Why oil prices can’t rise very high, for very long

Oil prices are now as high as they have been for three years. At this writing, Brent is $74.14 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate is at $68.76. These prices aren’t really very high, if a person looks at the situation from a longer term point of view than the last three years.

Figure 1. EIA chart of weekly average Brent oil prices, through April 13, 2018.

There is always a question of how high oil prices can go, and for how long.

In fact, we have many resources, of many kinds, whose prices of extraction keep rising higher. For example, obtaining fresh water for the world’s population keeps getting more and more expensive. Some parts of the world need to resort to desalination.

The world economy cannot withstand high prices for any of these resources for very long. Certainly, it cannot withstand high prices for a combination of necessary resources, because people need to cut back on other purchases, in order to afford the necessities whose prices are rising. This article is a guest post by another actuary, who goes by the pseudonym Shunyata. He explains in a different way why high resource prices cannot last, whether they are for oil, or natural gas, water, or even fresh air.

Dear Readers:

As you are no doubt aware, Gail has created a fantastic portfolio of blogs that explore our energy/financial/economic system, blogs that reveal many hidden or misunderstood aspects of our situation. I have found these discussions invaluable and share them wherever I am able; to solve our societal problems we need to develop a societal understanding of these issues.

The problem I face is helping other people, like my grandparents, get a foothold in this complex discussion. They can understand why oil might “run out,” but trying to understand the problematic financial situation is more difficult. I like metaphors to explain things – metaphors that allow my grandparents to understand the major elements of the situation. The metaphors I am using are to the oil industry. My grandparents have been following the oil situation for a long time. If a person has been following the oil industry, they may be helpful.

Below you will see how I explain Gail’s detailed writing to my grandparents in three short chapters. I hope you find this outline helpful in your own discussions, and I welcome your suggestions for improving the transparency of the story.


What if air had to be produced from wells and purchased by businesses and families to conduct their normal affairs?

If air is readily available in the ground, we can always extract what we need, making it easy for businesses and families to operate, or even to grow.

What happens if air becomes harder to extract? Perhaps the easy air is gone and we are increasingly looking at extracting deep water air, or air dissolved in shale stone.

Technology may be able to help; sometimes it can help a lot. But there is an immediate production cost shock in funding the development of that technology. This cost shock occurs whether we are talking about conventional air or solar-based renewable air.

There is a lower but permanent increase in production cost, both to fund the complexity of the technology (a deep water air rig just costs more to operate than a land rig) and to pay off any debt needed to build the new technological infrastructure. This cost increase occurs whether we are talking about conventional air or solar-based renewable air.

This cost increase is a permanent drag on the economy. Wages don’t rise to compensate for the higher cost of air. There is no substitute for air, and air simply isn’t available in the quantities the economy previously enjoyed – unless we stop doing things that we were doing before and redirect those resources toward producing the same amount of air we used to have.


In a modern financial system, we use “money” as a proxy for economic activity. In a barter system, I can obtain goods and services by trading my work product for your work product. But carting around packages of finished goods is unwieldy, so we use “money” as a medium of exchange. If you and I are both willing to trade our finished goods for a symbolic piece of paper, then I can trade my goods and services for paper, bring that paper to you and trade it for your goods and services. This medium of exchange makes it easy to trade complex goods and services over long distances, or at different points in time.

How would lending work in this barter system? Someone could produce many finished goods, trade it for symbolic paper, but not immediately trade it for other goods, and “save” their paper for later. Debt is a process of borrowing someone else’s saved symbolic paper to purchase goods and services for themselves. This is helpful when I need to build a deep water air rig but don’t have the money myself. I can borrow someone else’s money and pay them back later, after my rig is bringing in revenue.

This simple borrowing process only works if some people aren’t consuming goods and services in the economy, and are instead allowing others to “borrow” their ability to consume. What if there isn’t enough saving to make large borrowing possible? What if I want to maximize economic activity and don’t want people to defer their own individual consumption?

If we want more funding than barter can provide, this can be done in more than one way:

[a] Money can be loaned into existence. This happens every day, when people decide to buy a car, and take out a loan for that purpose. Or people buy something with a credit card, and decide to carry a balance, rather than pay it off immediately. Nearly all loans today represent new money to the system.

[b] Governments can also obtain money by issuing bonds. Or they can simply issue money certificates without having any backing for the money.

Let’s call the process of adding funding to the economy, over and above what would be available by debt, “money printing.” In each of these cases, symbolic paper is added to the economy without previous work having been performed.

[1] Money printing can be helpful when it represents an investment in growing the overall economy. Investment in deep water air rigs will make air more available in the economy and will spur an expansion of economic activity. In this case the goods and services in the economy eventually “grow into” the amount of money that has been printed and the extra economic activity in the future is used to repay the debt.

[2] Money printing is unhelpful when it simply becomes someone’s savings (i.e. growing wealth inequality). The economy is still obligated to repay the debt (usually through taxes) and economic activity becomes sequestered in wealthy people’s savings, without ever creating demand for someone else’s product.

[3] Money printing is also unhelpful when it is used to fund more air consumption without any investment in air production. For example, a family that borrows money for an air vacation (or for basic daily air subsistence):

  • Now has a debt–repayment of which will reduce future air consumption
  • Has created no permanent demand for air and does not require permanently expanding air production for the economy–so their vacation air demand tends to increase the cost of air for all other consumers.

What happens when we put these two chapters together? When air becomes more difficult to extract:

[1] Production cost goes up permanently.

[2] Economic activity is redirected to maintain air production, and overall economic activity is reduced. With reduced overall economic activity there is a reduced need for air, resulting in excess air supply and a temporary reduction in air price.

[3] If air consumers spend their available money on air and defer other purchases, there is an additional reduction in economic activity, additional excess supply and further reduction in air price.

[4] Reduced price means less revenue to air producers.

[5] Owners of idled air rigs still have debts to pay (money borrowed to build air rig in the first place). They are willing to undercut the market price of air just to get revenue to pay their debts, even if they aren’t making a profit otherwise. This drives the price even lower.

So air prices fall, even though the cost of air production continues to rise.

This begins to look like an economic crisis. A natural response of governments is to print money so that consumers have more money available to purchase air, without deferring other purchases.

This can work for a while, but ultimately fails when there is no overall growth in economic activity to match the increased money supply. The debt comes due (usually in the form of higher taxes). There isn’t enough productive activity in the economy to easily pay back the debt. As a result, consumers must defer even more of their consumption to repay debt, ultimately resulting in even lower air prices.

Eventually either the debt market or air market runs the risk of failing entirely.

[1] When economic activity falters, people can no longer repay their debts (or earn enough income to pay taxes toward government debt). Either of these outcomes is bad both for borrowers and lenders.

[2] If economic activity falters, market forces push air producers to a zero-profit price point. At this point, producers have enough money to keep the rigs running and cover debt payments, but no more. Ultimately this cannibalizes the ability of air producers to maintain existing air supplies. They are unable to purchase replacement machines, if any one breaks. They cannot make new investments.

Clearly, this situation cannot continue. High prices cannot be passed on to consumers, or they will be unable to buy other necessities of life. At the same time, if the producers do not get high enough prices, they cannot continue to provide the air or any other commodity that is needed.

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.

1,703 Responses to Why oil prices can’t rise very high, for very long

  1. Hestal says:

    Money is a unit of “energy exchange?” Wow!!!!!! That makes no sense at all. It is quite clear that we are too far apart to make progress. Anyhow this thread is about money and debt.

  2. Baby Doomer says:

    Subtle message to the Elders!

  3. Baby Doomer says:

    Soon…when the oi starts to run out….They will bring the hammer down…..

  4. Hestal says:

    Same tired old misunderstanding of money. “Debt” is unnecessary when the government is spending, There are straightforward ways to drain excess money from the system without putting people, or society in general, in “debt.” “Debt” is a bookkeeping construct that has no actual connection to reality. Whenever people disagree with what I just said, they resort to physical money to defend their position, but that connection vanished long, long ago. Franklin Roosevelt, along with the governments of the western world began the process in 1933 not long after he took office. He took us off the gold standard in everything except sovereign nations who wanted to exchange their dollars for metal. Richard Nixon stopped that process in 1971.

    If one looks at the history of humanity’s use of money, one can see that we first worked to find some commodity that would serve as a way to facilitate trade. We found gold, and then we worked to get off the gold standard. Why? Because gold creates shortages which means that our economies are always short of cash and someone created “debt” to make up for the lack of gold. But now our money is not tied to gold or any other physical thing. It exists in cyberspace. Now we have all the money we need to fund all the worthwhile, non-inflationary projects that we need. What we don’t have is a system of government and economics that can utilize our unlimited supply of money.

    Now we are at the point in history when are beginning to understand that “debt” is a useless, exploitable, drag on human lives. We are at the point when we will finally get rid of it. Banks will become managers of the money supplies of individual citizens. They will advise citizens how to use their personal supply of money to fit into society’s needs and plans and how to build a long life worth living for themselves and their loved ones, including a safe, comfortable retirement.

    Our national problem will be how to manage our planet’s natural life-support systems for the common good. The money supply will be managed so that we humans can live as good a life as nature allows and as far as our behavior allows. Natural resources will become internationalized as will the supply of money, which, by the way, is an unlimited, natural resource.

    Before you respond, I understand that if we were to flood society with our unlimited supply of money it would be like trying to drink water from a fire hose–we just couldn’t handle it. But most of us are rational enough to realize that we should use our unlimited supply of money so that it helps us rather than hurts us. Then there is the usual response that “printing money” leads to hyperinflation. This is not true and has never been true. People who say this are misinformed.

    So, we will manage our money supply. This is much easier than managing our natural resources under the current system, yet this blog talks about managing our resources all the time. It will be easier to manage money, and thereby make managing our natural resources easier. Capitalism, which a modern version of chattel slavery, will undergo a change to a managed economy.

    • jupiviv says:

      This idea is based on two mutually contradictory premises:

      1 debt is a mere abstraction independent of the natural world.
      2 debt can influence the natural world.

      Essentially you’re saying we can use debt however we like to control our interactions with the natural/real world, because debt/money has a connection to the real world but – for some reason – not vice versa. I concur on the point of controlling our interactions with the real world as a species, but using money as a proxy for such an endeavour will not make it any easier. If anything, it’ll be much harder than just regulating the system directly and letting the financial side adapt on its own.

      • Hestal says:

        To: Jupiviv:

        I am not able to understand what you are trying to say. I say debt is a human-made, actually a man-made, feature of bookkeeping to make up for a lack of gold. Because there was not enough gold to finance all of society’s needs those who were able to get their hands on gold realized that by loaning the gold they could get interest payments and they could also take possession of valuable property in the event the borrower did not meet his repayment obligations.This process severely limited society’s ability to develop and kept huge numbers of our population from living long lives worth living. Debt is not physical– it exists only in our imaginations, but we began to keep track of it in manual ledgers, then computer printouts, and now in cyberspace.

        A classic example of rejecting “debt” to finance society’s needs and just “print money” occurred during the Civil War. The Lincoln administration knew that the government did not have enough gold to finance the war and went to bankers for loans, and the bankers, being bankers, asked for killer interest rates. So, the Lincoln administration bought printers (they didn’t have any) and started printing money. It worked. The war was financed without creating debt and the bankers were angry as hell. They didn’t quit until they finally got their lackeys in Congress to stop issuing Lincoln’s “Greenbacks.”

        All I am saying is that we don’t need a cyberspace construction called “debt” as a substitute for money, when we can just use a cyberspace construction called “money” to finance society’s needs. The people who now suck money out of the system to exact their interest payments will go out of business and that will be a very good thing. Society will make a net gain.

        We will not manage our natural resources on the basis of “debt” but on the basis of strategic, and critical, needs. The use of a national resource must be considered when deciding who gets control of it. Price of the resource can be used to encourage abusive use of it, but if that does not work then rationing and allocation will suffice.

        I am an old man and have lived through two periods of rationing in our history. They both worked as they should have. They both took scarce resources and rationed them in a fair, rational way, and society kept on ticking until the shortages could be eliminated allowing society to pick up speed. There was some inconvenience but in the long run society was better off.

        Debt is nothing more than parasitism.

        • theblondbeast says:

          Money as credit and debt as obligation are two sides of the same coin. Fiat (proclamation) money is the governments declaration that the holder of the currency is entitled to a share of economic output. Other participants in the economy are obligated to accept currency in exchange for goods and services.

          You can ignore the word debt, since what you are borrowing did not exist before the loan – it was loaned into existence. You could substitute the term “fee” to be paid overtime for the privilege of receiving extra money. A fee to be paid in the future for more consumption now.

          Fiat money spending is functionally limited, not limited by accounting. On this we agree. The functional limits are “to what extent does government spending add to GDP?” This relationship is collapsing based on physical realities.

          • Hestal says:

            No, you are dead wrong. The “sides” of our economic system are supply and demand–not money and debt. The latter pair were designed by human beings to facilitate trade, by which I mean if someone creates something of value then he needs to gain from his efforts in order to make the world go round. Money and debt have little to do with this. They are merely tools that have never worked well, that tend to abuse the powerless, and can be cast aside just as the cave man cast aside a stone chisel that fractured and was useless.

            • theblondbeast says:

              Your comments about the history of money do not match the anthropology on the subject. Debt is primary, money is derivative. In every society debt obligations preceded the creation of currencies.

              You are also blending concepts of microeconomics with macroeconomics. These issues function differently.

              Anyway, I thought I started by agreeing with you. I take it you believe the money supply should increase. In what manner do you think this should take place?

            • Slow Paul says:

              All we need to do is stop abusing the powerless. Why on earth would we do that?? Hint: we want more. If you don’t want more, the next guy will take more.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Isn’t it funny how people who say this — are the first to ask for a raise at their place of work.

              I am trying to figure out why – if they want a more equitable world — they don’t ask for pay reductions — so that others can get a taste — or perhaps ask that a portion of their pay be directed to a Koombaya Fund to be wasted….

              As an employer I’d be all for that and any tax advantages that might trigger.

        • theblondbeast says:

          ….I would also agree that “rent-seeking” behavior is counterproductive and would like to see that knowledge spread. There is still capacity to push the economy toward production and away from finance speculation.

        • Fast Eddy says:


    • theblondbeast says:

      Private debt is different than public debt. The ideas of MMT can be applied to a variety of different political goals and I think you’ve taken it a bit far.

      • Hestal says:

        My introduction to the idea of unlimited money came in the summer of 1949, long before the world ever heard of MMT. During that summer I was able to participate in a seminar that began with the idea that the Rocky Mountains were found to be made of pure gold, and all of the gold was on public land. First the participants worked through the idea that the Rocky Mountain gold would be unlimited and then they worked through the effects this unlimited supply of money would have on society. Then they answered the following questions.

        • Did the gold standard impose a limitation on our money supply? They decided that it did.

        • Did this limited supply of money impose a limitation on economic growth? They decided that it did.

        • Did disconnecting from the gold standard remove all limitations from our money supply? They decided that if we could control inflation our supply of money would be unlimited.

        • Was there a way to control inflation? They decided that there was, and they designed it.

        • What effect would our unlimited supply of money have on taxation? They decided that we would live tax-free lives.

        They were right. By replacing cyber-debt with cyber-money we will, in effect, have an unlimited supply of money (or gold if you prefer).

        MMT falls far short of answering the questions.

        • theblondbeast says:

          Which question remains unanswered? I agree with everything you said about taxes and inflation. I’m just saying money/debt are indistinguishable, unless you are advocating a 0% interest rate policy.

          The main reason we may want to limit the money supply is that growth is limited by physical resources. At any given time there is a maximum rate at which larger quantities of resources, especially oil, can be brought online. If the money supply (quantity and circulation velocity) increase faster than the rate of resource increase you will see inflation. This isn’t a big problem except for oil. Excess oil capacity is only about 1% and sudden price spikes can cause systemic issues.

          We do have an unlimited supply of money. But the quantity added to circulation, and who receives it, represents social and political relationships in regards to “who is entitled consume.” I think we should have policies discouraging the rentier class.

    • i may have misunderstood some of what you said…..I hardly know where to start.

      however…one line jumped off the page:—-

      money is an unlimited natural resource? wow!!!!!

      i read it again—and nowhere is mentioned what money actually is: A unit of energy exchange. if there’s no energy to exchange, then money can have no value. That is an absolute law……and it applies to any commodity

      there are numerous examples in recent history where misinformed leaders have resorted to printing money . Why do they do it?
      To cover their own ineptitude and a shortfall in supplies of raw energy, and by so doing, put money (wages) in the hands of people who need that energy to survive on a daily basis.

      the leaders themselves of course do not endure the same supply problems as everyone else, so can’t figure out why folks get upset and burn down their palaces.—-but that’s another story.

      for a while, the people believe that they are being paid more—what they don’t realise is that the amount of energy —usually food—within the nation’s borders is limited.

      but if the supply of money isn’t limited….then you have a greater and greater supply of money, trying to buy less and less food (People are eating it you see)….this is when you need a million of something to buy a loaf of bread.

      you can dream up all kinds of grand schemes, but until you buy fuel to put in tanks—they remain as dreams,….and your concept of a safe retirement is entirely a construct of debt too.
      i’ve explained in more detail:

      as to gold, it came into use as currency for no other reason than it doesnt corrode when you bury it.

      • Hestal says:

        Money is a unit of “energy exchange?” Wow!!!!!! That makes no sense at all. It is quite clear that we are two far apart to make progress. Have a nice life.

        • i agree

          ask one of the other knowitalls in here to explain it

          they are maybe more used to banging their heads against walls than me—–though i doubt it

          in the meantime—trying shoving money in your tank next time you run out of petrol…then let me know how far you get

        • Mark says:

          Lol, Norman did a good job,

        • Hestal says:

          I just published a book: Faction-Free Democracy. It contains designs for new systems of government and economics to replace our current tragedies. There is an Amazon page for it and I have a web page by the same name as the book. I got tired of all you guys complaining about the current systems and how y’all show off all the time so we will know how smart y’all are. If you don’t like the current systems, replace them. If you don’t know how to do it, my book will show you what changes to make and how to get them implemented. Now y’all have no excuse to sit around the campfire and complain. Now you can put all your wisdom to good use. If I had to bet…

          • Dan says:

            I don’t foresee any changes for the better in our futures. The US that shining beacon of democracy on the hill imprisons and kills more people than anyone else on the planet. We have a military budget greater than the rest of the world combined. Our dear leaders have indebted every man, woman, and child with over $70,000 in debt.

            The system will be replaced first to a more draconian authoritarianism and then survival of the fittest.

          • i took a look at the intro on your book, if you’d taken so much time over it, it seemed only courstesy to look at it.—pity the kindle isn’t available, with 576 pages there would have been more to read and get a feel for it.
            i couldnt figure out what faction free democracy meant. (Unless its not killing each other?) good luck with that. (See wish politics below)
            I am eager to learn from others as long as they know more than I do.

            your academic background seems beyond question—but remember Stephen Hawking advocated relocating to other planets. (a lucasian professor of mathematics, yet still consumed by wish-science)
            Which labelled him a nut, even if he could do sums better than me…..beware of geniuses with tunnel vision (Musk is similarly deluded)

            as it is, i can only allow you your own opinions—i never try to alter mindsets, just offer alternatives that can be proven by physical laws, established fact and a million years of human experience

            for me god has no place in it—for others that may not be the case of course—we are all entitled to our delusions

            and wishful thinking has no place in it

            ie the three wishgods—wish science, wish politics and wish economics. most of us worship at their altars.
            you might find those headings worth checking,—if you find they fit above any chapter, be careful.

            when you create a concept like faction free democracy, be aware that democracy has only existed for less than 100 years—in many places it still doesnt exist,
            No doubt you contest that—but the industrial revolution kicked off in 1709, by the 1800s factories were established—once workers congregated together–they started demanding rights…. hence you got (eventually) universal suffrage. (that was highly condensed)

            The Athenian democracy was a delusion. A slave-energy supported society, with votes for men only —-c’mon.
            if the ”superior ideas” in your book draw on that notion, you have a serious problem. I will refrain from suggesting the origin of it. though i can guess.

            democracy is a child of prosperity, remove prosperity and it will die an orphan, of starvation and neglect
            you can check the truth of that against any nation that subverts its people…they are all fascists and totalitarian to certain degrees.—the usa is certainly headed that way, theo-fscism looks likely. Imagine Pence as president!!! ….and you though the don was crazy

            a suggestion on the book–from experience
            Unless you are very famous, very few people will pay $20 for a kindle book, still less read 579 pages. Trust me on that. Better to sell 20 at $1/$2

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Hestal… Hestal… where have I heard that name before…..

            Weren’t you the clown on Beavis and Butthead?

            Or could it have been The Simpsons?

            Congratulations on wasting all those hours on a pointless book. In case you hadn’t noticed … civilization is ending soon … and there ain’t no system that is going to change that outcome…

            You could have been using those hours to enjoy the last flickers of BAU…. now that is time that you can never get back.

            Can you feel how sad I feel about your predicament?

      • Tim Groves says:

        as to gold, it came into use as currency for no other reason than it doesnt corrode when you bury it.

        Gold’s incorruptibility is paramount as a reason for using it as currency, it’s true. But there are a couple of other reasons as well. Gold is comparatively rare and it has an attractive golden shine. But shiny or not, if was as common as obsidian, marble or granite, perhaps the streets really would be paved with it.

  5. Third World person says:

    ‘The wars will never stop’ – millions flee bloodshed as Congo falls apart
    Starving and sick, people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo are caught in a bloody cycle of violence and political turmoil

    Justin Kapitu is dying. He does not know it yet, and the doctors treating the 22-year-old rebel fighter are unlikely to tell him soon, but his chances of surviving more than a few months are virtually non-existent.

    Kapitu was wounded in a clash between his rebel group and a rival faction in December. Even in the remote green forested valleys and hills of the far east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the battle took place, few paid much attention. Such scrappy, bloody confrontations have become an almost daily occurrence.

    Bullets shattered Kapitu’s right arm and damaged his intestines. Emaciated and traumatised, he is being treated at the single hospital serving the half million inhabitants of Masisi territory, about a thousand miles east of Kinshasa, the capital.

    Kapitu weighs only 30kg (4st 7lb), is in constant pain and can absorb just a fifth of the nutritional value of the small amount of food he can ingest. Abandoned by his former comrades, he is unsure of the whereabouts of his family.

    “I was just a foot soldier so I don’t really know why we were fighting,” he said. “There are lots of reasons I think …. I don’t think the wars here will ever stop. They will probably get worse.”

    here is real example of what look forward when bau collapse

    • i suppose it has to be said over and over—eventually the truth might get there

      the congo is rich in resources of every kind. and these eternal battles are being fought over control of those resources…..but of course the fighting ultimately destroys the very resources that are being fought over

      homo notso sapiens

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    Marine salvage experts are floating a plan to solve the city’s worst water crisis in a century… by tugging icebergs from Antarctica…


    • Sounds good, except where to the funds (and extra energy products) come from to pay all of the extra cost involved? The system is becoming less and less efficient, as we approach limits.

      • i remember that plan being mooted about 30/40 years ago

        somebody cleverer than me please work out the pulling power needed for a million tons of ice?

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I think they were seeking funding of USD130M for this … no doubt that is just a starting point….

          Imagine the cost of a litre of water…. imagine how much of the berg would melt along the way

          I am betting … this is never ever going to happen. Unless it is funded by Bitcoins….

          • i1 says:

            I’m in.

          • Lastcall says:

            Time to float a new IPO! Cash in quick on Bit-bergs, towed by Tesla Tugs; how millennial!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              YES!!! Tesla Tugs…. what an incredible idea — you need to reach out to Elon and present the opportunity….

              Perhaps he can also tow icebergs to Mars in his spaceships…. create oceans….

              I believe. I believe. I BELIEVE!!!!

          • JesseJames says:

            Just attach a water powered fusion ramjet ( designed by Musk) to the berg and it can self power itself to any desired destination. No pollution, and no net cost! See…..problem solved!
            Come ask me to solve any and all future problems.

    • doomphd says:

      say, what about this idea: people abandon Cape Town and move to elsewhere that has adequate water supplies? i think this is the historically correct way to proceed, that or die in place.

      • xabier says:

        Movement – not mechanical! – for the health of the body and mind; movement for the survival of one’s tribe.

        Civilization makes us forget that, and we try build bunkers against all calamities.

        Every fortress gets overthrown in the end.

      • Christiana says:

        But, but, but! The values of the estates! The nice countryside! Tourism (which by the way destroys the nice environment). It’s like the big citys in Germany: appartments are really expansive, but nobody wants to live in a small town. So, government tries to force lower renting.

        • Nope.avi says:

          There are often no jobs in the small towns. Often, “no jobs” means no respectable,living wage jobs. Young women cannot find men who are appropriate marriage material and men cannot find work that pays enough to support a family.

          Tourism can provide an incentive for natives to not ” destroy the environment” because the tourists will pay to see wildlife.

          I hope you’re still in grade school, Christina.

          • Christiana says:

            No, it was a joke! I know all that. I know whats happening in small towns all over Europe.

        • doomphd says:

          without water, those estates are essentially worthless. tourism will be OK, as long as they bring bottled water with them. maybe desalination of coastal seawater might work, for a price.

      • Nope.avi says:

        The same could be said of New Orleans, since much of it is below sea level. There are a lot of reasons for not moving. Among the many reasons, are these two

        Asking poor black people to relocate to higher land is racist.
        Asking poor white people to relocate to higher land is is a sign of government overreach central planning.

        Letting the market decide who can afford to live in a disaster-prone area pisses all the poor people off, since only the rich will be able to afford the insurance.

  7. Fast Eddy says:

    How fitting would it be if something like this took down a financial institution that is TBTF…. can ended BAU

    “The fact you can see other people’s accounts suggests this is way beyond a capacity issue. I think this is genuinely catastrophic for TSB,” said the expert, who works for a UK bank and asked not to be named.


    • Fast Eddy says:

      In the words of one bank technology veteran, who is responsible for ensuring that the ATM network of one of the high street’s biggest lenders works, IT systems across the sector are held together by “Sellotape and prayer”.

      The vast majority of the people that know how these old systems operate and how to fix them either retired long ago or were made redundant by the banks.

      The aforementioned IT worker has tried to leave his bank a number of times, through redundancy and early retirement, but it will not let him as he is one of only three people left in the company with deep knowledge of its legacy systems.


  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Prins admits this has gone on for longer than most believed possible, but says it can’t go on forever. How does it all end? Prins, who was a former top Wall Street banker, says,

    “We will eventually get a crash because, at some point, the amount of quantitative easing, or conjured money to buy assets out of the market to pump up the…financial system, will come to this head where even though these major central banks are continuing to dump money in.

    There will be ruptures at the bottom of the economy . . . even though they are borrowing cheap money, they just can’t make enough money to service very cheap debt. Consumers, who are at all-time debt highs, don’t have enough to continue to service their debt. When these things happen at the same time in terms of lack of payments, delinquencies and defaults, then money will be taken out of the stock markets to plug the gap, and then the stock market comes down. It will start with debt disintegrating, defaulting or having delinquencies…

    The behavior that happens after this is the seizure of credit and lack of confidence everywhere. When the cracks start, they will get bigger and bigger faster, and that’s when we have a crash.”

    Will the next crash be worse than the last one? Prins says, “Yes, it will because we will be falling from a higher height.

    …The idea here is you are sinking on the Titanic as opposed to sinking on a canoe somewhere. All of this artificial conjured money is puffing up the system, along with money that is borrowed cheaply is also puffing up the system and creating asset bubbles everywhere.

    So, when things pop, there is more leakage to happen. The air in all these bubbles has created larger bubbles than we have had before.”


      • Dan says:

        You are getting soft or maybe high from breathing in too much coal fumes from your stove.

        It’s never been better and things are going exactly as planned. “Consumers” and the faux worry about the “bottom of the economy”. No one cares and no one has ever cared.

        Let it burn.


        • Fast Eddy says:

          Perhaps the perpetual economic motion machine has been realized…. !!!!!

          • Dan says:

            A false position of superiority can prove to be fatal.

            General Custer had a false idea of his infallibility. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the massacre at Little Big Horn the 7th Calvary society of benevolence commissioned a portrait to be made to capture the spirit of Custer’s final battle.

            The artist hired for the portrait toiled for months never allowing his work to be seen until the unveiling in front of all the important dignitaries and dingleberries. Everyone waited with baited breath for the cover to be pulled and for the masterpiece to be revealed.

            Everyone was shocked and women fainted. People covered their eyes, but there was no mistaking what they had seen:

            The portrait was covered with crosses made of feces and there were hundreds of indians having sex with each other in a variety of positions and styles.

            When the artist was asked to explain his work he replied he wanted to capture Custer’s final thought – Holy sh*t look at all these f@#king indians

            That will be the final thoughts of the haves when the have nots realize their position is permanent and no amount of work will vault them any higher than where they currently stand.

  9. Third World person says:

    little old video but still relevant
    Why the poorest county in West Virginia has faith in Donald Trump

    Donald Trump was more popular in McDowell County than anywhere else in America during the Republican primaries.
    Paul Lewis explores the power of the Republican presidential nominee’s message in the poorest county of West Virginia

    look like west Virginia has absolutely die because of coal industry decline

  10. Baby Doomer says:

    I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones
    Enough to make my system blow
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age
    Welcome to the new age, to the new age

  11. Baby Doomer says:

    Easter Island carried out for us the experiment of permitting unrestricted population growth, profligate use of resources, destruction of the environment and boundless confidence in their religion to take care of the future. The result was an ecological disaster leading to a population crash….

  12. Baby Doomer says:

    Only about seventy lifetimes, of seventy years, have been lived end to end since civilization began.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      that’s plenty…

      let’s wrap it all up by 2050…

  13. Sven Røgeberg says:

    The U.S. is no longer one country, but dividing into two separate economic and political worlds. http://evonomics.com/america-regressing-developing-nation-people/?utm_source=newsletter_campaign=organic

    Interesting reading, but when it comes to explaining the forces behind the development of a divided nation living in a dual economy, it’s all due to bad politics:
    «The dual economy didn’t happen overnight, says Temin. The story started just a couple of years after the ’67 Summer of Love. Around 1970, the productivity of workers began to get divided from their wages. Corporate attorney and later Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell galvanized the business community to lobby vigorously for its interests. Johnson’s War on Poverty was replaced by Nixon’s War on Drugs, which sectioned off many members of the low-wage sector, disproportionately black, into prisons. Politicians increasingly influenced by the FTE sector turned from public-spirited universalism to free-market individualism. As money-driven politics accelerated (a phenomenon explained by the Investment Theory of Politics, as Temin explains), leaders of the FTE sector became increasingly emboldened to ignore the needs of members of the low-wage sector, or even to actively work against them.
    America’s underlying racism has a continuing distorting impact. A majority of the low-wage sector is white, with blacks and Latinos making up the other part, but politicians learned to talk as if the low-wage sector is mostly black because it allowed them to appeal to racial prejudice, which is useful in maintaining support for the structure of the dual economy — and hurting everyone in the low-wage sector. Temin notes that “the desire to preserve the inferior status of blacks has motivated policies against all members of the low-wage sector.”

    When bad politics are to blame, then good politics can fix the problems:

    «We’ve been digging ourselves into a hole for over forty years, but Temin says that we know how to stop digging. If we spent more on domestic rather than military activities, then the middle class would not vanish as quickly. The effects of technological change and globalization could be altered by political actions. We could restore and expand education, shifting resources from policies like mass incarceration to improving the human and social capital of all Americans. We could upgrade infrastructure, forgive mortgage and educational debt in the low-wage sector, reject the notion that private entities should replace democratic government in directing society, and focus on embracing an integrated American population. We could tax not only the income of the rich, but also their capital.

    The cost of not doing these things, Temin warns, is incalculably high, and even the rich will end up paying for it:

    “Look at the movie, Hidden Figures: It recounts a very dramatic story about three African American women condemned to have a life of not being paid very well teaching in black colleges, and yet their fates changed when they were tapped by NASA to contribute to space exploration. Today we are losing the ability to find people like that. We have a structure that predetermines winners and losers. We are not getting the benefits of all the people who could contribute to the growth of the economy, to advances in medicine or science which could improve the quality of life for everyone — including some of the rich people.”

    We all need hope and something to believe in.

    • I am afraid the problem is a self-organizing economy without enough energy.

      • Greg Machala says:

        There is insufficient energy for everyone to get along. And to think we were already fighting when energy and resources were more abundant and cheaper. So, I suppose we will be fighting like cats in a sack again soon.

    • djerek says:

      It’s dividing along more lines than this, to be perfectly honest. There are ethnic, religious, regional, and racial divisions that are becoming sharper as well.

      • djerek says:

        And as Gail says, this kind of division is just a result of less energy to go around. Disparate elements are relatively easy to fuse together while there is a growing economic base to spread around, but once that disappears then the glue holding together various groups is gone.

      • ive pointed out before

        the usa constructed itself using fossil fuel energy

        without that constant energy input the usa must fall apart and secede into smaller units, maybe 6 or 7 initially, then getting smaller as energy depletes further….how far this might go is an unknown factor, or how long it might take.

        my guess is that the usa cannot hold past mid century, because that is the oil-limit

        these states/tribal lands will be distinctly unpleasant places to live…..given the predisposition to godly righteousness and denial of reality that would appear to prevail, within a fully armed society.

        the cracks are already there along ethnic, religious and geographic lines

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          I agree…

          “my guess is that the usa cannot hold past mid century, because that is the oil-limit”

          sounds good to me…

          as long as the downslope isn’t too severe in the 2020s…

          then the 2030s or 2040s will hit the fan…

          by then, I wonder if “the public” will be surprised…

          or will have become full blown “OFW”…

          time will tell…

          • you will have civil war and martial law

            this is certain, because governments are by their very nature denialists—they have no other option.

            they can only ”deny” and offer promises of a future better than now.

            as resources deplete and things get worse, denial will become more intense and violent.

            • Dan says:

              The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world. Every year, our armed forces consume more than 100 million barrels of oil to power ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations—enough for over 4 million trips around the Earth, assuming 25 mpg.

              Using that much oil makes the military vulnerable to price spikes. In fact, a $10 increase in the price of a barrel of oil costs the military billions of dollars. That’s money we can’t use on protecting and training our troops.

              It’s also dangerous. Moving oil on the battlefield requires large convoys of oil tankers, a major target. At the height of operations in Afghanistan, one in 24 convoys ended in an American casualty.

  14. Baby Doomer says:

    There are only three countries in the world that don’t support the existing Iranian deal, the USA, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. What does that tell you?

  15. Third World person says:

    UK’s aging nuclear reactors have ‘reached threshold limit
    Nuclear plant operator EDF Energy is hoping to restart a reactor it had to close because of new cracks. Experts have warned against extending the lives of old reactors, saying operators are “gambling with public safety

    The presence of new cracks in a reactor at the Hunterston B nuclear reactor on Scotland’s west coast raises important safety questions about several other aging reactors in the UK, an independent nuclear expert told DW on Sunday.

    The plant’s Reactor 3 was taken offline in March after Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) was informed about keyway root cracks in the core’s graphite bricks.

    Last week, operator EDF Energy said it would extend the shutdown to November to allow for additional safety checks after it discovered more new cracks. But the operator insists it will ultimately be able to restart the reactor — something it can only do with the ONR’s permission.

    “I’m absolutely positive they won’t be able to do that,” independent nuclear engineer John Large told DW.

    Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station in Scotland
    EDF Energy has to close down a nuclear reactor at the Hunterston B Nuclear Power Station in Scotland after new cracks were discovered

    Greater chances of nuclear meltdown

    The graphite blocks in the reactor’s core ensure it can be cooled and safely shutdown in a nuclear emergency. If they are weakened in any way, there’s a chance an earthquake or modest tremor could trigger a nuclear meltdown and radioactive release, Large told DW.

    “EDF can’t do anything physically to resolve the situation. The bricks were never designed to be replaced. In fact, it’s entirely inaccessible inside the reactor’s core.”

    Hunterston’s Reactor 3 has been generating power since 1976 and was due to go offline in 2025.

    “While Hunterston B Reactor 3 could return to operation from the current outage, it will remain offline while the company works with the regulator to ensure that the longer term safety case reflects the findings of the recent inspections and includes the results obtained from other analysis and modelling,” EDF said last week.

    Oopsie doopsie

  16. Third World person says:

    all this talk of making life in mars make me laugh

    if humans are struggling to survived in Antarctica and Sahara Desert
    than how Homo sapiens will survived in mars

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      but, my friend…

      humans are struggling to survive almost everywhere…

      that’s the point…

      the struggle to survive is ultimately hopeless…

      so we need The Elite to show us where to look for hope…

      it’s Mars, baby!

      and not in some far off future…


      in 2024!

      let’s laugh with them, not at them…;-)

      b w a h a h a h a h a…

      • jupiviv says:

        “the struggle to survive is ultimately hopeless…”

        Yes, but that’s not the only thing humans do. By asserting that it is, you would be contradicting yourself.

    • Greg Machala says:

      Yes, I agree, people here even with air to breathe and water to drink still struggle to survive when it gets too hot or cold. Imagine the same with blistering radiation, extreme cold, dust storms, no breathable air and no water. Sounds like a recipe for extinction rather than a salvation.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


      he’s dead for eternity…

      so, yes…

      he “cannot give anything away”…

      and he “cannot feel anything either”…


      he’s correct!

      • jupiviv says:

        He’s dead, so he cannot do anything – strange logic. It follows that even the living are virtually dead, since there are so many things we cannot do. But then, what is death?

  17. Baby Doomer says:

    The smallest oil producer in the Gulf needs a ridiculously high oil price to break even


  18. Baby Doomer says:

    Patriotism may indeed be, as Dr. Johnson said, “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” but it’s also the tyrant’s first resort. People afraid of outsiders are easily manipulated. The warrior caste, supposedly society’s protectors, often become protection racketeers.

    Ronald Wright
    A Short History of Progress

  19. Baby Doomer says:

    For all its cruelties, civilization is precious, an experiment worth continuing. It is also precarious: as we climbed the ladder of progress, we kicked out the rungs below. There is no going back without catastrophe. Those who don’t like civilization, and can’t wait for it to fall on its arrogant face, should keep in mind that there is no other way to support humanity in anything like our present numbers or estate. -Gandhi

    Ronald Wright.
    A Short History of Progress

  20. Baby Doomer says:

    Giuliani: Trump is ‘committed to’ regime change in Iran


    People are fodder and the prize is black crude. No different than the Spanish Conquistadors lust for gold. ….

  21. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


    “The Amazon and Blue Origin boss says a trillion people will live in space, there will be “a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts” and we’ll develop other planets, leaving Earth a beautiful place to be.”

    yes, hope!

    there is hope!

    by the way, why does the Blue Origin rocket look so much like a part of the male anatomy?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      So everyone will live in a techno fantasy … Star Trek like…. and the Earth will be preserved as an eco-tourist destination …


    • Slow Paul says:

      It’s very life affirming.

      “For a century or more, it’s been compounding at a few percent a year, our energy usage as a civilization,” says Bezos. “Now if you take baseline energy usage globally across the whole world and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells.

      “That’s the real energy crisis. And it’s happening soon. And by soon, I mean within just a few hundred years. We don’t actually have that much time. So what can you do?”

      No wonder we need new planets, we run out of surface to put our solar panels on! Hopefully they invent edible solar panels soon… And by soon, I mean within just a few hundred years…

    • bezos, with all his billions and cleverness—hasn’t realised that getting off earth still uses the same technology as chinese fireworks 1000 years ago

      and there isn’t going to be any other way—re usable or not

      • Well, you can optimize, tweak, hybridize.
        For example, you can have a vehicle accelerated on the magnetic rail with later lift off and boost stages as reusable rocket and so on. Therefore in aggregate it’s possible to improve the overall efficiency by dozens of % in comparison to first gen rocketry of the post WWII era.. Besides there are various space elevator concepts etc.

        That being said, is it enough of a progress for “space travelling species” – the answer is no, unless there is a serious break through to even much denser energy production/harvesting.

        And to my limited knowledge the only “novelty” already proven on industrial scale is the Russian breeder reactor technology, basically mixing spent NPP fuel to another burning cycle. So, this is in essence more like extension potential of our situation beyond crude (energy consumption) not any significant leap frogging step up and beyond, at least from today’s vantage point, although it might lead to future discoveries in decades/centuries to come, again do we have the time given other pressing issues..

        • while i agree there’s ”possibilities”—-another critical factor looms large

          whatever we construct in the future depends entirely on what is available ”now”

          thus all unknown technology, whatever it might be, requires our current industrial system in order to be made workable—and that industrial system can only function on fossil fuels. Its part of my “explosive force into rotary motion” law.—-without that, nothing can work at all

          we can agree that surplus oil can only last 20/30 years tops, so whatever we dream up, hasto manifest itself in that time period. that is the bit that Bezos doesn’t understand when he talks of development “centuries hence”

          the talk of trillions of people in space is the ramblings of a lunatic—what exactly would be their purpose in life—to sit and look at earth from a million miles away?

          if no new propulsion system is developedt, we will be doing space flight with a horse and cart

          —all of these ”new ideas” are wish-science—and despite the substantial contribution my book has made to the Bezos billions, the cheapskate hasn’t bought a copy.

          • jupiviv says:

            “all of these ”new ideas” are wish-science—and despite the substantial contribution my book has made to the Bezos billions, the cheapskate hasn’t bought a copy.”

            Lol… If you don’t mind answering, how many copies did your book sell? I ask only out of curiosity, since its hard to estimate how many people are aware of these issues. And, well, I’m planning to write a book myself. I want to call it “The Monday that gets YOU”.

            • about 2000 copies—hard to keep track unless you’re prepared to list sales each week, and remember that’s over several years.
              —it’s never been more than an interesting hoppy to stop my brain atrophying

              and it’s a law of publishing in this genre, that books that say the opposite of what i do sell 100x more copies

            • oh—and in publishing, writing is the easy bit

              the hard work starts after youve published

          • Name says:

            I would buy your book, if I could buy it in bookstore in my country. Amazon wants my adress and other stuff, so I don’t want to create an account there.

          • xabier says:

            The irony is that a monk ploughing a field – belonging to a new monastery – behind an ox in 980 AD could legitimately have imagined ‘centuries hence’.

            But in fact, he quite probably would have expected the world to end in 1000 AD.

            We have to deal with idiots talking a, etc, bout Mars when everything points to ecological catastrophe in the near-term.

            • all that fancy artwork showing martian cities is just to convince the gullible that somehow its going to make the world great again

        • jupiviv says:

          “For example, you can have a vehicle accelerated on the magnetic rail with later lift off and boost stages as reusable rocket and so on.”

          Even then risk of failure would increase with each subsequent reentry. Also, on a large enough (=spacefaring) scale the cost of receiving and repairing reusable rockets would be considerable, so overall efficiency wouldn’t increase very much.

          On the point of building up new tech – the issue is time as well as cost and sustainability. It seems to me that most singularity-type tech considered viable “in theory” would require enormous energy and material inputs to be scaled up, and would also add new layers of complexity to the existing system. In the event we come together as a species and go all in on those techs, we are likely to exhaust our capacity to both build and maintain/replace them AND much of anything else long before we reach our goal.

          • doomphd says:

            with all the proper disclaimers, i have interests in the outcomes, etc., what i see ahead is getting the technology right. first, it has to do with obtaining more cheap energy to replace what we are using now via fossil fuels. everything else is secondary to the point of mindless BS. nuclear fusion has that promise, because the fuel is essentially infinite, the fusion yield is very high (c.f., H-bombs) and there are no spent fuel ponds full of unburnt transuranics and fission products to deal with, or they deal with you ala FE nightmares.

            containment fusion approaches are ridiculous and a waste of time and money. CERN and other similar research avenues, e.g, the German Stellerator project, might produce some nice acdemic papers, but not what is ultimately promised, abundant cheap energy. Why? because they are trying to contain a star’s output via confinement, and have not realised or accepted the fact that particle velocities do not need the intense heat and pressure of the interior of a star to obtain fusion, the particles only need to be accerated, which can be done with electromagnetic fields. Farnsworth and later workers like Robert L. Hirsch showed it can be done. LBL even patented a neutron camera based upon radial, concentric accelerators. what is missing is the sustained part of that approach, to produce a steady energy output.

            my colleague, J.R. Deluze, has patented a sustained energy output approach based upon a modified version of the LBL patent. a detailed description of how the patented approach works can be found here: http://nebula.wsimg.com/835a3f599c4a96482863ecda6b34aed6?AccessKeyId=CF8B0D5FFE9FBCCEEF8B&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

            personally, i find it very sad that billionaires like Bezos and Musk are squandering their money on useless projects when guys like DeLuze are having such a hard time finding investors to prove their concept is viable with small-scale prototypes.

          • Name says:

            Norman – You can solve my problem. Send ebook on my email.

  22. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    we must share this video:


    we must give people hope…

    without a colony on Mars, there can be no hope…

  23. Baby Doomer says:

    People are fodder and the prize is black crude. No different than the Spanish Conquistadors lust for gold. ….


  24. Baby Doomer says:

    Warren Buffett Says Free Trade Has Turned American Workers Into Roadkill

    Warren Buffett likened American workers who have seen their jobs and factories destroyed by global trade to animals slaughtered by cars and trucks on the highway.


    • sodacup says:

      He’s right. Free trade has been horrible for America’s working class. It is also bad for social cohesion in America as it makes the white collar workers in America no longer reliant on the blue collar workers. Mutual reliance makes for a more healthy equitable society. This is the problem when people only think about the ability to consume more and ignore all other concerns, and considerations.

  25. Baby Doomer says:

    Thuderfoot just shreds Musk….

  26. Baby Doomer says:

    Karl Marx hometown unveils huge statue on the Communist Manifesto author’s 200th birth anniversary


    • Baby Doomer says:

      In China, President Xi Jinping hailed Karl Marx as “the greatest thinker of modern times.”

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        I would say he has proven time travel– a scary thought.
        While his vision of a contemporary culture and government are incredibly off base (much too optimistic, and discounts our inherited directions- but a true Marx centric government has never been attempted), his analysis of Capitalism is quite right on– a few sidesteps, but correct to the max.

  27. Baby Doomer says:

    Children are being arrested at the Anti Putin rally today in Russia. …


    • Fast Eddy says:

      CIA flunkies.

      Bullets to the back of heads is the way to deal with this

  28. “How to Pull Water Out of Thin Air, Even in the Driest Parts of the Globe
    “Four billion people already face water scarcity issues at least one month out of the year. A new, simple device that doesn’t need a power source can pull liters of water out of the air even in arid regions.”

    How much fossil-fuel energy is “embedded” in one of these things?

  29. xabier says:

    When the emperor Trajan decided to conquer and loot Dacia, rich in gold, he had his architect Apollodorus of Tyre build him a bridge across the Danube: the slave-made brick piers ensured the supply of his army, and carried all that gold back to Rome, where he proceeded to build magnificently.

    Alteration and maintenance work on a mere 21 miles of motorway nearby has cost some £1.5 billion – seems quit staggering to me.

    Worth it in terms of return ? As good a pay-back as Trajan’s bridge? I wonder…..

  30. Baby Doomer says:

    US Unemployment rate (3.9%)….Not a chance….

    Gail maybe you could use this excellent chart in the future….


    • MG says:

      With the ageing populations, the lack of jobs disappear, but the lack of workforce and energy hits the economy, i.e. depopulation: there is not enough workforce and energy to keep the current spread and extension of the civilization.

    • Baby Doomer says:

      The Importance of Oil

      Oil as a Determining Factor of Globalization

      Today approximately 90% of all industrially manufactured products depend on the
      availability of oil. Oil is not only the source material for producing fuels and lubricants but is also used as hydrocarbon for most organic polymers (plastic materials). It is therefore one of the most important raw materials in the production of many different products such as pharmaceuticals, dyes and textiles. As the source material for various types of fuels, oil is a basic prerequisite for the transportation of large quantities of goods over long distances. Alongside information technology, container ships, trucks and aircraft form the backbone of globalization.

      International division of labor, to which many countries owe their wealth, would not be
      possible without today’s volume of cost-efficient goods transport. Oil-based mobility also
      significantly influences our lifestyle, both regionally and locally. For example, living in
      suburbs several kilometres away from their workplace would be impossible for many people without a car. To a certain extent, the classical suburb thus also owes its existence to oil.

      • I wish that Energy Bulletin would publish an article on “The importance of coal,” or “The importance of keeping per capita energy production up,” or “The importance of keeping the average cost of energy products down.” Their single-minded focus on oil distorts the picture.

  31. jupiviv says:

    New article at https://ponziworld.blogspot.com/

    “When the global pie stopped growing organically, then everyone-for-themselves rapacious plundering became the new “business as usual”. The most clever sociopaths headed straight to Wall Street where they could specialize in zero sum outcomes. Two lessons gamblers are going to learn the hard way about Wall Street is that in the short-term all investments are a zero sum game. And secondly, there is no long-term for Wall Street, and there never will be. So as long as the music is playing, they will lie and con to the last fracking note…

    MBA for Complete Idiots:
    Warren Buffett: Free Trade Turned American Workers Into Roadkill

    This zero sum mentality is now driving gamblers to chase tax repatriation while Emerging Markets get monkey hammered by the stronger dollar and reduced liquidity, due to tax repatriation.

    The last time we saw this much back and forth between the 50 dma and the 200 dma, is the last time Emerging Market currency devaluation imploded the casino…”

    Comment got blocked the first time due to an obscenity. This puritanical censor-bot needs to be put in its place.

    • However, the value of life comes from the journey, not from reaching some final goal. So there can be many people with rather happy/useful lives, during much of this event.

      The problem is that non-elite workers and even some of the elite workers get to be roadkill in this process. This makes would-be workers depressed. They drop out of the job market.

  32. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    US crude almost hits $70!


    “The contract rose to an intraday high of $69.97…”

    that’s it!

    time to give up…

    obviously IC cannot survive this…

    it’s definitely over, unless something big happens by June 1st…

  33. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    Tesla stock is worth…


    are you thinking what I’m thinking?

    that Amber Heard knew this long before any of us…

  34. Baby Doomer says:

    Not the ‘preppers’ you see on TV: America’s wealthy take ‘prepping’ seriously


    • Baby Doomer says:

      The Old Are Eating the Young

      Central to the issue is that the rapid rise in living standards and prosperity of the past 50 years has been largely based on rising debt levels, ignoring the costs of environmental damage and misallocation of scarce resources.


      • Baby Doomer says:

        A significant proportion of recent economic growth has relied on borrowed money — today standing at a dizzying 325 percent of global gross domestic product.

      • Actually, the rising debt levels are required for economic growth. The problem is that rising debt isn’t sufficiently productive because the cost of energy production is too high. There are also many other growing inefficiencies in the system, such as the rising cost of fresh water production (including desalination) and the rising cost of pollution control. These are also acting to hold down the productivity of debt, leading to the need for a huge amount of debt for a modest amount of growth. Some of the “growth” we are seeing isn’t real growth: It is pseudo growth that comes from governments financing debt-based projects that consumers can’t really afford (China’s condo boom, Japan’s make-work jobs program).

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      but are they as serious about prepping as I am?

      I mean…

      I’m thinking that if I start this prepping thing, I should do it right…

      I figure that I should be storing up enough supplies in a secluded cabin, so that I can survive for 100 to 200 years…

      no, make that 300 years!

      I know it will be difficult, but if I’m going to live until the year 2318, then I’m going to have to go all out in my preparations…

      by the way…

      I’m always looking for some good advice…

      can anyone, especially you preppers out there, give me any tips to help me with my plans to survive for the next 300, or hey, 400 or 500 years?

      I would greatly appreciate it…

      thank you in advance!

      • Lastcall says:

        1) Find a USB stick and slip quietly into it and mail it to your local security agency.
        2) Or, just stay on Face-ache and Zucky will keep you going.
        3) Do something notoriously good/bad and you will live in peoples minds in perpetuity.

        Did you know that in days gone-by you died twice,; once physically, and 2nd time when your name is used/mentioned for the last time.
        Now, maybe your digital self will live on much much longer. Can’t out-prep that!

        • xabier says:

          ‘Beast die, men die: the only thing which does not die is the memory of a man’s deeds.’

          (‘Sayings of Odin’, I think).

          More important are the effects of what we do: the anonymous labourers who planted the hedge at the foot of my garden 200 years ago left their mark. I’m now renewing it with new planting and pruning. Insignificant, but satisfying.

        • Not if grid electricity goes down! Paper books will likely outlast digital media.

      • will sell you a bottle of my patented vanwinkle juice

        works like a charm

      • daddio7 says:

        mdcreekmore(dot)com, start there

  35. Baby Doomer says:

    The Roman circus, the Aztec sacrifices, the Inquisition bonfires, the Nazi death camps – all have been the work of highly civilized societies.’ In the twentieth century alone, at least ioo million people, mostly civilians, died in wars.

    Ronald Wright.
    A Short History of Progress

  36. Baby Doomer says:

    Tensions between NATO and Russia are rising, and now the US is reactivating a fleet to patrol the Atlantic


    • More jobs!

      • jupiviv says:

        Only drawn out conventional wars serve as good jobs programs, and let’s face it – that isn’t going to happen anytime soon between the two largest nuclear powers.

        Actually, massive military development also creates lots of jobs, but even that requires some kind of major war to be happening, and generating some sort of profit, while it’s going on.

  37. Pingback: What I’m Reading: A Friday Link Roundup, “It’s Worse Than You Think” Edition | Zero Waste Millennial

  38. Baby Doomer says:

    The world is finally ready for Marxism as capitalism reaches the tipping point


    • theblondbeast says:

      Unfortunately for the world Marx was wrong about the labor theory of value…he didn’t incorporate energy!

      • Baby Doomer says:

        The final stages of capitalism, Karl Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. Democracy, social welfare, electoral participation, the common good and investment in public transportation, roads, bridges, utilities, industry, education, ecosystem protection and health care would be sacrificed to feed the mania for short-term profit. These assaults would destroy the host. This is the stage of late capitalism that Donald Trump represents.

        -Chris Hedges


      • Lastcall says:

        Did Mr Marx cover the ‘weaponisation’ of the financial system? Anybody can see that ‘sanctions’ are code-name for blackmail.

  39. Baby Doomer says:

    U.S. unemployment falls below 4% for first time since 2000 — mostly for a bad reason

    But the reason the unemployment rate dropped from 4.1% in March was largely because the labor force shrank by 236,000 people.


  40. Baby Doomer says:

    Corporate debt could be the culprit

    INTEREST rates are heading higher and that is likely to put financial markets under strain. Investors and regulators would both dearly love to know where the next crisis will come from. What is the most likely culprit?

    Financial crises tend to involve one or more of these three ingredients: excessive borrowing, concentrated bets and a mismatch between assets and liabilities. The crisis of 2008 was so serious because it involved all three—big bets on structured products linked to the housing market, and bank-balance sheets that were both overstretched and dependent on short-term funding. The Asian crisis of the late 1990s was the result of companies borrowing too much in dollars when their revenues were in local currency. The dotcom bubble had less serious consequences than either of these because the concentrated bets were in equities; debt did not play a significant part.

    It may seem surprising to assert that the genesis of the next crisis is probably lurking in corporate debt. Profits have been growing strongly. Companies in the S&P 500 index are on target for a 25% annual gain once all the results for the first quarter are published. Some companies, like Apple, are rolling in cash.

    But plenty are not. In recent decades companies have sought to make their balance-sheets more “efficient” by raising debt and taking advantage of the taxdeductibility of interest payments. Businesses with spare cash have tended to use it to buy back shares, either under pressure from activist investors or because doing so will boost the share price (and thus the value of executives’ options).

    At the same time, a prolonged period of low rates has made it very tempting to take on more debt. S&P Global, a credit-rating agency, says that as of 2017, 37% of global companies were highly indebted. That is five percentage points higher than the share in 2007, just before the financial crisis hit. By the same token, more private-equity deals are loading up on lots of debt than at any time since the crisis.

    One sign that the credit quality of the market has been deteriorating is that, globally, the median bond’s rating has dropped steadily since 1980, from A to BBB- (see chart). The market is divided into investment grade (debt with a high credit rating) and speculative, or “junk”, bonds below that level. The dividing line is at the border between BBB- and BB+. So the median bond is now one notch above junk.

    Even within investment-grade debt, quality has gone down. According to PIMCO, a fund-management group, in America 48% of such bonds are now rated BBB, up from 25% in the 1990s. Issuers are also more heavily indebted than before. In 2000 the net leverage ratio for BBB issuers was 1.7. It is now 2.9.

    Investors are not demanding higher yields to compensate for the deteriorating quality of corporate debt; quite the reverse. In a recent speech during a conference at the London Business School, Alex Brazier, the director for financial stability at the Bank of England, compared the yield on corporate bonds with the risk-free rate (the market’s forecast for the path of official short-term rates). In Britain investors are demanding virtually no excess return on corporate bonds to reflect the issuer’s credit risk. In America the spread is at its lowest in 20 years. Just as low rates have encouraged companies to issue more debt, investors have been tempted to buy the bonds because of the poor returns available on cash.

    Mr Brazier also found that the cost of insuring against a bond issuer failing to repay, as measured by the credit-default-swap market, fell by 40% over the past two years. That makes it seem as if investors are less worried about corporate default. But a model looking at the way that banks assess the probability of default, compiled by Credit Benchmark, a data-analytics company, suggests that the risks have barely changed over that period.

    So investors are getting less reward for the same amount of risk. Combine this with the declining liquidity of the bond market (because banks have withdrawn from the market-making business) and you have the recipe for the next crisis. It may not happen this year, or even next. But there are already ominous signs.

    Matt King, a strategist at Citigroup, says that foreign purchases of American corporate debt have dried up in recent months, and the return on investment-grade debt so far this year has been -3.5%. He compares the markets with a game of musical chairs. As central banks withdraw monetary stimulus, they are taking seats away. Eventually someone will miss a seat and come down with a bump.



    • Interesting! Thanks!

      • I was noticing that the graph above starts at 1980. That is about the high point in interest rates. Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, and the great trend toward financialization started. The usually conservative borrowing pattern disappeared and gave way to a very different view of debt as a tool for “growth.”

Comments are closed.