Low Oil Prices: An Indication of Major Problems Ahead?

Many people, including most Peak Oilers, expect that oil prices will rise endlessly. They expect rising oil prices because, over time, companies find it necessary to access more difficult-to-extract oil. Accessing such oil tends to be increasingly expensive because it tends to require the use of greater quantities of resources and more advanced technology. This issue is sometimes referred to as diminishing returns. Figure 1 shows how oil prices might be expected to rise, if the higher costs encountered as a result of diminishing returns can be fully recovered from the ultimate customers of this oil.

Figure 1. Chart showing expected long-term rise in oil prices as the full cost of oil production becomes increasingly expensive due to diminishing returns.

In my view, this analysis suggesting ever-rising prices is incomplete. After a point, prices can’t really keep up with rising costs because the wages of many workers lag behind the growing cost of extraction.

The economy is a networked system facing many pressures, including a growing level of debt and the rising use of technology. When these pressures are considered, my analysis indicates that oil prices may fall too low for producers, rather than rise too high for consumers. Oil companies may close down if prices remain too low. Because of this, low oil prices should be of just as much concern as high oil prices.

In recent years, we have heard a great deal about the possibility of Peak Oil, including high oil prices. If the issue we are facing is really prices that are too low for producers, then there seems to be the possibility of a different limits issue, called Collapse. Many early economies seem to have collapsed as they reached resource limits. Collapse seems to be characterized by growing wealth disparity, inadequate wages for non-elite workers, failing governments, debt defaults, resource wars, and epidemics. Eventually, population associated with collapsed economies may fall very low or completely disappear. As Collapse approaches, commodity prices seem to be low, rather than high.

The low oil prices we have been seeing recently fit in disturbingly well with the hypothesis that the world economy is reaching affordability limits for a wide range of commodities, nearly all of which are subject to diminishing returns. This is a different problem than most researchers have been concerned about. In this article, I explain this situation further.

One thing that is a little confusing is the relative roles of diminishing returns and efficiency. I see diminishing returns as being more or less the opposite of growing efficiency.

Figure 2.

The fact that inflation-adjusted oil prices are now much higher than they were in the 1940s to 1960s is a sign that for oil, the contest between diminishing returns and efficiency has basically been won by diminishing returns for over 40 years.

Figure 3.

Oil Prices Cannot Rise Endlessly

It makes no sense for oil prices to rise endlessly, for what is inherently growing inefficiency. Endlessly rising prices for oil would be similar to paying a human laborer more and more for building widgets, during a time that that laborer becomes increasingly disabled. If the number of widgets that the worker can produce in one hour decreases by 50%, logically that worker’s wages should fall by 50%, not rise to make up for his/her growing inefficiency.

The problem with paying higher prices for what is equivalent to growing inefficiency can be hidden for a while, if the economy is growing rapidly enough. The way that the growing inefficiency is hidden is by adding Debt and Complexity (Figure 4).

Figure 4.

Growing complexity is very closely related to “Technology will save us.” Growing complexity involves the use of more advanced machinery and ever-more specialized workers. Businesses become larger and more hierarchical. International trade becomes increasingly important. Financial products such as derivatives become common.

Growing debt goes hand in hand with growing complexity. Businesses need growing debt to support capital expenditures for their new technology. Consumers find growing debt helpful in affording major purchases, such as homes and vehicles. Governments make debt-like promises of pensions to citizen. Thanks to these promised pensions, families can have fewer children and devote fewer years to child care at home.

The problem with adding complexity and adding debt is that they, too, reach diminishing returns. The easiest (and cheapest) fixes tend to be added first. For example, irrigating a field in a dry area may be an easy and cheap way to fix a problem with inadequate food supply. There may be other approaches that could be used as well, such as breeding crops that do well with little rainfall, but the payback on this investment may be smaller and later.

A major drawback of adding complexity is that doing so tends to increase wage and wealth disparity. When an employer pays high wages to supervisory workers and highly skilled workers, this leaves fewer funds with which to pay less skilled workers. Furthermore, the huge amount of capital goods required in this more complex economy tends to disproportionately benefit workers who are already highly paid. This happens because the owners of shares of stock in companies tend to overlap with employees who are already highly paid. Low paid employees can’t afford such purchases.

The net result of greater wage and wealth disparity is that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep prices high enough for oil producers. The many workers with low wages find it difficult to afford homes and families of their own. Their low purchasing power tends to hold down prices of commodities of all kinds. The higher wages of the highly trained and supervisory staff don’t make up for the shortfall in commodity demand because these highly paid workers spend their wages differently. They tend to spend proportionately more on services rather than on commodity-intensive goods. For example, they may send their children to elite colleges and pay for tax avoidance services. These services use relatively little in the way of commodities.

Once the Economy Slows Too Much, the Whole System Tends to Implode

A growing economy can hide a multitude of problems. Paying back debt with interest is easy, if a worker finds his wages growing. In fact, it doesn’t matter if the growth that supports his growing wages comes from inflationary growth or “real” growth, since debt repayment is typically not adjusted for inflation.

Figure 5. Repaying loans is easy in a growing economy, but much more difficult in a shrinking economy.

Both real growth and inflationary growth help workers have enough funds left at the end of the period for other goods they need, despite repaying debt with interest.

Once the economy stops growing, the whole system tends to implode. Wage disparity becomes a huge problem. It becomes impossible to repay debt with interest. Young people find that their standards of living are lower than those of their parents. Investments do not appear to be worthwhile without government subsidies. Businesses find that economies of scale no longer work to their advantage. Pension promises become overwhelming, compared to the wages of young people.

The Real Situation with Oil Prices

The real situation with oil prices–and in fact with respect to commodity prices in general–is approximately like that shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6.

What tends to happen is that oil prices tend to fall farther and farther behind what producers require, if they are truly to make adequate reinvestment in new fields and also pay high taxes to their governments. This should not be too surprising because oil prices represent a compromise between what citizens can afford and what producers require.

Figure 7. Illustration indicating that the world has already reached a point where no oil price works for both oil suppliers and oil consumers.

In the years before diminishing returns became too much of a problem (back before 2005, for example), it was possible to find prices that were within an acceptable range for both sellers and buyers. As diminishing returns has become an increasing problem, the price that consumers can afford has tended to fall increasingly far below the price that producers require. This is why oil prices at first fall a little too low for producers, and eventually seem likely to fall far below what producers need to stay in business. The problem is that no price works for both producers and consumers.

Affordability Issues Affect All Commodity Prices, Not Just Oil

We are dealing with a situation in which a growing share of workers (and would be workers) find it difficult to afford a home and family, because of wage disparity issues. Some workers have been displaced from their jobs by robots or by globalization. Some spend many years in advanced schooling and are left with large amounts of debt, making it difficult to afford a home, a family, and other things that many in the older generation were able to take for granted. Many of today’s workers are in low-wage countries; they cannot afford very much of the output of the world economy.

At the same time, diminishing returns affect nearly all commodities, just as they affect oil. Mineral ores are affected by diminishing returns because the highest grade ores tend to be extracted first. Food production is also subject to diminishing returns because population keeps rising, but arable land does not. As a result, each year it is necessary to grow more food per arable acre, leading to a need for more complexity (more irrigation or more fertilizer, or better hybrid seed), often at higher cost.

When the problem of growing wage disparity is matched up with the problem of diminishing returns for the many different types of commodity production, the same problem occurs that occurs with oil. Prices of a wide range of commodities tend to fall below the cost of production–first by a little and, if the debt bubble pops, by a whole lot.

We hear people say, “Of course oil prices will rise. Oil is a necessity.” The thing that they don’t realize is that the problem affects a much bigger “package” of commodities than just oil prices. In fact, finished goods and services of all kinds made with these commodities are also affected, including new homes and vehicles. Thus, the pattern we see of low oil prices, relative to what is required for true profitability, is really an extremely widespread problem.

Interest Rate Policies Affect Affordability

Commodity prices bear surprisingly little relationship to the cost of production. Instead, they seem to depend more on interest rate policies of government agencies. If interest rates rise or fall, this tends to have a big impact on household budgets, because monthly auto payments and home payments depend on interest rates. For example, US interest rates spiked in 1981.

Figure 8. US short and long term interest rates. Graph by FRED.

This spike in interest rates led to a major cutback in energy consumption and in GDP growth.

Figure 9. World GDP Growth versus Energy Consumption Growth, based on data of 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy and GDP data in 2010$ amounts, from the World Bank.

Oil prices began to slide, with the higher interest rates.

Figure 10.

Figure 11 indicates that the popping of a debt bubble (mostly relating to US sub-prime housing) sent oil prices down in 2008. Once interest rates were lowered through the US adoption of Quantitative Easing (QE), oil prices rose again. They fell again, when the US discontinued QE.

Figure 11. Figure showing collapsing debt bubble at the time US oil prices peaked, and the use of Quantitative Easing (QE) to stimulate the economy, and thus bring prices back up again.

While these charts show oil prices, there is a tendency for a broad range of commodity prices to move more or less together. This happens because the commodity price issue seems to be driven to a significant extent by the affordability of finished goods and services, including homes, automobiles, and restaurant food.

If the collapse of a major debt bubble occurs again, the world seems likely to experience impacts somewhat similar to those in 2008, depending, of course, on the location(s) and size(s) of the debt bubble(s). A wide variety of commodity prices are likely to fall very low; asset prices may also be affected. This time, however, government organizations seem to have fewer tools for pulling the world economy out of a prolonged slump because interest rates are already very low. Thus, the issues are likely to look more like a widespread economic problem (including far too low commodity prices) than an oil problem.

Lack of Growth in Energy Consumption Per Capita Seems to Lead to Collapse Scenarios

When we look back, the good times from an economic viewpoint occurred when energy consumption per capita (top red parts on Figure 12) were rising rapidly.

Figure 12.

The bad times for the economy were the valleys in Figure 12. Separate labels for these valleys have been added in Figure 13. If energy consumption is not growing relative to the rising world population, collapse in at least a part of the world economy tends to occur.

Figure 13.

The laws of physics tell us that energy consumption is required for movement and for heat. These are the basic processes involved in GDP generation, and in electricity transmission. Thus, it is logical to believe that energy consumption is required for GDP growth. We can see in Figure 9 that growth in energy consumption tends to come before GDP growth, strongly suggesting that it is the cause of GDP growth. This further confirms what the laws of physics tell us.

The fact that partial collapses tend to occur when the growth in energy consumption per capita falls too low is further confirmation of the way the economics system really operates. The Panic of 1857 occurred when the asset price bubble enabled by the California Gold Rush collapsed. Home, farm, and commodity prices fell very low. The problems ultimately were finally resolved in the US Civil War (1861 to 1865).

Similarly, the Depression of the 1930s was preceded by a stock market crash in 1929. During the Great Depression, wage disparity was a major problem. Commodity prices fell very low, as did farm prices. The issues of the Depression were not fully resolved until World War II.

At this point, world growth in energy consumption per capita seems to be falling again. We are also starting to see evidence of some of the same problems associated with earlier collapses: growing wage disparity, growing debt bubbles, and increasingly war-like behavior by world leaders. We should be aware that today’s low oil prices, together with these other symptoms of economic distress, may be pointing to yet another collapse scenario on the horizon.

Oil’s Role in the Economy Is Different From What Many Have Assumed

We have heard for a long time that the world is running out of oil, and we need to find substitutes. The story should have been, “Affordability of all commodities is falling too low, because of diminishing returns and growing wage disparity. We need to find rapidly rising quantities of very, very cheap energy products. We need a cheap substitute for oil. We cannot afford to substitute high-cost energy products for low-cost energy products. High-cost energy products affect the economy too adversely.”

In fact, the whole “Peak Oil” story is not really right. Neither is the “Renewables will save us” story, especially if the renewables require subsidies and are not very scalable. Energy prices can never be expected to rise high enough for renewables to become economic.

The issues we should truly be concerned about are Collapse, as encountered by many economies previously. If Collapse occurs, it seems likely to cut off production of many commodities, including oil and much of the food supply, indirectly because of low prices.

Low oil prices and low prices of other commodities are signs that we truly should be concerned about. Too many people have missed this point. They have been taken in by the false models of economists and by the confusion of Peak Oilers. At this point, we should start considering the very real possibility that our next world problem is likely to be Collapse of at least a portion of the world economy.

Interesting times seem to be ahead.



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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1,594 Responses to Low Oil Prices: An Indication of Major Problems Ahead?

  1. Baby Doomer says:

    Terrified by the French protests, Spain raises minimum wage by 22%


    • Sort of strange. In earlier bankruptcies we heard about how the workers and those on pensions were treated. (Those on pensions especially came out badly.) I don’t see any of that in this article.

  2. jupiviv says:

    New article on the Economic-undertow blog:


    “Modern industrial militaries and political systems have become much more adept at fighting wars rather than winning them. Conflicts last for decades even when one side or other possess material and technical advantages. Witness the 40 year struggle between Ankara and independence-minded Kurds; 71 years of on-and-off fighting between Pakistan and India over control of Kashmir, 54 years between the Colombian government and various militants; 40 years between Afghan factions versus the West and between the various factions themselves. Israel has been at war vs. most of its neighbors since the founding of the country in 1948. The Syria war has its roots in the militant uprising against the Hafez al-Assad government in 1982. The Baathist army destroyed much of the city of Hama in a destructive siege that foreshadowed events 30 years later. Modern victory has become expensive, as much or more than defeat. Money- and resource costs put it out of reach leaving combatants to inhabit a shadowy middle ground, war as perverse kind of entertainment.”

    • Uncle Bill says:

      Sounds a lot like Orwell’s 1984…..if one lives long enough, one may experience the future…
      Old Chinese proverb…Yogi Berra

    • Is it a perverse kind of entertainment, or a perverse way of being able to employ young people who would not otherwise have a job?

      • Uncle Bill says:

        Remember a while back an article concerning CHINA and their mismatched ratio between male and female births. The border war with Pakistan was a method of employing and reducing male members of child bearing age. Wether this was in mind, but certainly is a possibility given both countries situation.

        • It is the number of potential mothers that determines births of the next generation. It makes sense to hold down births of girls, if a person is concerned about the size of the next generation. India has used that approach too.

          You are right, however. Wars are ways to employ a lot of single men. If the death rate is high, there are not many dependents to worry about.

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    An interesting premise – but behind a paywall for me.

    “The obsession with US shale oil is leading the world into an energy crisis. The world’s leading forecasting agencies have hailed shale’s tremendous growth as key to meeting oil demand in the coming decades. But by focusing on volume rather than quality, they are missing the point.”


  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Companies and industry groups in Britain issued strident warnings against further political turmoil Wednesday after a challenge to Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership underscored the strength of opposition in her own party to her government’s plan for Brexit.

    “Underscoring the high stakes for business, a major UK manufacturing firm confirmed it has activated contingency plans. Airplane engine maker Rolls-Royce said that it has begun stockpiling parts to help minimize the damage from a disorderly Brexit.

    “There are only 107 days to go before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, but parliament remains deeply divided on how to break with Britain’s biggest trading partner… Companies across the country have already taken steps to prepare for Brexit…

    “The most worrying scenario for business is one where Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal, leading to new trade barriers.

    “Aerospace giant Airbus has said it could be forced to quit the country if there’s no deal on EU trading arrangements. Carmakers such as Nissan, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are also heavily exposed.

    “Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that confidence among the group’s members has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis.

    “The deepening confusion over Brexit comes at a terrible time for the British economy. Data from the Office for National Statistics show the UK economy grew just 0.1% in October compared to the previous month. Industrial production fell 0.6% and manufacturing slumped 0.9%.


  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “It seems that in Italy misery loves company. In the midst of their own budget travails, Luigi di Maio and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s two powerful deputy prime ministers, now seem to be rejoicing in France’s budget problems. Before doing so, they might want to consider that far from reducing the chances that Italy will suffer another round of its sovereign debt crisis, recent French political developments heighten the chances that such an Italian debt crisis might occur sooner rather than later.”


  6. Dennis L. says:

    Meanwhile in the world of fast food.

    It is getting tougher and tougher to find a niche. At Sam’s more and more checkout lanes are automated. At first I resisted, they seem faster although that may be due to my doing something other than standing around; we have become unpaid Sam’s checkout people.

    Dennis L.

  7. Dennis L. says:

    Interesting report, consistent with the issues in France which if I understand correctly Gail has pointed out are the manifestations of declining affordability of fossil fuels.


    Dennis L.

    • This report quotes the same data that I think is not really right.

      At some point, I should write an article on what diesel data from “normal” data sources really says.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        The planet runs on diesel.

        • Dennis L. says:


          Agreed, it runs on diesel as now organized, but the planet self organizes. What does it mean going forward, what is possible, what is no longer possible? In the midwest Kwik Trip is running some of their trucks on natural gas.

          This is a smart site, sometimes only hearing what can’t be is a bit boring, this old world is going to go on, mankind is pretty inventive when need be. What if we don’t need a huge military presence in the middle east, what does that do for our economy, the national debt, our society? If wars are resource wars and the US has the ultimate resource, trade for what we need, learn to build again.

          Thank you Gail for all the data work you do, we look forward to the article on diesel data.

          Dennis L.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Short trips in cities, NG and EV makes sense.
            On long trips, it is all about diesel.
            We shall see if a solution arises (rail, for instance)– but basic psychics is not your friend.

            • MG says:

              With the ageing populations, the flexibility of diesel is crucial. The trains are not very flexible. They can not get everywhere where it is needed. Unless all population is concentrated in the urban centers…

          • It takes resources to build new trucks to make a change. We will have to wait and see how this works out.

  8. Baby Doomer says:

    We Don’t Mine Enough Rare Earth Metals to Replace Fossil Fuels With Renewable Energy

    A new scientific study supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure warns that the renewable energy industry could be about to face a fundamental obstacle: shortages in the supply of rare metals.


    • Baby Doomer says:

      Warning of shortage of essential minerals for laptops, cell phones, electric cars, solar panels, wiring


    • Sven Røgeberg says:

      That guy N Ahmed again? Circular economy will save us;)
      «The key is the ‘circular economy,’ a regenerative approach designed to minimise resource inputs and waste by implementing principles and methods of design, maintenance, repair and recycling. According to Metabolic founder Eva Gladek, “It is essential for us to manage materials in a circular fashion in order to ensure that we have enough for the technologies critical to a low-carbon future.»

      • Slow Paul says:

        So funny… see to France how well reducing resource inputs work. I’m pretty sure Eva Gladek has a comfortable well paid desk-job and not hustling to put food on the table. This hustling does not include thinking much about “technologies” and “low carbon future” LOL

      • All we need to do is get rid of diminishing returns. We will get a circular economy as soon as we get a perpetual motion machine.

  9. Third World person says:

    Hungary ‘slave labour’ law sparks protest on parliament steps

    Protests have broken out in Hungary after the country’s parliament passed new labour laws, which have been labelled “slave labour” by opponents.

    New rules mean companies can demand up to 400 hours of overtime a year and delay payment for it for three years.

    Police used tear gas against crowds on the steps of the parliament building on Wednesday night as crowds gathered.

    Opposition politicians had created chaos inside, blocking stairways and blowing whistles to disrupt the votes.


    but i was tell that right wing partys will save europe

      • MG says:

        The middle class in Austria has disappeared. One of my friends, who works there for about 20 years, says that when he started to work there, it was a norm for the Austrians to go to 2 holiday trips per year. Today, they can afford 1 per year with difficulties.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          It was largely the middle classes of Germany, after their brutal post WW1 drop in living standards was accelerated by the events of 1929, who boosted Hitler from 2.6% of the vote in 1928 to 36.8% in 1933, allowing him to make his play for absolute power.

          • MG says:

            It is always the wishes of the populations, that the leaders (try to) make come true. Using whatever means, otherwise somebody else is elected. I.e. when there was no Hitler, there could by anyone else instead of him under such circumstances that would be allowed and required by the prevailing population to do the same.

          • and with Trump on the ropes

            imagine what will happen if there’s another 9/11 allowing him the sieze ”emergency powers”

            it could easliy happen

            • Tim Groves says:

              IWith all due respect, it couldn’t easily happen because to have a successful 9/11 type event would require control of the dying legacy mockingbird Ted Baxter formerly mainstream media to frame the events in a way that identifies the perps and shows the President as presidential.

              Trump obviously has no control over the media—he can’ even stop them from characterizing him as a criminal, a clown and a thug—and unless makes a deal with those who actually control said media to cooperate with their agenda, he isn’t going to be allowed to get away with picking his nose in public, let alone picking up emergency powers.

            • at the point of the ”9/11” type event–whatever it might be, the POTUS is commander in chief of the military—like it or not

              everyone is used to a nominally sane president behaving sanely—this is a different scenario–a bonkers pres, but everyone can only respond as if he is sane–which he clearly isnt

              so in that brief interval–a day or few–he siezes control before he can be stopped, then the generals are running round mindlessly, never having experienced this before


              but not beyond possibility

            • Tim Groves says:

              Then we must consider ourselves extremely fortunate that we had the relatively sane GWB on the job last time there was another 9/11—i.e. another Pearl Harbor type event.

            • the POTUS has been criminal and insane

              but never at the same time like this one

            • Think of the crazy things Obama encouraged. Then you appreciate the improvement.

            • interesting

              i suppose we must be getting a biased view of the don’s nuttery here on the other side of the pond

            • Artleads says:

              But the anti FF people are way more crazy. Just sent you a post on that subject.

            • where was that post—I seem to have missed that?

            • Tim Groves says:

              “i suppose we must be getting a biased view of the don’s nuttery here on the other side of the pond”

              This is the whole point, Norman. On both sides of the pond, the mass media has created an image of the Don that is a mere caricature of a human being. Our perceptions on this, as on many other issues, are being micromanaged.

              No word, no gesture, no act or decision of Trump’s is too insignificant for them to draw a damningly negative conclusion about it in stark contrast with the sheer hagiographic iconography with which they presented us with Obama—the Liberator of the Libyans and very nearly the Liberator of the Syrians—what was it, exactly, that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for?—and the more nuanced although still airbrushed image they painted of George W. Bush—the Hammer the Taliban and Al Qaida and the Liberator of Afghanistan and Iraq? Even Bubba Bill Clinton—the Hammer of the Serbs and Liberator of Kosovo, as well as a serial groper and rapist almost in the same league as Jimmy Saville, and who is still “dicking bimbos” if Colin Powell is to be believed—has been pre-posthumously beatified into something of a paragon and a statesman.

              And you’re going on about the don’s crimes and nuttery? Well all I can say is that if and when they catch him committing some actual crimes or practicing some real world nuttery, rather than just making stuff up, then no doubt the don will be prosecuted to the full extent that US law allows. Just to keep the circus running until the 2020 elections, the Dems in the House are going to look even deeper into his taxes and investigated whether the inauguration was funded in accordance with the law and a total of about 80 other things including whether talking to Russian people and paying money to extortionists who threaten to tell the world unflattering tales is strictly legal.

              And they are going to keep going after the guy’s wife and children, including his autistic teenage son, as they continue to scrape bottom in their obsession to find fifty ways to hang the guy for any offense whatsoever.

              Because, let’s face it Trump is the biggest problem the US and the World has. Without him we could all have wine and roses again and crank back up those Globalist projects for the good of all mankind.

            • I’m just an outside observer, and all politicians must lie as part of the job they have to do

              but to lie consistently, on a day to day basis, even when proof of his delusions are clearly recorded day by day, plus his clearly stated attitudes to ”lesser people” is clearly evidenced, together with denial of any scientific material related to global warming and suchlike, his recorded bragging about sexual predations, seems to render the potus highly suspect, both as a man, and a president, someone obnoxious at every level.

              body language would seem to indicate that even his wife can’t stand him. (watch how they exit a car, un-together. Walking together, where Melania disengages her hand from his isn’t trivial—whether your POTUS or Mr and Mrs Bloggs in Tesco—the meaning is exactly the same. (get lost)

              Obama no doubt had his faults–just like everyone else, but as far as I know none of his government circle was in any danger of criminal prosecution, much less Obama himself

              Being scrutinised by the press is an unfortunate part of the job of any politician, you’ve got to be squeaky clean to start with

              I try not to base my judgement of politicos on anything other than material that can be shown to be factual

            • Artleads says:

              Artleads says:
              December 14, 2018 at 4:34 pm
              @ Norman Pagett

              A Rant for Santa Fe

      • Chrome Mags says:

        12 hours a day is cruel. For a day or two, or if you’ve got your own business is one thing but all work days?! It’s cruel because the person has hardly any time to themselves/family. At the grocery store I go to one woman checker said she works then just goes home, sleeps, wakes up and goes to work again, and that’s 8 hours a day, but checking peoples groceries is tiresome. Most of them have to bag the groceries too, because management won’t spring for anymore than one bagger for the whole store.

        Fact is it seems to be a natural force at work, that over time management gets the upper hand on labor, and it gets worse and worse until people revolt. That’s what happened in the US early in the 20th century, which led to unions, but now management has once agin gotten the upper hand and the workers are bleep out of luck. It’s time for Austrians and Hungarians to rise up in revolt just like their brethren in France. In life, the basic rule is; if you can’t get a fair shake, you have to fight back. Will people take advantage of workers if they can? You bet.

        • DJ says:

          I come from a country where you bag youre own groceries. I wonder, what do the customer do while their groceries are bagged? Very inefficient.

        • DJ says:

          There must be a shortage of workers for them to gain power. It will never be a shortage again on this side of collapse.

      • The countries competing against us often have very long hours for workers. In fact, workers may work seven days a week. Globalization makes every economy compete with the lowest cost economies.

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