hike in gas tax to pay for infrastructure plan

    • The Second Coming says:

      Make the rabble pay for it! Regressive taxes are so Conservative… Next flat tax

    • Greg Machala says:

      Trump also has to make a decision soon (April I believe) on import tariffs. I think
      there is a proposal to tax imports of steel and aluminum rather heavily ~30-50%.
      I think that is a sign that globalization is reaching limits. I would think taxing raw
      material imports would help American steel and aluminum producers. However, the
      costs of finished goods like US made cars and trucks would likely go up. Seems like
      a lot of potential bad feedback loops could occur with high tariffs on raw materials.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      “Trump reportedly endorses 25-cent hike in gas tax to pay for infrastructure plan”

      So the corporations get a tax reduction from 35 to 21%, but the rest of us get a 25 cent a gallon fuel tax increase? Is there anything else us regular folks can do?

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Don’t think so—-
        It is all about money being transferred upward.
        This is temporary, although the norm, if one has looked at it.

      • The tax can be expected to act somewhat like a $10.50 per barrel increase in the price of oil (since there are 42 gallons in a barrel, and 42 x $.25 = $10.50), at least for the transportation industry and for those buy fuel for their cars and trucks. I would expect the tax to somewhat reduce the number of new vehicles sold, and perhaps shift the mix toward sedans and away from pick-up trucks.

        The total amount of tax that this would seem to collect is about $46 billion dollars a year, assuming it applies only to on-road diesel and to gasoline.

        • Baby Doomer says:

          Trump’s gas tax would wipe out 60% of tax cut benefit for individuals, analyst estimates

          • The article claims a $120 billion impact of the tax legislation on individuals, as opposed to corporations, if I am reading it correctly. The $46 billion effect of the $.25 per gallon tax that I calculated in a different comment is split:

            Gasoline cut = $36 billion
            On Road diesel = $10 billion
            (I am assuming other diesel uses, such as use of diesel by farm equipment, are not taxed.)

            Most of the gasoline cut will go to individuals. Some will go to businesses, because private passenger autos are used for many business uses (salesmen, police cars, small delivery vans). A little of the on road diesel will go to individuals.

            Let’s guess that the direct impact of the $.25 per gallon tax on gasoline goes to individuals is $33 billion. As a percentage of the $120 billion savings, that amount is 27.5%. So the headline should seem to be, “Trump’s gas tax will wipe out 28% of tax cut benefit” (rather an 60%).

            If we assume that the total cost of the tax that really gets paid by businesses and governments will get back to individuals, I would suppose we could say that the full $46 billion could affect individuals. In that case, $46 billion/ $120 billion = $38%.

            The article got to 60% by using the recent rise in oil price as part of the cost. I don’t see the connection.

    • zenny says:

      That is just a bit more than 5 cents a liter…Nothing

    • Articles from “The Next Big Future” need to be read with some caution. Brian Wang has been telling readers that nuclear would grow greatly in use since at least 2009, based on experience at The Oil Drum.

  20. Third World person says:

    only one singer know that good times are never come back

    • Third World person says:

      Foreman says these jobs, are going boys, and they ain’t coming back…”

      • Ed Kitto says:

      • MG says:

        “A. & M. Karagheusian, Inc. was a rug manufacturer headquartered at 295 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Manufacturing was located in Freehold Borough, New Jersey and operated for 60 years before closing in 1964. It employed 1,700 people at its peak operation in the 1930s. Bruce Springsteen wrote about the Karagheusian Rug Mill’s closing in his 1984 song “My Hometown”.[1]”

        About 50 km from my home in Slovakia, there is a Slovak town that was famous for producing rugs. In the 90s, the factory bankrupted and the industry in the given town died. Now, there is a new factory supplying parts to the Korean automakers in the region of Slovakia and Czech republic.

    • MG says:

      Recently, I got mesmerized by this video of Patti Austin performing in 1981:

      She is the example of the artificial interventions needed for survival with the accumulating genetic mutations:

      “Both of Austin’s parents were obese and eventually passed away from diseases linked to excess weight. Her mother died of complications from a stroke; her father of complications from diabetes. Patti was suffering from type 2 diabetes and asthma when her doctor said she was at risk for a stroke and ordered her to have the surgery.

      “I went through the process alone. I didn’t claim anything until I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish with it,” she said of the surgery, which dropped her weight from 300 to about 180 during the first year. “And once I had, I felt that I was sufficiently successful enough to share that with other people.””

    • Lastcall says:

      Umm Leonard Cohen had a fair idea too…

      ‘Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
      Won’t be nothing
      Nothing you can measure anymore
      The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
      Has crossed the threshold
      And it has overturned
      The order of the soul
      When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
      I wonder what they meant
      When they said (they said) repent (repent), repent (repent)
      I wonder…’

  21. MG says:

    The Skoda car mission to Mars. (“DONT PANIC ELON !”)

    • MG says:

      There are probably excessive amounts of jet fuel from heavy crude, so why not use it for marketing? Elon thought…

      “RP-1 (alternately, Rocket Propellant-1 or Refined Petroleum-1) is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as rocket fuel. “

      • The hydrocarbons for kerosene are mostly in the C12 to C15 range. Jet fuel and rocket fuel are similar to this. In chain length, this is between gasoline and diesel.

        “There are probably excessive amounts of jet fuel from heavy crude.” It really depends on what profitable uses have been developed for particular parts of the hydrocarbon chain. It may take a little while for technology changes to match up with what is available cheaply in the marketplace.

      • Incidentally, a branch of Skoda, Skoda Power, was sold to a Korean company called Doosan, which also bought Bobcat and a host of heavy industrial equipment manufacturers to sell to China. When China’s building boom slowed down, Doosan hit an iceberg. It is somehow surviving, because it is the oldest company in Korea and has lots of old connections, but how long no one knows.

    • I thought the Skoda was Czech. Does Slovakia have a stake on it?

      • MG says:

        There is still a leading position of Skoda cars brand on both Czech and Slovak market. It is the most widespread car here. But Skoda is owned by Volkswagen. In the past, Skoda cars were also produced in Slovakia.

        • MG says:

          Skoda brand cars are also produced in Volkswagen plant in Bratislava.

          • I see. So it is just another subsidiary of VW now. I believe it was making weapons for Austria-Hungary at the beginning; It seems if a weaker country has something good, eventually it is taken over by a stronger company in time.

            • MG says:

              There was a need for capital injections, so the answer for overtaking is simply rising costs of the new technologies like new robots, new production lines etc. All this was heavily outdated in the Skoda factories functioning during the communism. Somebody had to provide the know-how, money and update to more sophisticated and energy-saving technologies.

      • This article reports on another article, SELF-DRIVING CARS USE CRAZY AMOUNTS OF POWER, AND IT’S BECOMING A PROBLEM.

        A production car you can buy today, with just cameras and radar, generates something like 6 gigabytes of data every 30 seconds. It’s even more for a self-driver, with additional sensors like lidar. . . Prototypes use around 2,500 watts, enough to light 40 incandescent light bulbs. . . Switch over to electric cars, and that draw translates to reduced range, because power from the battery goes to the computers instead of the motors.

        • JH Wyoming says:

          That’s an eye opener. There’s always a catch.

          • I think that there is also an issue with communicating with other cars that are coming from, for example, a blind spot around the corner. This leads to a huge amount of needed information transmitted from vehicle to vehicle. It also implies that 100% of vehicles are expected to have this capability–even old farm equipment, for example. The internet gets overloaded with all of this vehicle to vehicle transmission.

  22. Baby Doomer says:

    The Dollar Spirals Down, Hits Lowest Point Since 2014

    The US dollar has dropped 2.0% in the past five days, 2.4% over the past month, 4.1% year-to-date, 5.3% over the past three months, and 9.4 % over the past 12 months, according to the WSJ Dollar Index. At 82.47, the index is at the lowest level since December 25, 2014:

  23. Pingback: Pisces New Moon | Chaos and Reason

  24. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    Dow now on a 5 day winning streak… back over 25,000.

    remember those days of crashing markets and The End is near?

    oh, was it really only last week?

  25. Baby Doomer says:

    Leaked Pentagon Document Suggests Russia Is Building ‘Doomsday Torpedo’ To Hit Coastal Cities

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      so Russia has nuclear missiles on its many submarines?

      why, this is astounding news!

      who could have predicted that?

      so let’s all be afraid.. very afraid…

      well, at least those who live on coasts.

    • This is a related January 2018 Popular Mechanics article.

      According to it

      But what really makes Kanyon nightmare fuel is the drone torpedo’s payload: a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons, or the equivalent of 16,000 tons of TNT. Kanyon’s nuke would be the equivalent of 100,000,000 tons of TNT. That’s twice as powerful as Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Dropped on New York City, a 100-megaton bomb would kill 8 million people outright and injure 6 million more.

      Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years.

      A Newsweek story is not convinced there is much behind the story. It says

      “My read of the whole Status-6 slide leak is that the Russians were trying to send us a message,” Geist says.

      Another expert said there was no evidence that Russia was actively developing the system.

      There seem to be a number of stories about it. This one says, Pentagon acknowledges Russia is developing a ‘doomsday’ nuclear-armed torpedo.

      • JH Wyoming says:

        When they designed the Tsar Tomba the initials calculations indicated the blast would enter the upper atmosphere, then reign down on all parts of the planet. To weaken it so it wouldn’t do that they sandwiched layers of lead between heavy nuclear isotopes, and that kept the radioactive fallout within that region.

        So I highly doubt they would develop a nuclear bomb that would in turn reign fallout on themselves.

  26. Sven Røgeberg says:

    Worth reading:

    DSW: Let me push back, because way back when complexity science was new and James Gleik wrote his book Chaos, which was one of the best books for a general audience on a complex subject, he made the point for physics and biology that there is a complexity wall beyond which formal analytical models cannot go. The only way to explore that terrain is with agent based models and other computer simulation methods. At the time, because there was so much prestige associated with formal analytical models, what they did was just define their subject to leave all that interesting stuff out!
    DSW: One of the reasons that evolution needs to be the foundation for economics is that if you go back to the whole story of how we evolved as a species, it’s all about this. It’s all about the ability of members of small groups to hold each other in check, so that the would-be dominant individual is not allowed to bully and boss other people around. That ability to hold people in check enables small groups to function as teams. All of this concern with reputation. In small human groups, the dominant individual becomes dominant by cultivating a good reputation, whereas in other primates the dominant individual is just the biggest thug.

    RF: Right.

    DSW: That’s why we’re human.

    RF: What a huge breakthrough that was, too. All the effort that’s wasted when thugs compete against each other is put to better use when we have this other channel for it.

    DSW: And the whole secret for governance at a larger scale is to implement at a large scale what takes place relatively naturally at a small scale. It seems like such a simple prescription for good governance is to use small groups as a blueprint for larger groups.

    • Thanks! This article is from 2015. The economic revolution they are hoping for hasn’t taken place yet.

      I liked this point, when talking about the models of today’s economists:

      You must change your whole approach in some ways in order to study economic systems as complex systems frequently out of equilibrium.

      RF: It’s true that when you’re studying a truly complex system with thousands of variables and interactions and nonlinearities, closed form solutions are just not on the table. You can’t achieve them and so the only thing you can do is clumsy numerical simulations and agent based modeling and the like. That’s less elegant and was at one time less in fashion.

      Regarding, “It seems like such a simple prescription for good governance is to use small groups as a blueprint for larger groups.” I don’t think this is sufficient. It might be necessary, but I think the situation is more complex than that.

      • djerek says:

        Using the blueprint from small groups will never work in larger government because larger government needs a more stratified hierarchy. The idea that the same organizational principles that work on a scale where people know each other face to face and on the national or even international scale is completely absurd.

      • Artleads says:

        Large, anonymous governance structures (which is what we have had and that are already in decline) can hardly be of major help to us now (with ever decreasing ability to support them). Small, local governance systems can network on a global scale–more like Native American governance systems, I think. There may be some movement in the wings toward this, aided by social media, but I don’t know how you scale such a system within industrial civilization. My guess is that you have to start locally.

      • Artleads says:

        Local governments have to set up monitoring of global issues like the nuclear sites within local and regional jurisdiction. They have to come together on watershed issues, and they can’t do developments without looking at their global chain of effects. Local governments can’t continue to work blind.

      • Sven Røgeberg says:

        Here is DSW alternative narrative of cooperation between companies and nations. He mentions a few «spontaneous» initiatives of selfregulating behavior among companies and consumers – lol if he thinks this will work out and scale up. His thinking has IMO at least two flaws. First, the paradigme of group selection is highly disputed by biologist. Second, the so called nordic model of cooperation and trust has been possible due to economic growth, which has made bargaining over wages, prices, taxes and welfare benefits a pluss-sum-game. And of course the Scandinavian countries have a special institutional arrangement for this process, which reflects the distinctive history of each country.

        • If a person visits Norway, they see many statues of women and children. There are not many statues of men as soldiers, as I remember. Norway, prior to its oil and hydroelectric wealth, was always in a position where it could barely take care of itself; it certainly could not expect to start a war against a major country (except maybe in the Viking ships, very early).

          My father’s parents came to United States in the early 1900s. Even though my father’s father was the oldest son, and thus stood to inherit the farm, he felt that the farm’s prospects were not good enough to pay off its high debt. It would be better to come to America, and start from scratch.

          • MG says:

            Recently, I have studied who are my distant relatives in the USA. My great grandfather is buried in Milwaukee. His two brothers remained in the USA and had descendants. One of them is a Lutheran pastor:


            • I grew up in Wisconsin also. The various synods of Lutheran are fairly different. The Wisconsin Synod (where your relative is a clergy, I think based on his seminary) is much more conservative than the ELCA synod.

              ELCA does not believe that the Bible is literally true. It needs to be taken in context with what we can learn from other sources. It ordains women, and it has no problem with gay marriage. Women may vote on all matters in the church. WELS takes the opposite view on these issues.

            • MG says:

              Thank you very much for explanation. That seems to be in line with the Catholic ancestors of the mentioned distant relative who is a Lutheran pastor. One of the distant relatives in the USA, who also visited Slovakia and I met with her here, is a Methodist, which is again closer to her Catholic ancestry. That is an intresting observation for me.

          • Sven Røgeberg says:

            Today we do as the US tell us. The war planes from the «peace nation» were crucial in the destroying of Libya. To have good relations with Washington is the most important forreign policy goal of geopolitical reasons.
            My grandfather went to the US around 1910 and worked both on the railways and farms. My mother still remembers the dress he bought in Duluth. He never settled and returned just before the 1WW. Many Norwegians of course stayed. «Between 1825 and 1925, more than 800,000 Norwegians immigrated to North America—about one-third of Norway’s population with the majority immigrating to the USA, and lesser numbers immigrating to the Dominion of Canada. With the exception of Ireland, no single country contributed a larger percentage of its population to the United States than Norway.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Chaos was a great book (read it twice, years apart), but currently we are dealing with other issues.
      It is kinda cool reading here, but we are 3 steps down from what is actually happening on a realistic level, which is alright.
      And I think you need to explore primate social order a bit more thoroughly.

  27. Artleads says:

    I’ve done quite a bit of teaching, and am convinced that children can learn (more enthusiastically) when they are working on real world issues. These issues are too numerous and cost too much not to take advantage of the benefit to children and society when children work at such things as the upkeep of their school buildings and grounds, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

    As to social media and other current distractions: these also should center on building and improving local communities, and networking among these efforts internationally. They should not be used for games and entertainment.

    • Lastcall says:

      Can.nib.alism is not that far back in NZ’s history. Do they realise that I wonder?
      All that Bollinger and Caviar may add to their appeal!

      • Dennis L. says:

        It’s not what you know that gets you, it is what you don’t know you don’t know. When they get there, what skill set do they possess that is needed? A pile of digits on a screen without the backing of an actual physical system to use it is overhead, not wealth.

        Are these guys actually trading among themselves? If so, notational wealth may be increasing, but there is nothing there. As has been mentioned earlier, something is weird.

      • HideAway says:

        Maori’s (the native NZ population) make up only about 15% of the population with Islanders another ~8%. There also about 600,000 Maori’s living in Australia, who have ties back in NZ.
        They are a deeply cultural people, who in hard times would know exactly how to prepare/welcome American Billionaires in times of civilization collapse.
        I have a few very close friends that are of Maori decent.
        I wonder how these billionaires think they will control anything from a country that currently has net imports of 70% of their oil requirements, and about 100% of all replacement parts for Hydro electricity generation.
        New Zealand has a population density of 17.9/sqkm, Australia has a population density of 3.1/sqkm.
        When I last visited NZ (2 years ago) the place seemed and was more densely populated than where I live, well away from cities (over 200 km).

        Seems to me that American Billionaires are not all that smart. What form do they think they will keep their wealth in a collapsing civilization? Only the people they know and get on well with in a community sense will accept them. Flying in from abroad to the hideaway, will just be a source of ‘resources’ for the locals.
        Sweet Kumara in a Hangi with whatever meat available will be how Maori’s survive.

        • Lastcall says:

          Antarctica has an even lower popn density!
          Australia is huge, and vast areas are uninhabitable, hence its low popn density. I lived there for many years and did look at buying land there, but if you found land with more than a sprinkling of rain it was very expensive. The dry stuff not so much. In many ways Australia current population is at, or near, its carrying capacity.

          To your larger point, it is very hard to think of anywhere not in range of a large population centre. Imagine what happens when Tokyo or Mexico city ’empty out’. A tank of gas may get you 500-600km if you get a clean run. Them hick cousins you left out on the farm may not be all that welcoming of the white collars coming home with zero skills.

          There are two quite different pubs in my town. They are not far from each other, but are worlds apart. One is full of the top end of town; the lawyers, RE agents, accountants and business owners. They talk politics, mortgages, property values, air-conditioning, BMW’s and future-proofing. They are the ‘going-forward’ people.

          The other is full of lads from blue collar occupations; forestry, building, truck driving etc. They talk politics, pig-hunting, fishing, rents/some mortgages, hot days, hard-work, four-wheel driving and tomorrow-proofing. They are the here and now people.

          I drift a bit between them, and I know the group with the skills to get-by when the electricity goes down.

          • HideAway says:

            Lastcall, some good points there, but if people still have “a tank of gas” then it is not really an end of civilization type of collapse.

            I can also guarantee that in an EOTWAWKI type of collapse, people will not be getting a clear run from a city to within 50km of where I am. I don’t expect any would bother trying to walk that last 50km, as easier pickings would appear to be elsewhere.

            Also being 200km+ from a city, is not something you can do in New Zealand, where the billionaires seem to have bought.
            I chose my location carefully over 30 years ago, good rainfall, remote from cities, inaccesible (by vehicles) by cutting down a few trees across the only road here, many km away. There is a small population with very low population density. It is a VERY different situation to billionaires that think they can just buy a place on the other side of the world, then escape when TSHTF.

            I am of the opinion that scattered groups will survive around the world, especially in remote developing countries, where life is mostly how it was a thousand years ago.

            I do not subscribe to spent fuel ponds killing everyone, probably just those in close proximity, which makes North America, Europe and large parts of Asia very dangerous places to be.
            The billionaires have probably thought of this aspect (fuel ponds), but are not really prepared for what awaits them in their safe havens. You are either a part of a community, or you are an outsider.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              It’s good that you can convince yourself that the spent fuel ponds will not kill you…

              It’s kinda like believing god is going to welcome you into heaven when BAU ends…

              I imagine that such delusions are very comforting….

              Try as I might … I cannot convince myself that there will be anything but horrific suffering for every single person on this planet when BAU ends

    • Kurt says:

      Please stop.

  28. Sven Røgeberg says:

    Steven Pinker gives a lecture over his new book Enlightenment now:
    In the first 16/17 minutes he mostly talk about stuff from the book The Better Angels of our Nature. He shows a figure of declining work hours in Europe and US since 1870, but don`t comment on the fact that work hours in US NOT has declined since 1970 (at 12.12)
    The intereresting part starts after 16/17 min with the outlining of a Enlightened Environmentalisme and a crusade againt pessimisme and fatalisme. Lots of figures and claims about peak resource use (27.40 – ). At 30.55 a figure about word deforestation 1700 – 2010. 

    • Baby Doomer says:

      And Bill Gates said this was his new favorite book of all time..You know the world is going to hell when the elites have to go on a PR campaign to persuade the public about how great things are. The book should be named “Denali Now”…

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        blurb for the book on Amazon:

        “With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.”

        he’s a Harvard professor of Psychology…

        in other words, he’s absolutely clueless about how the surge in FF use over the past few hundred years has been the primary source of the PROGRESS that he sees…

        Taleb has a name for this type of person: intellectual-yet-ideeot…

        I hope Pinker and Gates can team up with Musk… and SOON!

        please, oh you mighty gods who walk amongst us mere humans, SAVE US!

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


          I think it’s been mentioned here on these brilliantly informed pages of OFW…

          that this kind of media barrage of unfounded optimism will only increase as we get closer to The Collapse…

          if anyone wants to take credit for this idea, please do.

          • xabier says:

            Certainly. I believe the archaeological record often shows that sacrifices to the useless gods went up as collapse accelerated – so we may expect ever more insistence on Progress and More Science as our salvation…..

    • Baby Doomer says:

      America is collapsing faster and faster every day. Drug deaths, infrastructure collapse, suicides, stagnate/declining wages, exploding debt, millennial’s living at home, failing educations system, expensive healthcare, mass shootings , dropping life expectancy, pollution, retail apocalypse, police state tactics, corrupted government, lies about everything to cover up the mess, and on and on.

    • xabier says:

      Declining work hours? He must mean the ‘zero-hours’ contracts which are so popular these days……. Nothing like low pay and uncertain income for the morale of the people, eh, Pinker?!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “The intereresting part starts after 16/17 min with the outlining of a Enlightened Environmentalisme and a crusade againt pessimisme and fatalisme.”

      yes, this is what we would expect from an elite psychology professor…

      though, I should say, an uninformed psychology professor…

      sure, let’s crusade against pessimism and fatalism while the world’s supply of essential FF marches downward in the next decade…

      I wonder…

      will optimism keep PROGRESS going even as FF resources decline?

      warning, sarc ahead:

      why, OF COURSE! we can wish our way to a prosperous future, even with zero FF…

      why, Pinker is absolutely brilliant!

      he should be appointed the President of the World…

      his thinking will save humanity!

      thank you, Mr. Pinker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      oh my godzilla!

      to be thinking for many years that IC was doomed to failure…

      only to find out that Pinker has the answer!

      • xabier says:

        Intellectuals and politicians peddle ‘-isms’: as an intellectual, Pinker has to blame things on the wrong -‘isms’, It’s not Reality, it’s our mind-set, Those who can see what is coming merely got out of bed the wrong side…..

  29. Baby Doomer says:

    Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes, super-rich. I imagine many of them are super-rich at the expense of the super-poor. Now they want to get away from the poor. Amazing how these super-rich folks think they can buy a way out of what lies ahead. There is no planning or preparing for what is coming…except being mentally prepared. And, no, panicking is not a good way to be mentally prepared.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I’m in the Queenstown area and noticing some of these mega mansions under construction …. as if these are going to provide sanctuary when BAU dies… even billionaires are id i ots

    • Greg Machala says:

      I guess the old saying: “don’t $hit in the bed you sleep in” applies here.

  30. MG says:

    Russia warns over Urals crude oil quality

    “Predicting a 2% rise in crude exports by Russian companies next year, Transneft said the sulfur content in its westbound export flows will reach “a critical level” this year, as the company has no further technological tools to improve the quality of crude flows headed west towards mostly European customers.”

    • MG says:

      ““We can’t refine this (oil),” a trader at a European company told Reuters. “There is only one way out, which is to cut Urals purchases and get supplies of lighter grades for blending,” the trader added.”

    • There are, of course, refineries set up to handle crude with more sulphur. They charge for their services, and transport costs to the more distant refineries may be needed. So Russia should expect to get a lower price for its higher-sulphur crude. At that lower price, it may or make not make sense to extract the oil.

      • MG says:

        This is partly similar to the situation of Venezuela: they need lighter grades for obtaining the heavy crude they have underground.

        • MG says:

          Sweet and sour crude

          “The marginal refining capacity in the world cannot process heavy, sour crudes at all, let alone process these crudes into light, sweet products. Converting existing refining capacity to process heavy, sour crudes to produce light, sweet products is expensive and time-consuming. In the U.S., the conversion (for the refiners who are converting) is a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar project. Some refiners have elected to produce light, sweet products only from light, sweet crudes. Others have elected to retire refining capacity. In parts of the world that supply markets with only higher sulfur products or that have dropped out of the market to supply low-sulfur products, little or no conversion will take place and the demand will continue for the diminishing fraction of light, sweet crudes.”

          • MG says:

            I would say that one of the reasons why the consumption of natural gas rises is the fact that it is more similar to light crude than the heavy crude to light crude.

            We definitely need light stuff, all the heavy stuff is more like coal.

            • MG says:

              When Russia Finally Hops On Shale Bandwagon, OPEC Is Finished

              “Current estimates for light crude in the Bazhenov range from 600 million to 174 billion tons. As a comparison, the middle of this range is larger than the total initial geological reserves of light oil in all known oil and gas provinces of Russia.”


            • Thanks! This is from back in August. I don’t remember seeing it back then. But the author could be correct. Russia would be in a lot better position to exploit shale reserves compared to a lot of other countries. China is too densely populated. So are England and France. It has a lot of oil infrastructure already in place. We have had a lot of problem making the economics work; I don’t know if Russia could do any better. They may be able to find out what technology we have developed to date, and leapfrog over some of the learning curve.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              “China is too densely populated.”

              their government can make their people move out of the way.

              that might be a good use for their empty cities.

          • My understanding is that it has been less profitable to operate refineries for light sweet oil, in part because of its high cost, especially when imported from outside the US. Refineries on the US East Coast were importing oil from Africa at prices based on Brent oil. This oil was too high prices to profitably refine into gasoline. The differential between WTI and Brent plays a role in this.

      • MG says:

        One more comment about heavy crude: hydrocracking.

        The refinery Slovnaft in Slovakia, importing oil from Russia, heavily invested into hydrocracking and residue hydrocracking

        The rise of air transport could have one reason: more jet fuel from hydrocracking

        Hydrocracking is an important source of diesel and jet fuel

        Based on this, banning diesel cars seems to be against the available possibilities with the increasing amounts of heavy crude:

        “Many refiners do not have hydrocrackers, but as demand for middle distillates such as jet fuel, kerosene, and diesel increases both in the United States and around the world, refiners may find incentive to build them to increase distillate yield. In the emerging low-sulfur world, the hydrocracker often converts high-sulfur materials, which would end up in marine or boiler fuel, into low-sulfur fuels for vehicles and airplanes. A refinery’s ability to upgrade low-value products into high-value products and convert high-sulfur material to low-sulfur material with a secondary unit like a hydrocracker plays a key role in determining its economic fate.”

        • MG says:

          Also converting cars to LPG is quite popular in Slovakia (Also yesterday I have seen one billboard promoting it in my district town).

          “The major products from hydrocracking are jet fuel and diesel, but low sulphur naphtha fractions and LPG are also produced.”

          What is available, that must be sold…

        • MG says:

          Growing market demand or growing amounts of heavy crude? One must smile…

          “At ExxonMobil, ground was broken yesterday for the new Hydrocracker: an investment of more than one billion dollars. (…) Based on ExxonMobil’s innovative hydrocracking technology, the Hydrocracker produces ultra-low-sulphur fuels such as diesel and kerosene, and base oils from semi-finished products with high sulphur content. ExxonMobil thus responds to the growing market demand for these products.”

          • Why must one smile? Heavy crude has been a godsend to refiners. It is profitable for refiners to refine. It tends to cost less than other oil, giving refiners a bigger margin to work with. The products are the heavier products that tend to be in demand in the marketplace. The US has an advantage over other countries when it comes to hydrocracking, because the process takes a large supply of natural gas. We have very good natural gas supplies available at lower prices than available in most countries.

            The world (or at least the US) is now getting flooded with tight oil from shale. It tends to have an excessive amount of “light ends”. These are the products that are close to natural gas in chain length. Sometimes they can be used to make plastics, but there is a limit to how much plastic stuff we need. When the price gets low enough, the ethane can be mixed into natural gas, and sold to be burned as natural gas.

            If a different mixture is needed, it is possible to mix light and heavy oils together. This seems to be one of the uses for tight oil.

            • MG says:

              “One must smile…” I meant it mainly regarding products like LPG from heavy crude that have to be sold somewhat, so their price needs to be competitive to other car fuels… We will also see what happens to diesel cars bans and the jet fuel prices…

        • Markets around the world pretty much have to split up the various fuels available. It is my understanding that in the US, gasoline has been the traditional fuel for vehicles because our early oil supplies were sufficiently light that our fineries produced a lot of gasoline. The diesel and kerosene can then go for commercial uses. The US has been exporting diesel for quite a few years. The quantities have ramped up since 2008. Some of the diesel is exported to Europe. Quite a bit of it goes to other places in North and South America.

  31. Lastcall says:

    Its weirder and weirder out there every day because we are living through the ‘Garage Sale’ stage of this industrial Civ. So many things have been sold below cost for so long that we are going out of business. The environmental costs of farming have yet to be paid, but nature is sending out the bailiff as we speak. Oil is available below cost, and human labour is depreciating like yesterdays’ quiche.

    You can run (via your device to a fantasy world of apps and opportunity and generational change and future-proofing …etc etc) but nature a won’t be denied.

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Good post! I concur. Garage sale stage, that’s it. One of my contentions is political corruption keeps heightening because those in power know time is short before all hell breaks loose, so they’re conjuring up any and all ways to build as a big a nest egg as possible before they exit stage left with their loved one’s to an undisclosed, presumably safe location.

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        “so they’re conjuring up any and all ways to build as a big a nest egg as possible before they exit stage left with their loved one’s to an undisclosed, presumably safe location.”

        If that is truly the case (which I doubt), well joke’s on them…nest egg will be useless and there will be no safe location…there is no hiding from the collapse of IC…

        • Greg Machala says:

          I agree. If they expect to survive what lies ahead they would have to be living deep underground….essentially until they die. There would be no coming out of their hole without risking disease or toxic wash of some kind. Even if they prepped perfectly, had electricity, food, medicine, things still break, viruses never sleep, the psychological effects of isolation would wear on all the inhabitants until they would be at each others throats. Imagine how awful of a life that would be…no thanks.

          • adonis says:

            who needs electricity or even modern medicine we just need to return to the old ways some of us will survive and as one of my doomer buddies states ‘we shall live like kings’

            • We still need enough resources per capita–fresh water and arable land that is not in too bad shape from years of industrial farming. We used a lot of wood and other biomass in the past. This will still be needed.

            • DJ says:

              If the earth is not left totally inhabitable to personkind, how many would survive a collapse of industrial civilisation?

              The sick, the old, the weak. There goes a third at least.

              Then comes the horsemen.

              Of those who remain noone has sufficient skills.

              It should only be single digit percent that survives a sudden (<10 years) loss of IC.

        • Dennis L. says:

          The nest egg being useless seems to have some validity unless part of it owns a large corporation that makes things. It will take a group and there are groups that have survived for thousands of years and my history here is very limited, but it seems they were always a minority and in WWII were certainly victims of horrible atrocities. The pharaohs didn’t have the best experience with them either. If it has been done, it can be done.

          • ITEOTWAWKI says:

            Dennis, forget history…we have never been where we are going…there is no comparison to past times that even comes close to what the collapse of IC will do to all of us..this time IS completely different..

            “If it has been done, it can be done”

            I totally disagree, because IC was never part of the equation in past times..

            • Dennis L. says:

              We can respectfully disagree and watch things unfold and adjust as necessary and possible with a little luck benefiting from differing perspectives.

    • Good points, Last call. We don’t recognize the symptoms of reaching limits.

  32. Dennis L. says:

    Now, this guy is a doomer.

    FE is going to have to stretch a bit to match this. Guess FF issue will not be an issue, the GW will not be an issue, and the federal debt will not be an issue. So, there is a silver lining for all us positive thinkers.

    The earth has been around for along time and seems to rearrange itself as it so sees fit. Gail’s best advice so far, enjoy today, it is a beautiful world. Hope someone has put away a good stash of Glenlivet.

    • xabier says:

      We’ve been having quite a party, Mother Nature will soon pull the tablecloth, and – unlike the dextrous party trick – all the things will come crashing off the table with it……..

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      oh, I get it!

      so someone needs to increase the “funding” for these scientists to continue their great work at Yellowstone…


      how else can these scientists live well if not for their “funding”?

      ps: this may be total sarc, but I lack the funding for a good scientific study or two.

      • The article that was linked to didn’t seem to suggest any reason for alarm. Also, even if we discovered that there is, say, a 1% probability of the Yellowstone blowing up in the next 100 years, what we do about it. Funding for this kind of research would seem to be pretty low priority.

  33. Baby Doomer says:

    Nobel Prize-winning Economist Robert Shiller, The stock market today is similar to the market in 1928

    Financial markets at risk from bubble, IMF warns

    Global economy set for decade of gloom as World Bank predicts recovery will fizzle out

    ‘WORSE THAN 2007’: Top Central Banker warns of looming wave of worldwide bankruptcies

    The world is drowning in debt, warns Goldman Sachs

    ‘Perfect storm’: Global financial system showing danger signs, says senior OECD economist

  34. adonis says:

    just wondering what you guys think of this guys take on our predicament

    • This fellow is arguing for hyperinflation. It seems like hyperinflation depends on one or more economies being “losers” while others are winners. The losers print all kinds of money to try to buy goods from the winners, but it doesn’t work. I suppose that they can even put in guaranteed income plans.

      It depends on how the world system goes down, and we don’t really understand that. If countries cut way back on trading with each other, the problem could be less goods and services available everywhere, major debt defaults, and banks failing.

      If governments and banks are still in operation, and they print more money (and actually distribute it to citizens, perhaps as guaranteed income) to try to help people buy unavailable goods, I suppose it could lead to inflation. I am not sure that it would lead to hyperinflation though.

  35. CTG says:

    Just a quick question. Great to hear views from all over the world…

    If you look back in hindsight the last 10 years, does it feel that things are getting weirder and more desperate? It like walking and then wading through mud and as you go along, it gets deeper and more energy is required to move and each step seems to be heavier and the distance move is shorter and shorter? 2016 is good, 2017 not so good, 2018?

    In Asia, tomorrow is Chinese New Year. For those who lurk and for those who celebrate Chinese New Year, I would like to wish all Happy Chinese New Year and may you have a great Year of the Dog.

    People like to say “he has been saying the sky will fall down” but it never did. To me, it is “some people can see farther and some cannot”. Those who can see farther may sound the alarm too early but those who are not will not even see it when it hits them straight in the face.

    Diversity is not a friend but a foe. While trying to protect the minority, we end up killing everyone. This is not what nature intend it to be. Subjugating nature shows power but nature will have the last laugh. Always. Without fail. Arrogance breeds contempt.

    Live life the fullest. Be happy. Do something you like and don’t bother what others say. You have a gift to see things that others cannot see. It is not a curse but a present for you are enlightened to live a great life. There is no way you can get others to see what you see. You have to be proud to have that gift.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “If you look back in hindsight the last 10 years, does it feel that things are getting weirder and more desperate?”

      yes… especially companies which seem to be almost universally cutting costs – hours and benefits, and quality of products – very much looks like desperation…

      and of course CBs with near zero rates and probably way more bailouts to TBTFs that are hidden from our view.

      “You have a gift to see things that others cannot see.”

      I think that sums up OFW… many of us are wrong at times, maybe often, but “seeing the world as it really is” is something I wouldn’t trade for anything…

      er, well, maybe a few million dollars or so…

      ps: are there any lurkers here that are regulars at peakoilbarreldotcom? I bet some of them are freaked out about the Creeping Collapse that is festering in the third world and heading here in a decade or two.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Well, inflation is back, Glenlivet at my favorite pub is up 20.8%, now this is getting serious.
        Yes weirder, one might wonder if the 1% have reached the point where they are trading with themselves in the stock markets, all the suckers have been cleaned.

    • DJ says:

      Everyone around me is very optimistic about both the future and the last 20 years. You must live in another world, at least you live on the other side.

      • According to the article,” So while for most of history, both our social structure and our biology evolved and adjusted at a snail’s pace together, civilization has recently developed the speed capabilities of a hare while our biology has continued snailing along.”

        Come on now–do we really expect our bodies to adjust to all of the horrible things we are doing to it?

        • Greg Machala says:

          I can relate to that article very well. It makes a lot of sense.

        • DJ says:

          “Come on now–do we really expect our bodies to adjust to all of the horrible things we are doing to it?”
          No, and isn’t that the point of this article and paleo diets “and stuff”. We are cave mens in a modern world.

          Soon we’ll be cavemens again (if were lucky), but without skills, with deevolutioned genes and a destroyed environment.

  36. Slow Paul says:

    I’m not sure if all the screens makes people dumber or if it just makes them look dumber…

    I’ve been yacking about this for years and nobody will listen. I now understand that this is also a part of the self-organizing system. People think that more screens for the kids equals a higher technological level for society which equals more progress and growth.

    • Slow Paul says:

      ..this was meant as a response to Sven Røgeberg.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        “I’m not sure if all the screens makes people dumber…”

        my non-expert view is yes…

        screen viewing is largely a passive activity…

        I find it hard to believe that there is much benefit to young students…

        but, for humans getting dumber, is there anything more critical than the fact that people of lower intelligence breed more?

        er… is that a fact?

        I thought it was factual.

    • Dennis L. says:

      I am not sure, but I think Israel has done away with computers in class rooms, Powerpoint demonstrations by recollection are not very good for giving information.

      An old(well, read mature) nurse practitioner and I chat at dance lessons, we both have the opinion that hand writing notes while in class is an important part of the learning process. While my excuse is age, I still make notes while I read and when I take Coursera, I keep a notebook by chapter, etc.

      • My husband usually teaches computer science classes, but taught a couple of introductory college math classes where everything was computerized. He was given a set of powerpoint slides to go with the textbook. (This happens increasingly now, with many textbooks.) Doing homework was online. If a student got a problem wrong, the student received a similar problem to work on. If the student still couldn’t get it right after three tries, the computer walked the student through the correct way of doing the problem. Also, there was a list of suggested test questions that a professor could choose from, and the on-line tests would be automatically graded by the professor.

        My husband didn’t think that the students did particularly well with this arrangement. The material was mostly material that most college-bound students would have learned in high school. So the classes were to some extent remedial. The set-up was done in such a way that any part-time faculty member could teach the class, with practically zero preparation time, but it didn’t lead to very good outcomes. (Maybe nothing would have.)

        My husband is now back to teaching computer science classes, where he does all of the preparation and grading.

  37. Baby Doomer says:

    Peer Reviewed Study: Society Could Collapse In A Decade, Predicts Math Historian

    NASA Peer Reviewed Study: Industrial Civilization is Headed for Irreversible Collapse (Motesharrei, 2014)

    The Royal Society: Peer Reviewed Study, Now for the First Time A Global Collapse Appears Likely (Ehrlich, 2013)

    Peer Reviewed Study: Limits to Growth was Right. Research Shows We’re Nearing Global Collapse (Turner, 2014)

    Peer Reviewed Study: Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: Global Systemic Collapse (Korowicz, 2012)

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end… We’re talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order. The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once. I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close….

    • Mark says:

      Rock on dude!

    • JH Wyoming says:

      Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
      Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
      Dr. Raymond Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
      Dr. Raymond Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
      Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
      Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!
      Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “… and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order.”

      possibly true…

      but, you know, once we enter the nothingness of eternal death, the circumstances of our deaths no longer matter…

      and, there is a universal consensus that all 7+ billion of us are guaranteed to die anyway…


      the above statements have all been PEER REVIEWED and were found to be 100% accurate…

      ps: BAU tonight, baby!

    • doomphd says:

      only in magnitude, not in intensity. since intensity is felt locally, one can only appreciate the magnitude just before the total collapse. only a few will glimpse and understand the process unfolding.

    • The first article you link is about the association of attention problems in children with screen time attention problems later. The article mentions that every additional hour of TV increased a child’s odds of attention problems by about 10 percent. Kids who watched three hours a day were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble than those who watched none. Use of video games seems to also be associated with attention problems.

      My comment: This is just one piece of the US national health problem. It is also a major piece of our problem in trying to operate our schools. Young boys especially have a hard time sitting still. Changes in recent years have reduced physical education and recess time, instead making children sit even more. With some parents trying to work two jobs to make ends meet, they have little time to spend with their children. Other countries, as they copy the US, are likely to import some of this problem as well.

      • MG says:

        In my opinion, sitting in schools is a kind of relic: many people prefer working, reading, writing in standing position. Moreover, this is better for the overall health. Why not let pupils remain standing, if they are irritated by their aching backbone?

      • Artleads says:


  38. Fast Eddy says:

    Another excellent Jordan Peterson talk – thanks for that.

    11:20 mark….. re: murder rates…

    ‘When there is not enough and competition for what there is increases – murder rates among men soar’


    • Perhaps women have more good sense.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        I’m with you on this one, lets at least give it a try.
        The rich, dumb white guys have been a nightmare.
        (black and brown ones, let alone their asian comrades, have been embarrassing)
        Lets give women a chance– it can’t be any worse.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Jordan Peterson explained in a recent video why such a scenario is impossible…

          You can watch or just take my word for it — any woman who tried to make it to the top by using her maternal instincts… who did not act with ruthless aggression guile and dedication … would be crushed. In short — you don’t generally get very far if you follow your maternal instincts… breed… and take care of kids …. while men are on the job 24/7 and don’t give a f789 about anything else