Our Energy Problem Is a Quantity Problem

(This post consists of a short overview article I recently wrote for Transform, a magazine for Environment and Sustainability Professionals, plus six related Questions and Answers.)

Reading many of today’s energy articles, it is easy to get the impression that our energy problem is a quality problem—some energy is polluting; other energy is hoped to be less polluting.

There is a different issue that we are not being told about. It is the fact that having enough energy is terribly important, as well. Total world energy consumption has risen quickly over time.

Figure 1. World Energy Consumption by Source, based on Vaclav Smil estimates from Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects and together with BP Statistical Data for years 1965 and subsequent.

In fact, the amount of energy consumed, on average, by each person (also called “per capita”) has continued to rise, except for two flat periods.

Figure 2. 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.

There is a good reason why energy consumed has risen over time on a per capita basis. Every human being needs energy products, as does every business. Energy is what allows food to be cooked and homes to be heated. Energy products allow businesses to manufacture and transport goods. Without energy products of all kinds, workers would be less productive in their jobs. Thus, it would be hard for the world economy to grow.

When energy consumption per capita is rising, it is easy for workers to become more productive because the economy is building more tools (broadly defined) for them to use, making their work easier. Manufacturing cell phones and computers requires energy. Even things like roads, pipelines, and electricity transmission lines are built using energy.

Once energy consumption growth flattens, as it did in the 1920-1940 period, the world economy is negatively affected. The Great Depression of the 1930s occurred during the 1920-1940 period. Problems, in fact, started even earlier. Coal production in the United Kingdom started to drop in 1914, the same year that World War I began. The Great Depression didn’t end until World War II, which was immediately after the 1920-1940 period.

In the 1920-1940 period, many people, especially farmers, were not able to earn an adequate living. This is a situation not too different from the one today, in which many young people are not able to earn an adequate living. Strange as it may seem, this type of wage disparity is a sign of inadequate energy per capita, because jobs that pay well require energy consumption.

The 1980-2000 flat period was in many ways not as bad as the earlier one, because the lack of growth in energy consumption was planned. The United States changed to smaller, more energy-efficient cars in order to reduce the amount of gasoline consumed. Oil-powered electricity generation was taken out of service and replaced with other types of generation, such as nuclear. Heating of homes and businesses was changed to more efficient systems that did not burn oil.

The indirect effect of the planned reduction in oil consumption was a drop in oil prices. Low oil prices adversely affected all oil exporters, but the Soviet Union was especially affected. Its central government collapsed, at least partly because of its reduced revenue stream. Member republics continued to operate, somewhat as in the past. Russia and Ukraine cut back greatly on their industrialization, leading to less use of energy products. Population tended to drop, as citizens found better work prospects elsewhere.

Eventually, in the early 2000s, oil prices rose again. Russia was able to become a major oil exporter again, but Ukraine and other industrialized areas were permanently handicapped by the collapse. Countries affiliated with the Soviet Union (including Eastern European countries, North Korea, and Cuba) found themselves permanently lagging behind the US and Western Europe.

Recently (2013-2017), the world economy seems to have again reached a period of flat energy consumption, on a per capita basis.

Figure 3. Based on data of BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017, and 2017 UN Population Estimates.

In fact, in many ways the flattening looks like that of the 1920 to 1940 period. Increased wage disparity is again becoming a problem. Oil gluts are again becoming a problem, because those at the bottom of the wage hierarchy cannot afford goods using oil, such as motorcycles. Young people are finding their standards of living falling relative to the living standards of their parents. They cannot afford to buy a home and have a family. Governments are becoming less interested in cooperating with other governments.

Why is world energy consumption per capita flat, or actually falling slightly, after 2013? The answer seems to be diminishing returns with respect to coal production. Diminishing returns refers to the fact that while at first coal is inexpensive to extract, the cost of extraction rises after the thickest seams and those closest to the surface have been extracted.

A chart of China’s energy production shows how China’s coal production first rose as low cost made its usage advantageous, and then fell due to diminishing returns. China experienced a major ramp-up in coal production after it was added to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Figure 4. China’s energy production, based on data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2017.

As the extraction of coal progressed, China found itself with many mines with rising production costs. Coal prices did not rise to match the higher cost of production, so a large number of unprofitable mines were closed, starting in about 2012.

A major reason for the flat world per capita energy consumption starting in 2013 is the fall in China’s coal production after 2013. Coal production is falling in quite a number of other countries as well, as the cost of production rises, and as users become aware of coal’s environmental issues. Other sources of energy have not been rising sufficiently to keep total per capita energy consumption rising. A person can see in the China chart that wind and solar production are not rising sufficiently to offset its loss of coal production. (Wind and solar are part of Other Renewables.) This situation occurs elsewhere, as well.

What role do wind and solar play in maintaining world energy supply? The truth is, very little. While a great deal of money has been spent building them, wind and solar together amounted to only about 1% of total world primary energy supply in 2015, according to the International Energy Association.

A major problem is that wind and solar do not scale well. As larger quantities are added to electricity networks, more workarounds for their intermittency (such as batteries and long distance transmission) are needed. Bid prices for wind and solar give a misleadingly low impression of their real cost, unless the projects include many hours’ worth of storage to offset the impact of intermittency.

The key to rising energy consumption seems to be the falling cost of energy services, when efficiency is included. For example, the cost of delivering a package of a given size a given distance must be falling, relative to inflation. Similarly, the cost of heating a home of a given size must be falling. Governments must be able to tax producers of energy products, rather than providing subsidies.

Globalization requires ever-expanding energy supplies to meet the needs of a rising world population. To maintain globalization, we need a growing supply of energy products that are very cheap and scalable. Unfortunately, wind and solar don’t seem to meet our needs. Fossil fuels are no longer cheap to extract, because we extracted the resources that were least expensive to extract first. Our problem today is that we have not been able to find substitutes that are sufficiently cheap, non-polluting, and scalable.

A Few Related Questions and Answers:

(1) What is the biggest impediment to raising total energy consumption?

We cannot get the price of oil and of other fuels to rise high enough, for long enough, to encourage the production of the fossil fuel supplies that seem to be in the ground. What happens, instead, is that energy prices hit an affordability limit and fall back.

Figure 5. NASDAQ three month price chart for Brent Crude oil. Source: NASDAQ

The recent strike in Brazil over high diesel prices shows the kind of issues that occur. Oil prices are still far below what many oil exporters (such as Norway, Venezuela, and Iraq) really need, when needed taxes are included.

Of course, the problem with not being able to get prices high enough also discourages the use of alternatives to fossil fuels, such as wind and solar.

(2) Aren’t wind and solar low-cost approaches?

It is easy to think that wind and solar will be huge improvements over burning fossil fuels directly for fuel, but nearly all of these analyses overlook the problems that are added by introducing intermittency to the electric grid. The assumption was made in early analyses that with enough scale, intermittency in one location would tend to offset intermittency in another location. Also, it was hoped that electricity consumption could be shifted to different times of day.

There have been several recent analyses that look more closely at these assumptions. Jean-Marc Jancovici has shown that if sufficient storage is added for wind and solar to make it “dispatchable,” it takes an order of magnitude more physical resources to produce wind and solar compared to what it takes to produce the dispatchable nuclear electricity used in France. Both have low long-term operating costs. Thus, we would expect the true cost of wind and solar to be far higher than France’s nuclear electricity.

Roger Andrews, writing on Euan Mearns site Energy Matters, shows that some recent solar and wind auction prices appear to be far below actual costs, when reasonable minimum cost assumptions are used.

Regarding “Demand Response” as a solution to intermittency, Roger Andrews shows how little time of day pricing for consumers affects consumption curves. It appears that people don’t stop eating dinner after they get home in the evening, no matter how high the cost of electricity is at that time.

Interruptible supply is another way of reducing demand. This link describes some of the issues encountered when interruptible supply was tried on a large scale in California.

(3) Can’t we simply get along using less energy? That is what everyone tells us is possible.

The historical record in Figure 2 doesn’t give much indication that this is possible. Whenever there is even a small drop in energy consumption per capita, it seems to have an adverse effect. On Figure 3, even the small dip in energy consumption per capita in 2008 and 2009 led to a serious recession in many countries of the world.

The people who talk about getting along with less energy haven’t thought through the likely ramifications of this. There would be fewer jobs that pay well, because jobs such as those for construction workers would disappear. The economy would shrink, because of the fewer jobs, in a much worse recession than the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

We know that in past collapses, one of the big problems was inability of governments to collect enough taxes. We would likely encounter the same problem again, if there are fewer people making high wages. Most of the tax dollars for the US Federal Government are paid by private citizens (as income taxes or as Social Security funding), rather than by corporations.

Figure 7. Sources of US Federal Governments Revenue, based on US Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

The last year shown on Figure 7 is 2017, which is before the recent corporate tax reduction. This change will tend to shift the burden on Federal Taxes even further in the direction of payroll related taxes.

(4) How about efficiency savings? Can’t efficiency savings fix our problem?

There are two issues involved. If we were really efficient at fuel savings, as we were in the early 1980s, oil and other energy prices would drop dramatically. This would push oil, coal, and gas producers worldwide toward bankruptcy. Governments of oil exporting countries, such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, would have difficulty collecting enough tax revenue. They would likely collapse from lack of tax revenue, substantially reducing supply.

A second issue is that historically we have been adding efficiency. In fact, efficiency is what has tended to make fuel more affordable. As noted in the article, energy use could grow, as the cost of energy services fell.

Figure 8. Total Cost of Energy and Energy Services, by Roger Fouquet, from Divergences in Long Run Trends in the Prices of Energy and Energy Services. The cost of energy services combines (a) the cost of energy with (b) the impact of efficiency savings.

Some of the changes we have been making recently go in the opposite direction of efficiency. For example, the recent article, Biggest Ever Change in Oil Markets Could Send Prices Higher, discusses a new regulation requiring the use of low-sulfur fuel oil for ships. Doing this would greatly reduce the quantity of sulfur being released to the atmosphere as emissions. This is not a change toward efficiency; it is a change toward higher cost of production, which is the opposite of efficiency. Regulators plan to use part of our energy supply to eliminate the excess sulfur before the oil is sold.

As undesirable as sulfur pollution is, the problem is affordability and higher cost. Wages are not high enough for workers around the world to afford the required higher cost of food (because food production and transport use oil) to support the new regulation. So, the likely result of the regulation is to push the world toward recession. Beyond a certain affordability point, it is hard to push oil prices higher, because wages don’t rise at the same time.

(5) Could you explain further why flat energy consumption per capita is not sufficient for the world economy–this amount really has to grow?

Perhaps looking at charts of recent trends in energy consumption of a few countries can help explain what happens when overall per capita energy consumption is flat.

Joseph Tainter in The Collapse of Complex Societies explains that economies often use “complexity” to work around problems as they approach resource limits. In the particular version of complexity tried in this case, manufacturing was increasingly globalized. Workers suddenly found themselves competing for wages with workers from much lower wage countries. Wage disparity became more of a problem.

When workers are increasingly poor, they can afford to purchase fewer goods and services. This can be seen in energy consumption per capita data. Figure 9 shows energy consumption per capita for three European countries experiencing difficulties. In all three, energy consumption per capita has been falling for several years. When manufacturing was sent to Asia, workers found themselves earning less, so they were able to purchase fewer goods made with energy products. Also, European products were less competitive on the world market, with the new competition from low-cost markets.

Figure 9. Energy Consumption per Capita for three European Countries, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates.

The countries that have been able to grow more rapidly in response to globalization (such as those in Figure 10) need to keep up their patterns of growth, or they start encountering financial problems because their prior growth was generally financed with debt. Without sufficiently rapid growth, they have difficulty repaying debt with interest.

Figure 10. Energy Consumption per Capita for five countries that recently have been growing rapidly. Based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy data and UN 2017 population estimates.

Brazil’s energy consumption per capita has recently fallen, and it is encountering severe problems. Argentina is a country with flattening energy consumption growth. China’s growth in energy consumption has slowed as well; we often read statements about its debt problems.

One of the problems that these rapidly growing countries encounter is currency fluctuations. As long as their particular country seems to be growing rapidly, the currency level of their country can remain high, relative to the US dollar or the Euro. But if obstacles are encountered, such as the low price of their major export, or slower economic growth, the currency of the country may fall relative to major currencies.

A falling currency relative to major currencies is a problem for these rapidly growing countries for three reasons. For one, imports become expensive. For another, any debt denominated in a foreign currency (such as the US dollar) becomes more difficult to repay. The reason why this is an issue is because rapidly growing countries often do not find enough credit available locally, so are forced to borrow internationally. A third problem with slowing growth and a falling currency relativity is that it becomes more difficult to attract new investment to the country. Instead, outside investors may decide to leave; they want to seek the next growth opportunity, in different, more rapidly growing country.

Turkey and Argentina both seem to be having problems with their currencies falling relative to the US dollar.

Another issue that makes flat worldwide per capita energy consumption unworkable is “diminishing returns” as resources become depleted. For example, wells for fresh water must be dug deeper, ores of metals include higher percentages of waste materials, and oil wells must be sunk in less convenient locations. These problems can be worked around, but they require increased energy consumption. All of these uses for energy products leave less for the rest of the economy. Thus, if we deduct the extra energy needed to compensate for diminishing returns, what at first looks like flat per capita energy consumption worldwide really equates to declining per capita energy consumption.

(6) Isn’t there anything that we can do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions?

The task of reducing carbon dioxide emissions is much more difficult than it appears to be, because the world economy requires energy consumption in order to operate.

The best thing I can see that an individual can do is reduce his or her consumption of meat and other animal products (fish, cheese, milk, leather). To offset, a major increase should be made in the consumption of vegetables that are filling to eat (such as potatoes, beets, carrots, beans, sweet potatoes, taro root, turnips, and corn). Some of these perhaps can be grown locally. Humans’ use of animal products adds to carbon dioxide levels, partly because of the quantity of food that needs to be grown and transported to feed the animals, and partly because of the direct emissions of some animals (including cattle, pigs, buffalo, chicken, sheep and goats).

In fact, cutting back on highly processed food of all sorts (particularly sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and oils) would seem to be worthwhile, as well. Growing, processing, and transporting the crops used in these highly processed foods all add to CO2 emissions.

Our problem is that we have grown attached to the flavors of these foods, and we have become convinced that they help us grow big and strong. While they may do this, they also set us up for problems in old age. Starchy vegetables have played a major role in the diets of long lived people. We may need to start giving them, and other less processed foods, a more prominent role again.











About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,749 Responses to Our Energy Problem Is a Quantity Problem

  1. Nope.avi says:

    I have a question for everyone today.

    What’s your local economy’s Five Year Plan?

    By Five Year Plan, I am referring to your local economy’s strategy for growth.

    If you’re smart you can probably figure out the area I’m talking about, but the area I live in has a Five Year Plan based around gambling. First with casino planned in one of the densest populated areas in the U.S. and now, with legalizing gambling on sports.

    • Nope.avi says:

      No takers, I take it.

    • theblondbeast says:

      I figured my U.S. state had no plan. Turns out they last had a five year plan in 2014. The plan is no longer available for download from their website, but included the following:

      Strengthen the state’s ongoing business attraction, retention and support initiatives
      Promote economic development on a regional level
      Develop an increasingly competitive workforce
      Increase fairness and opportunity for distressed communities and the unemployed
      Make Illinois a top destination for entrepreneurs
      Implement a comprehensive statewide strategy to drive innovation
      Modernize and revitalize our infrastructure

      Practically this included (1) tax incentives for businesses, (2) minority business set-asides, (3) local protectionism, (4) stopping the pillage of federal transportation funds.

      No plan currently exists. Most recently we raised taxes.

      • Nope.avi says:

        “Make Illinois a top destination for entrepreneurs”

        Entrepreneurs are just young upper class people with lots of their parents money to spend.
        Usually, they are drawn to cities with a lot of colleges where they can hire other upper class people on the cheap (when you can afford an expensive education and to live in a gentrified part of the city without too much debt, you can probably afford to work for below-market rates.)
        (2)The minority business set-asides are interesting. I’d like to know how they;re being implemented.
        (3) How is local protectionism being implemented in Illinois when it is conflated with accusations of racism and xenophobia at the national level?

        (4) How are they transportation funds being pillaged?
        If it’s like where I’m from, most of the money has been spent hiring contractors who do subpar work

    • Grant says:

      I live in an area that has been semi-rural for most of the time I have lived here.

      We at the northern end of our local administrative area. We have some rail facilities, mainly thanks to an old Coal fired power station that was closed and demolished about 20 years ago.

      That sight, and a farm that had to be repurposed to enable the plan, has long been designated as a location for light industry, notably “distribution” centres. It has taken a while and development is nowhere near complete despite having some easy road access in all directions and a location in the middle of the country near 3 major cities and a large town.

      Despite this unfinished development one quadrant that was farm land is currently being turned into another have area for distribution warehouses. Amazon is rumoured to be a first tenant. Amazon recently built a similar facility less than 20 miles south, still in the same county.

      On the back of that another large area of local farm land has, almost without comment, been taken over for distribution warehousing by a supermarket chain.

      In the last remaining semi-quadrant of agricultural land there will shortly be built a large number of new homes without any obvious addition of local social infrastructure to support those who might choose to live there.

      The land owners, some of whom are active in local politics, may have done well from the deals.

      The councils will, presumably, have much enhanced tax revenues.

      The populace will end up living in an industrial zone rather than a village.

      I have long joked that the location, road connections and a very local International Airport made this a great place to live if you wanted to go somewhere else.

      I had not anticipated the local authorities and their multi decade plans for a “distribution centre” on a brown field site would lead to 2 such centres and the spoiling of more greenfield land than land previously allocated to industry.

      The future, in so far as there may be one, seems to be “distribution” centres and rapidly creeping conurbations to satisfy a “housing shortage” that probably won’t exist 10 or 20 years from now.

      So much for planning.

      • xabier says:

        Exactly the same, almost step by step, here in Eastern England – land which has been carefully farmed for thousands of years is going under concrete.

        Light industry; distribution; ugly, shoddy ‘luxury’ housing; roads…….

    • Slow Paul says:

      Here it’s building highways and a new hospital. Except that the hospital building process is continously postponed due to cost concerns…

      • Nope.avi says:

        Highways are a major investment and require very cheap energy.
        I hope capital (material) flows are high enough to maintain it.

        I’m going to hazard a wild guess and suggest that the delays in construction of the new hospital are due to cost overruns, as it is with a major public transportation project in my neck of the woods.
        Estimators were off by a billion dollars. The project is still underway.

  2. Third World person says:

    Donald Trump accuses India of charging 100% tariff, says trade might stop

    President Donald Trump has taken a swipe at India along with the world’s other top economies and accused New Delhi of charging 100 per cent tariff on some of the US’ goods, as he threatened to cut trade ties with countries who are robbing America.

    Trump made the remarks in Canada’s Quebec City where he was attending the G7 summit that ended in farce after he abruptly rejected the text of a consensus statement and bitterly insulted the host.

    “We’re like the piggybank that everybody is robbing,” Trump said while addressing a press conference on Saturday.
    e also made a reference to India, indicating that his grievances on tariffs was not restricted to the developed economies alone.

    “This isn’t just G7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 per cent. A hundred per cent. And we charge nothing. We can’t do that. And so we are talking to many countries,” Trump said.

    Trump has repeatedly raked up the issue of India imposing high import duty on the iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles and threatened to increase the import tariff on “thousands and thousands” of Indian motorcycles to the US.

    “We’re talking to all countries. And it’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it,” Trump warned before leaving Canada for Singapore where he is scheduled to hold a much publicised summit with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un tomorrow.

    His remarks came at a time when the India-US relationship has been on a positive trajectory for years. For example, bilateral trade expanded by USD 11 billion last year to more than USD 125 billion, a new record.

    Trump, who is pushing his ‘America First’ policy, said his ultimate goal was the elimination of all trade duties.

    “Ultimately that’s what you want,” he said. “You want a tariff free. You want no barriers. And you want no subsidies. Because you have some cases where countries are subsidizing industries and that’s not fair.”

    China and the US have averted a trade war by reaching an agreement last month under which Beijing has agreed to “significantly increase” its purchases of American goods and services to reduce USD 375 billion trade deficit with Washington.

    The top trading partners of the US are upset over recent imposition of a 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and 15 per cent on aluminum.

    The US has said that the best way to solve trade disputes was by lowering tariff and non-tariff barriers by countries and allowing the free market to operate.

    ok trump you can stop trade with india we do not care

  3. Baby Doomer says:

    Gail I have a question for you–please and thank you..

    Have you ever been contacted by any famous people and asked about finite world issues?

    • It depends on how you define “famous people.” I know a lot of people who are famous in the tiny world of people who are concerned about resource limits (Charles Hall, Dennis Meadows, Ugo Bardi, Richard Heinberg, JM Greer, Dmitry Orlov, etc.). They probably don’t count.

      Back in 2014, I received an e-mail from Anders Wijkman inviting me to speak at a Workshop in Stockholm, Sweden. I was one of about 10 people invited–the only person from the United States. The night I arrived in Stockholm, we were invited to a dinner in his fancy apartment. It was at that dinner that he mentioned that he was one of the co-presidents of the Club of Rome. He had been passing along copies of my articles to some of his associates, and wanted to talk to me in person about my views. I had never thought about looking him up in Wikipedia, before I left, so I was very surprised.

      I am not very aware of who is famous and who is not. I don’t watch television, and I tend not to pay much attention to the names of people mentioned in political articles. So some of the people I correspond with may be famous, but I am not very tuned in to this.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And then you know when you go to the hair salon… and you are waiting for the perm to set… and you pick up one of those celebrity mags…. and you flip through the pages of photos of famous hollywood types…. and you don’t have a f789ing clue who most of them are?????

        I just skip to the ones of the fit actresses in bikinis…. and joke with the hair cutter about catching up on who is now famous….

        Manila… 15 years ago? — Embassy Club…. my buddy and I chat up a couple of girls…. who informed us that they were famous…. woowie wowowah…. famous for what? … we are on a really popular teee veeee show in the philippines…. never heard of it… never heard of you…. needless to say … first base was not achieved.

        Northern Ontario… small town… a few years ago… comment about why people spend thousands of dollars on a LV bag… with all those gaudy LV symbols plastered all over them…. my sister in law says… what’s an LV bag…

        Fame…. what a fascinating concept… the air can come out of that balloon real quick.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Social media is fueled by the desire of people for fame.

        When someone does not partake… it provides some indication of their character

      • SomeoneInAsia says:

        Gail, have you ever talked to James Howard Kunstler in person, and if so how did you find him? 🙂

        • I really liked his “The Long Emergency.” I have met JHK several times in person. I think that the first time was at an Association for the Study of Peak Oil meeting. I was at the meeting because ASPO had paid for several of The Oil Drum people’s trip costs. JHK came up to me in a hallway and invited me to a party he had planned for that evening. There were lots of people at the party and free alcohol–not a great place to visit, though. I have met and corresponded with him several times since. He interviewed me at least once. Needless to say, JHK does not fit the mold of a mathematician laboring away quietly in his home. He had a girl friend at that time, but did not have one later when I talked to him. If I write to him, he good about responding back.

    • Greg Machala says:

      Really? Everything has gone wrong and BAU is still coasting along! If everything went wrong (financially) that could go wrong; I don’t think we would be here discussing things.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        If I could have a wish come true before the end of BAU…. I’d like to have a day or two with one of these high placed guys like Soros or Putin or a high level state department person … where they would explain to me the exact workings of the matrix….

        As it stands… I will go to my grave having at best seen the tip of the iceberg… and I will die in ignorance …

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And I count myself as at least the top 0.0000000000001% in terms of awareness…. and yet I am ignorant.

          • Kurt says:

            Yes, and we love that about you. There is a club, there is a plan. Unfortunately, you shall remain ignorant.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Excellent – Soros keeps turning my requests for a meet and greet down… so perhaps you could lay it all out for me here on FW.

          • Kurt says:

            Well, I can’t really tell you without letting you into the club and showing you the secret hand shake etc. That’s a lot of work. I can tell you that the summer of 2020 is the key time. The outcome will be quite different from what the folks on ofw expect.

        • Baby Doomer says:

          Is the Brotherhood even real?
          That Winston you will never know..

          -Orwell 1984

    • SomeoneInAsia says:

      There’s no telling how much of what has gone wrong with the world has been caused by the likes of Soros.

      What a hypocrite.

  4. Baby Doomer says:

    Oil Kingdom In Crisis: Saudi Royal Family Rift Turns Violent

    Gregory Copley, of Defense & Foreign Affairs, noted on December 12, 2017: “Saudi Arabia now appears to have moved beyond the point of recovery, and could collapse at any time into internal conflict or fracturing.” On October 8, 2015, he noted: “Concerns are growing within Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom is facing systemic challenges which could see its break-up within a decade or two.”

    Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was reported to have been struck by at least two rounds.


    As Matthew Simmons said “As goes Saudi Arabia goes the world”

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Family Feud

    • Lastcall says:

      The centre cannot hold…

      ‘Today, we have three four-star generals, a dozen three star generals and admirals, aircraft carrier battle groups, and more than 100,000 troops in the region. ‘

      ‘Military engagement on this scale halfway around the world is expensive in dollar terms, and even more importantly, in the lives of the casualties of our interventions there. And the extensive military deployments to the region have other negative effects. Because we need bases and other forms of support, we sometimes must support regimes whose actions and values are not consistent with ours, or that are working against us in other ways and on other issues.’


    • Also, it is pretty clear that when there is not enough to go around, there is a lot of fighting.

      Saudi Arabia has a lot of people who have done well, with the income from oil. Now, the revenue is down, and the fighting begins.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Also a symptom of not enough to go around (and an increasingly complex system)… low level employees willing to take risks to pad their wallets…. when you see your world going to pieces you grab as much as you can as fast as you can….

        Another problem is the potential risk of insider involvement, whether at the central bank or the respective banks that are being targeted. The hackers that recently swiped millions from Mexican banks probably had access to the passwords to authentication tokens for accounts. That would suggest insiders at the respective banks may have helped them infiltrate their systems.


  5. Baby Doomer says:

  6. Duncan Idaho says:

    Larry Kudlow Suffers Heart Attack

    Hope he isn’t doing lines again– never good for a user.

  7. Fast Eddy says:

    Punch like a limp wristed girl… and still win

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