Electricity won’t save us from our oil problems

Almost everyone seems to believe that our energy problems are primarily oil-related. Electricity will save us.

I recently gave a talk to a group of IEEE electricity researchers (primarily engineers) about the current energy situation and how welcoming it is for new technologies. Needless to say, this group did not come with the standard mindset. They wanted to understand what the electricity situation really is. They are very aware that intermittent renewables, including wind and solar, present many challenges. They didn’t come with the preconceived notion that oil is the problem and electricity will save us.

It wasn’t until I sat down and looked at the electricity situation that I realized how worrying it really is. Intermittent wind and solar cannot stand on their own. They also cannot scale up to the necessary level in the required time period. Instead, the way they are added to the grid artificially depresses wholesale electricity prices, driving other forms of generation out of business. While intermittent wind and solar may sound sustainable, the way that they are added to the electric grid tends to push the overall electrical system toward collapse. They act like parasites on the system.

We end up with an electricity situation parallel to the chronic low-price problem we have for oil. Prices for producers, all along the electricity supply chain, fall too low. Of course, consumers don’t complain about this problem. The electricity system also becomes more fragile, as we depend to an ever greater extent on electricity supplies that may or may not be available at a reasonable price at a given point in time. The full extent of the problem doesn’t become apparent immediately, either. We end up with both the electrical and oil systems speeding in the direction of collapse, while most observers are saying, “But prices aren’t high. How can there possibly be a problem?”

Simply removing the subsidies that come from Production Tax Credits doesn’t fix the situation either. In one sense, the problem reflects a combination of many types of direct and indirect subsidies, including state mandates and the requirement that intermittent renewables be allowed to go first. In another sense, the problem is that, in a self-organizing economy, energy prices (including electricity prices) can only rise temporarily. The increase in energy prices is made possible by a growing debt bubble. At some point, this debt bubble collapses. Raising interest rates, as the US is doing now, is a good way of collapsing the debt bubble.

Furthermore, the subsidies for intermittent wind and solar discourage other innovation because they lead to terribly low wholesale prices for innovators to compete against, particularly in areas where hour by hour competitive rating is done. The ultimate problem is that if one type of electricity production is subsidized (even if in subtle ways), all electricity producers must be subsidized. Governments cannot possibly afford such widespread subsidies.

A PDF of my presentation can be found at this link: An Electricity Perspective on the Fragile State of the Economy. In this article, I offer some comments on these slides.

Slide 2.

Slide 3.

Slide 4.

We have all heard the story on Slide 4 so many times that few people stop to question whether the story is really true. My analysis suggests that it may be mostly wrong.

Slide 5.

The big take-away from this slide is that electricity companies planning for new generation should expect much higher electricity prices in the future. I discuss some of these items separately, on Slide 6.

By way of background, the US Energy Information Administration publishes “levelized cost of electricity” estimates that companies producing electricity are expected to use for planning purposes. When new generating capacity is added, planning needs to be started several years in advance. This is why what is being published now is the EIA’s calculation of expected wholesale costs (at a 2017 price level) for 2022.

Current wholesale prices for “dispatchable” electricity (the opposite of intermittent electricity) seem to be in the 3 to 4 cents per kWh range in the continental US, so all of the amounts shown assume that electricity prices will be much higher in the future. This thinking is in parallel with the “high oil prices will save the oil industry in the future” view that is prevalent in the oil industry. This thinking has helped keep the prices of shares of energy stocks up: “Even if there are problems now,” the thinking goes, “certainly higher prices in the future will fix the situation.”

CCS = Carbon Capture and Storage. CCS techniques are designed to remove a specified percentage of the CO2 generated when coal or natural gas is burned to provide electricity. The unwanted CO2 is stored underground. If the CO2 escapes, it can suffocate the population in the surrounding area. I would not make bets on the technique’s widespread adoption.

Slide 6.

Slide 6 shows a wholesale cost comparison for some particular pieces from Slide 5. All of the costs shown are very high compared to current prices. Wholesale prices tend to be in the 3 to 4 cents per kWh range because of the low cost of fuel (2 to 3 cents per kWh) and the low cost of already built generation. With recent changes in regulations, new generation is expected to be very expensive.

With respect to wind, there are two reasons why variable wind can be sold in Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) for 2 to 3 cents per kWh. The first is the substantial subsidies that have been available, making this pricing arrangement profitable to wind producers. The second is the low value that intermittent electricity provides to the grid. In fact, prices locked into these PPAs are slightly below the bottom of the range of expected future natural gas prices (Figure 1, below). This suggests that the primary value of wind generation is to replace natural gas as a future fuel.

Figure 1. Median PPA prices compared to forecast future natural gas prices. Chart by Department of Energy (Chart 54) in its 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report.

Somehow, miraculously, the EIA forecasts that the value of this intermittent wind will rise to 4.1 – 7.8 cents per kWh. In Figure 1, above, this would compare to 41 to 78 $/MWh, which is above the forecast gas price range.

Slide 7.

Notice how low and stable the green coal line is, compared to natural gas prices.

Natural gas comes from two types of producers: (1) those drilling specifically for natural gas, and (2) those drilling primarily for oil, and producing natural gas as a (mostly unwanted) low-value byproduct from drilling for oil. The second type of producer is willing to almost give away natural gas. If it becomes necessary to rely on production from companies whose primary focus is on natural gas production, prices will need to be higher.

Slide 8.

These are all very important assumptions that are not really true.

There is one reason why it might make sense to somewhat believe the first item, “Rising cost of electricity production will be no problem.” This has to do with the cost-plus type of electricity pricing (“regulated pricing”) that is used in some states of the United States. When cost-plus pricing is used, higher costs can, in theory, be passed on to consumers. The catch is that higher electricity prices tend to raise the price of finished goods and services. If wages are not rising rapidly enough, this can lead to an affordability problem. Industrial users of electricity are especially likely to cut back their electricity demand because higher prices make their products less competitive in the world economy.

After the talk, I decided to look at this situation a bit more closely. This analysis strongly suggests that since 2000, increased globalization has been playing a major role in holding down US demand for electricity. If there is an opportunity, industrial production will move to jurisdictions where the total cost of production (including wages, benefits, electricity costs, and other costs) is lower, even if there has not been a big increase in industrial electricity prices.

If we analyze US electricity consumption by type of user (Figure 2), we see that industrial electricity consumption rose rapidly until the late 1970s, plateaued between 1980 and 1999, and began falling in 2000. This pattern suggests that globalization is an issue. Early globalization sent US manufacturing to Western Europe and Japan. Later globalization sent manufacturing to lower-wage countries, predominantly coal-consuming countries of Asia.

Figure 2. US Electricity Consumption Per Capita, by Type of User, based on EIA data.

US labor force participation rates started dropping about 2000, similar to the drop in industrial demand for electricity. Thus, in recent years, globalization seems to be affecting residential consumers as well as industrial consumers. The impact on residential consumers is indirect, through job competition with global markets.

If analysts who estimate the required quantity of new generating capacity ignore the impact of globalization, their models are likely to give high estimates of the amount of new capacity to be added. If more generating capacity is added than is needed, it can be expected to push electricity prices downward, especially in competitive rating jurisdictions.

Slide 9.

As I will discuss later in this presentation, the economy operates based on the laws of physics. Because of this, it is impossible for the economy to change in ways that politicians would like.

Slide 10.

Slide 11.

Most of us have seen stories in the news about Macron and the Yellow Jackets. Can we really assume that citizens will accept higher carbon taxes, without protest?

Slide 12.

Industries get very unhappy when their electricity rates rise, making them uncompetitive with producers in other countries. The rates we are discussing are UK industrial electricity rates, so are a little higher (perhaps 1.5 times higher) than the wholesale prices discussed on Slides 5 and 6. If the price of 8.3 cents per kWh for industrial electricity is a big problem today, how can countries possibly withstand much higher rates, based on higher carbon prices or based on required technology that is much more expensive?

Slide 13.

Suppose a worker gathers reeds and uses them to make baskets. If his production per hour falls, he will have fewer baskets to sell in the marketplace. He cannot expect the price of each basket to rise to make up for his lower production.

For some reason, economists seem to have overlooked this obvious problem. There is no reason to expect that the buyer will be penalized for the higher costs of the energy industry. These higher costs look much like growing inefficiency. In the real world, the seller is generally penalized for falling efficiency. Why do we have so much confidence that the price per barrel of oil can rise, or the price per kWh of electricity can rise, if the price of baskets that a less-efficient worker makes doesn’t rise?

Slide 14. Chart by EIA. More detail on Renewable Energy available on Slide 18.

Slide 14 (made by the EIA) disturbs me. Coal production is dropping off rapidly, but the replacements we have are far from ideal.

Slide 15.

Coal (and nuclear) are the products that have historically kept US electricity prices low. Replacing coal with fuels that are much higher in cost and more variable in availability seems likely to be problematic. Industrial users are likely to be especially distressed.

Slide 16.

The United States has been fortunate enough to have very low natural gas prices recently. A major problem is that these prices are not really high enough for companies extracting natural gas as their primary business. If we really need to depend on natural gas, we will likely need much higher prices. In particular, natural gas prices will need to be high enough for natural gas companies to have bond ratings that are above junk ratings.

The question comes back to, “Can electricity prices really rise very much, without causing major problems?”

Slide 17.

Nuclear power represents a surprisingly large share of electricity generation. Slide 14 shows that in the US, its generation is higher than the sum of all types of renewables combined and almost as high as that produced by natural gas.

Yet nuclear has a lot of problems. It is perceived as dangerous (probably correctly so). Trying to correct the problems with being dangerous leads to a huge increase in the cost of new generation. Businesses in this field, such as Westinghouse, have gone bankrupt. The question of how to dispose of all the spent fuel is still a problem. Also, the many aging reactors will be difficult to replace.

There is also a problem with wholesale rates being too low for nuclear, when electricity rates are competitively set. To work around this problem, some areas use capacity auctions, which are intended to offset the inadequate funding for electricity providers providing backup electricity capacity. One catch is that a capacity auction is, in some sense, needed for every member of the supply chain. Just asking electricity generating companies to bid on providing capacity doesn’t guarantee that the full supply chain will be available.

For example, for natural gas, the capacity auction bid would typically reflect the cost of adding new units for creating electricity from natural gas; such capacity is inexpensive. A more expensive part of the supply chain would be the cost of adding extra natural gas pipeline capacity that is used only a few days a year, when it is very cold or hot. Furthermore, natural gas providers need to be profitable enough to continue to obtain loans at reasonable interest rates. So, even if capacity auctions are provided, they aren’t designed to fix the problems of the whole supply chain.

Furthermore, there has been a recent court ruling that these capacity payments are illegal. I mention in Slide 17 that the UK is affected. In fact, it is the entire European Union that is affected by this ruling. So, even with the best of intentions, member countries of the European Union cannot collect capacity charges to try to offset the underfunding problems caused by giving intermittent renewables grid priority and other subsidies.

Slide 18.

Slide 18 shows that in the US, the only types of renewable generation growing to any significant extent are intermittent wind and solar. Very high subsidies have helped push these types of generation along.

Parts of these subsidies are being phased out, but other, less visible subsidies remain. The fact that intermittent wind and solar are given priority on the grid, when they happen to be available, is a huge subsidy. Also, renewable mandates mean that generation is being added that is not really needed, lowering prices that the self-organizing competitive pricing system creates for backup electricity providers. This is part of the reason for the unprofitability of many natural gas, coal, and nuclear companies.

Slide 19.

In order for intermittent wind and solar to truly be dispatchable, the way other electricity providers are, there needs to be long-term storage for intermittent providers. A big part of the problem is seasonal matching of generation. For example, in a northern area, the main need may be for heat in winter, while intermittent generation may occur primarily in summer. Somehow, the variable wind/solar will need to be stored from summer to winter.

A post by Roger Andrews gives an idea of what the cost of the battery backup needed to solve this seasonal matching problem would be. His calculations indicate that adding sufficient batteries for seasonal matching can be expected to raise generation costs by more than an order of magnitude.

Slide 20.

Slide 21.

Most of the things we associate with rising energy consumption per capita are things we associate with a growing economy. Most people want these things.

Slide 22.

Slide 22 shows amounts I calculated from information from various published sources. These include energy consumption estimates by Vaclav Smil in Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects for older years and BP Statistical Review of World Energy amounts for more recent years. Population estimates are by Angus Maddison.

Based on this slide, most of the growth in world energy consumption ends up being reflected as population growth. It is only when energy consumption growth is very high that the living standards portion (in other words, the energy consumption per capita portion) grows very much.

Slide 23.

The big economic growth bulges that the world economy has experienced are easy to see on Slide 23. One of these is centered around 1910; another is centered around 1970. A third, smaller bulge is centered around 2010; it already seems to be disappearing. This growth bulge was made possible by China and other Asian countries as they ramped up coal production. Now this growth in Asian coal supplies is fading.

Slide 24.

The troughs, where the growth in per capita energy consumption falls to zero or slightly below, represent major problem times for the world economy.

Slide 25.

When a person looks back, the times when oil prices were high (1974-1980, 2008 and 2011) were near energy consumption per capita growth peaks. They were in times of high energy supply, not low. Many favorable outcomes occurred at peak times, including increased cooperation and higher returns on investments.

Slide 26.

Collapses of all kinds occur near troughs in energy prices. Often, these collapses are followed by wars that might be interpreted as resource wars.

Slide 27.

Many of these signs are ones we have been seeing lately. There were calls for tariffs before the US Civil War. Tariffs were increased in the 1920s, to try to reduce competition from abroad. Limits were also placed on immigration during the 1920s.

Slide 28.

When I talk about a vector, I am talking about a combination (really, a weighted average) of many different kinds of somewhat similar inputs. Thus, the energy vector reflects the combination of energy of many types, including human labor sold as labor, in a particular economy. The complexity vector represents the many types of specialization and growing complexity that allows resources (including energy resources) to be used by the economy. The debt vector indirectly represents promises of future goods and services made with energy products. Much of the debt vector needs to be repaid with interest. If the economy is growing rapidly, this is not difficult. If the economy is stagnant, this becomes a problem.

Many people think that oil or crude oil has particular significance. I see the economy operating as an overall whole. Each machine needs to have the particular fuel it uses. Companies decide to build factories in a particular part of the world based on an area’s overall cost level and the stability of its supplies, not based on the price of a single fuel.

Slide 29.

Slide 29 shows my view of how the economy works. As long as the debt level is growing rapidly enough, commodity price levels can be bid up to a high level, allowing increasingly complex goods and services to be produced, using an increasingly complex delivery system. At some point, the increasingly complex system for producing goods and services produces an excessive amount of wage disparity. About the same time, the cost of production tends to rise, as diminishing returns becomes an increasing problem.

The combination of rising production costs and an increasing share of the population with low wages soon creates a variety of problems. The economy tends to grow too slowly, so that debt cannot be repaid with interest. At the same time, the increasingly impoverished non-elite workers cut back on the goods and services they purchase. This might happen if young people find that they need to live with their parents longer, for example.

If interest rates are raised, this speeds up the failure of the system. Eventually, the economy, or a major portion of the economy, tends to collapse.

The big issue that tends to bring an end to economies is the increasing wage and wealth disparity that comes with growing complexity. As long as everyone is fairly equal, no one is squeezed out of buying goods such as homes, vehicles, and other expensive purchases. As businesses and governments get larger and more hierarchical, an increasing share of workers find themselves with low wages. These low wages adversely affect the economy in many ways:

  • It becomes difficult for governments to collect enough taxes.
  • Demand for commodities (such as those used to make homes and vehicles) tends to fall too low, leading to low prices for commodities.
  • Overthrown governments become more common.
  • Low-wage individuals become susceptible to epidemics because they do not eat well.

Slide 31.

The orange Energy Services line in the chart at the right shows the UK’s trend in the price of energy services since 1700, on an inflation-adjusted, efficiency-adjusted basis. The trend in these prices has been almost continuously downward. As long as the cost of energy services is downward, it is possible to add increasing amounts of these energy services, because they become ever more affordable. These energy services allow more goods and services to be produced. This seems to be a major factor underlying economic growth.

Diminishing returns, with a resulting increase in the cost of energy services, tends to be the “spoiler” in this system. In theory, rising complexity can be used to work around these higher costs. In fact, increasing complexity is helpful for a time. Eventually, however, the growing wage and wealth disparity that comes with increasing complexity tends to bring the system down. With the growing complexity, the system no longer has enough high-wage workers who can afford the finished products that the system creates. The many low-wage workers cannot make up for this lack of affordability. The number of new homes and new vehicles sold begins to fall, as a result.

Slide 32.

Interest rates, as well as the debt that is available because of low interest rates, play a surprisingly large role in commodity prices. The issue seems to be that debt is used to finance most large purchases, such as factories, schools, homes, and vehicles. If interest rates are low, it is possible for consumers to afford many more of these large purchases than they could otherwise. Once interest rates rise, the entire economy tends to shrink back. Debt bubbles tend to collapse.

Slide 33.

Slide 34.

Research into complex systems that seem to grow without outside help is a fairly new field. Clearly the economy is such a system. New businesses are added, as individuals see the need for a new product and a way of producing that product in a way that consumers can afford it. New consumers are added over time, as young people grow older and set up their own homes. Governments gradually add laws to regulate the system. Taxes are an important part of the system as well, and tax laws also change over time.

The thing that people don’t stop to think about is the fact that the system cannot really go backward. If a product is no longer needed (buggy whips, for example, for horse drawn carriages), it will no longer be produced. So, the situation is a little like removing the lower rungs of a ladder, as a person climbs up the ladder. This inability to go backward makes it difficult to adapt to falling supplies of any kind of commodity, including energy commodities.

Slide 35.

The vast majority of researchers do not understand the important role that energy plays in operating the economy and making it grow. These self-organizing systems (dissipative structures) absolutely depend on energy consumption. In fact, economies seem to depend upon increasing energy consumption per capita.

At some point, all dissipative structures (including hurricanes, plants and animals, economies and many others) come to an end. This is the way that a finite world can keep adapting and changing. New dissipative structures form and indirectly take the place of the previous dissipative structures. These new structures vary in structure from the previous dissipative structures. If the new structures are not well adapted, they quickly collapse, allowing room for yet other dissipative structures to form. The replacement of economies in this manner acts as a form of evolution, just as plants and animals evolve.

Slide 36.

Researchers tend to create models that fit their own preconceived notions of how the economy should work. This approach, plus the peer review process, tends to produce a lot of papers with the same (often wrong) assumptions.

Slide 37.

These should be fairly self-explanatory.

Slide 38.

This is probably the most important reason that economies tend to collapse. Most people miss the affordability connection because they interpret “Demand” to be something that anyone can do, without thinking about the affordability aspect. Without sufficient income, a person cannot demand a new home or new car, or gasoline from a fuel station.

Slide 39.

There have been many articles written in recent years about growing wage and wealth disparity. In fact, in the US, wage disparity seems to be back at the level it was before the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Slide 40.

Slide 40 tries to explain a paradox. Energy prices don’t really rise, as production falls too low. Instead, the complex system behaves in a strange way, causing commodity prices to fall because of growing wage disparity and debt bubble collapses.

One way of understanding the situation is by understanding that energy consumption is required for jobs that pay well. If insufficient energy supplies are available at a low price, the vast majority of jobs available will be low-paid service jobs. There will, of course, be a few managers and business owners. But these few managers and owners cannot, by themselves, generate enough Demand for goods and services made with energy products to keep commodity prices up. This is why the system tends to fail.

Slide 41.

I have been following oil since 2005, so I have had a chance to hear the discussion evolve. Oil prices were clearly too high for some consumers back in July 2008, when the sub-prime housing debt bubble popped in the United States. By early 2014, I started hearing that oil companies were very unhappy about the low price level available in 2013. In fact, some companies were sufficiently unhappy that they began cutting back on investment in new fields. It was not much later that oil prices dropped further, making the low-price problem even worse for producers.

Slide 42.

It is surprising how large and long-lasting an impact the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991 had on its long term energy consumption. The collapse wiped out a large share of the industry of the Soviet Union and its close affiliates. The Soviet Union was an oil exporter, so the low oil prices of the 1980s were one reason for its collapse. Prices were not high enough for adequate reinvestment in new fields.

Slide 43.

One common inaccurate assumption is that oil prices rise primarily in response to the rising cost of oil production. If a person looks at the data, it becomes clear that interest rates have a huge impact on prices. This seems to happen because the purchase of high-value goods with debt (such as factories, homes, cars, and buildings of all kinds) seems to have a very significant impact on total Demand. Lower interest rates make these high-value goods more affordable. (Quantitative Easing (QE) is a way of reducing long-term interest rates; it also seems to affect oil prices.)

Slide 44.

Since I made up this list, I can add another model to the list that seems to be wrong. The Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY) model of Safa Motesharrei gives an inaccurate assessment of the likely future path of the economy because it leaves out both diminishing returns and long-term population growth.

In every case, the researchers put together models that represent only a part of the way the world’s self-organizing economy actually works. They pick out a few aspects that they think are important, but they miss other important aspects. This selection significantly affects the outcomes predicted by their models.

Slide 45.

Some readers may be familiar with the Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) model. This is a model that is sometimes used to justify the reasonableness of selecting certain substitutes for oil, such as the use of intermittent wind and solar. As with all of the other models, the model gets some things right, but it also gets a lot of things wrong. Without understanding how the economic system really works, it is hard to see what goes wrong with the model.

Slide 46.

Slide 47.

These are all disturbing signs.

Slide 48.

World leaders act in ways that they feel that those who vote for them would like. In some sense, they are trying to save their own part of the world, even if they create increasing problems elsewhere.

Slide 49.

It is difficult for any new technology to get a foothold in a situation where energy prices of all kinds tend to be low. In addition, the pressure seems to be in the direction of reducing energy prices further, even if this means less energy production of all kinds.

Slide 50.

The world has become increasingly globalized in the last thirty years. Because of the greater interconnectedness, if a collapse occurs in the near future, it could be much worse and more widespread than prior collapses. The adverse results could exceed those of the Depression of the 1930s or the Great Recession of 2008-2009. We have no guarantee of being able to preserve either the oil system or the electricity system. The population of the world could fall dramatically; the economy may need to organize again in a new way without either oil or electricity. We live in interesting times.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,042 Responses to Electricity won’t save us from our oil problems

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…the three years from 2014 were characterised by falling oil and commodity prices, which moderated inflation. This gave the global economy a boost it desperately needed, albeit at the expense of oil- and commodity-exporting nations – and the environment. The boost faded in 2017 and left 2018 as a particularly unspectacular year – except in the US, where Donald Trump’s tax cuts more than made up for lacklustre global trade and fed a consumption boom.

    “As 2019 gets under way, things look very different. Consumer debt has risen back to pre-crisis levels in many countries. Corporate borrowing has soared and governments, while they have reduced annual deficits, continue to sit on mountains of debt that dwarf the borrowing seen before the crisis.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Federal Reserve officials, after navigating the U.S. economy through the financial crisis and its rebound, face a fresh test in 2019: engineering an economic soft landing. The central bank’s challenge is to manage a moderation in growth that keeps inflation contained but avoids a recession. It was a main topic at an annual economic conference in Atlanta this weekend that featured top current and former Fed officials.”


      • Lack of a soft landing is a big deal. The Federal Reserve tried to produce a soft landing before the Great Recession, and did a miserable job. It isn’t doing a good job now either.

        • Greg Machala says:

          I don’t think there is anything the Federal Reserve Bank can do that will measurably extend and pretend any farther. If they drop rates to zero, oil prices tend to rise, slowing the economy. If they raise rates oil prices tend to fall making oil unprofitable to extract. It seems to me the Federal Reserve Bank is between a rock and a hard-place.

          • You may be right. Unless somehow these problems can be pushed off onto other countries of the world.

            • Ed says:

              Well, we just need China, India & Europe to stop importing energy, then the US can import it in exchange for food.
              There, My problem solved, but maybe not so good for everyone else.

            • The US actually has quite a bit of food to export, and is no longer a huge importer itself. So I am not sure that it actually works this way.

  2. psile says:

    Australia – it’s coming fellas!

    House prices fall at fastest rate in 35 years as credit tightens, sentiment slips

    House prices are falling at the fastest rate in 35 years, increasing the likelihood of a disorderly market correction and economic recession, according to global investment bank Morgan Stanley.

    In the last three months of 2018 Sydney property prices fell by 15 per cent on an annualised basis, followed by Melbourne’s 12 per cent,with big falls posted in other major capitals.

    “With entrenched weakness across all aspects of the market, 2019 looks unlikely to hold an improvement,” warns Daniel Blake and his team of Morgan Stanley analysis.

  3. There is NO greenhouse gas, NO sustainable green energy and NO peak oil. Photovoltaics is a crude, one way, molecular erosion parlor trick that is a net energy loser.

    “Green Prince of Darkness” > FauxScienceSlayer(.)com

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      well, there is peak oil (a mathematical certainty), but it will happen within the next few years not because of geology but because of lack of affordability…

      3 out of 4 correct… good stuff…

  4. Uncle Bill says:

    More Hopeum out there….Got to feed the Public Perception …tech will save use Humans

    Before the Electric Car Takes Over, Someone Needs to Reinvent the Battery
    Solid-state technology promises to be cheaper and charge faster than anything on the road today. But no one is close to figuring it out

    Lithium-ion technology, the standard for decades in mobile phones and personal electronics before moving into EVs and utility-scale energy storage, uses a liquid electrolyte to shuttle ions between the anode and cathode to charge or discharge a battery. A solid-state battery, as the name suggests, replaces this liquid with a solid material such as ceramic, glass or a polymer.

    That should reduce the risks of batteries bursting into flames and allow for thinner cells and smaller packs that fit under a car seat. Researchers also want to pair the solid electrolyte with a lithium metal anode to improve energy density and enable EVs to travel longer distances without stopping. That could help stoke sales by erasing consumer worries about running out of juice midtrip.
    To achieve all that, there’s a list of puzzles to solve. Prototypes currently have battery life that’s too short for a vehicle and suffer from poor conductivity, uncompetitive costs and a sometimes violent swelling and shrinking of materials when charged or discharged. When scientists solve one problem, that typically exacerbates another, said Yasuo Ishiguro, managing director of Japan’s Consortium for Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center, or LIBTEC. The group of more than 25 companies—including Toyota, Panasonic Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.—is backed by about $90 million in government funding to speed up progress
    “Among all the players out there, it seems like everyone has solved one or two or three of five of the most important things, but nobody has really solved everything,” said Henrik Fisker, chairman and chief executive officer of his namesake Los Angeles-based EV maker
    There is always a challenge to get it all together… Same for me on the Golf Course….one day my Drive and approach shots are fine, but my pitching and putting aren’t, another can putt like a pro but my Drive off the tee are in the woods! The Cosmos likes to have fun being a party pooper!!!

    • Greg Machala says:

      “Solid-state technology promises to be cheaper and charge faster than anything on the road today. But no one is close to figuring it out” – Not everything has a solution. Even in mathematics there are problems without solution.

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Renata is just one of 863,000 Czechs – out of a population of 10.6 million – facing paralysing demands after debt collectors ordered their bank accounts frozen and their incomes slashed on behalf of creditors determined to pursue outstanding dues regardless of ability to pay.

    “Some 150,000 people have 10 or more outstanding debts for amounts they can never hope to pay. Many face inflated fines for not having valid tickets on public transport, often when they were children.”


    • Greg Machala says:

      Somebody has to be left holding the bag. All the debts and promises that were made to kick-the-can-down-the-road are coming due at some point. Either the energy to make good on those promises will be there (and be cheap and profitable) – or it won’t. Many of the debt promises will be unfulfilled.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        “Now we are trying to get unemployment to go up & I think we’re going to succeed”

        — Ronald Reagan, precursor to the half-wit George Bush (Sr., Jr., etc.)

      • psile says:

        The policy of politicians to have the poor shoulder the burden of austerity, debt and elite malfeasance, whilst giving the rich a free pass, is coming to an end.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          “To state the obvious: Mr. Trump is a thin-skinned narcissistic ignoramus. He tries to make everything about himself. He thinks he knows everything better than everyone else. He reacts viciously to the slightest criticism. And he stopped reading and studying decades ago. Not a good combination of traits. “

          • JesseJames says:

            I am trying to figure out how your post relates to the previous post.
            Of course Trump is full of himself…as have all,of our past leaders.

            Duncan, have you taken too much of the Melange?

          • Tim Groves says:

            Duncan and many others are affected with a severe strain of Trump Derangement Syndrome, probably due to their own extremely thin and sensitive skin.

            We get it Duncan. We get it that you and half the US population don’t like Trump. You don’t like Trump even more than you didn’t like Hillary or Bill or Michelle or Barrack or Dubya or Dubya’s dad or Ronnie or Jimmy or Gerald (remember him?) or ricky Dicky or LBJ or JFK. We get that you don’t like Trump loud and clear. We also get it that his election to the presidency rankles you more than the election of any previous POTUS in your lifetime.

            That’s tough Duncan. It really sucks. And it’s going to keep sucking for a while yet because there’s a very strong possibility that Trump is going to be Tweeting and smirking from the White House for six more years.

            From personal experience I can totally understand how someone might be driven to derangement by a political leader they don’t like. Thatcher never appealed to me and neither did Blair. The combination of Blair and Bush strutting together on the world stage was enough to make me reach for the suck bucket. Totally irrational I know, but that’s how they affected me.

            Obama I found transparently insincere and morally repulsive, and Hillary I see as a walking serial criminal who needs to be dealt with to the full extent of the law. I hate the way both Obama and Hillary attempt to talk down to their audiences and wax morally superior. I find it damn offensive. I find it refreshing the way Trump doesn’t do that. I enjoy the way he trolls his opponents and makes up depreciating nicknames for them. I love the way he points out their hypocrisy and their double standards. I’m pleasantly surprised at how he manages to sail on past the vicious criticism and condemnation leveled at him from the media and the celebosphere as if he was an icebreaker cruising the Arctic seas.

            Have you noticed generally how people who happen to strongly dislike Obama or Bush or Clinton are generally able to suppress the urge to rant on about their dislike in public forums when it’s OFF topic and to keep their dislike within the bounds of decency when it’s ON topic?

            And have you noticed how people who happen to strongly dislike Trump are generally unable to do this? The Trump haters have a Pavlovian response to the man’s voice, face and name, and even to thoughts about the man that bubble up from the depths of their imagination. They are obsessed. They are possessed. They are deranged. Trump has taken up residence in their minds like an occupying force. It’s very sad; no, it’s worse than very sad; it’s pathetic.

            • I noticed that on Reverse Engineer’s site, he listed OFW as one place where there is not a strong Republican or Democrat bias. Politics generally stays out of the discussion. I tend to view Republican goings-on, and well as Democrat’s views, as reflecting symptoms of the physics of our economy. The are interesting, but changing the players will not fix the underlying problems causing the political views.

            • one can only assume that your response was laced through with irony

              often difficult to pick up on here sometimes

            • DJ says:

              I don’t suspect irony, everything is true.

            • Ed says:

              Tim, ++++++++

        • The laws of physics seems to say the opposite: if there is not enough to go around, the poor get frozen out; the goods and services that are available rise to the top, like steam. We may not like/choose this outcome, but this is the outcome nature selects, because it guarantees that at least part of the population will be able to carry on, if there is some type of short-term bottle neck, such as a climate fluctuation. This is the way both ecosystems and economies work.

          • psile says:

            Yes, in the long run, we’re all dead. But in the meantime, we’ll get things like this occurring. Some countries will revolt, some will crack down, others will disappear entirely, and at an ever faster rate.

    • MG says:

      They have reformed the personal bankruptcy law in Slovakia in such a way, that the number of the personal bankruptcies skyrocketed:


      13,848 Slovaks Went Bankrupt in 2018, Up 164.33 percent Y-o-y

      The problem is that when you have horrible debts, they crush you so much that you have no motivation to work and earn money, as the distrainors take it almost all. You are like paralyzed.

      “Voluntary choice of distrainors eliminated

      Until recently, Slovak legislation allowed those claiming debt recovery to select a specific distrainor, which led to low efficiency and millions of outstanding distrainment proceedings. Such cases should no longer arise.”


      • kulmthestatusquo says:

        You know Elizabeth Bathory owned the Slovak girls she killed, right? We are going back to these days. There was no poetic justice for her descendants; the last male descendant of hers died in 2013, and there are numerous female descendants still in the highest echelon of Hungary.

        • MG says:

          You should tell this e.g. to an ordinary worker in a machinery company: he thinks it is the people who own the company who suck his blood, as these owners constantly change the management in order to get the profits as the profits are declining. Telling him that he does not work enough and deserves no benefits or wage rise…

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Sounds like a US system.
        Of course, it costs 1/5 as much.

      • DJ says:

        If you have debt but no income in Slovakia, how do you eat? Where do you live?

        • MG says:

          You get some minimum social benefits or such people earn a living via undeclared, black work.

          • DJ says:

            I see potential to incentivize these people.

            But maybe was the purpose keeping growth going, not that debts would ever get repaid.

            • MG says:

              There must be some way of getting rid of the debts: that is why also Christianity contains the teachings regarding the absolutions of sins. It seems that it is better when not the people get into debts, but the institutions: the states, the companies… Otherwise the system paralyzes.

            • “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

              Clearly, debt was a big problem, back 2000 years ago.

            • MG says:

              Since 2008, the debts of the households went down, but the debts of the governments significantly rose (the article in Slovak: https://finweb.hnonline.sk/komentare-a-analyzy/1870013-svet-je-nebezpecne-nepripraveny-na-dalsiu-krizu).

              Well, the answer to too high debts of the citizens in 2008 was to solve it the other way…

            • In the US, I think we are seeing a similar pattern. For example, there are now more corporate owners of stand-alone homes, and lower income people are renting them. Now the corporation has the debt, rather than the family. If there is asset appreciation, the corporation will benefit. If it goes the other way, the corporation will lose out.

      • Greg Machala says:

        The reality is there are just not enough resource to go around. Abundance has turned to shortage – partly as a result of rising populations from the “Green Revolution”. The danger with policy-makers is they seem to see energy and resources as a given. Cheap and readily available. They have not considered the finite nature of these things. Thus, draconian polices are implemented thinking that they will re-stabillize/restore the system to its previous glory for the elite. They do not yet understand that “de-growth” is a fatal disease who’s only cure is cheap resources per capita. Passing the debt for past blunders to those least able to pay is not going to do anything positive and may well instigate riot. The thinking seems to be that one can create prosperity by creating despair.

          • Greg Machala says:

            Yes we need more revolutionary breakthroughs to keep producing more food with less and less input. Until we get free (as in beer) food!!!!

            • Sheila chambers says:

              No we do not “need” to grow more food to feed even more humans!
              We have already been down that road, the result was MORE HUNGRY HUMANS!
              We must STOP trying to feed more people, that’s running the “Red Queens race” & you can never “win” such a “race”. The excess humans will have to STARVE down to what can be sustained without fossil resource inputs because we are too dam stupid to do so with intelligence.
              (WordPress needs to stop getting it’s “undies” in a bunch about the word “dam” when there is no “god” before it.)

            • MG says:

              Food is not the most important issue. It is the energy for the protection of the naked human species against other species and the harsh hot and cold environments, which is not so easily achievable.

              Basically, firstly humans need to be protected, then they can proceed, also with higher food production. It was the higher hygiene (i.e. protection from the germs) that allowed for the population growth and higher food production and consumption. That is why humans live in the houses with narrow interior temperature limits. The house is not a bird nest or a bear pit or similar.

            • Jan Steinman says:

              Food is not the most important issue.

              While I tend to disagree, you may have a point.

              Mitochondrial DNA evidence strongly suggests that humans went through a “bottleneck event” just some 70,000 years ago, when there may have been fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs. That was well after the domestic use of fire, but about the time when humans began constructing shelters, rather than living in “found” shelters, like caves.

              On the other hand, one can live in a snow cave, based only upon the somatic energy you produce, if you have enough high-quality food. Add fire to the mix, and one can live in a wide range of found or minimally-constructed shelters.

              It was the higher hygiene (i.e. protection from the germs) that allowed for the population growth and higher food production and consumption.

              I don’t think so. Certainly, our longevity has increased due to improved hygiene, and it reduces infant mortality by a small amount, but ecologists and biologists agree that it is basically food that makes more humans.

            • MG says:

              And that is a mistake, if some ecologists and biologists think that food is most important for the human species. You can not live naked in an ice cave, you need some protective layers of clothes stolen from other species or artificially produced with the help of the external energy. I am affraid that such ecologists and biologists who put food over energy are deeply mistaken. We are not apes, we are naked. It was the additional energy that allowed ape like human ancestors to penetrate into colder areas.

              The Bible with its description of the original sin and the realization of the humans that they are naked makes this clear: the humans wanted more food, but they needed some body covering (fig leaves in the Bible), when they entered the areas with the food that was beyond their reach, i.e. in the colder areas.

          • Jan Steinman says:

            Thank you Haber—

            Don’t forget Bosch!

            We fix nitrogen the old-fashioned way. It’s been in continuous development for some 2,000,000,000 years, compared to Haber’s and Bosch’s mere decades.

            But then, there are other ways not mentioned in the article. We don’t really have to re-engineer nitrogen-fixing bacteria. All we need to do is pee on plants! Your urine contains about 11% bio-available nitrogen.

            I try to do this as often as I can. In fact, if I’m forced by common decency to use a washroom, I murmur an apology to Mother Earth, because the nutrition in your urine is actually destroyed in sewage treatment, because too much of it causes algal blooms in surface water.

            Want to get rid of Haber-Bosch? Pee on your plants!

            I realize this is vastly easier for those of us with the proper plumbing. But the poor, deprived others can carry around one of these in order to to do their duty in bringing down the natural gas industry!

          • Sheila chambers says:

            We won’t always have the resources to make nitrogen from natural gas or any other synthetic nitrogen & yet each day all of us piss nitrogen down the toilet along with phosphorous another essential nutrient for plants we have all be flushing into the oceans leading to dead zones & putrid pollution.
            Where are the “night soil” collectors when we need them?

            Not only do we need to educate & train millions of people to be organic farmers, we will also need millions of farm workers & “night soil” piss & poo collectors.

            ALL of our organic “waste” needs to be returned to the soil. Too bad we can’t recover the millions of tons of fertilizer that now lies in the deltas to rivers or in our large lakes.
            What a waste of “waste” that has been!
            As we collapse, there will be

            • Sheila chambers says:

              DAM I did NOT post that!!! WTF is wrong with WordPresses software?

              After “there will be” billions of human bodies that will need to be buried, why not bury them under our farmland with it’s poor depleted soils?
              I for one want to be dumped into an unmarked grave, why not get buried under the land of a farm? Instead of “pushing up” inedible “daisies” why not let our dead bodies push up food for the living?
              WordPress needs to add an “EDIT” button! PLEASE!!!

            • Or are many people’s bodies too polluted by all of the drugs that they are taking, and all of the insecticides and other products that get into the system through the meat we are eating, for this to be a good solution?

              I am not a chemist. This is question for someone with more chemical knowledge than me.

            • Mike Roberts says:

              Well said (eventually!).

        • doomphd says:

          Greg, you make many good points, but why should human population growth in the third world bring down the system? Isn’t the problem with the 5% of human population in the US and say, China and the EU, that use 25-50% of the available energy? It’s that use that is coming under resource limits pressure, more so than the remaining 50% left over for everyone else? in other words, if Africa, say, adds 80 million more people last year, what’s the effect other than more asking for more charity to avoid starvation? what we in the first world see as looming disaster may not even register in the third world. you can be killed only so dead.

          • Sheila chambers says:

            The problem won’t stay in the 3rd world or haven’t you noticed all those tens of thousands of Africans MIGRATING to Europe? The come in boats, they walk, they sneak rides on trucks or ships, they will arrive unbidden at YOUR border DEMANDING to be let in so as to take advantage of your welfare system, housing, food & your JOBS.

            When life becomes impossible where they are now, they will LEAVE & MIGRATE to where they believe things are better.
            The “inn” is full, there is no more room for more migrants.

            I expect to see violent border wars when the hordes become too large for other countries to assimulate, they will be deported, they will be blocked, they will be gassed, they will end up being SHOT DEAD at the fence, wall & borders.
            Countries will be forced to defend their countries borders or lose their countries to desperate invaders. I would hate to be one of those migrants but there are simply too many of them & more are on the way.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Strong words, dear lady!

              Lerchio, I’ve written an ode to open borders.
              Shall I read it to you?

              Imagine there’s no borders
              I wonder if you can
              No more customs or immigration
              A siblinghood of man
              Imagine all the people
              Migrating freely to other lands

              Hu Ho Huuu!
              You may say I’m a dreamer
              But I’m not the only one
              Millions of Democrats have joined us
              And the media, the Koch Brothers and George Soros want the world to be one

            • doomphd says:

              that’s why border security is a big deal to the present US administration. they anticipate all the points you raised, for North America, by reinforcing the southern border with Mexico. that will hopefully slow or staunch the flow, already in progress and with prospects worsening in future. the EU has a similar problem on their southern border. their recent disasterous moves to assimilate the MENA refugees have been described as ‘cultural suicide’ by Russian observers (Putin). they seem to forget the close calls they’ve survived at the gates of Vienna.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              yes, Tim…

              those who support open borders are doomed to suffer its consequences…

              Immigrant Karma’s gonna get you
              Gonna knock you off your feet
              Better recognize your brothers
              Ev’ryone you meet
              Why in the world are we here
              Surely not to live in immigrant fear
              Why on earth are you there
              When you’re ev’rywhere
              Come HERE and get your share

              Well we all shine on
              Like the moon and the stars and the sun
              Yeah we all shine on
              Come on in and in and in come on

            • Tim Groves says:

              It was 1982 and I was selling my terrace house in a London suburb as a prelude to moving abroad. My neighbors on one side were an Indian family who had been in the UK for about 10 years. The husband was a taxi driver and the wife stayed at home and wore a sari. They were a nice ordinary couple and my wife and I ate Indian food at their place on several occasions.

              My neighbor on the other side was an indigenous Cockney lady, a widow in her seventies who’s husband had died. She had lived in the street for 50 years and was always washing and cleaning. She boasted to me that she didn’t have a washing machine and didn’t need one as washing by hand was a pleasure.

              While I was trying to sell the house, the estate agent visited with a West Indian couple who were interested in buying the place. The Cockney lady saw them, and later came round to ask me a favor: “Please don’t sell up to one of “them” because I don’t want “them” living next door to me.” I was actually quite shocked at the audacity with which she spoke. I didn’t approve of her attitude, but I felt sorry for her as she was in obvious distress.

              At the same time, I had sympathy with the position of the immigrants who faced all kinds of discrimination at the UK of that time. To be frank, I would have sold to the West Indian family despite the Cockney lady’s request, but as it happened, the West Indian family were unable to meet my price. They signed an initial contract agreeing to the price, and then after the ink was dry, they asked for a discount because they claimed they were unable to afford what they had earlier agreed to pay. I refused to agree to their request and the deal fell through. Then I sold the place to an indigenous young Cockney couple much to the delight of my elderly neighbor.

              The house sold for 24,250 pounds. It is worth ten times that now in pounds. But the pound’s worth a lot less in terms of Mars Bars now than it used to be.

            • Sheila chambers says:

              The problem with migrants isn’t where they are from, I would be glad to have an Indian family living next door or a person from Cameroon, the problem is NUMBERS not “race”. If their here legally, there are few problems but we need to end all immigration not because of where they are from but because we already have more people than can be sustained, we already have millions of homeless, jobless & poor here, we don’t have enough jobs, we don’t have enough housing, our health “care” is too expensive for millions of us & we now have people DYING because they can’t afford their INSULIN.
              We really don’t need any more people no matter where they are from, I would have the same problem with white, blue eyed, blond haired English speaking Norwegians as I would have with “black” Nigerians, we already have too many people & we all have the same basic needs.

              BTW, we are ALL AFRICANS! ALL our ancestors originated in Africa so “racism” should have no place in any discussion about immigration, it should just be about NUMBERS & lack of enough RESOURCES.

          • DJ says:

            In which extent is the poorer 2/3 of the world dependent on inputs from the richer 1/3?

            If nothing else piggybacking on research and development.

            I would not be so sure billions of poor could continue in a world made by hand without seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, water pumps, transport, machines.

          • “Immigration” is the one-word answer.

            The third world cannot feed all of these people.

            • Sheila chambers says:

              But neither can the 1st world assimulate so many people from the 3rd world.
              We in the 1st world would be just as “rich” if most of us consumed less, who needs a new car every 5 years? I’m doing just fine thank you with my small 1991 Honda civic CRX.

              People want us to destroy more land so more of us can be fed but we already know where that will lead, even more people demanding to be fed!
              We must stop trying to feed more people, this is a struggle we can never “win” as the more we feed, more people will be produced who will also want to be fed.
              No matter what we do now, too many is still too many & one way or another, a painful population “adjustment” will soon be made.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Personally I’d feel a lot safer in a good old fashioned car driven by an android chauffeur.

    • Very interesting article! Conclusion seems to be: Forget self-driving automobiles, considerable evidence shows that the technology to produce true self-driving cars is too far away; lets think more about bicycles.

      If the technology to build true self-driving cars is too far away, then I think that it may be an indication that the technology to put solar panels in space using robots is too far away to even consider this option. Any space options perhaps that are considered perhaps need to be scaled back to reflect the true difficulty of making robots that work in all conditions.

  6. Baby Doomer says:

    The Heritability of Fertility Makes World Population Stabilization Unlikely in the Foreseeable Future (Collins 2019)

    Rather than stabilizing around a long-term level for post-demographic transition countries, fertility tends to increase as children from larger families represent a larger share of the population and partly share their parents’ trait of having more offspring. Our results suggest that world population will grow larger in the future than currently anticipated.


    • Uncle Bill says:

      What goes around, comes around! I was thinking the same thing myself….nature (life) always finds a way…..

      Oh well, some much for refraining to populate…others will fill the void

    • Sheila chambers says:

      GROWTH MUST GET FED, when the food runs out, so growth of population will also end no matter how “fertile” they might be.
      There are LIMITS!
      We currently feed 7.6 BILLION humans thanks to fossil resources but that’s going away & there is no way we can feed so many humans without OIL & NATURAL GAS.
      “Nature” will cull the masses because we are too dam STUPID & infested with religion to control our fertility.
      I feel very sorry for all the little children who will end up dying from starvation & disease because their parents were unable or unwilling to control their fertility.

      • Some of these children will be from one-child families in China. Others will be from one-child families in Japan. I would not blame the parents. It is the laws of physics, and the way the self-organized economy operates that mandates that somewhere, more children will be born, and more antibiotics will be distributed so that those who are already alive can live longer. A large share of our current population bulge comes from people living longer, rather than more birds. Campaign against sending malaria nets to Africa!

        • Sheila chambers says:

          Send Africa & other malaria areas malaria nets but also send them birth control, work in giving women more control over their bodies, provide more health care for their children & a better education so they will have fewer.
          With education, female equality, well baby clinics & birth control, they will want to have fewer children because fewer of them will be dying. A high infant death rate encourages a higher birth rate.
          In the US, it’s the most religious & least educated who have the largest families, I expect that’s the same for other parts of the world.
          Religion is the enemy of rationality.

          • Artleads says:

            I don’t say the religion is the enemy of rationality. Rationality isn’t wired in any more than the impulse to religion, I would believe. I wonder if we aren’t all tied up in religious thinking of some sort, even if it’s so called rationality. This is all very puzzling. Does religion accord with rationality in some times and placed and not in others? I could see religious sentiment seriously empowering your appealing African/female perspective above. Much more so than “rationality” and laws maybe. Appeal to the impulse to righteousness.

            • The new religion seems to be “He who dies with the most toys wins.” High priests are economists.

              We have constructed in our minds what God must look like, based on a Progressive view of how the world works. Based on that view, God can’t exist. The problem is that our mental view of what God must be like is wrong. God is the God of the laws of physics and of dissipative structures. The system does not always seem to move forward. Different religions are self-organized over time, to meet the needs at a particular time.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Does religion accord with rationality in some times and placed and not in others?”

              I make a case that they are deeply connected. The cycle for hundreds of thousands of years was for the population to grow until it reached resource limits. Humans detected “bleak times” ahead. Xenophobic memes built up and war reduced the population back to where the environment could support them.

              The oddest thing about this cycle is a conflict between humans and their genes. It is rational to go to war (under some circumstances) for the genes but not the humans. So the genes have been selected that foster irrationality and the support for irrational leaders under times of economic/ecological stress. https://www.academia.edu/777381/Evolutionary_psychology_memes_and_the_origin_of_war

              I have an unpublished math model of how well genes do in wars and staying out of wars. Genes do better in wars (under some circumstances) because of the copies of genes carried by the young women of the defeated tribe. The young women usually become wives or extra wives for the victors in the war. From the genes viewpoint, this limits the downside of going to war even if defeated and killed.

            • religions promise that gods will deliver abundance forever

              this is a lie of course

              so wars start when resources fall to a critical low, encouraged by priests who insist that god has sanctioned it, because ”others’ have what does not belong to them—ie their god is a false god

              god is always on ”our” side

              therefore ”we” cannot lose.

              If by chance we do lose—it can only be because we sin too much, didnt pray hard enough–or god just had an off day

              if we have a succession of wins, then our god must be all powerful, and opposing enemies come to believe it well, for a while

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      this is a myopic half story of epic proportions…

      “As a result of the world total fertility rate remaining above the replacement rate, our analysis shows that not only will world population stabilization not occur this century, but population growth in post-transition countries will increase toward the end of the century. There is less than a 5% chance of world population stabilization. Our median projections indicate that world population may increase from 7.4 billion people in 2015 to 9.8 billion people in 2050 and 12.4 billion in 2100, a material increase on the 11.3 billion people in 2100 estimated from fertility projections in the base model (Fig. 2). A critical insight of this approach for forecast future population growth is that beyond this horizon, there is no particular reason to expect the world population to stabilize by itself at a sustainable level.”

      so their field of expertise is “fertility”…

      they give zero weight to the resources needed to support the higher population…

      “There is less than a 5% chance of world population stabilization.”

      this is their myopia talking…

      resource depletion and diminishing returns will far outweigh any increasing fertility…

      there is greater than a 95% chance of a permanent post peak human population in the year 2100…

      • doomphd says:

        a Science article, very pinnacle type stuff. topic is like worrying about rainfall forecast at bottom of ocean. they should familiarize themselves with the term ‘overshoot’.

      • Lots of linear models without enough variables. These models seem to be used throughout “science” today.

        • there was a prog on UK radio this morning about world population, and developed countries not having enough babies

          Norway was held up as the example of how to keep things in perfect balance through incentives, but as they pointed out, Norway is wealthy enough to be able to afford it

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