Introduction to the “World’s Fragile Economic Condition”

I will be giving a presentation to a group of casualty actuaries on September 17 called “The World’s Fragile Economic Condition.” I plan to write up the presentation in two posts, one covering the first three of the six sections of the presentation, and the second one covering the second three sections, so that it is easier to read online.

I am putting up a link now to the presentation, to allow those who want to look at the presentation now, a chance to do so.

The World’s Fragile Economic Condition

This presentation pulls together quite a few things I have been talking about. It also adds a new model of how our self-organizing economy works.

This is the outline of what I discuss in the presentation:

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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560 Responses to Introduction to the “World’s Fragile Economic Condition”

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    Gawd, no-deal Brexit looking ever more likely. The whole thing has had a ghastly feeling of inevitability about it for some weeks now. Fingers crossed they manage a fudge, at least. It’s no fun at all seeing your purchasing-power eroded, as most of the planet can currently attest to a greater or lesser extent.

    “The pound slumped against the world’s major currencies this afternoon as investors bet that the UK is set to crash out of the European Union without a deal after Theresa May revealed the extent of the ‘impasse’ at the Salzburg negotiations.

    “The Prime Minister hit out at her EU counterparts for lacking ‘respect’ as she vowed defiance despite being ambushed at the summit when counterparts condemned her Chequers plan.”

    • xabier says:

      Keep your spirits up: Clan McGibbs relies on you!

      As the sergeant guarding his bunker said to Churchill during the Blitz:

      ‘It’s a great a life, sir; if you don’t weaken!’

      But, yes, it’s all a monumental, slow-motion, screw-up…..

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        Wise counsel, Xabier. Nothing like an existential threat to spice up life if you can hold your nerve!

        The politics (of all shades) can get wearing though – entirely my fault for being so bone-headed as to scroll through The Daily Mail of a Friday afternoon.

      • doomphd says:

        such an optimist. wonder what he thought about all those V2s falling at random.

    • None of us can quite imagine what the falling apart of the EU would look like.

      This is “just” the EU part. We have other countries will problems as well.

    • Yoshua says:


  2. Fast Eddy says:

    Tesla’s Vice President of Global Supply Management has reportedly resigned from the company. Liam O’Connor, who came to Tesla from Apple in March of 2015, has become the latest in a deluge of executive departures from Tesla this year. O’Connor may have been one of the employees intimately involved in trying to manage the company’s ballooning payables, which grew to over $3 billion last quarter.

    O’Connor is the fifth senior executive who has been reported to be leaving the company over the last several weeks.

    Weeks prior, we reported that Tesla’s chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, had also left the company – leaving a potential $10 million equity package behind – after less than one month on the job. Morton was the second Chief Accounting Officer at Tesla over the last 6 months. He resigned on September 4 after starting on August 6.

  3. Yoshua says:

    Syria and Yemen collapsed into chaos and war when their oil production collapsed in combination with depleted aquifers, drought, failed harvests, over population, high oil prices and high food prices.

    A lot of these same problems seems to be causing distress across the MENA and India today.

    • xabier says:

      Oh, is the Yemen in trouble?!

      It’s not in the MSM much: I wonder why?

      The starvation of millions, murder of tens of thousands, targeting of civilians, deliberately engineered epidemic disease, total destruction of infrastructure, and supply of armaments on a huge scale by the ‘democracies’ would surely show up on the radar and be front-page news if it were true, but all I see is reporting on feelings about gender issues and racism……

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Similarly … I was on the way to Jordan 5 or so years ago … had a stop in Bahrain so thought why not spend a few days…

        Landed … helicopters everywhere… military vehicles… etc… it was a war zone…. I had no idea….

        I was able bullsh it my way into a meeting with two opposition politicians … who thought that the Americans would ultimately help them….. I called them DelusiSTANIS…. they didn’t get it…. the continued to insist….

        They are probably licking boots in a deep dungeon in Bulgaria now… while I am drinking Akarua Sparkling Rose…

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And meanwhile protests continue in Bahrain — and little old ladies get hit in the head with tear gas canisters… and killed… and somewhere in the woods … a tree falls

    • Nope, most of the effect in Syria was that regional and allied global powers decided it will be cheaper-better to have the state split into several provinces, hence have a secure corridor for Gulfies to EU bound natgas pipeline. And this would compete with the NordStreamI-II via Baltic as well as the old pipeline through Ukraine, also as mentioned recently Bulgaria was ~4yrs ago tasked to sabotage the SouthStream, which is now TurkishStream, not yet connected to the EU. The timelines how this all evolved are very clear, it was mostly energy and market access war, pure and simple..

      Should there be no prior of oil production slide trend in Syria, would not have mattered a lot, as Syria was always weaker player against the adversaries, given the hardware, perhaps little relative advantage on the armed men – personnel size.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Fortunately in NZ… we have only sheep and cows…. we are left alone…. mostly

      • Yoshua says:

        The Arab spring affected the entire region. Not all nations collapsed. Some of the weakest did collapse with some “help” from the West.

        There are always some geopolitical issues at play as well. Iran is today in a weak position…soon under U.S sanctions. The Western oil companies will produce oil and gas in Iran in the near future when Iran is under a new rule?

    • I think you are right.

      This is an oil chart I made for Yemen a while back.

      This is one I made for Syria.

      Yemen has a population of about 29 million compared to a population of a little under 5 million in 1950. Syria has a population of about 18 million, compared to a population of about 4 million in 1950.

      The area cannot support its high level of population.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Tesla should get into this business

      • xabier says:

        Her expression is certainly very realistic!

        Rather disturbing….

        Can she calculate divorce settlements, and say: ‘ I haven’t been happy for years, and you never noticed, you pig!’?

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Anything with a pulse,” used to be the battle-cry of the drunk and libidinous. Now we don’t even need that, apparently.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Win or lose… we drink the booze

          • xabier says:

            Frankly, I’d rather move to Wales and chat up the sheep……

            If this is the future (making love to dolls when taking ‘spice’?) I sincerely hope the gods end this experiment soon – it has gone to far.

            Elon Musk, and this!

            • Yoshua says:

              Boys don’t play with dolls…well…whatever.

            • jupiviv says:

              No shyt testing, bytching, fear of losing custody of kids and assets – I don’t see what the problem is.

              Let’s face it, industrialised societies are completely unsuitable for traditional gender relations. The people who insist otherwise are either crazy conservatives like Jordan Peterson or ugly gold-digging femin-st sk-nks.

      • Third World person says:

        this remind me of blade runner

  4. Third World person says:

    There’s A Revolt Going On In Trump’s Favorite Industry

    American steel manufacturing is enjoying a boost to earnings and demand thanks to trade policies put in place by President Trump. These are good days for American steel.

    But in the heart of Steel Country, there’s talk of a historic strike that could shut the whole thing down.

    Trump promised blue-collar, manufacturing workers across the country that he’d revitalize their industries and create new jobs. For steelworkers, the promise was direct — Trump vowed to create tariffs that would make foreign steel less competitive. He promised to dramatically increase the defense budget, giving steel manufacturers a powerful, deep-pocketed customer. He said he would slash environmental regulations that could make being a polluter very expensive.

    Trump then proceeded to do many of those things. For the time being, American-made steel is a hot commodity again. A slumping industry has enjoyed a turnaround.

    But the steelworkers — many of them white men who voted for Trump — say they haven’t felt anything from their industry’s rising fortunes. The United Steelworkers union represents a lot of those people. And right now, they’re trying to negotiate a new contract with U.S. Steel, a firm that runs plants dating all the way back to the days of Andrew Carnegie.

    U.S. Steel says its offering some of its windfall to its workers. The workers say they’re being asked to make sacrifices at a time when their industry is raking it in. The USW is ready to strike, and an order starting a 48-hour shutdown process could come at any moment.

  5. Third World person says:

    this how cities will look like after bau is collapse

    The city of San Pedro Sula in Honduras is reported to be the most dangerous place on earth outside conflict zones – with three murders every day

    btw this city make Detroit look like Disneyland

  6. Third World person says:

    here another country decline very fast

    Mexico’s official murder rate last year was nearly 30,000 people. The worst year since the government started counting bodies 20 years ago.

    It is widely assumed that this is almost entirely caused by the drug wars raging between the country’s Narco Cartels and the government.

    Murdering business or political opponents is taking over from legal action and the ballot box.

    We travelled to one of the worst hit areas in Mexico, the formerly glamorous playground of the wealthy, Acapulco, to see what is happening to society and why it has become so violent

  7. Garth says:

    ‘We will get regular body upgrades’: what will humans look like in 100 years?

    Is anybody here confidently expecting the continued march of technology, AI and “The Singularity” ?

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      wow… 6 “experts” predicting amazing futures for humans…

      none of these so-called experts seem to know anything about diminishing returns and the future impoverished world without FF…

      “what will humans look like in 100 years?”

      dirty, diseased, wearing tattered clothing…

      the future looks so bright!

  8. Third World person says:

    When collapse comes and the electricity grid becomes unstable, this is how we might be charging our smart phones

  9. MG says:

    The tattooed Slovak catholic priest thinks that the priests need wives, that the celibate should be voluntary:

    The point is that his parish is situated in the depopulating central mountaineous part of Slovakia. I know that this diocese has got various economic problems, the parishes going into debt, the marriages and the baptisms are declining. And this guy thinks that the missing wife is the solution. What a mistake…


    He does not realilze that with his tatoo he looks like a Japanese samurai…

    “From Samurai To Yakuza
    Some of them went on to become businessmen, scholars, and poets—after all, they were the most literate class in all of Japan. Others went on to enlist in the new, modernized army—which exists to this day.

    Others were dissatisfied with their fall from power, and it is there that we see another theory as to why the samurai are so closely associated with tattoos: they became Yakuza and inked themselves as a way of showing that they were true to their origins, rather than the law. “

    • xabier says:

      As the Iranians say:

      If you don’t have any problems, then get a wife. Or four.’

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Can we compromise?

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        The aesthetics are tempting, I must confess, but for me the issue would be the immobility. I think I’d find that very creepy… Fine for the Bill Cosbys of this world perhaps but I’m an old-fashioned sort, who enjoys a little feedback.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Just as p.orn drove the internet… so will rubber s.ex dolls drive A1….

          I understand that there will be an ‘always on’ button + demure and filt.hy talk settings…. 1-10….

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I am beginning to understand the appeal….

            If you are a fat old guy with a combover… you have the options of

            Door Number 1: (yikes!)

            Door Number 2: (diseased crack w.hore)

            Door Number 3: Freshly fumigated, firm and young lovely Linda

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