Understanding Why the Green New Deal Won’t Really Work

The reasons why the Green New Deal won’t really work are fairly subtle. A person really has to look into the details to see what goes wrong. In this post, I try to explain at least a few of the issues involved.

[1] None of the new renewables can easily be relied upon to produce enough energy in winter. 

The world’s energy needs vary, depending on location. In locations near the poles, there will be a significant need for light and heat during the winter months. Energy needs will be relatively more equal throughout the year near the equator.

Solar energy is particularly a problem in winter. In northern latitudes, if utilities want to use solar energy to provide electricity in winter, they will likely need to build several times the amount of solar generation capacity required for summer to have enough electricity available for winter.

Figure 1. US daily average solar production, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Hydroelectric tends to be a spring-dominated resource. Its quantity tends to vary significantly from year to year, making it difficult to count on.

Figure 2. US daily average hydroelectric production, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Another issue with hydroelectric is the fact that most suitable locations have already been developed. Even if additional hydroelectric might help with winter energy needs, adding more hydroelectric is often not an option.

Wind energy (Figure 3) comes closest to being suitable for matching the winter consumption needs of the economy. In at least some parts of the world, wind energy seems to continue at a reasonable level during winter.

Figure 3. US daily average wind production, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Unfortunately, wind tends to be quite variable from year to year and month to month. This makes it difficult to rely on without considerable overbuilding.

Wind energy is also very dependent upon the continuation of our current economy. With many moving parts, wind turbines need frequent replacement of parts. These parts need to be precisely correct, with virtually no tolerance for change. Sometimes, helicopters are needed to install the new parts. Because of the need for continued high-technology maintenance services, wind energy cannot be expected to continue to operate for very long unless the world economy, with all of its globalization, can continue pretty much as today.

[2] Depending upon burned biomass in winter is an option, but we already know that this path is likely to lead to massive deforestation.

Historically, people burned wood and other biomass to provide heat and light in winter. If biomass is burned for heat and light, it is an easy step to using charcoal for smelting metals for goods such as nails and shovels. But with today’s population of 7.7 billion people, the huge demand for biomass would quickly deforest the whole world. There is already a problem with growing deforestation, especially in tropical areas.

It is my understanding that the Green New Deal is focusing primarily on wind, hydroelectric, and solar rather than biomass, because of these issues.

[3] Battery backup for renewables is very expensive. Because of their high cost, batteries tend to be used only for very short time periods. At a 3-day storage level, batteries do nothing to smooth out season-to-season and year-to-year variation.

The cost of batteries is not simply their purchase price. There seem to be several related costs associated with the use of batteries:

  • The initial cost of the batteries
  • The cost of replacements, because batteries are typically not very long-lived compared to, say, solar panels
  • The cost of recycling the battery components rather than simply leaving the batteries to pollute the nearby surroundings
  • The loss of electric charge that occurs as the battery sits idle for a period of time and the loss related to electricity storage and retrieval

We can get some idea of the cost of batteries from an analysis by Roger Andrews of a Tesla/Solar City system installed on the island of Ta’u. The island is in American Samoa, near the equator. This island received a grant that was used to add solar panels, plus 3-day battery backup, to provide electricity for the tiny island. Any outages longer than the battery capacity would continue to be handled by a diesel generator. The goal was to reduce the quantity of diesel used, not to eliminate its use completely.

Based on Andrews’ analysis, adding a 3-day battery backup more than doubled the cost of the PV-alone system. (It added 1.6 times as much as the cost of the installed PV.) The catch, as I pointed out above, is that the cost doesn’t stop with purchasing the initial batteries. At least one set of replacement batteries is likely to be needed during the lifetime of the system. And there are other costs that are more subtle and difficult to evaluate.

Furthermore, this analysis was for a solar system. There seems to be more variation over longer periods for wind. It is not clear that the relative amount of batteries would be enough for 3-day backup of a wind system, or for a combination of wind, hydroelectric and solar. The long-term cost of a solar panel plus battery system might easily come to four times the cost of a wind or solar system alone.

There is also the issue of necessary overbuilding to make the system work. On Ta’u, near the equator, with diesel power backup, the system is set up in such a way that 40% of the solar generation is in excess of the island’s day-to-day electricity consumption. This constitutes another cost of the system, over and above the cost of the 3-day battery backup.

If we also eliminate the diesel backup, then we start adding more costs because the level of overbuilding would need to be even higher. And, if we were to create a similar system in a location with substantial seasonal temperature variation, even more overbuilding would be required if enough capacity is to be made available to provide sufficient generation in winter.

[4] Even in sunny, warm California, it appears that substantial excess capacity needs to be added to avoid the problem of inadequate generation during the winter months, if the electrical system used is based on wind, hydroelectric, solar, and a 3-day backup battery.

Suppose that we want to replace California’s electricity consumption (excluding other energy, including oil products) with a new system using wind, hydro, solar, and 3-day battery backup. Current California renewable generation, compared to current consumption, is as shown on Figure 4, based on EIA data.

Figure 4. California total electricity consumption compared to the sum of California solar, wind, and hydroelectric production, on a monthly average basis. Data used from the US Energy Information Administration through June 30, 2019.

California’s electricity consumption peaks about August, presumably due to all of its air conditioning usage (Figure 5). This is two months after the June peak in the output of solar panels. Also, electricity usage doesn’t drop back nearly as much during winter as solar production does. (Compare Figures 1 and 5.)

Figure 5. California electricity consumption by month, based on US Energy Information Administration data.

We note from Figure 4 that California hydroelectric production is extremely variable. It appears that hydroelectric generation can vary by a factor of five comparing high years to low years. California hydroelectric generation uses all available rivers, so any new energy generation will need to come from wind and solar.

Even with 3-day backup batteries, we need the system to reliably produce enough electricity that it can meet the average electricity generation needs of each separate month. I did a rough estimate of how much wind and solar the system would need to add to bring total generation sufficiently high so as to prevent electricity problems during the winter. In making the analysis, I assumed that the proportion of added wind and solar would be similar to their relative proportions on June 30, 2019.

My analysis suggests that to reliably bridge the gap between production and consumption (see Figure 4), approximately six times as much wind and solar would need to be added (making 7 = 6 +1 times as much generation in total), as was in place on June 30 , 2019. With this arrangement, there would be a huge amount of wind and solar whose production would need to be curtailed during the summer months.

Figure 6. Estimated share of wind and solar production that would need to be curtailed, to provide adequate winter generation. The assumption is made that hydroelectric generation would not be curtailed.

Figure 6 shows the proportion of wind and solar output that would be in excess of the system’s expected consumption. Note that in winter, this drops to close to zero.

[5] None of the researchers studying the usefulness of wind and solar have understood the need for overbuilding, or alternatively, paying backup electricity providers adequately for their services. Instead, they have assumed that the only costs involved relate to the devices themselves, plus the inverters. This approach makes wind and intermittent solar appear far more helpful than they really are.

Wind and solar have been operating in almost a fantasy world. They have been given the subsidy of “going first.” If we change to a renewables-only system, this subsidy of going first disappears. Instead, the system needs to be hugely overbuilt to provide the 24/7/365 generation that backup electricity providers have made possible with either no compensation at all, or with far too little compensation. (This lack of adequate compensation for backup providers is causing problems for the current system, but it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss them here.)

Analysts have not understood that there are substantial costs that are not being reimbursed today, which allow wind and solar to have the subsidy of going first. For example, if natural gas is to be used as backup during winter, there will still need to be underground storage allowing natural gas to be stored for use in winter. There will also need to be pipelines that are not used much of the year. Workers will need to be paid year around if they are to continue to specialize in natural gas work. Annual costs of the natural gas system will not be greatly reduced simply because wind, hydro, and water can replace natural gas usage most months of the year.

Analysts of many types have issued reports indicating that wind and solar have “positive net energy” or other favorable characteristics. These favorable analyses would disappear if either (a) the necessary overbuilding of the system or (b) the real cost of backup services were properly recognized. This problem pervades studies of many types, including Levelized Cost of Energy studies, Energy Returned on Energy Invested studies, and Life Cycle Analyses.

This strange but necessary overbuilding situation also has implications for how much homeowners should be paid for their rooftop solar electricity. Once it is clear that only a small fraction of the electricity provided by the solar panels will actually be used (because it comes in the summer, and the system has been overbuilt in order to produce enough generation in winter), then payments to homeowners for electricity generated by rooftop systems will need to decrease dramatically.

A question arises regarding what to do with all of the electricity production that is in excess of the needs of customers. Many people would suggest using this excess electricity to make liquid fuels. The catch with this approach is that the liquid fuel needs to be very inexpensive to be affordable by consumers. We cannot expect consumers to be able to afford higher prices than they are currently paying for fossil fuel products. Also, the new liquid fuels ideally should power current devices. If consumers need to purchase new devices in order to utilize the new fuels, this further reduces the affordability of a planned changeover to a new fuel.

Alternatively, owners of solar panels might be encouraged to use the summer overproduction themselves. They might set the temperatures of their air conditioners to a lower setting or heat a swimming pool. It is unlikely that the excess could be profitably sold to nearby utilities because they are likely encounter the same problem in summer, if they are using a similar generation mix.

[6] As appealing as an all-electric economy would seem to be, the transition to such an economy can be expected to take 150 years, based on the speed of the transition since 1985.

Clearly, the economy uses a lot of energy products that are not electricity. We are familiar with oil products burned in many vehicles, for example. Oil is also used in many ways that do not require burning (for example, lubricating oils and asphalt). Natural gas and propane are used to heat homes and cook food, among other uses. Coal is sometimes burned in making pig iron and cement in China.

Figure 7. Electricity as a share of total energy use for selected areas, based on BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Electricity’s share of total energy consumption has gradually been rising (Figure 7).* We can make a rough estimate of how quickly the changeover has been taking place since 1985. For the world as a whole, electricity consumption amounted to 43.4% of energy consumption in 2018, rising from 31.2% in 1985. On average, the increase has been 0.37%, over the 33-year period shown. If we assume this same linear growth pattern holds going forward, it will take 153 years (until 2171) until the world economy can operate using only electricity. This is not a quick change!

[7] While moving away from fossil fuels sounds appealing, pretty much everything in today’s economy is made and transported to its final destination using fossil fuels. If a misstep takes place and leaves the world with too little total energy consumption, the world could be left without an operating financial system and with way too little food. 

Over 80% of today’s energy consumption is from fossil fuels. In fact, the other types of energy shown on Figure 8 would not be possible without the use of fossil fuels.

Figure 8. World Energy Consumption by Fuel, based on data of 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

With over 80% of energy consumption coming from fossil fuels, pretty much everything we have in our economy today is available thanks to fossil fuels. We wouldn’t have today’s homes, schools or grocery stores without fossil fuels. Even solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and modern hydroelectric dams would not be possible without fossil fuels. In fact, for the foreseeable future, we cannot make any of these devices with electricity alone.

In Figure 8, the little notch in world energy consumption corresponds to the Great Recession of 2008-2009. The connection between low energy consumption and poor economic outcomes goes back to many earlier periods. Energy consumption growth was unusually low about the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s and about the time of the US Civil War. The vulnerability of the financial system and the possibility of major wars are two reasons why a person should be concerned about the possibility of an energy changeover that doesn’t provide the economic system with adequate energy to operate. The laws of physics require energy dissipation for essentially every activity that is part of GDP. Without adequate energy, an economy tends to collapse. Economists are generally not aware of this important point.

Agriculture is dependent upon fossil fuels, particularly oil. Petrochemicals are used directly to make herbicides, pesticides, medications for animals and nitrogen fertilizer. Huge quantities of energy are necessary to make metals of all kinds, such as the steel in agricultural equipment and in irrigation pumps. Refrigerated vehicles transport produce to market, using mostly oil-based fuel. If the transition does not go as favorably as hoped, food supplies could prove to be hopelessly inadequate.

[8] The scale of the transition to hydroelectric, wind, and solar would be unimaginably large.

Today, wind, hydroelectric, and solar amount to about 10% of world energy production. Hydroelectric amounts to about 7% of energy consumption, wind about 2%, and solar about 1%. This can be seen on Figure 8 above. A different way of seeing this same relationship is shown in Figure 9, below.

Figure 9. World hydroelectric, wind and solar production as share of world energy supply, based on BP’s 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 9 shows that hydroelectric power is pretty well maxed out, as a percentage of energy supply. This is especially the case in advanced economies. This means that any increases that are made in the future will likely have to come from wind and solar. If hydroelectric, wind and solar are together to produce 100% of the world’s energy supply, then wind and solar, which today comprise 3% of today’s energy supply, will need to ramp up to 93% of energy supply. This amounts to a 30-fold increase in wind and solar between 2018 and 2030, based on one version of the Green New Deal’s planned timing. We would need to be building wind and solar absolutely everywhere, very quickly, to accomplish this.

[9] Moving to electric vehicles (EVs) for private passenger autos is not likely to be as helpful as many people hope.

One issue is that it is possible to mandate the use of EVs, but if the automobiles cost more than citizens can afford, many citizens will simply stop buying cars at all. At least part of the worldwide reduction in automobile sales seems to be related to changes in rules that are intended to reduce auto emissions. The slowdown in auto sales is part of what is pushing the world into recession.

Another issue is that private passenger autos represent a smaller share of oil consumption than many people would expect. BP data indicate that 26% of worldwide oil consumption is gasoline. Gasoline powers the vast majority of the world’s private passenger automobiles today. While an oil savings of 26% would be good, there would still be a very long way to go.

One study of EV sales in Norway suggests that, with large subsidies, these cars are disproportionately sold to high-income families as a second vehicle. The new second vehicles are often used for commuting to work, when prior to the EV ownership, the owner had been taking public transportation. When this pattern is followed, the savings in oil use from the adoption of EVs becomes very small because building and transporting EVs also requires oil use.

Figure 10. Source: Holtsmark and Skonhoft The Norwegian support and subsidy policy of electric cars. Should it be adopted by other countries?

If one of the goals of the Green New Deal is to level out differences between the rich and the poor, mandating EVs would seem to be a step in the wrong direction. It would make more sense to mandate walking or the use of pedal bicycles, rather than EVs.

[10] Wind, solar, and hydroelectric have pollution problems themselves.

With respect to solar panels, a major concern is that if the panels are broken (for example, by a storm or near the end of their lives), water alone can leach toxic substances into the water supply. Another issue is that recycling needs to be subsidized, to be economic. The price of solar panels needs to be surcharged at the front end, if adequate funds are to be collected to cover recycling costs. This is not being done in the US.

Wind turbines are better in terms of not being made of toxic substances, but they disturb bird, bat, and marine life in their vicinity. Humans also complain about their vibrations, if the devices are close to homes. The fiberglass blades of wind turbines are not recyclable, and many of them are too big to fit into standard crushing machines. They need to be chopped into pieces, in order to fit into landfills.

Adding huge amounts of 3-day battery backup for wind turbines and solar panels will create a new set of recycling issues. The extent of the recycling issues will depend on the battery materials used.

Of course, if we try to ramp up wind and solar by a huge factor, pollution problems will rise accordingly. The chance that raw materials will prove to be scarce will increase as well.

There will also be an increasing problem with finding suitable sites to install all of the devices and batteries. There are limits on how densely wind turbines can be spaced before the output of one wind turbine interferes with the output of other nearby turbines. This problem is not too different from the problem of declining per-well oil production caused by too closely spaced shale wells.  


I could explain further, but that would make this post too long. For example, using an overbuilt renewables system, there is not enough net energy to provide the high salaries almost everyone would like to see.

Also, the new renewable energy systems are likely to be more local than many have hoped. For example, I think it is highly unlikely that the people of North Africa would allow contractors to build a solar system in North Africa for the benefit of Europeans.


*There are two different ways of comparing electricity’s value to that of total energy. Figure 7 uses the more generous approach. In it, the value of electricity is based on the amount of fossil fuels that would need to be burned to produce the electricity amounts shown. In the case of electricity types that do not involve the burning of fossil fuels, these amounts are estimated amounts. The less generous approach compares the heat value of the electricity produced to the total heat value of primary energy sources. Using the less generous approach, electricity corresponds to only about 20% of primary energy supply. The transition to an all-electric economy would be much farther away using the heat value approach.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
This entry was posted in Alternatives to Oil, Financial Implications and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,326 Responses to Understanding Why the Green New Deal Won’t Really Work

  1. GeT HaPpY says:

    All together now …BURN MORE COAL…..

    Collapse in Coal Prices Spurs Distress Among Indonesian Miners
    (Bloomberg) — Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.
    The global collapse in coal prices this year has dealt a particularly heavy blow to miners in Indonesia, the top exporter and one of the largest producers of the fuel.
    Bonds from the country’s financially weak miners have suffered more than peers elsewhere in Asia due to a lack of diversification and state backing that many competitors enjoy. Prices of thermal coal — the kind burned by power plants — have slumped about 30% this year, and at least four U.S. firms have gone bankrupt.
    As some lenders look to stop financing coal power plants and investors are under more pressure to “go green,” companies that mine or use coal are left with fewer funding options.
    “Among the Indonesia coal names, some are facing severe stress,” said Bharat Shettigar, head of Asia ex-China corporate credit research at Standard Chartered Plc. “If prices stay depressed for the next 12 to 18 months, there could be restructuring of some U.S. dollar bonds in the Indonesia coal sector.”
    Bonds sold by Indonesia coal miners Geo Energy Resources Ltd., PT ABM Investama and PT Bumi Resources have slumped in the past six months.

    When the fossil fuel corps go bellie up….GAME OVER BAU

    • It is amazing all of the crazy ideas people have. Let’s eliminate food, while we are at it!

      • Dennis L. says:

        Ah, could we still make alcohol so I would have a market for my crops and we could pass in a mellow mood?

        Dennis L.

        • Alcoholic drinks seem to have been around for a very long time. Grape juice cannot be left out at room temperature without fermenting. I expect grain ferments pretty easily too.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            drinking water was quite hazardous for quite a bit of our history.
            Alcohol solved that problem.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            There are people who think the agricultural revolution was driven by people wanting to get drunk.

            Alcohol has been around long enough to have caused serious genetic selection. The less time a population has been exposed, the more problems with alcohol they have. I have seen somewhere that the native (unselected) state of humans is about 95% alcoholics. One of the native tribes in the US went from around 95% to 70% in a few generations due to failure to reproduce, vehicle accidents and freezing in the snow of the ones most affected by alcohol.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      here’s the only necessary quote:

      “Now a pair of economists has offered a cogent argument…”

      no, this is a typical misunderstanding of energy by economists whose heads are up their assets…


      I mean, no disrespect intended… sarc…

  2. MG says:

    The birds and the lack of the control of vegetation cause frequent power cuts in the depopulating part of Slovakia, damaging home appliances and interrupting the function of the companies.


    • Electricity transmission lines need frequent attention, wherever they are. Without it, there are fires and many outages. Perhaps damage to home appliances as well.

      • MG says:

        The energy company proposed the given consumers to use surge protections and back-up power sources.

        That way the batteries have their meaning: protecting the remaning populations when the depopulation is going on.

        • That reminds me–I need to get a new surge protector for my home computer. Batteries don’t age well. The last power outage, it stopped giving backup power very quickly. This plan works if there are lots of surge protectors in use and everyone keeps replacing the batteries on a timely basis. Of course, batteries only work for a few things. For most equipment, generators (usually operated by diesel) are needed. Providing backup power can easily get to be an expensive proposition.

  3. Dennis L. says:

    Okay, on a more positive note:


    Yes, I know hopium, but DOD and Navy pilots have reported craft accelerating at impossible speeds and making impossible turns.

    No one patents the golden egg if they can avoid it, e. g. Coke Cola. To my knowledge we did not patent the atomic bomb or the thermonuclear ones either. We may not be alone in this area, Russia recently experienced a nuclear malfunction on a “missile” fired into the Arctic.

    The technology would make a lot of oil infrastructure redundant.

    Politically, if this technology actually works, it would make sense to begin pulling out of the sand box with a ten year time frame.

    Secondary thought: What if the tertiary economy no longer serves any purpose? What really happens if it is turned off? Is an oil well worth any more or less than it was prior to the reset? Does one have to flip a switch, or can one use a rheostat and slowly dim the lights so to speak?

    As always, I look forward to various thoughts on this.

    Dennis L.

    • Someone sent me a link to this hopium article from early 2018 recently:


      Harvard Researchers Pioneer Photosynthetic Bionic Leaf
      By Amy L. Jia and Sanjana L. Narayanan, Crimson Staff Writers

      Researchers in the Chemistry department and at Harvard Medical School are exploring new applications for a “bionic leaf” that can generate liquid fuel and other valuable resources using only sunlight, air, and water.

      The bionic leaf expands on technology pioneered by Chemistry Professor Daniel G. Nocera. Nocera, formerly a professor at MIT, first created what he called an “artificial leaf” made of silicon. The leaf splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using special catalysts energized by sunlight, producing a chemical fuel that can then be stored and used as an energy source.

      Nocera and his colleague, Harvard Medical School Systems Biology Professor Pamela A. Silver, recently took this technology a step further. Working alongside doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, Nocera and Silver developed a bionic leaf that merges the artificial leaf with a genetically engineered bacterium that consumes only hydrogen.

      We need all of these things yesterday. We also need a way for the system to make use of them in a way that makes finished goods and services more affordable for ordinary citizens and also creates jobs.

      • Xabier says:

        It’s called ‘desperately seeking the next research grant’: the major activity of scientists, not saving the world at all.

        Destroy -and continue to destroy – a rich and viable ecosphere, and fantasise about bionic leaves producing liquid fuels……

      • rufustiresias999 says:

        « We also need a way for the system to make use of them in a way that makes finished goods and services more affordable …”. Yes.
        We also need this energy “production” to be delivered in a defined time frame. I’m not a physics expert, but I learned in school (long ago) that energy can’t be created but only transformed. So whatever the process, it can only “store” that energy (in the chemical structure of molecules I guess), just as fossile fuels do. The yield will be less than 1 (100%), and you can only capture in 1 day a certain amount of the energy the sun sends in 1 day. This certain amount depends on the surface you’ll use for that purpose. How much surface and how many days will it take to catch the equivalent energy of 100 millions of barrels of oil we extract today ?
        I wish I could believe. Hopium indeed.
        Sincerly yours
        (I’m the former Rufus. Had to create a WordPress Account to reply, with an available alias)

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “How much surface and how many days will it take to catch the equivalent energy of 100 millions of barrels of oil we extract today?”

          I posted recently an analysis where ground-based solar at $17/MWh would make $44 per bbl synthetic fuel. This took about 100 square km and made 38,000 bbl of fuel a day. It would take ~2600 of these to make 100 million bbls per day. That would mean about 260,000 square km solar farms. That would cover about 1/35th of the Sahara desert or 1/8th of Saudi Arabia.

          Using the capital to power cost ratio of 80,000 to one, the investment in solar power would be $1360 per kW or $1,360,000 per MW. It takes around 2 MWh to make a bbl of synthetic fuel. So a MW of capacity over 24 hours would make the hydrogen for 12 bbls. It would take 38,000/12 or 3.167 GW per plant at a cost of around $4.3 B each. This scales right considering the $12 B costs of a 5 GW power satellite.

          The total cost for 2600 of these plants would be around $13 T. While that’s not pocket change, we have at least a decade to do it and 1.3 T a year is probably doable. The whole set of plants would draw around 8.2 TW — which sounds about right in the context of all human energy using being about 15 TW and oil being about half.

          Interesting that the cost of solar power plants is over 4 times the cost of the F/T plant if the cost can be kept to $1 B like the Sasol plant in Qatar. This also scales to my cost estimate of a capital cost of around $10/bbl in a total cost of $44/bbl.

          This back-of-the-envelope scheme is based on a recent solar power plant bid and an existing F/T plant in Qatar so it should be fairly solid. Intermittency is not a problem and it certainly takes care of seasonal energy storage. There are a couple of items that have been left out, but on the other hand, the builders can hook the electrolysis cells directly to the PV DC ouput. The electrolizer cells might be a cost wash with the inverters. There is also collecting CO2 as feed to a reverse water gas shift unit that makes CO for the F/T plant but this is a small item and we well understand how to do it.

          I don’t know if Gail might find synthetic oil at $44/bbl is low enough to make the economy work. Building the system would generate considerable debt.

          • I can guarantee you that Saudi Arabia would not sell you electricity for $17/MWh, even if it can find someone who will build and operate the solar panels for that price. Saudi Arabia badly needs a source of tax revenue to pay for all of its imported food and other subsidies that it needs to provide in a desert climate. I am sure that Saudi Arabia would charge you at least double the $17/MWh. This would bring your cost up to $88 per barrel.

            Or you could start with solar panels in a less advantageous part of the world. Whoever allows you to put up all of these solar panels will require you to rent the land, or will require some sort of tax revenue related to this endeavor. This again brings the cost up.

            My experience with back-of-the-envelope estimates is that they tend to leave things out. As a result, they tend to be on the low side.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “bring your cost up to $88 per barrel.”

              If they did, there would be no synthetic oil sales from Saudia Arabia. That’s not a problem because there are other countries with a big chunk of desert.

            • The other desert countries also need high taxes from anything that they can sell. They don’t have much arable land at all, and have few other resources with which to support their populations.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              True. And as an idea, this one might not make cheap enough energy.

              What would you say is the price for synthetic oil that would make the future bright? I don’t have a target and that would be very useful.

            • Affordability for oil (and for other energy products) seems to be headed down-down-down. This is a problem.


              By the time all of this can be built, $10 per barrel might be the target.

              Growing “complexity” tends to make the falling energy price problem worse. The installations really need to be set up in such a way that they hire a lot of not-particularly-educated local people at a pretty adequate salary. In this way, the local economy can get revenue to help its economy. (It can then run its economy with less tax revenue, since there is the opportunity to tax local wages.) Not much of the revenue of the project can be skimmed off to pay the owners of the devices, or technical workers, or bond holders.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “$10 per barrel might be the target.”

              That’s the capital cost of the synfuel plant without any energy or hydrogen feed. If that is really the price we must produce oil for, then I have no idea how to do it.

              That does not mean the future is totally bleak because there are lots of inventive people in the world. But physics is not going to make it easy.

            • Tim Groves says:

              How about a country with lots of desert and a very low population that isn’t addicted to Saudi Arabian living standards? I’m thinking Mongolia, Namibia or Mauritania. Or perhaps Somalia if the factions their can be made to stop fighting each other.

            • The reason the factions are fighting in Somalia and many other places is too little energy consumption per capita. This is the reason that they would very much want to tax any new type of energy source heavily. I have a hard time believing any place would be willing to put in place facilities such as Keith has suggested without placing a high tax on output.

              Regarding your question, Mongolia is eliminated because it is landlocked. It would take a tremendous amount of pipelines to ship all of the oil products to other parts of the world. It would also be difficult to transport all of the materials to Mongolia for building the solar panels and for constructing the facilities for making liquids using the output.

              A country with even days and nights year around is preferred, because the size of the liquids plant can be better sized to the output of the solar panels. If the output of the solar panels is variable, much of the output may be lost, either the solar panels or the liquids plant must be oversized, relative to the other one. For even production, the ideal location would be on the equator. (Mismatched sizing would raise the cost above the calculation Keith made. It would also lead to a storage problem. Energy needs tend to be highest in the local winter. This means December, January and February because so much of the world land mass is north of the equator.)

    • Malcopian says:

      “Yes, I know hopium, but DOD and Navy pilots have reported craft accelerating at impossible speeds and making impossible turns.”

      That’s been the case since at least 1947. I doubt they were controlled by humans at that stage. Read Ivan Sanderson’s book from the early 1970s: “Invisible Residents: The Reality of Underwater yoofoes.” I’ve misspelled the last word deliberately, so that my comment gets through. Sanderson was a zoologist and a naval officer who understood mammal biology and the technology behind ships and aircraft, so he knew what he was talking about. I also have seen a documentary (made in the Noughties) where some Americans were describing seeing such craft enter the water – without making any sound. Some say that is due to technology – whether ours or that of the “entities”. Others maintain that these craft are made of “subtle material”, i,e, matter that vibrates at a faster rate than our bodies and reality, because they belong to a different reality/dimension, along with the entities who control them. And in fact, that is standard Hindu cosmology too, to my knowledge, so maybe they’re ahead of us.

      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        “… accelerating at impossible speeds and making impossible turns.”

        extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence…

        I see no evidence at all, just a few references to people talking about what they appeared to be seeing…

        I know you can’t do any better than that…


        but go ahead and try if you want to…

        peace, dude…

        • Niko B says:

          But I heard someone saw it.

          That’s nuff for me.

        • Malcopian says:

          Dennis L did provide some links, DavidClosedMind. Some highly credible people DID see something:

          Tic tac witnesses – Kevin Day interview



          Go Fast: Official USG Footage of UAP for Public Release



          The question is, who controls these craft? Non-human ‘entities’? Or is this evidence of ultra-hi-tech breakthroughs in physics by humans?

          Keep an open mind. And remember that science does not stand still.

          As for anecdotal evidence, some things we take for granted. We take for granted that we dream most nights. “I had this weird dream last night”. But who has ever seen anybody else’s dream? Who has ever managed to film their own dream? Nobody. So all the evidence for dreams is anecdotal only. But still we believe we know.

          Anyway, Dennis L provided the links, but you didn’t care to investigate.

          This blog is not about yoofoes, tho, so I shall leave the subject now.

          • Niko B says:

            Actually I have seen this video before but there is nothing to prove that is it not all cgi.
            But hey if the tech exists then we have nothing to worry about other than BAU destroying the planet by pollution, resource extraction, species extinction, etc, etc…..

          • Tim Groves says:

            Probably these craft are operated by the Uber Elite, who are so exclusive they don’t even have social security numbers or driving licenses. They whoosh around the world in a jiffy bag while the regular jet-setter crowd get crammed into an aluminum can with wings.

            I could tell you more, but I would likely be dronocided or heart-attackized to death, so my lips shall remain sealed.

    • This is another story floating around:


      Ex-Navy officer turned inventor signs a multi-million deal to produce his electric car battery that will take drivers 1,500 miles without needing to charge

      Imagine the satisfaction of driving your environmentally friendly electric car for 1,500 miles without having to stop to recharge the battery – a distance more than four times as far as the best and most expensive model currently on the road.

      Under the bonnet is a revolutionary new type of battery which, unlike those used in conventional electric cars, can also power buses, huge lorries and even aircraft. What’s more, it’s far simpler and cheaper to make than the batteries currently in use in millions of electric vehicles around the world – and, unlike them, it can easily be recycled.

      This might sound like a science-fiction fantasy. But it’s not. Last Friday, the battery’s inventor, British engineer and former Royal Navy officer Trevor Jackson, signed a multi-million-pound deal to start manufacturing the device on a large scale in the UK.

      The devices are really fuel cells, made of aluminum and other materials. They are reported to be low cost and non-toxic. It seems to be an outgrowth of the following:

      In 2001 he began to investigate the potential of a technology first developed in the 1960s. Scientists had discovered that by dipping aluminium into a chemical solution known as an electrolyte, they could trigger a reaction between the metal and air to produce electricity.

  4. Yoshua says:


    The Fed is now doing repo operations and buying short term treasuries to bring down short term yields after the yield curve inverted.

    • Yoshua says:

      After the GFC the Fed started its QE program to bring long term treasury yields and mortgage rates down by buying long term treasuries and mortgage back securities.

      As the 10 year treasury yield started to fall towards zero and lead to a inverted yield curve, the Fed decided to start selling long term treasuries trough its QT program.

      The QT program worked, but as the 10 year treasury yield started to rise above 3 percent…the markets started to crash last year.

      The Fed had to abandon the QT program and the idea of raising long term yields…and instead starting to buy short term treasuries, to bring down short term yields to fix the inverted yield curve. So far it looks as if it working, the yield curve is steepening again.

      • Thanks for pointing this out. Borrowing short and lending long seems to be the way banks work. If long term interest rates are not higher than short term interest rates, there is a problem.

        • Yoshua says:

          With the T10Y at 1.7 percent the margins are starting to get very thin.

          The Fed will be forced to cut rates and push short term yields close to zero? Then into negative territory?

          JP Morgans CEO just said that he is not going to buy negative yielding debt.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            my analysis:

            QT won’t work…

            QE won’t work either, but CBs have no choice but to try QE to hold off recession…

            yes, this means the US will be dealing with negative interest rates soon… 2020 or 2021…

            unless the Japan/EU negative rates blow up before the US gets there…

            this is actually quite amazing…

            I seriously think that the CBs have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how this latest stage of negative interest rates is going to resolve itself…

            that’s scary or funny depending on your mood…

            but it’s also kinda cool… it could actually be a big black swan (in disguise) that has just floated in over the banks of the world, and we’re all staring at it, and don’t know what to make of it, but perhaps it’s harmless and will not cause any damage…

            but maybe, just maybe, it’s a sort of slow release black swan which we’ve sort of gotten used to seeing around here, and we’re not realizing that it’s going to blow up the world economy…

            and perhaps we should actually be in a near panic at the sight of all of these negative interest rates…

            interesting times!

            never before, and never again…

            • Xabier says:

              They do have no idea at all, it’s all spinning out of their control and their ‘stimulus’ theories of the last decade are so much nonsense.

              I remember that a senior civil servant in Britain in the 1970’s, when everything was going wrong, said that the only comforting thing was that the structures and routines of government remained in place, so they sort of felt in control -just.

              But think, we’ve a whole decade of respite of escape from reality. A remarkable fact.

      • Interesting development Russian banks no longer taking EUR deposits.. because of the negative rates policy. The meaning is probably way broader as they likely decided it’s now tactically good time to kick ankle of Europeans as the junior week partner of the global system pecking order.

        • weak as in weakness, oops..

          • MG says:

            The climate of Russia is too harsh for the survival of the human species. That is why Russia is losing its population and interested in warmer areas like Crimea or Ukraine.

            • 4M mainland Ukrainians voted with their feet and relocated to Russia.
              Besides the weather patterns continue to shift in Siberia and Arctic as well..

            • MG says:

              You can relocate to Russia, too and enjoy the low wages and the hard life there. But you will not do that from the comfort you live in.

            • Besides just invalidating your previous point by a factual reality check, the context here is not about worshiping Russia. It is about discussing the peculiar situation (lab case if you will) where we have relatively smaller pop vs large resource base empire-country, which underwent massive OFW/Surplus choke point and managed to regroup on slightly different footprint of throughput. From that we can infer the probabilities and or general topics how this process will turn out in other major IC hubs around the world in the “near/midterm” future.

              Lets not forget that from Napoleon to Adolph to Albright they spelled it all out beyond any doubt that Russia doesn’t deserve to keep this high resources leverage for herself. Surplus resource grab or at least control that’s the nature of the overall game, also for other places throughout the history.

            • MG says:

              “Lets not forget that from Napoleon to Adolph to Albright they spelled it all out beyond any doubt that Russia doesn’t deserve to keep this high resources leverage for herself.”

              If there is not enough energy, resources leverage has no value: there is a lot of lower grade ores in warmer areas, but you just need more energy. Just like in cold areas.

              And when the populations stop to grow, the need for mining will be drastically reduced, as a lot can be recycled.

            • Tim Groves says:

              There was an old farmer who lived and worked with his wife on a farm that straddled the new border that was drawn between the Soviet Union and Poland following World War II. In fact, the border drawn on the maps went right through the middle of their farmhouse.

              One day a group of officials from the border commission came to visit the couple in order to discuss the situation. “Comrades,” the head official said. “It is unfortunate that the new border divides your land and even divides your kitchen from your sitting room. Most unfortunate,” he lamented.

              At this, the couple bowed their heads and frowned.

              “The border has been logically and fairly designated according to the best principles of demarkation and dialectical materialism and cannot in principle be changed.,” the official continued. “However, as your case involves humanitarian considerations—clearly it would be very inconvenient for you to have to accommodate a customs and immigration post in your ground floor passageway—the commission has decided that it is possible to make an exception and redraw the border so that it runs along the side of your property.”

              At this,the farmer visibly relaxed and his frown faded, while his wife began to wear a hopeful smile.

              “But first of all, comrades, I have to ask you an important question. Would you, all things concerned, prefer to reside in the Democratic Republic of Poland or in the Belorussian Republic of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Please answer freely and without fear of prejudice.”

              The old farmer thought for a full minute and then answered, as was his custom, on behalf of himself and his wife. “Gentlemen comrades,” he said. “It is a difficult decision indeed to be asked to choose between two nations. But after weighing up the various matters, we feel it would be better for us to reside in Poland.”

              “Very well,” the official pronounced. “We can accommodate your wish. You will both become citizens of Poland and your house will stand on Polish territory. But could you please answer one last question, comrade? Could you tell us what was the reason that most affected your choice. Was it the language, or the culture, or the economic situation, or something else perhaps?”

              “No, actually,” replied the old farmer. “It was none of those things you mentioned. But it is a practical consideration. The fact is at our age I don’t think we could survive another one of those Russian winters……! “

        • Yoshua says:

          The Russian banks should perhaps just have negative rates on Euro deposits?

          What is Rosneft going to do with the Euros when they now have started to sell oil in Euros?

          • That’s a good question, since “recently” Russia boasted about re-balancing to EUR reserves. For some reason, they don’t want to be part of the print fest family though, keeping low/no debt instead, so now joining the negative rate plan would not be compatible with such policy drive.

            So, it rather could be part of larger plan already announced by China, Russia, Iran, + few others not keeping score in USD anymore, also developing their own sanction regime umbrella with independent system of SWIFT, and gradually inviting more countries into it..

            The realignment of “world order” is actually starting to materialize, western factions not able to score easy wins anymore: Syria reanimated, color revolution in Slovakia partly failed, Libya split but recovering, Ukraine project failing, Turkey reasserting, ..

            And now it is seems even possible to debate that some of the UN functions to be removed from the NY HQ to another place.

  5. Tim Groves says:

    Extinction Rebellion are calling for the UK to become “carbon neutral” by 2025.

    Here Nigel Farage (rhymes with Garage) talks with a representative of the organization about their ambitious plans for saving the British people from themselves in an interview that demonstrates life imitating art—in this case the art being those Monty Python interview skits that brightened up our TV viewing in the early seventies .


    • Moreover there are several YT videos available how the mob was “lynching them” when they occupied trains in the rush hour..

      I guess there is a lot of predictive power in it, as next rounds of GFC_ver_xy events might actually strengthen various such cults, this will spillover on most infrastructure eventually, so it is wise to escape the cities in the midterm if you can, say before ~2030.

      • Xabier says:

        It is a bit cultish in feel. We had an ER protest here for the first time: they held up commute traffic at the end of the day on a minor road in the historic part of town. One young guy on a megaphone, talking about the end of the world, and some hysterical females shooting ‘Get out of your cars!’ Lots of car horns, then the police arrived and cleared them all away.

    • Farage is an idiot

      But at the same time, if we get rid of IC by 2025 Tesco’s/Walmart shelves will be empty

      No one seems to be able to answer that problem

      • Tim Groves says:

        As I have pointed out in the past there are still lots of easily extractable fossil fuels, including a thousand year’s worth of coal just off the coast of the Northeast England. There’s apparently lots of uranium and thorium too.

        Perhaps, as Gail’s data indicates, it is undoable as more and more people become too poor to participate in the system. But people will try to keep things going as long as they can. When people are faced with a choice between using “dirty” or “polluting” fuel sources or ending BAU, they will vote to continue.

        Of course, if the powers decide that the people don’t get a vote or a choice, that’s another matter. If such is the case, then we are all unwilling members or captives of a doomsday cult and we will all eventually have to drink the Koolaid.

        • I don’t quite understand ”easily extractable” in this context, unless you are inserting a thread of irony into this conversation. Hard to tell sometimes on here.

          The North Sea pits were closed years ago. They were not commercially viable

          60 feet beneath my desk here is a seam of coal 6ft thick which would keep me and my descendants going for 1000 years too, but it wouldnt be profitable to extract in commercial terms

          • Tim Groves says:

            Norman, you’re thinking too small!!
            North Sea Coal is a gas!!

            Rough estimates of the potential of fracking, as practiced in North-America, are that it can postpone the end of the oil age with perhaps a decade or so.

            However, there never has been any doubt that the remaining quantity of fossil fuel, stored in the earth’s crust, is many times larger than the cumulative amount of fossil fuel consumed so far in the entire history. The problem has always been: can we access that fuel in an economic way and the concept of EROEI is the leading indicator to decide if a fuel can be exploited economically. The decisive factor is technology, a very dynamic factor. There are for instance enormous quantities of frozen methane lying around on the ocean floor and now it is beginning to dawn that unbelievable large quantities of coal are waiting to be exploited beneath the North-Sea floor, that could be harvested in gas form:

            Scientists have discovered vast deposits of coal lying under the North Sea, which could provide enough energy to power Britain for centuries.
            “Experts believe there is between 3 and 23 trillion tonnes of coal buried in the seabed starting from the northeast coast and stretching far out under the sea.
            Data from seismic tests and boreholes shows that the seabed holds up to 20 layers of coal – much of which could be reached with the technology already used to extract oil and gas.”

            In comparison: so far the world extracted ‘merely’ 0.135 trillion ton of oil, a small fraction of the coal reserves located beneath the North-Sea. In other words: peak conventional oil may have happened in 2005, but in hindsight it was a completely irrelevant event.

            If it is wise to exploit these vast reserves is a different matter altogether. But one thing is certain: the original idea we had when we started this blog over three years ago, namely that fossil fuel could become scarce on relatively short notice, that idea needs to be abandoned. Limiting factors will more likely be: finance, geopolitics, war, environment, climate change; not lack of combustible material. It is likely that there is far more fossil fuel around than the atmosphere can ever handle.


        • The quantity of coal in climate change models would not be possible without assuming that the coal under the North Sea is economically extractable. David Rutledge at Cal Tech has done considerable work on coal estimates of IPCC reports. I have heard him speak at ASPO meetings and read some of his reports. He is Tomiyasu Professor of Engineering at Caltech, and a former Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science there. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a winner of the Teaching Award of the Associated Students at Caltech.


          Judith Curry summarizes some of his work and provides a link to some of his work. This is what Judith Curry says,

          In the IPCC’s business-as-usual scenario, Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, coal accounts for half of future carbon-dioxide emissions through 2100, and two-thirds of the emissions through 2500. The IPCC’s coal burn is enormous, twice the world reserves by 2100, and seven times reserves by 2500. Coal so dominates that it is not an exaggeration to say that the IPCC and climate-change research programs depend on this massive coal burn for their existence. Without the threat of coal, the IPCC could close up shop and the research program funding would drop to a small fraction of what is spent on research in weather forecasting.

          • Tim Groves says:

            It’s also the case that the real fears that activists such as James Hansen and George Monbiot have about runaway greenhouse warming in the decades and centuries ahead are based on this massive coal burn, and this is there reason for advocating a massive increase in nuclear power in order to keep some kind of industrial civilization going.

            The point is that the coal is there and if there are no other better options, people are going to continue to try to burn it regardless of whether it causes warming. At some point they may fail, but it is human nature to try. The ability to make fire was one of the first things that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Unless our numbers decline steeply in this finite world, we will keep on burning things until there’s nothing left to burn.

            Regarding Catastrophic AGW, I am among the doubters. But among the believers and even among the zealots, I see little evidence of anybody ACTING as if they really believe there is an impending crisis. Harry and Megan have just been on progress around half a dozen African countries with an entourage of dozens. Mick Jagger is still touring. The Hollywood elite are still consuming conspicuously.

            • we consume because we know no other way

              When extinction Rebellion stopped trains they were assaulted by ”consumers”—that sums up what we are and where we are going

              it would apply anywhere

              this why coal will be consumed until we choke on the stuff

    • Kowalainen says:

      Slacktivists do as slacktivists do, which means to be on the take from Soros and pretending to care about mankind and the environment by harassing the average Joe Schmuck going about his life. But hey, we all gotta “do” something I suppose.

      The comedic hypocrisy is lovely, though.

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      Look at that clown!
      Nigel Farage cannot be serious.

  6. Get HaPpY says:

    Lots of Hanky Panky going on out there….
    AT&T customer lawsuit alleges employee-aided SIM swap led to $1.8 million theft of cryptocurrency and more
    The gist of the case is that Shapiro alleges AT&T failed to protect his account from a SIM swap that resulted in a major loss of cryptocurrency. What specifically happened? According to the complaint:

    On at least four occasions between May 16, 2018 and May 18, 2019, AT&T employees obtained unauthorized access to Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless account, viewed his confidential and proprietary personal information, and transferred control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number from Mr. Shapiro’s phone to a phone controlled by third-party hackers in exchange for money.

    As if the preceding allegations weren’t bad enough, the end result was:

    The hackers then utilized their control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number — including control secured through cooperation with AT&T employees — to access his personal and digital finance accounts and steal more than $1.8 million from Mr. Shapiro.

    Even worse, the scheme allegedly involved AT&T employees working on the inside with outside hackers. And, unsurprisingly, there are chat logs:

    At the end of the chat, a group member brags that they “made 1.3 [million]” and they begin plotting about how to route the stolen cryptocurrency through various accounts and currencies in order to cover their trail. They also brag about plans to “buy some Gucci” or a “dream car” with the money they stole from Mr. Shapiro.

    Apparently, Mr. Shapiro was in fact SIM-swapped multiple times, and all of his personal information was taken along with access to other accounts such as Google, and Evernote. Furthermore, Mr. Shapiro’s family was impacted, and he was threatened. It sounds awful. Despite this, after each incident, AT&T allegedly said they followed proper procedures and alerted necessary authorities, but as the complaint states, “Mr. Shapiro’s trust in AT&T was misplaced.”
    AT&T customer lawsuit alleges employee-aided SIM swap led to $1.8 million theft of cryptocurrency and more
    Stephen Palley
    The BlockOctober 19, 2019, 4:29 PM EDT
    Shapiro v. AT & T Mobility, LLC, Case №2:19-cv-8972 (C.D. Cal. filed October 17, 2019)[NMR/SDP]
    Link to Complaint

    SIM swapping is a problem that many in crypto have unfortunately had to face, some multiple times. If you’re at all prominent in the space — and even if you’re not — your phone number is liable to be SIM swapped (ported from your device to another.) This particular case doesn’t necessarily involve someone well known on “crypto twitter”, but it does involve the alleged theft of $1.8 million of money including crypto.

    A large number of SIM swap cases have been resolved in private arbitration, in part because of arbitration clauses that mobile carriers include in their user agreements. This case is one a few that have been publicly filed, and the allegations are alarming — including a claim that AT&T insiders were deeply involved in what sounds like a devastating SIM swapping scheme.

    The plaintiff is Seth Shapiro, a resident of California. The Complaint says that Mr. Shapiro is a “a two-time Emmy Award-winning media and technology expert, author, and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.” He also was, at the relevant times for the lawsuit, a subscriber of AT&T. AT&T “is the second largest wireless carrier in the United States, with more than 153 million subscribers, earning $71 billion in total operating revenues in 2017 and $71 billion in 2018.”

    The gist of the case is that Shapiro alleges AT&T failed to protect his account from a SIM swap that resulted in a major loss of cryptocurrency. What specifically happened? According to the complaint:

    On at least four occasions between May 16, 2018 and May 18, 2019, AT&T employees obtained unauthorized access to Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless account, viewed his confidential and proprietary personal information, and transferred control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number from Mr. Shapiro’s phone to a phone controlled by third-party hackers in exchange for money.

    As if the preceding allegations weren’t bad enough, the end result was:

    The hackers then utilized their control over Mr. Shapiro’s AT&T wireless number — including control secured through cooperation with AT&T employees — to access his personal and digital finance accounts and steal more than $1.8 million from Mr. Shapiro.

    Even worse, the scheme allegedly involved AT&T employees working on the inside with outside hackers. And, unsurprisingly, there are chat logs:

    At the end of the chat, a group member brags that they “made 1.3 [million]” and they begin plotting about how to route the stolen cryptocurrency through various accounts and currencies in order to cover their trail. They also brag about plans to “buy some Gucci” or a “dream car” with the money they stole from Mr. Shapiro.

    Apparently, Mr. Shapiro was in fact SIM-swapped multiple times, and all of his personal information was taken along with access to other accounts such as Google, and Evernote. Furthermore, Mr. Shapiro’s family was impacted, and he was threatened. It sounds awful. Despite this, after each incident, AT&T allegedly said they followed proper procedures and alerted necessary authorities, but as the complaint states, “Mr. Shapiro’s trust in AT&T was misplaced.”

    So, What is Shapiro actually suing for; in other words, what is the cause of action?

    One header in the lawsuit summarizes the nature of the action: “AT&T’s Repeated Failures to Protect Mr. Shapiro’s Account from Unauthorized Access Are a Violation of Federal Law.” The argument alleges that AT&T is fully aware that the information they hold in trust for their subscribers is highly sensitive and extremely valuable. Mr. Shapiro is arguing that AT&T knows this to be the case, yet the company has failed in a variety of ways to take the necessary steps to protect their subscriber’s information.

    Specifically, Shapiro has alleged violations of federal and state laws, in addition to common law torts. This includes (1) an alleged violation of the Federal Communications act for allegedly failing to protect confidentiality of his account information, (2) an alleged violation of the California state unfair business practices statute, (3) an alleged violation of the California state constitution’s right to privacy, (4) two negligence claims, (5) an alleged violation of California Consumer’s Legal Remedies Act and (6) a violation of the Federal Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act. He seeks actual and punitive damages and injunctive relief.

    These statutory claims are creative. They may be a tactic to try to get around AT&T’s arbitration agreement in its terms of service. The allegations in the complaint, if true, are really awful and seem calculated to give a court good reason to let these claims be litigated openly.

    At the same time, it is somewhat inexplicable that the plaintiff maintained his service with AT&T after multiple hacks, as so many other alleged victims also fail to do. Additionally, he apparently didn’t switch from using his phone for two-factor authentication to apps or change to a new phone number. Those facts may or may not be relevant. We don’t know.

    Anyway, this is obviously a suit between two highly motivated parties. Mr. Shapiro has apparently been through the wringer. AT&T definitely doesn’t want to lose this high profile case given the recent prevalence of the SIM swap + cryptocurrency theft problem. The company will likely face nasty PR and further questions about its employee oversight and practices if the allegations in the lawsuit prove to be true.

    And it would be extremely problematic for AT&T if a court said its customers had a constitutional right of privacy that a telco could violate by allowing unauthorized account transfer.
    Good luck cashing in Bitcoin after the crash folks…🐯

    • I think you are right about “Good luck cashing in Bitcoin after the crash folks…”

      It is just another use of electricity that goes away.

      • Dennis L. says:

        No one seems to know who invented Bitcoin, or perhaps I am behind the curve on this one. Were it a government entity, NSA comes to mind, this might be a way to do a reset and get out of the nightmare of the current complex financial instrument maze. Turn off the switch and go home.
        No one knows what is real anymore, inflation, employment, the value of a house today,tomorrow, a college education. Bitcoin requires a few books to even understand what it is, it is on my list of things to read. Stuff keeps getting more and more difficult to understand and everything seems to do less and less.

        Thanks for all your time, some of what you write can actually be used in a relatively simple personal world, the macro world is a mystery to me except socially on a macro scale so many of us are at eachother’s metaphorical throats. Here even when opinions are different there is little to no shouting, people don’t talk over eachother and seem to consider and try and learn from others’ ideas. Nice job.

        Dennis L.

  7. Malcopian says:

    Remind us where you think the world is in terms of peak oil PRODUCTION, Gail. I know you regard yourself primarily as a peak finance theorist, of course.

    P.S. Changed my handle so as to avoid confusion with Dennis L in future.

    • You are the former Dennis (without an L.)

      At this point, it looks like the peak in world oil production might have been November 2018. In fact, the peak year might have been 2018. The low prices and the tariffs suggest that there are real demand problems. This is a reason why 2018 may have been the peak year.

      But there is a lot of variability. And natural gas liquids (included in total liquids) are growing quite rapidly. On a total liquids basis, it is possible that production will rise some more in 2020, especially if world recession can be put off. This is a chart of recent production, based on EIA data from the International grouping of reports.


      • Malcopian says:

        Thank you, Gail. Avoiding world recession is a big ask, of course. Once again the usually astute Larry Elliott of the Guardian (UK) is writing, with nil understanding of energy, about sluggish world growth:


        • Malcopian says:

          Looking back at 2019, I regard it as “The Year of Fire”. Firstly, we had all the wildfires, both man-made and natural. Then protesters all around the world are setting fires as part of their violent anger. A commenter here posted a link to an article that showed just how many riots, protests and demos were going on around the world. Many were triggered by the announcement of rises in bus and/or train fares, or increases in the price of petrol/gas , or new taxes on fuel. Here, as Xabier has pointed out elsewhere, we begin to see the deleterious effects of ‘peak oil’.

          Even where those protests do not appear to be about energy costs, e.g. in Hong Kong and Catalonia, energy costs are a hidden factor. Though Catalonia is one of Spain’s most prosperous regions, there are still many Catalans who are low-paid and “just about managing”. When the independence-minded Catalans look for causes and somebody to blame, they imagine the poorer regions of Spain siphoning off the wealth that should rightly belong to Catalonia. In fact, the real causes are those related and analysed by Gail.

          I have read that only around 40% of Catalans favour independence, but that is a very high figure, nonetheless. This splintering of opinion, that sees nations divided, seems to be reflected in the UK, where roughly half the Scots are in favour of independence and roughly half the Brits are in favour of Brexit. Oh, for a bit of unity and consensus. But no. These too are victims of the times we live in.

        • Larry Elliot does have the right idea. In fact, he even mentions diminishing returns with respect to stimulus. If he matched up the diminishing returns to energy, he would be close to the right story.

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), reported on Friday a net loss of US$11.38 billion for the third quarter…

    “”This quarter’s results reflected a macro environment of slowing production growth rate in North America land as operators maintained capital discipline, reducing drilling and frac activity,” Le Peuch said.”


  9. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:
  10. I’d like to get more info about such as the Iranian oil bourse on Kish Island — it’s been open since 2008, & jilting the “petrodollar” (it’s been said that that’s part of the motivation for US hostility toward Iran — Saddam H.’s regime had been doing the same thing).
    Isn’t this connected with the stagnation/decline of the US dollar as the “world reserve currency”?

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


      okay, so this is the last update:

      “March 20, 2012: The Iranian oil bourse will no longer trade oil in the US dollar but start trading oil in other currencies such as the euro, yen, yuan, rupee or a basket of currencies.”

      if that is indeed the final phase, then it really didn’t rock the world or the US dollar…

      though someone more knowledgeable than me could probably tell us if this is just an early stage of the world getting away from the US dollar…

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “My base case scenario is that the current regime of fiscal and monetary policy has become exhausted. This is despite the fact that they have already gone beyond any measure of conventionality or reason.

    “Therefore, in order to meaningfully boost asset prices higher from the current nose-bleed level, central banks will need to move further into the realm of unorthodoxy by deploying massive amounts of helicopter money directly to the public.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “…the Bank of Japan is laying the groundwork for deepening negative interest rates, analysts polled by Reuters said, with two-thirds of respondents expecting the central bank to loosen monetary policy this month.”


      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Bond funds holding assets worth about $1.7tn could face difficulties in repaying investors promptly if volatility increases, according to the IMF, which warned that problems in fixed-income markets could potentially destabilise the global financial system.

        “The warning coincides with mounting fears that a dangerous pricing bubble has developed in fixed-income markets where bonds worth $15tn — about a quarter of the debt issued by governments and companies globally — are trading with negative yields.

        “…Creditors, in effect, pay to hold debt. This bizarre reversal of normal practice has triggered alarm bells because bonds are a core holding for institutional investors worldwide.

        “Concerns among regulators that bond funds might struggle to meet repayment requests by investors have been amplified by recent liquidity problems involving Neil Woodford, H2O and GAM.”


        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “…the ECB is trapped or lost in a situation with an economy that is moving towards a low-growth situation, the central bank runs an extreme monetary policy and is facing an emerging internal fight about the monetary policy direction – this is close to a disastrous situation for one of the world’s leading central banks…”


    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      “… central banks will need to move further into the realm of unorthodoxy by deploying massive amounts of helicopter money directly to the public.”

      that, and the more-negative interest rates… absolutely desperate measures…

      I’m still doubting the helicopter money, because CBs never seem to be in the business of providing anything “to the public”…

      I would guess interest rates will go more and more negative throughout 2020 until this crazy part of The Endgame blows up…

      it’s not insayne, but it just shows how desperate CBs must be now that they have essentially run out of legitimate responses to the 2019 economic downturn…

      up until now, I didn’t think this would “blow up” like 2008, but now it seems very likely to blow worse than then…

      it’s actually quite exciting, in a kind of sick schadenfreude type way…

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “it’s actually quite exciting, in a kind of sick schadenfreude type way…”

        This era is great theatre and watching events unfold through the prism of Gail’s insights is very rewarding.

        Less fun, of course, if you find yourself directly and painfully affected by these issues, as eventually all of us will, I imagine.

      • Xabier says:

        I thought it would all be stiffled and smoothed over , somehow, and so not be as noticeable as 2008 while the rot, of course, continued beneath the surface.

        But I’m not so sure about that now, the global recession is deepening, orders falling rapidly, now seeping into services, etc, and there is nothing to reverse it at the level of the ordinary consumer, even if govts. can still meet their debt repayments.

        There is nothing they can do to make the mass of people better off, while their burden of costs just grows.

        We shall see: everything is so falsified these days…..

  12. Xabier says:

    Traditional Manure:

    In the mid-18th century James Boswell met an inventor, I think in Holland, who was busy trying to produce a condensed form of manure.

    Boswell was excited, as he knew that the cost of carting heavy and bulky manure to distant fields was one of the greatest expenses of an estate, and took a lot of time as well.

    A basic fact of pre-mechanical agriculture.

    The manure produced by peasants simply went on their gardens…….

    • Get HaPpY says:

      Small scale organic farmers seem to concentrate on preparing Compost for their market gardens.
      Eliot and Barbara Coleman


      Lot of hands on inputs….

      • MG says:

        They have nice straw bales: did they make them manually?

        • Get HaPpY says:

          Old Mensch Scott Hearing, who actually “sold” Eliot Coleman the property he resides on now in Harborside, Maine as a young idealistic Back to Lander way way back circa 1968, used seaweed gathered on the Cove beach! There is hay making in that area, don’t know if Eliot used the scythe in the video to harvest it.
          From my last visit there some 4-5 years ago, Four Seasons Farm, would not exist as it is without BAU. Lots of hardware in place from the outside supply line.
          That’s not to diminish Eliot or Barbara’s achievements, which are spectacular given the circumstances.
          Hard to believe Eliot is 80 years old! Ouch….still going strong
          Humourous short interview posted…


          Went there with a degree in Spanish Literature!

  13. Get HaPpY says:

    Now you know why …..

    Yahoo Finance’s Morning Brief newsletter has been revamped!
    In oil-rich region, Venezuelans fear catastrophe if Trump forces Chevron to leave
    By Luc Cohen and Mariela Nava
    ReutersOctober 18, 2019, 12:02 PM EDT

    LA CAÑADA DE URDANETA, Venezuela (Reuters) – With the $2 he earns in wages each week working as a cargo driver for Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, 56-year-old Freddy Brito cannot even afford to buy one kilogram (2.2 lb) of cheese.
    To feed himself and his wife as the once-prosperous OPEC nation suffers a hyperinflationary economic collapse, Brito depends on a monthly basket of rice, canned tuna, beans and other products valued at $200 given to him by California-based Chevron Corp, PDVSA’s minority partner at the Petroboscan field in western Zulia state where he works.
    But Chevron’s future in Venezuela now depends on U.S. President Donald Trump, who must decide https://www.reuters.com/article/venezuela-oil-chevron-usa/trump-administration-renews-chevron-license-in-venezuela-for-3-months-idUSL2N24Q1WL by Oct. 25 whether or not to renew a waiver allowing Chevron to keep operating in Venezuela despite U.S. sanctions on PDVSA, part of Washington’s campaign to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
    The benefits enjoyed by Brito and some 1,200 other Petroboscan employees and contractors are not available for most of cash-strapped PDVSA’s 100,000-odd workers, who have seen their wages eroded due to inflation, prompting thousands to resign https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-oil-workers-insight/under-military-rule-venezuela-oil-workers-quit-in-a-stampede-idUSKBN1HO0H9 and join the 4 million Venezuelans who have emigrated.
    “If Chevron leaves, we would be left without a helping hand, because what little we have comes from them,” Brito said.

    Why would countries wish to rehook from the US Dollar?
    When I lived in Boston, Venuzuela through Chevron funded a winter heating oil project for the poor.
    Suppose what goes around doesn’t go around with BAU.

    • Yes, the Venezuelan people need Chevron. They also need the oil that Chevron can produce for direct use within the country. If they could sell the oil outside the country, at a reasonably high price, that would even be better from the point of view of Venezuela.

      We are incredibly dependent on oil and what it can do for the world economy. It is too bad that few can see this.

  14. MG says:

    One of the things I was thinking about recently is the diminishing action radius of the human species with the ageing human populations.

    And if any battery age will come on the top of this, the result will be much slower humans, which in turn means that other species will prevail over human populations.

    • Xabier says:

      The ageing population should be a good thing, but governments in the advanced economies are desperately stuffing their countries with immigrants in order to counter-balance the demographic effect and maintain demand – quite insane.

      But it’s the new orthodoxy, just as in the 19th and early 20th centuries they put pressure on people to have large families in order to provide soldiers for the mass armies which then only marched into machine guns and artillery……

      • hkeithhenson says:

        “pressure on people to have large families”

        Do you have a pointer to somewhere this is discussed? My ancestors were mostly farmers. In the pre-birth control era, they had large families. In this era of DNA testing, that gives me around 7,000 relatives among the tested, mostly 4th cousins and up. Two of them in Ireland have no connection more recent than 1762.

        • Xabier says:

          Sorry, but my comment was based on remembered general history reading from long ago, so no references: but I think the French particularly were worried about failing to keep up with Germany pre-WW1, and vice versa; and in Spain there was a system of rewards for the official status of ‘parents of large families’ under Franco if not earlier -needed to make up for the losses of the Civil War. On the whole, to have people breeding like rabbits was regarded as a good thing, by governments at least. My great-grandmother born in the 1870’s managed 11, poor thing.

        • Tim Groves says:

          My paternal grandmother, who was born in in the 1880s in London, gave birth to seventeen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. The 1918 influenza epidemic took three of them. My father, born in 1930, was her fifteenth child. If she had stopped at a reasonable number, he and I would never have been conceived and you lot would have been speared my rantings and ravings.

          Grandfather was a dock worker and the family lived in a large three-floor terraced house in Cable Street, scene of the famous battle between Oswald Mosley’s fascists and communists who wanted to stop them from marching. My father insists he was hit on the head by a brick thrown by the communists, although he wasn’t badly injured so it may well have been something lighter.

          Why did my grandparents choose have so many children? Was it even a conscious choice for them? Among the factors, they were Catholics and were following God’s injunction; they were working class and just “doing what comes naturally”, she was British and doing her patriotic duty to produce soldiers, sailors, and possibly administrators to help run the Empire; there was still considerable infant mortality during that era and so people tended to have more kids than needed in the expectation that some wouldn’t make it to adulthood; a lot of the children lived at home into adulthood and worked and brought home income for the household and so grandmother had a a Mother Hen role in the family; and possibly she was one of those women who enjoyed being pregnant and lactating a lot of of the time.

          I remember a few indigenous families in East London who were still having more than ten kids as late as the 1970s, although by that time they were a distinct rarity and considered rather strange to put it mildly by the neighbors.

          • Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) is the person most connected with the idea that germs cause disease. He invented the process of pasteurization, and he is known as the father of modern hygiene.

            Once people realized that germs caused disease, there was a sharp increase in the percentage of babies that were born that lived to maturity. Religions codified what seemed to work at one point in time, at a given level of scientific knowledge. Once the germ theory of disease was figured out, there was no need for nearly so many births. The invention of modern birth control and “the pill” helped greatly as well.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “gave birth to seventeen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood”

            That’s impressive for being in a big city like London. But by that time, London had clean water and sewers.

            A friend of mine though DNA testing found that one of his ancestors back around the middle of the 1800s had at least 25 children by 4 women. And he wasn’t even a Mormon.

            Digging around in the collateral branches of my ancestors, I found one where of 8 children, only 3 of them ever married. And another case where none of 9 seem to have left descendants. Then there was a pair of sib that lived together into old age. For the time, they were very wealthy.

            • My G-Grandmother had 21

              14 of whom I think survived

              Any advance on 21???

              basically they were slaves—the boys went down the mines, the girls went into domestic service

    • I think you are right.

      Aging humans do tend to cut back on what they do. Some are in poor health, or are married to someone in poor health. We recently visited the man who was the best man at my husband and my wedding, over 40 years ago. The best man is about 10 years older than my husband and I are. He is now using a walker. In fact, when he and his wife go out, she often pushes him around in a wheelchair. Needless to say, they don’t go out very much. Admittedly, his health is worse than average. He smoked for many years and has COPD, among other things. He is very underweight.

      The population is adding more and more elderly people who are limited in what they can do. These people could not take jobs, even if they were available to them.

      If an electrical system requires batteries to time-shift when that electricity is available for use, the net energy from that system is very much lower than from a system that can only gives electricity when it is generated. There can’t be much net energy out from such a time-shifting electrical system, so transportation will necessarily be very limited. Government programs, such as pensions for the elderly, will need to be extremely limited. Money to be spent on research for new antibiotics and new vaccines will mostly be unavailable. The species that will prevail over humans are likely to be microbes that attack humans. Some of them will act through diseases carried by insects. Some will infect us directly.

      • Dennis L. says:

        I don’t doubt you are right about many things, but we humans are very robust. At Madison had a very famous geneticist during a upper level genetics course opine that modern medicine was not very good for the genetic health of the population. Man to our good fortune has managed to improve the quality of life for many, nature does not work that way, the weak, the infirm are the gazelles on the periphery of the heard, it is the same with schools of fish, the periphery is not a good place to be when the lion or shark is hungry.

        We are going to survive, some will even thrive, it takes incredible work to leave the periphery of the herd much less get closer to the middle; if it has been done, it can be done. Perhaps some of our wondrous achievements are not beneficial to the population as a whole, nature is nature and what will be will be; we determine less of our fate than our hubris leads us to believe.

        Chile is experiencing riots, something major seems to be happening to civilization and at varied geographic locations. Anyone have thoughts?

        Denniws L.

        • Predecessors to humans made it through ice ages, so we certainly have been pretty robust, I will agree.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “made it through ice ages”

            I think for the most part humans moved south during the ice ages.

            I think (or at least hope) that humans can solve the problems we face. But if things really come apart, down to the technology of say 1800, It will be *really* hard on women. If half the children die before they reproduce, then to keep the population stable, the average woman would have to have more than 4 children. Going back to hunter-gatherer days, they would need to have about 6 kids. Of course, the childhood mortality rate would strongly depend on how much of our current medical knowledge was kept or perhaps reinvented.

            There was a recent article in Science about sippy cups used to feed cow or goat milk to babies or toddlers thousands of years ago. The researchers were wondering how the kids avoided dying from the bacteria that would live in the cups. I think it is possible that parents of that time knew to rinse the cups with boiling water.

            Or maybe the kids were really resistant to bacteria.

            • info says:

              High child mortality will incentivize women marrying younger than they do now.

            • Kowalainen says:

              I don’t think people “moved” south due to climate change which took place over millennia.

              Worse climate equals less offspring, at least it did before IC. It is a gradual process of subjugation to the relentless forces of nature.

            • Hunter-gatherers did, in fact, move around. If they found the food better in one part of their range than another, they would likely spend more of their time in that part of the range, and even extend the range further in that direction. So there might have been some drifting in the right direction.

            • JesseJames says:

              God instructed the Israelites to wash their hands in running water.
              The principle of cleanliness to avoid diseases was given to them….no technology needed.

            • Ideas that worked have been passed on throughout the ages through religious teachings. I remember looking up hygiene or something similar, a while back, and finding that religious ideas promoted some of the same ideas.

              But it took Pasteur and I presume others to get the idea across that doctors needed to wash their hands after they examined a corpse, before delivering a baby. This new practice was part of what reduced the number of deaths among newborns and their mothers.

            • Kowalainen says:

              More likely a slow adaptation to the colder climate, goin’ fishin’ instead of hunting reindeer as they went borderline extinct if we are talking about last glacial maxima.

              The oldest, dated to 11.000 years BP, remains from Paleolithic people found in Sweden has been from the north, fairly close to the Cap of the North, in Aareavaara.

              “Boreal groups may have learned how to hunt marine mammals and/or developed a technology to do so. For example, on the Bodträskfors site, two different periods of use are seen in the archaeological record: one with indeterminate animal species associated with a pine forest and dated approximately 6000–5400 calBC, and another one with the presence of alder, elk and ringed seal dated approximately 5200–4900 calBC, with the seal bone yielding the youngest one.”


              People adapt; a reindeer hunter becoming a fisherman living in the thin strip of land between the sea and wall of glacial ice at the cap of the north. Whatever it takes.

            • DB says:

              Gail, the scientist who discovered the importance of handwashing in the context you described was Ignaz Semmelweis (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis). He’s a tragic hero, as the scientific and medical establishment ignored and then ridiculed his evidence for decades, even though his evidence was far stronger than anything the mainstream had. It wasn’t until Lister and others advanced germ theory that medical practice began to change.

            • Thanks! What seem to be radical ideas take a long time to be accepted.

        • MG says:

          The humans lose their robustness with the decline of the available energy and the degradation of the environment.

          The survival of the humans under such conditions is questionable.

      • microbial life is the dominant species here, god didnt create the world for us to fool around in

        they were around way before we were and will still be here after weve gone

        they will not be aware of our passing

  15. Pingback: Understanding Why the Green New Deal Won’t Really Work — Our Finite World – Truth Troubles

  16. Thinkstoomuch says:

    Natural gas inventories surpass five-year average for the first time in two years


    “Working natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 states totaled 3,519 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending October 11, 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). This is the first week that Lower 48 states’ working gas inventories have exceeded the previous five-year average since September 22, 2017. Weekly injections in three of the past four weeks each surpassed 100 Bcf, or about 27% more than typical injections for that time of year.

    I feel this should be part of the conversation. But not sure exactly in what way.


    • With any kind of energy product, what matters is the whole system that has been set up to use that energy. The system is really the entire economy. Are there ways that the system can expand to use a larger amount of that natural gas, or not? Is there a way that non-elite workers can become wealthier, and thus can afford more finished goods and services because of this natural gas? For example, can new manufacturers be put in place, using natural gas directly, or using more electricity from natural gas? Can extra pipelines and storage be put in place to facilitate the use of more natural gas.

      As I understand the situation, other parts of the world are also seeing their storage areas well filled. Once they are filled, all they can do is stop buying. In fact, natural gas prices around the world are low now.

      I am afraid that extra natural gas simply means that the price for natural gas drops further. Or those who are extracting natural gas with their oil resort to burning off more of the unusable natural gas. Once storage tanks get full, there is absolutely nothing that can be done with the extra natural gas. We have tried making it into Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and sending it around the world. But the cost of creating and shipping LNG is very high, and buyers at the other end of the world don’t necessarily have the purchasing power to buy more finishes goods made with natural gas. The big issue is getting purchasing power down to the non-elite workers, so that they can afford to purchase finished goods made with the natural gas. The problem is that this isn’t really happening.

      LNG producers seem to need natural gas prices higher than they are today. But they are not getting them.

      • Xabier says:

        A tragic irony of our situation, that it is possible for a comparatively abundant resource to be financially non-viable, and burned off as unwanted.

        Imagine taking what you need for just one year from a forest, and then burning down the remainder and uprooting all the stumps……

        • Modelers everywhere have an impossible time trying to model more than a tiny piece of the economic system. They come to entirely wrong conclusions, because they cannot figure out all of the pieces that would be needed and considering them as well. It is very frustrating. Burning down the remainder looks like a reasonable approach, except it isn’t.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “impossible time trying to model”

            One way to start would be to model the transition humans made from hunter-gatherers to farmers to a world with serious trade. Of course, human population growth would be a big part of such a model as well as big disruptive events like farming and wheeled vehicles. Also, weather events that caused famines.

            There is a recent study in Science of genetics from late Copper age to mid Bronze age in Germany. They were able to trace families over 4-5 generations. Not only fascinating but a calibration point for long term economic models.

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “South Africa faces a third day of power cuts, with state-owned utility Eskom warning that outages will be bigger than previously expected after it lost more generation capacity.

    “Breakdowns at a number of its generating units have forced Eskom to ration power since Wednesday… Blackouts earlier in the year were blamed for a sharp contraction in economic growth.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “President Mauricio Macri’s re-election chances have suffered another blow, after the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecasts for Argentina on Tuesday, predicting the country’s economy will contract by 3.1% in 2019.

      “The institution also predicted in a new report that Argentina’s runaway inflation will close out the year at 57.3%.”


      • MG says:

        Argentina is a good example of a country with heavy dependence on agriculture and oil production in the past: the depletion of soil and oil make it a first-class zombie. Without the nuclear energy, the immediate collapse could not be avoided.

        • MG says:


          “Soy takes more out of the soil than farmers can afford to put back by way of fertilizers. Only 37 percent is restored, meaning that 63 percent of each season’s loss remains lost, according to government data.

          “The process of land degradation is a fact,” said a government source with direct knowledge of the problem but who asked not to be identified.”

          • MG says:


            ““Argentina was, and still is, very competitive because its soils were very fertile, but future competitiveness is threatened. Profitability will be lower because more money will have to be spent on fertilising the soil,” said Sainz Rozas.”

            • I am afraid I am not an expert on this. As I understand the situation, it is almost impossible to replace all of the nutrients lost. In fact, simply tiling the soil tends to lead to erosion of soil, especially for areas on hills. If microbes are allowed to be the ones that are primarily in charge of nutrient replacement, they can often do a better job than we do. But I am not certain exactly the requirements for microbes to do most of the nutrient replacement. Perhaps it involves rotating with animal use and leaving the ground fallow. It involves getting human waste back into the soil, without lots of pharmaceutical products and added salt.

              If humans simply gather food from naturally growing ecosystem, this is probably best. But it won’t support very many of us.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Thanks for the reference. Land planted in soybeans this year, corn next two, soil analysis is done every two years over mapped with production as harvested. I am going to look at the soil analysis as it will be sampled this year and I can compare it going back about eight years.
            It seems as though there are more and more things to manage each year, tough to stay in the game.
            I often wondered if Argentina sold their beans to China, who didn’t buy their beans? Seems like it is a game of musical chairs for beans and a bean is a bean is a bean.

            Dennis L.

          • I don’t really understand this. I thought soy was a kind of bean. I thought beans, in general, were less hard on the land than corn and wheat.

            • Dennis L. says:

              Soybeans produce nitrogen reducing the need for nitrogen fertilizer application when corn is planted. There is more soil erosion with beans and hence the trend to think about cover crops to reduce that soil loss, some are even planting beans directly into the cover crops but harvesting can be an issue. Modern farming equipment can produce crops with very little contamination and very little loss onto the ground.
              Micro nutrients are a problem, what is replaced, what is not, I suspect the soil is pretty “dead” after modern farming. Overall, my non expert opinion is nothing is free, there is some mining of the soil. The Amish appear to be much less intense in their cultivation, some of their corn crops are actually still gathered into shuck stacks, wheat was gathered into sheaves. Basically I suspect modern machinery with its more intense planting and harvesting results in faster loss of nutrients per acre. I have been told that animals are good for the land, that is a different subject and for a cow, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence resulting in problems.

              It is still very hard work, there is a very narrow window for planting and harvesting, the grains require a given number of days to mature, a premature frost or late spring rains reduce the growing season leading to fewer bushels per acre. Were a combine, even the newest, an automobile it would get terrible grades for reliability and service needs.

              I am a city mouse but there is something very comforting about the land, there is a true desire to preserve and not abuse it which would result in greater cashflow, I have bonded with the land and one does not abuse that sort of thing. The farmers I now know talk of the lifestyle more than talking about a business. It is different from city life, it took a few years to understand that and in part it comes from seeing the crops planted, mature and harvested, it is different from cutting a lawn.The land is precious.

              Again this lifestyle thing, on YouTube there are numerous videos on farming, Welker Farms, Millennial farmer in MN, Brian in Ohio, Cornstar in IA, they all capture this, it is multi generational families working together, even in modern ag; wives bring dinner to their husbands working the land(it happens on my farm, I didn’t get it for a long time). Youtube can give an idea, living it is very different. Farmers don’t want their land beat to heck.

              Dennis L.

            • MG says:

              My nephew took over the farm that farms the land around our village. He intends to put manure on the fields. But the lady he took it over from told him that putting manure on the fields in uneconomical. Some parts of the land are already unsuitable for growing crops because of low yields.

              The agriculture with neverending high yields without putting back nutrients (which requires a lot of energy) simply does not exist.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “(which requires a lot of energy) ”

              I can’t think of any reason the cost to move nutrients back to the far should cost more than the cost to ship farm produce to where it is being consumed. In fact, it should cost much less since most of the mass return is carbon in the atmosphere.

              But the point people make about getting the elements back to the farm is certainly true. It’s the outcome of one of the basic laws of physics, conservation of mass. Incidentally, the biggest problem is phosphorus.

            • MG says:

              Dear hkeithhenson,

              read carefully: constant high yields require a lot of energy. Low yields = low energy inputs. The current system requires constant high yields which is not sustainable.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              Why should it take more energy to haul dried shit back to the fields than it took to haul the food to where it is eaten?

            • MG – you are precisely right. Keeping high current yields is not sustainable.

            • MG says:

              Dear h,

              what farmers dry human faeces and put it back on the fields for large scale food production? I can’t imagine that in small scale. Do you mean like waiting for the sun to dry it or building a shelter for drying it? How would you collect the faeces from individual homes? Who would do that and for what wages? You? That is ridiculous…

            • DJ says:

              And then it is the half of the food that don’t end up in the toilet.

            • DB says:

              In response to the comments and questions about human waste as fertilizer: at least in the USA, many water treatment utilities sell treated solid sewage — often composted. The euphemism in the US for this material is “biosolids.” See https://www.epa.gov/biosolids/frequent-questions-about-biosolids. I suspect many, maybe most, people eat at least some food that was grown on fields fertilized, at least in part, this way (but unknown to them). Many local utilities also sell this material as high quality compost to home gardeners, and it’s often cheaper than lower quality composts that are based on yard waste and kitchen scraps or livestock manure. I’ve used composted sewage in my garden — literally tons of it — quite successfully. Of course, there is the “yuck” factor — many people are repulsed by the idea and I have been teased quite a bit by family and friends … This utility-scale kind of waste recycling, though, does consume a good bit of energy, if only for distribution of the finished product (which is made even if there is no market for it; if the utilities didn’t sell it, they dump it in landfills, which also requires energy for transport).

              Perhaps the best source from family-scale human manure recycling is the Humanure Handbook (https://humanurehandbook.com/). It requires no extra energy aside from a little manual effort to collect and compost. The author, Joseph Jenkins, also documents the history of this practice.

            • My concern in recent years has been all of the medicines that people have been taking, and if/how they pass through the system. I thought that some places stopped selling biosolids for that reason.

            • DB says:

              It is true that many kinds of uncomposted biosolids can have heavy metal and pharmaceutical contaminants. However, composting biosolids reduces them to trivial levels – perhaps even lower than that found in groundwater and regular soil (I don’t know this as I am just speculating). See a detailed analysis of one utility’s product: https://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/wastewater/resource-recovery/loop-biosolids/safety-quality.aspx. In his book, Jenkins also covers how composting essentially detoxifies many input materials, including contaminated soils.

            • Thanks! I suppose that it is the non-composted (in fact, non-treated) water supplies that are in worst shape. Also, eating animal products that pass antibiotics and other chemicals on to us directly.

    • Thinkstoomuch says:

      “Breakdowns at a number of its generating units have forced Eskom to ration power since Wednesday… Blackouts earlier in the year were blamed for a sharp contraction in economic growth.”

      Corruption and lack of maintenance had nothing to do with it. Just like PG&E says.

      No fear(tongue firmly in check).

      Abengoa breaks records with Xina Solar One, its third CSP plant in South Africa just last month.


      The concentrated solar power plant, owned by Abengoa, IDC, PIC and the Community Trust, has passed the guaranteed production tests in record time. With a capacity of 100 MW, the solar thermal plant provides clean and sustainable energy even in hours without solar radiation thanks to its molten salts storage system of more than five and a half hours.

      End quote

      They just need a bunch more of those.


      • Robert Firth says:

        “With a capacity of 100 MW, the solar thermal plant provides clean and sustainable energy even in hours without solar radiation thanks to its molten salts storage system of more than five and a half hours.”

        You mean South Africa gets 18.5 hours of daylight, year round? How do I emigrate?

        Or perhaps the quote is from somebody who has lived all his life on a planet with no nightfall. Paging Isaac Asimov.

      • And a huge amount more storage, so that they don’t burden their coal plants by ramping up and down, to offset the part of the day (and part of the year) that they are really available. All they do is somewhat save the use of coal. I hope that the benefit of this “electricity” is compared to the coal it is saving, not to the cost of electricity that the plant make.

        CSP is an expensive substitute for coal.

      • Peak coal has a lot to do with So. Africa’s electricity problem. If workers could afford higher electricity prices, coal prices could be harder as well.

        Unless Concentrated Solar Power brings down the total cost of electricity produced, it doesn’t help So. Africa.

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “More than two-thirds of global corporate bond fund managers expect default rates to climb over the next 12 months, according to a new report from the International Association of Credit Portfolio Managers.

    “In a September survey of over 100 member institutions in more than 20 countries, 68% of respondents said they expect defaults to rise, up from 58% three months ago.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “The next economic downturn will be much more severe than the last financial crisis because firms have twice as much outstanding debt as they did in 2008, said a leading academic this week.”


      • Harry McGibbs says:

        “Poland’s central bank has more than doubled its gold holdings in the last two years. Analysts say the factors behind this sharp increase are also pushing other central banks to buy more gold.”


      • I suppose the “more debt” by these companies partly has to do with the big shift toward share buy-backs, and funding operations with debt rather than equity. With equity ownership, there is less pressure to always be able to fund the next set of bonds that are coming due, or the interest on a set of bonds.

        • Dennis L. says:

          Gail, if one has a real business, why not buy back stock in something you already know? Warren comes to mind, he regularly purchases entire companies such as BN some years back. Sure, it will make more and less money some days, but it is still a company. Many of these companies have huge cash stashes, they can pay off the debt at a consistent rate and be no worse for wear. Governments baffle me, where is all the money coming from? In the US there is speculation much oil drilling was done with some sort of channeling of government debt which would make sense as that production held down conventional production income/cost to consumers world wide and kept BAU going. A back of the envelope calculation could compute what conventional, off shore oil would have cost without tight oil. Take the amount of oil currently imported, add shale oil and assign an additional marginal cost of say $5, $10, etc per barrel and compare to total debts of shale drillers. Maybe it actually made sense, rather than the money going to the middle east, etc., it stayed in the US, provided jobs Seems like a good idea to me and over all an economic winner for the entire world.

          Governments can’t pay their bills and going forward it gets worse. Spain, Hong Kong, Lebanon are rioting. Here at home we are literally yelling at each other and walking out of meetings.

          With a company at the end of the day something can be made that is necessary, people will find a way to pay. With bonds, how does one collect? If on the other hand you need a spare part for a machine, you are going to pay, if you need electricity for your plant, you will pay, etc.

          It is a very challenging time, you and many others on this site have probably answered most of the macro questions; so as James Schlesinger said at one of the last ASPO meetings in DC, “How should we then live?”

          Dennis L.

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            “How should we then live?”

            do whatever…

            it’s what each one of us is going to do anyway…

          • Tim Groves says:

            Perhaps a more practical and less philosophical question is, “How are we going to make a living?”

          • Slow Paul says:

            It seems to me that we are living off legacy infrastructure and fossil fuel resources developed decades ago. All profitable business ventures, in the sense of classical economics, were just a “trickling down” of the large unused fuel deposits in the ground. We also had a lot less complexity back in the day, so there were a lot less “overhead” in business transactions.

            How should we live? There will be ever less resources to go around, with increasing tensions, riots and war. I suggest moving to a semi-rural location where people are friendly and helpful, and where you can stay away from trouble, crime and violence.

            • Except you might be a newcomer in such a semi-rural location. I would think that a person’s first choice might be some semi-rural location where you have connections. For example, where you grew up or have a close relative. Being a newcomer where you are not known at all is not necessarily a good idea, as things turn for the worse.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” or have a close relative.”

              That’s a problem. When I was growing up, I had two relatives who were really farmers and one who thought of herself as a farmer (on 40 acres) but was actually a schoolteacher. All gone now, I can’t think of a relative or even a close friend who lives in a rural area.

            • Dennis L. says:

              Some off the cuff guesses:
              1. In the country one is much less an individual, at a minimum you fail to thrive, and worst you fail all together.
              2. Consequence of 1 is less wealth disparity, everyone has something to contribute and must contribute, there is not enough to carry those who freeload, have too much and someone you need doesn’t have enough.
              3. Consequence of 2 is you learn to get along with everyone, there is a mutual need for mutual help.
              4. Consequence of 3 may be less diversity, life is too busy to sort out all the nuances, everyone must start from some sort of common reference, again 3, you have to get along, minor annoyances are not worth debating.
              5. There is less and what comes from the outside is much more of a challenge to obtain. Metaphorically, all nails are the same size as the right one is 30 miles away. A consequence is no JIT, essentials are inventoried to a point, too much inventory and things cannot be found in time to be useful.
              6. You are going join groups with which you don’t necessarily agree, which are less enjoyable than the city, e.g. church. The message is often a simplification of major world problems, you put you money in the plate to support the group, knowing the people is important, arguing political points far distant is not worth the effort. Apparently in feudal times , the peasants were kept home to make money, the sons of the elites were sent someplace to fight, argue preferably some distant land with a grand political purpose, finding the grail for example.
              7. Metropolitan areas all over the world seem to be undergoing stresses which are resulting in large riots, multiple hundreds of thousands of people. Physically it probably solves nothing, but emotionally it seems to be necessary as it has occurred so often in history. To my way of thinking it is happening across too many varying cultures not to be a global issue. One wonders if this is a time not unlike the Civil War in the US, the Revolution of 1919 in Russia, WWI, WWII in Europe, the Russian-Japanese war in the early twentieth century. The causative issues are debated to this day, there is little time for such debate in the country; practically speaking other than providing jobs for historians has it really made a difference in why or who was right? These things happen, choosing a rural location in Gettysburg at the wrong time is not a great decision. Musket balls going through the farm house has similarities to some urban neighborhoods.

              So, how then should we live? In town there is time to argue small points, less so in the country. The limiting factor seems to be time, many of us can do it all, but there is not time to do it all, there are fewer people so more time is spent doing essentials. Arguing over painting a crosswalk in a rainbow of colors at city council meeting(this is an actual issue with a city in Iowa and the Federal Government) does not have much relevance when the roads are gravel.

              Again metaphorically and understanding that it has never been easy, from Genesis 41.
              28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon. We seem to be debating on a somewhat continuous basis what “soon” means in today’s world.

              The financial economy is a tertiary economy resting on energy. The good news in Genesis is that the bad years will only last seven years. Some things never change, the challenge is to choose a way to live which works for the time in which one lives. In a worst case scenario, one has to move on with all the stresses that will involve; there are not as many places to move as there were in the early twentieth century, bummer.

              Dennis L.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              As long as the crop failures are not too widespread (I.e., worldwide) and the shipping infrastructure stays up, famine is not likely.

              We could also divert much of what we feed to animals into human food.

            • My understanding is that in most previous famines, the problem was as much lack of buying power of many citizens, as anything else. There was, in fact, plenty of food. The poorer members of society could not afford the food. In fact, that is why the world has hunger today.

              Looking at the problem from the point of food/population doesn’t give you the correct answer, unfortunately. There must be both (a) enough food and (b) even enough distribution through income.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “The poorer members”

              You are right that generally, the richer members of society had enough to eat. That’s what Gregory Clark talks about in the article I have mentioned. But there are cases where the food supply failed, the Irish Potato famine comes to mind.

              More recent, “in 1971 and 1972 wheat crops in the Soviet Union suffered massive shortfalls”



              This is the kind of worldwide famine that would need substantial changes in human eating habits to weather without massive population loss.

            • Even back in Biblical days, people knew about multiple lean years, and the need to have reserves for these lean years. We do this with grain, and with oil and coal. But electricity and natural gas are both hard to store. Natural gas can be stored in underground caverns. Usually, this is only one year’s supply, mostly for winter heat. Electricity is generally only stored for powering small devices (such as computers or flashlights) or, at utility scale, only for a short time. Of course, now we are powering some autos with electricity also.

            • Thinkstoomuch says:

              Rules for going to a rural location. If you want helpful neighbors act like a helpful neighbor. Do not act like a “know it all”. The city attitude of not acknowledging others will not cut it.

              Act like you are alone on a island and you are on an island. At least in most of the US.

              The golden rule applies. Oh and be ready to live in a Fish Bowl. Everybody generally knows everything, eventually.


  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Bank of England’s credit conditions survey shows that business lending remained more or less flat as a pancake for the three long years after the EU referendum. That’s changed and not in a good way.

    “The latest update shows a decline in the third quarter of 2019 which is expected to accelerate during the current quarter. If lending performs in line with expectations for the final three months of 2019, it will show the sharpest decline since the run up to the financial crisis.”


  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Singapore exports shrank for the seventh month in a row as global trade tensions continued to bite. Non-oil domestic exports (Nodx) fell by 8.1 per cent last month…”


  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “[India’s] consumption slump, a major challenge afflicting the economy, cannot be attributed to the NBFC crisis as it predates the first default by infra lender IL&FS, says a brokerage, which has also slashed growth forecast to 6 percent with a downward bias.”


  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s economic growth slowed more than expected to 6.0% year-on-year in the third quarter, the weakest pace in almost three decades, hit by soft factory production amid a bruising Sino-U.S. trade war and lackluster demand at home…

    “China’s trading partners and investors are closely watching the health of the world’s second-largest economy as the trade war with the United States fuels fears about a global recession.”


  23. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The rules and models that economists have relied on for decades seem to be failing. With interest rates still stuck near zero we no longer have the ammunition we once did to confront any recession. To top it all off, China and the rest of the emerging and developing world are slowing even more markedly than the West.

    “The engines that powered the world for the past decade are faltering. The odd thing is that this has garnered so little publicity, though given that there is so much else going on to distract us perhaps that’s no surprise… Everyone is slowing but some more than others.

    …in recent months the main thing worrying importers and shipping merchants is not Brexit but the fact that their warehouses are no longer filling up with goods from overseas. The ships coming into port are not so heavily laden, air cargo holds are increasingly empty. Global trade is grinding to a halt.

    Again, the conventional wisdom is that this is down to the US-China trade war, but while that has affected the nature of some trade routes, forcing China to start importing its soybean from elsewhere, it does not explain why trade is falling globally.

    So what is going on? Well, one possibility is that China’s almighty debt bubble is finally deflating, or even imploding, but don’t expect Beijing to let on about it for some time…

    The scariest explanation is that in trying to solve the last financial crisis we fuelled a deeper malaise in global economics… The bad news is that economics as we knew it seems to be broken. There’s no guessing how or when we can put it back together again.


    • Robert Firth says:

      Economics “as we knew it” is not just broken; it is wrong. For an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of trade across frontiers, I refer you to Adam Smith, An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV chapter 2.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Thanks for the reference, Smith is a book I have attempted to read several times, somewhat turgid prose. With automation, tariffs may have a different effect this time, I am not an authority, but the technology seems to lead to the loss of cheap labor advantage while at the same time demanding a small number of workers be extremely skilled. Locking up the technology within borders could be seen to have the same advantage enjoyed Britain in an earlier time when looms were closely guarded intellectual property.

        Today’s world seems to be a constant race to stay in the game.

        Thanks for the comments, I enjoy the many points of views expressed here and appreciate Gail’s generosity of time and money in this area.

        Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

      If we amend that to:

      ‘The engines which have powered economies for the last two centuries or so are faltering’ it would be nearer to the truth of the situation.

      In fact, the whole notion of governments and CB’s having ‘ammuniition’ and ‘power’ to fire up economies in the face of the resource and energy crisis is nonsense: for a comparatively brief time with fantasy debt, yes, but that window seems to be closing.

      Nor would displacing the selfish elites do any good: even without them, our civilization is a voracious monster which must be fed or die.

      As Tim Morgan has pointed out, if the field of economics relies on the demonstrably false assumption that ‘energy is infinitely substitutable’ then policies based upon it must fail, spectacularly.

      You might choose to jump off a cliff thinking that angels will swoop in to save you, but you are certain to be proved wrong, even if you cling on to that false hope until you hit the deck!

      But it’s worse than that: we are so deluded that we cannot even see the cliff for what it is……

  24. Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

    Wall Street banks needed only $104 billion today:


    “On Wednesday, the Fed also began buying large amounts of Treasury bills to help expand the size of its balance sheet as part of a longer-term solution for money-market volatility.”

    “longer-term solution”…

    are they just trying to inject a bit of humour?

  25. Dennis L. says:

    Hmm, I wonder if Greta Thunberg can get time to address the Politburo.
    Politics is often a bit more than “How dare you.” One can be exactly right and yet not get the desired results.

    Again good intentions, but the commuters had jobs which pay the bills due yesterday and bosses who didn’t want to hear about it. Metaphorically, in a traditional sense the wife waiting at home wouldn’t care to hear her husband had lost his job but helped save the world from climate change. That house would not need air conditioning that day as the interior temperatures would be icy; extreme form of all politics being local.

    Wasn’t there some politician in the US who decided that politically climate change was not a sure thing?

    Most of us are dealing with daily issues which can be very challenging, it would be nice if serious politicians could acknowledge these almost universal challenges and at the same time work in positive, quite manner to address some of the long term issues our world as a whole will face. Or, to paraphrase Jordan Peterson, “First, clean your bedroom.”

    Lack of cheap energy appears to be in part leading to a somewhat mass psychosis of which those at the peak oil scene did not envision; looking forward is very difficult. The understanding that assumptions incorporated into the climate models regarding energy availability were not correct has been known for some time, it is almost as though protesting for a very worthy goal, saving the planet, is easier than recognizing things are going to change and not in manner many of us will enjoy. How dare the physical world work in a manner that does not suit us.

    Interesting times.

    Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

      ‘Mass psychosis’ is certainly more likely than addressing matters in a serious and united fashion.

      Ever-widening circles of irrationality, intolerance and violence is my – reluctant – prediction.

      • hkeithhenson says:

        Given the evolutionary history of humans, that’s a reasonable prediction.

        However, it is *possible* for things to work out better. The classic example is the IRA. They went out of business, why?

        The EP analysis says that the ultimate reason was the Irish women cutting the number of children they had to near replacement level. The slower population growth plus some economic growth improved the average income per capita. Improving income per capita (i.e., good times) turns off the psychological mechanisms that lead to war or support for related social disruptions (like the IRA).

        It’s not hard to show that going to war is good for the genes of the people doing it when the alternative is starving. But the same analysis shows that going to war when you don’t have to is very bad for genes.

        It is hard to apply this insight to other situations. It is well understood that educated women cut the number of kids they have to near replacement. But there are cultures where this would be between hard and impossible.

  26. Get HaPpY says:

    Sure, you have to be a Tuff bird to leave your Homeland and settle elsewhere…make sure, though, BAU is going FULL THROTTLE where you move to…or you may encounter some HARD TIMES…
    As Venezuela’s mass exodus persists, the initial warm welcome many migrants received has begun to wear thin.
    In recent weeks, several videos on social media in Peru have shown migrants being assaulted, threatened or harassed, sparking concerns that xenophobic attacks on the newcomers are mounting.
    United Nations data points to an uptick in the number of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who report experiencing discrimination in South America, where the majority have settled. Though difficult to quantify, Peru in particular has become a hot spot. A recently established hotline documented 500 incidents in a single two-week period.
    “It has been rising in recent months,” said Federico Agusti, the U.N. refugee agency’s Peru representative. “The principal cause seems to be fear of the other and certain stigmas that are developing, which generate discrimination
    “It has been rising in recent months,” said Federico Agusti, the U.N. refugee agency’s Peru representative. “The principal cause seems to be fear of the other and certain stigmas that are developing, which generate discrimination.”
    The incidents range from housing evictions and wage theft to violent threats and assaults.
    In one video, a young Venezuelan woman is whipped by assailants on a dark street, leaving deep purple bruises across her thighs. In another, men dressed in military uniforms announce on a loudspeaker that they won’t let “another miserable Venezuelan” into Peru. In a third, a young man pleads with a dozen officers surrounding him not to take away the small box of chocolates he is trying to sell to make a living.
    “How am I going to eat now?” he says on the verge of tears.

    Just the way things are…outsiders are never welcomed when there isn’t enough to go around…per Gail

  27. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Lots of investors chafe at the idea of buying negative-yield bonds. Few are as repelled by the prospect as William Eigen.

    “The JPMorgan Asset Management fund manager says he’d retire before buying sub-zero securities, even as some of his peers profit from the trade amid mounting fears of a global recession. He predicts negative-yielding bonds will eventually lead to “devastating” losses…”


  28. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.S. retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in September, suggesting that manufacturing-led weakness could be spreading to the broader economy, keeping the door open for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again later this month…

    “Signs of cracks in the economy’s main pillar of support, ahead of the holiday season, could further stoke financial market fears of a sharper slowdown in economic growth.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “More than two-thirds of U.S. households say they are preparing for a possible recession.

      “Some 69% of participants in a recent poll said they were taking steps to shore up their finances ahead of a possible downturn, including 44% who said they were spending less money. Some 10%, including 13% of college graduates, are looking for a better or more stable job.”


      • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

        I’ll rerun my story that I lost a decent private sector job in 2009 when I was 50-ish and never fully recovered as most 50+ year old males back then didn’t, if they experienced job loss…

        so I moved into a government job shortly after…

        I think I can ride out the 2020 downturn, as I expect that I’m in a secure situation…

        but who knows… I’m 60-ish now… whatever…

        I could be grossly wrong…

        time will tell…

        bring on the recession, baby!

        • Good luck to you sir.
          In general terms you are correct the early stages of slowdown or even severe recession are best to be personally avoided by landing on some sort of gov/backbone infrastructure job (apart from the rare privileged situation not needing such job anyway). You never know how important such (even short) delay to worst effects could turn out. It’s a cushion allowing for calm analysis and taking further decisions as the situation develops, this could be considered sort of a luxury most other “unfortunate” peoplez won’t get the chance to enjoy at all as they found themselves quickly on the receiving end of various direct existential threats.

          • Xabier says:

            My little brother in Spain rode out the GFC1 without any trouble at all, being a government ‘functionary’: he even stepped up from direct teaching to the bureaucracy in the education department, as a director of a department (political connections!)

            My two other siblings, on the other hand, 10 years or so younger are having a very difficult time, having graduated in the depressed conditions of ‘austerity’ Spain, and are now doing their best to get into the public sector as teachers – like everyone else!

            They would be very happy with just a basic teaching post. We shall see if they succeed, as recruitment is very limited still.

        • Thinkstoomuch says:

          Approximately 1 in 6 employees in the US are government employees.

          Just something to think about.


  29. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The world economy has not been in a more precarious situation in over a decade. Growth is faltering everywhere, with the Eurozone flirting with recession, while central banks have returned to monetary easing after just one year of global tightening.

    “It is imperative to appreciate the exceptionality of the situation. Never before has the world gone into recession with interest rates so low and with the balance sheets of central banks so massive. This time truly is ”different”…

    “No one dares to look at the facts – or if they do, they dismiss them. Denial is a powerful force.

    “The fact is that monetary policy is running on empty, at least in the Eurozone, and governments can provide only limited fiscal stimulus. We’ve reached the end. There’s nothing left to do than prepare for the crisis and wait. And to be very afraid.”


  30. GBV says:

    Uhhh… looks like my comments posting a link to a global warming document were scrubbed from the website. LAME 🙁

    Anyways, let’s try again… you’ll have to fix the link should you wish to watch it:

    https://www.youtube.com / playlist?list=PL55EBFD7CE9F194B1

    Fun stuff.


  31. GBV says:

    Global warming swindle:


    Fun stuff…


    • Dennis says:

      But you see, the ENTITIES were warning us Earth folk about this back as early as the 1950s. You’re not saying they were WRONG?

      • Abduction of humans by aliens to produce hybrids. Really? Someone has been playing too many video games.

        • Kowalainen says:

          My viewpoint on these issues is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

          Ridicule and “thinfoil hat” marginalization, however, proves nothing and leaves me unimpressed.

          Imagine some 500 years ago a “scientist” coming with the outrageous claim that the earth was a sphere orbiting around the sun in the outskirts of the Milky way, and not at the center of the universe.

          All science starts out as pseudoscience. Some science, however, regresses back to pseudoscience, for example cosmology and climate science.

  32. Dennis says:

    Back in 2000, you remember we had “irrational exuberance”. Then not long after the boom petered out, China joined the WTO and ramped up its energy consumption and industrial production.

    Since then, in some individual years China has used more cement in a year than the USA used in the whole of the twentieth century. China’s relentless mercantilism and productivism meant that it in effect exported deflation to the rest of the world. Meanwhile it indulged in wasting massive amounts of resources by building ghost cities, airports, etc. It has surely contributed massively to world pollution and the other controversial things connected to that.

    Probably China should have been nuked years ago, but now I suggest we all write to Mr Trump, tell him he’s a great guy, convince him that nuking China would feel even better than Viagra, then stand back and watch him light the fuse. Go on – you know it makes sense!

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      good thing anti-war Trump is POTUS and you are not… 😉

      • namkyahai says:

        Yup. The POTUS of peace and prosperity. NOT ALLOWED. IMPEACH.
        Trumps go to go…
        Every one of the Democrat candidates was banging on the war drum at the debate with the exception of Tulsi. She says Trump has to go too…
        I thought she was OK but If she cant acknowledge Trump as the only president in the last what 60 years to say no to war then meh. Talk is cheap. Trump delivers. Birds of a feather.
        Not stick our nose in, UNTHINKABLE! We know everything!
        Donald J. Trump

        Verified account

        Oct 14
        Some people want the United States to protect the 7,000 mile away Border of Syria, presided over by Bashar al-Assad, our enemy. At the same time, Syria and whoever they chose to help, wants naturally to protect the Kurds….

        8,531 replies16,394 retweets70,140 likes
        Reply 8.5K Retweet 16K Like 70K
        Show this thread

        Donald J. Trump

        Verified account

        Oct 14
        ….and Assad to protect the land of our enemy? Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!

        14,035 replies17,785 retweets73,362 likes
        Reply 14K Retweet 18K Like 73K
        Show this thread

        Donald J. Trump

        Verified account

        Oct 14
        After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land. I said to my Generals, why should we be fighting for Syria….

        18,807 replies20,672 retweets84,720 likes
        Reply 19K Retweet 21K Like 85K

        • Tim Groves says:

          There will be no impeachment, just endless mudslinging, accusations, and attempts to show PUTUS in a bad light to give his opponents a chance to unseat him a year from now. On and on it will go, ad nauseum—just in case some of us aren’t sufficiently nauseated yet.

          Meanwhile, 441 Congress Critters are dancing it up and making the deals of a lifetime, and are too busy to make any laws. There’s no health insurance legislation, no New Green Deal legislation, none of the things the Democrats claim to care most about have been introduced as bills.

          When the men, women and all the other genders of Members of Congress first arrive in DC, it smells like a sewer to them. But once they’ve gotten used to the place it smells like a hot bathtub scented with all the perfumes of Arabia. The longer they soak in it the more they cook in their own corruption.

        • in 1939 the USA was almost totally anti war, luckily FDR knew differently

          Had they not entered ww2 this is what would have happened:

          Hitle r would have invaded UK

          hence closing off Europe to USA—(no landing fields)

          By 1944, he would have had nukes, and by 1946 the means to deliver them to the USA/USSR

          1947/8 total world domination under threat of nuclear war

          I might be out a year or two here and there, but not overall

          If unstopped, wars have a tendency to turn up on your own doorstep.

          The don is just flailing about looking for the best voting platforms. He is not concerned about politics or people who might die because of his antics.
          I have no doubt about Pelosi’s opinion of ‘meltdown’

          • Thinkstoomuch says:

            Nice alternate history.

            Please refresh my mind. What caused the US to declare war?

            For that matter when would this hypothetical invasion of of the UK have happened? How well did that invasion of the USSR work out before the US entry.

            Of course that pesky oil and steel embargo had no impact, either. Or sending volunteers, Flying Tigers, to fight as mercenaries.

            For that matter look at the timeline for Germany and the USA was declared.

            Yes war showed up on our back doorstep and was promptly used as an excuse to fight a war in the garage.

            Oh by the way your timeline is seriously late. Examine when the planes were designed and ships were laid down.


            • my main point was that FDR kept the uk afloat until 1942, resisting Kennedy Lindbergh et al

              if he hadnt the USA would have lost the war because german factories could not have been bombed and he would have developed nukes

              i did say my timeline could be off by a year or two, but the broad point holds i think

            • Thinkstoomuch says:

              Deleted a long post.

              Germany wasn’t going to develop a nuclear weapon. The top German scientists(left) said nuclear weapons were impossible, they got their constants wrong, IIRC. Germany never had a sustained chain reaction.

              Germany never developed a platform for cross ocean sorties. The US didn’t really have one until the Peacemaker. Years after the war.

              Germany had the strategic vision of a blind mole. Tactically they did very well. Tactics win battles not wars. Hence the failure of Operation Sea Lion which had little to no American involvement. Other than food.

              Before Russia got the US Logistics help Germany was stopped and flailing. The UK was already secure from invasion at that point.

              European bombing campaigns on all sides were an own goal, mostly. German’s production peaked in 1944.

              Like I said deleted the long version,

            • namkyahai. says:

              Ah yes. Hitler justification. By the playbook, Always infer Trump a nazi , racist and or tyrant and or friends with the above.Shall we look our somewhat more recent mideast military efforts.


              Largest area in the world where terrorist Islamist groups run things spilling deep into Niger and Chad.


              Obama ” Assad has to go. ”
              Gee i seem to recall hearing “has to go” more recently.
              Wouldnt that be a characteristic of a dictator arbitrarily condemning any apposing view? Bu I digress.

              Hitler justification Saddam.
              Hitler justification Qaddafi.
              Hitler justification Assad.

              People of all walks of life all income classes all races are sick of the horror of war and hate. I am one of those people. The people whose lives are torn apart by war matter.
              Arguments that support war are despicable. I dont hate you Norman even though you support something despicable. Hate is what the propaganda machine wants. I ask you to consider your viewpoint as a neighbor. Look to your heart.

            • Robert Firth says:

              You forgot a couple. Hitler’s proposed invasion of Britain (Operation Sealion) was abandoned in September 1940, over a year before the US entered the war. And the German research on possible nuclear weapons was shut down when the Norwegian heavy water facilities were destroyed, by British Special Operations, acting almost alone (helped by a dozen Norwegian partisans).

              And FDR had the luck of the Devil. If Nagumo Chuichi had launched the planned third wave attack on Pearl Harbour, against the ground installations, Japan would probably have won the Pacific War. The US carriers would have had no base facilities West of San Diego, rendering them effectively useless.

            • I fully accept there are a lot of what ifs in my hypothesis.

              But if hitler’s factories could produce V2s while under attack—they would have produced far more bigger and better if they had not been, including nuclear weapons, including increased range to cross the atlantic

            • Thinkstoomuch says:

              “But if hitler’s factories could produce V2s while under attack—they would have produced far more bigger and better if they had not been, including nuclear weapons, including increased range to cross the atlantic”

              Was President Roosevelt’s course to drive the Japanese to attack the US a good one? Doesn’t matter he did it, they did it, and he got his European war. And dreadful treatment of some of President Roosevelt’s foreign born citizens and their property. Though he at least did not kill them.

              I am glad it went the way it did as more than likely I would not exist or be the person I am today. I like me. I mostly like the world wish the small number of idiots would be better. But Idiots will always be with us. The Average person is Average.

              But Germany already lost the “Battle of Britain”, “Operation Sea Lion” was already cancelled. “Operation Barbarossa” already failed. North Africa and the Mediterranean was already a mess.

              V-1, V-2 and jet aircraft development are examples of why it would not have happened, IMO. Germany is losing everywhere. So they chase a mirage. Let us build new factories to do things our current aircraft can already do, in neat, new ways … in small numbers in a year or two. Remind you of the Green New Deal yet?

              Look at the design of B-36 Peacemaker sometime. Look at how long it took the US to build an ICBM(with some of those German Engineers). Look at the size and weight of “Big Boy” and “Tall Boy”.

              The Nazi leadership was divided and very power hungry, at the expense of peers. 3 years
              of crash development with unlimited funding was not going to happen. Or at least in any universe I can imagine.

              Even if the US had not entered, the war it was not winnable by Germany. Results probably closer to what happened to Macedonia and Alexander. A lot more dead people (less infrastructure damage, more?) and chaos but that is a wild guess.

              This is very simplified their are entire library categories on the subject and even more opinions. Some even have the effrontery to be different than mine. 🙂


            • Robert Firth says:

              Norman, your remark about Hither’s V2s conveniently forgets that Peenemunde was bombed not by the US, but by the Royal Air Force (Operation Hydra). And by late 1941 it was pretty clear that USSR ground forces, allied with British sea and air forces, could have won the war on their own.

          • Yorchichan says:

            It was fortunate the good guys won WW2 (but not for the Germans):


            • This reply is essentially to cover that video link as much as anything else.

              the Germans had a term for their air raids

              it was: that a city had been “Coventried”
              They hovered over the city for hours, it was open and unprotected. it was burned out in a calculated and deliberate manner, they were not bombing the car factories.

              If you should ever find yourself in Coventry, go to the (new) hospital. There you will find a memorial to the two women awarded the George Medal (our highest civilian award for bravery) for gallantry that night. One was the hospital matron, one was a hospital cleaner.
              The challenge is not to crack when you read what happened.

              Before any hand wringing, I can only suggest that you read up on what started it all

              Hitler wasn’t going to be stopped by a polite diplomatic note. Or threats about what we were going to do to his country. He was a lunatic who by chance found himself with the most powerful military machine in history.
              He hired lunatics to do the work he couldn’t.

              While you’re at it—check out what happened to Nanking in 1937, or Guernica for that matter, or Warsaw

              As the head of British bomber command put it: They sowed the wind, now they will reap the whirlwind.
              It was all most unfortunate, but let’s not start reversing the blame for it.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Hitler . . was a lunatic”

              Because it worked in the stone age (and we still have the psychological mechanisms) lunatics and irrational people become attractive to resource stressed people.

              It is perhaps informative to consider the current situation in the US in this light.

            • this is the point that correlates exactly with our own time

              a people getting more desperate as their lifestyle erodes—the ‘great leader’ arises and offers salvation

              Churchill offered nothing but blood toil tears and sweat

            • Yorchichan says:

              Hitler wanted peace with Britain, but his suing for peace was repeatedly rejected by Churchill; it was Britain who declared war on Germany, remember, not the other way around. Rather than Germany “sowing the wind”, it was the RAF who began the bombing of civilians in August 1940. It wasn’t until after being on the receiving end of British bombs for over two months that Germany finally retaliated by bombing British cities in November 1940.

            • Guernica—Warsaw

              Churchill was fully aware of the worth of Hitler’s word.

              This is why he rejected any peace offered and declared war to stop him

          • I doubt that alt scenario very much..

            -the key n-bomb scientists left Germany in the mid 1930s at the latest.. (huge delays)

            -the historical record is quite clear the German campaigns where deliberate pure gambles, which worked against France, but did not work in N Africa, nor in the Eastern front which was the ~75% of the damage inflicted

            -the UK had advantages in radar technology, existing naval global empire with resource base, etc.

            -the land lease program bound for USSR picked up in 1943-44 when Nazis already lost

            The only serious antidote I’ve noticed over the years would be to “firstly” take over Gibraltar, i.e. block the Suez route, and thus inflict heavier losses on the longer around Africa naval route, also pursuing shock and awe massacre the expedition forces at Dunkirk instead of hoping for some resolution with the Brits, .. , and not attacking in the north St. Peters/Leningrad and Moscow but go directly to Caucasus oil fields in the south. And even all the above best case scenarios would not have been successful. Nazi Germany was simply too small in the oil game (leverage) vs the giants (USSR/US/UK) with their horse drawn units, lack of fuel for airplanes, unreliable allies like Italy etc..

          • namkyahai says:

            Bush wars double plus bad,
            Obama wars double plus good.
            Trump wars/not double plus bad.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Norm, you’re not going to like this, but WW1 and WW2 were both choreographed by the power elite behind the scenes, Hitler (real name Hiller, by the way) and his mates were all crisis actors, and nuclear weapons don’t exist and are just one more paper tiger that the power elite scare everyone into believing so that they can keep scamming us.

            Just my humble and earnest opinion of course! 🙂

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:


              majorly conspearacy theoristic stuff…

              well played, sir!

            • namkyahai says:

              Everyone at Hiroshima Nagasaki Crisis actor too? Not that there arnt crisis actors and Hitler may or may not have been there predecessor. I dont know. I do tend to believe nuclear weapons are real based on the multiple testimonies of thousands of Japanese nuclear weapon survivors. It would definitely be neato if they didnt exist.

  33. Sven Røgeberg says:

    I stumbled across this reference in something i read today. I havn’t had time to read it yet, but this is the abstract:
    The purpose of this conceptual paper is to provide readers with an opportunity to reassess their work and life in the face of an inevitable near- term social collapse due to climate change.
    The approach of the paper is to analyse recent studies on climate change and its implications for our ecosystems, economies and societies, as provided by academic journals and publications direct from research institutes.
    That synthesis leads to a conclusion there will be a near-term collapse in society with serious ramifications for the lives of readers. The paper reviews some of the reasons why collapse-denial may exist, in particular, in the professions of sustainability research and practice, therefore leading to these arguments having been absent from these fields until now.
    The paper offers a new meta-framing of the implications for research, organisational practice, personal development and public policy, called the Deep Adaptation Agenda. Its key aspects of resilience, relinquishment and restorations are explained. This agenda does not seek to build on existing scholarship on “climate adaptation” as it is premised on the view that social collapse is now inevitable.
    The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field to conclude that climate-induced societal collapse is now inevitable in the near term and therefore to invite scholars to explore the implications.

    • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

      well, I can never get back the couple of minutes I wasted reading that… 😉

      “The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field…”


      probably a field full of highly paid academics out of touch with energy realities…

      ho hum…

      I wish I could rewrite that last sentence to a closer fit with Reality:

      The author believes this is one of the first papers in the sustainability management field to conclude that energy-depletion-induced societal collapse is now inevitable in the near term and therefore to invite scholars to explore the implications.

      I’m always here to help…

    • Robert Firth says:

      Pure drivel, from beginning to end. The author summarises his work in six points. First to Fifth explain how the “tragedy” of collapse will engulf us all. Then comes the last:

      “Finally, I make some suggestions for how this agenda could influence our future research and teaching in the sustainability field.”

      So it seems his ivory tower will survive, and his fee baying students, and his grant giving patrons. As Shakespeare said: “The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning”. (The Tempest, Act II scene i)

  34. namkyahai says:

    Mark to market considered a foundational tool for financial stability for decades suspended in 2008 and now gone forever forever. There is no bankruptcy. It doesnt exist.

    • Thanks for pointing this out. This is from 2016. It became effective in 2018. There are various valuations for assets available. Bonds, for example, often trade a below amortized cost because they are doing poorly. If companies don’t have to mark to market, they don’t have to recognize that problem, until the bond actually defaults, for example.

  35. Pingback: Proper 24: Persistence – A New City of God

  36. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Low interest rates are encouraging companies to take on a level of debt that risks becoming a $19tn (£15tn) timebomb in the event of another global recession, the International Monetary Fund has said.

    “In its half-yearly update on the state of the world’s financial markets, the IMF said that almost 40% of the corporate debt in eight leading countries – the US, China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain – would be impossible to service if there was a downturn half as serious as that of a decade ago…

    “Officials at the Washington-based organisation fear that the buildup of debt makes the global financial system highly vulnerable…

    “Tobias Adrian and Fabio Natalucci, two senior IMF officials responsible for the global financial stability report, said: “A sharp, sudden tightening in financial conditions could unmask these vulnerabilities and put pressures on asset price valuations.””


    • it always seems to be a “financial future time bomb” (or whatever)

      it isn’t

      it’s an oil time bomb

      Our global finances remain viable only as long as the oil flow exceeds the money demand

      When money demand exceeds oilflow (like now) the world finance house of cards will collapse

      Which is what we are witnessing around us at the moment–though we are keeping ourselves afloat in the denial phase by borrowing money to pretend we are still in the cheap-oil expansion phase.

      That borrowed money comes from our future and our children’s future.
      it is they who will have to live with the fallout

      • Hubbs says:

        No one expects principal to ever be repaid, only interest. As long as interest rates are near zero or below, it would seem that everyone, debtor nations, corporations, and Central banks will all pretend. It has gone on a lot longer than I ever thought it could.
        It would seem that eventually, if oil costs more to produce than it earns in productive capacity, well, the economy slowly cannibalizes itself of other wealth or diverts capital from other value-added production to pay for increasingly costly FFs.

        • without oil, the capital value of everything else collapses

          and this includes land
          because land is only as valuable as the energy return from it

          if the amount of energy extracted from land is only what muscle power can put into it, then that will be the real value

          if you can extract energy from land using diesel and tractors, then that will be the real value

          • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

            “without oil, the capital value of everything else collapses”

            true, but I don’t foresee the world going from record high oil in 2018 to quickly being without oil…

            we could suspect that the energy derived from oil has been less in recent years… higher production costs, perhaps higher refining costs… but this may not be measurable…

            but if we see clear data that the value of economic activity is declining (slowly), then perhaps that tells us that the energy derived from oil is also declining (slowly)…

            of course, CBs/governments could mess up, or a black swan or war…

            then things could move fast…

            but right now it’s all slowly paced…

          • Xabier says:

            Historically, fertile land+animal and human muscle-power made the value of land,and made it a store of wealth that anyone with capital eagerly sought to acquire; but we have universally degraded and eroded the soils with industrialised monoculture and chemical filth, so one is inclined to ask what the true value of land really is now?

            • Robert Firth says:

              Xabier, fair comment, and a good question. The value of any resource is whatever can be sustainably extracted from it, indefinitely. For land, that means whatever is taken out must, somehow, be put back. For energy, that is easy: we have sunlight. For some other inputs, it is almost as easy: photosynthesis replaces carbon compounds; legumes replace nitrogen; the corpses of insects and small animals replace some trace elements.

              For others, human extraction requires human replacement; phosphorus, for example, must be replaced by human and animal wastes. Water is harder; it can be replaced by rainfall, but otherwise only by sustainable irrigation. Which, emphatically, does not mean by drilling wells; they deplete the underlying water table and eventually die.

              You know, we knew all this a thousand years ago, when Mediaeval Europe adopted almost fully sustainable agriculture, and a bit later even wrote the book on it. (Charles Estienne, Maison Rustique).

              The Egyptians knew this two thousand years earlier, when they invented the Nilometer, the device that measured the height of the annual Nile flood. That gave them a good indication of how bountiful the subsequent harvest would be, and the priests could plan the year accordingly. Astonishingly, they also set the taxes for the year on the same basis, so that every farmer was guaranteed an affordable levy, if he farmed prudently.

              Perhaps, in the face of the coming Collapse, we should set up an Encyclopaedia Foundation, to collect and codify all this knowledge. (And, at the other end of the planet, …? I rather think not.)

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          “… the economy slowly cannibalizes itself…”

          yes, slowly…

        • “..will all pretend..” – that’s very precise and fitting term for it, thanks.

          There is rock/pop tune “Great Pretender” – the actual singer in real life pretended among other things he is NOT terminally ill for several years, incl. usage of heavy make up, out of focus blurred and or bw/over saturated video clips hiding rapid physical deterioration, no public appearances, none or few press events and represented by others at that anyway etc.

          It’s uncanny how it rhymes with the dying out system. The difference being the heirs eventually got to “enjoy” megabucks afterwards, nowadays any possible inheritance from the system is more questionable game..

      • I am afraid all of us will have to live with the fallout.

        I am afraid quite a few futures won’t really exist. I am not sure that we could have really changed this, however. Our range of actions at any point in time seems to depend on what has happened in the past.

    • Sorry I have not been able to comment today. I have been at a conference with zero internet access. In fact, I probably will be mostly unavailable tomorrow as well. I have Internet at the hotel, but I need to leave shortly.

      • Xabier says:

        Spreading the Good News among actuaries again, Gail? Be gentle……

        • Actually, these are IEEE folks. There are a few Space Solar folks, but most are talking about things like the wonders of 5G networks. They have never stopped to think about the need for affordable products. I asked some very pointed questions today, and got several people interested in coming to my session (this afternoon) instead of a session on one of the other tracks.

          The university of Ottawa supposedly has internet service in the building we are in, but it doesn’t work with all of the attendees.

  37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHJ86oW2TB4

    And so the terra-forming madness by humanoids continues now also via
    hybrid high yield and saline/seawater tolerant rice development by China.

    • Xabier says:

      All we do is come up with ever more elaborate ways to dig our own grave, tumbling in justa
      little later than might have happened otherwise………

  38. Harry McGibbs says:

    “This is what happens when the government targets you for zombie debt collection.

    “You receive a letter from your state’s department of human services claiming that you were “overissued” $4,132 in food stamp and cash benefits in the 1980s. Enclosed is a copy of the original overpayment notice they say they sent you when you were still listening to Madonna and Bobby Brown.

    “You don’t remember ever seeing it before.

    “The letter informs you that, since you didn’t respond immediately three decades ago, your 90-day window to request a fair hearing and contest the overpayment has closed. You now have a debt, and it’s past due…

    “With quiet but devastating regularity, zombie debt notices are arriving at the homes of tens of thousands across the US – courtesy of the government and with the assistance of heavyweight tech companies.

    “The Guardian can reveal that predatory policy changes, turbocharged by digital innovations, are producing a wave of aggressive debt collection that stretches back decades and targets the nation’s most vulnerable.”


    • Xabier says:

      People who think that they will escape all debt repayments in the chaos of decline are grossly deluded; and there will be no shortage of desperate people happy to collect those debts if it means being able to pay their own……

      What’s the old saying?

      ‘Man is wolf to man.’

      • Denial says:

        Trying to predict what will happen in the chaos is like saying what the weather will be on Tuesday two weeks from now. You just don’t know. Without an infrastructure how do you expect them to collect the debt? Debt collection works only when the whole system is intact. So there is a very good chance you are wrong. Look at the last democratic debates in America; there is lots of talk of debt forgiveness already?!
        I think government payments will be first to go….social security, food stamps etc followed by pensions….If we are talking ” Chaos” …. when the fire burns you will have no idea where it goes…. smugness will be a commodity that no one will be able to afford..I look at the homeless and think they will do much better than me as they are already used to decline!!..unless we are all wrong here on this website and BAU continues on for another 30 years and we have wasted our time analyzing something that is never going to happen!

        • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

          “I think government payments will be first to go….social security, food stamps etc followed by pensions….”

          CBs can create this money on their computers, but pensions seem to be declining as fringe benefits, so this has already begun…

          “… unless we are all wrong here on this website and BAU continues on for another 30 years and we have wasted our time analyzing something that is never going to happen!”

          but it’s so much fun!

          and energy makes the world go round, so it seems very definite that an energy based approach to analyzing IC will prove to be somewhat close to the actual endgame…


          BAU FULL THROTTLE tonight, baby!

          • Yep, recovering former peak oilers are sort of ~51% right after all, that’s good enough, although not precise for y/y or decade/decade time prediction, so use wisely.

          • Slow Paul says:

            Insta doomers are always wrong, but if they get it right there will be no internet to gloat about it.

            Slow doomers are always right, until the lights go out.

            • Davidin100millionbilliontrillionzillionyears says:

              true, but a Slow Doomer could change to an Insta Doomer if and when it appears that enough major factors are aligned to make Insta Doom look imminent…

              the countdown of 75 days left in 2019 should proceed without any change to the major factors (ex black swan)…

              2020 will surely be a most interesting year…

              for guessing games, round numbers are standard fall backs, but though it could be any year not ending in zero, it also could be such a year…

              2020 could be very exciting…

      • Robert Firth says:

        “Homo homini lupus”, coined by the playwright Plautus.

        But I have a modest proposal. A computer generated document has no legal validity; before being admissible as evidence it must be countersigned by a human being, who then swears in the court of law, under oath and under penalty of perjury, that it tells the truth.

    • Rodster says:

      I have many zombie debts and my number #1 rule is never to respond to the debt collector. I totally ignore them and they go away. Rinse and repeat when they resell the debt to another collection agency. It’s appalling that these debt collectors who are harassing the poor are literally paying about 2-3 cents on the dollar.

      IMO, if these debt collectors had to pay 75-85 cents on the dollar, I can bet you that you’d see far fewer of these debt collectors.

      • namkyahai says:

        A law that lets the debtor have first dibs on the debt when it goes on the block to tje collectors for pennies on the dollar would be nice. As first line collectors fail the debt gets cheaper. The debt is sold to the first collector for like 50%. Thats all the original person or entity that was owed gets. ever. IF ITS COLLECTED.all the rest is shear profit.for the collectors. by the time a couple years pass the collectors are basically getting it all. So they can clean up your credit.

        As a contractor i get paid up front. Law requires escrow account. If they dont like it i tell em get someone else. No problems. No one gets into debt and i dont have to go to court. All that BS liens on property ecetera not my bag. I have contractor friends that dont mind. they know they will get paid off a lien on a property sooner or later. usually when it gets refinanced. They like the interest they can charge. sure thing.

      • GBV says:

        It’ll be debtor’s prison for you, Rodster!

        Energy slavery doesn’t seem to bad to me, as long as I’m the slaver and not the slavee…


  39. Harry McGibbs says:

    “There’s an “uncomfortably high” chance that a recession could hit the global economy in the next 12-18 months — and policymakers may not be able to reverse that course, an economist said on Wednesday.

    ““I think risks are awfully high that if something doesn’t stick to script then we do have a recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “I’ll say this also: Even if we don’t have a recession over the next 12-18 months, I think it’s pretty clear that we’re going to have a much weaker economy.”


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Should conditions deteriorate, “an internationally co-ordinated fiscal response” might be required, Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, said, in an echo of the response to the financial crisis in 2009.”


      • Xabier says:

        The ‘co-ordinated response’ might well be everyone shrieking at once in terror, and fainting – there’s not much that they can do.

        Really, it’s going to be fascinating to see how this plays out as the indications of being on the road to GFC2 grow ever harder to ignore.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          Agreed on both counts.

          And indeed, re the latter, the journey here has already been fascinating.

          I anticipated that our second global crisis would start as the previous one *ostensibly* did, with a major shock in the banking system.

          Instead we’ve seen a slow grinding down of growth, as energy-constraints, and the protectionism and geo/socio-political dramas stemming from them, take their toll on trade and manufacturing in particular, with that now starting to spill over into other areas of the worst-effected economies.

          So, where next? Oh, for a crystal ball!

          • I’m increasingly of the suspicion that although the GFCv2 in some form seems imminent it will be still again plateau stage/territory thing only, likely manageable to some extent. For example Dr. Tim at Surplus estimates the next destruction potential at ~400% of the previous GFC, which roughly rhymes with my previous estimate of needed ~600% upgrade of the liftathlon action necessary for the GFC2 resolution. And even by that for the proper Seneca Cliff phase we will have to wait for GFC_ver_final.. So, the end of the plateau say in ~2023(5)-35 would finally reveal more details about the shape of the proper swift collapse ~2035-45 for the various global IC hubs.

            • Harry McGibbs says:

              Dr. Tim at Surplus also suggests that “the window of opportunity” for GFC 2.0 is already open and I would suggest it is opening wider with every day that passes.

              The extent of its manageability is the great unknowable but when the IMF and many of those working for the central banks are themselves expressing concern at our paucity of fiscal/monetary options, one is not left with a great deal of confidence.

              Instead I envisage the central banks continuing to ease and stimulate in their desperation to postpone the next catastrophic shock, even as their cures turn to poison and help facilitate it. Then we are in ‘Trade Off’ territory, I would guess. Hopefully that will take a good few years.

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China caught traders off-guard with a surprise injection into the financial system via loans to banks, ahead of data on Friday which is expected to show a further slowdown in the domestic economy.

    “The People’s Bank of China added 200 billion yuan ($28 billion) of one-year cash through the medium-term lending facility on Wednesday.”


  41. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York added $87.7 billion to the financial system Tuesday, using the market for repurchase agreements, or repo, to relieve funding pressure in money markets. Banks asked for $67.6 billion in overnight reserves, all of which the Fed accepted, offering collateral in the form of Treasury and mortgage securities.”


  42. Harry McGibbs says:

    Even though the S&P 500 is trading at lofty levels, skittish investors don’t believe the good times will last and instead are preparing for the worst.

    “They’ve shifted $322 billion into money market funds during the past 6 months, in the biggest flight to safety since the 2008 financial crisis… Meanwhile, the latest release of the Global Fund Manager Survey by Bank of America Merrill Lynch reveals that leading investment managers around the world also are getting nervous, reporting that their holdings of cash, defensive stocks, and bonds are at historically high levels, with cash topping the list.

    “Investors are suffering from “bearish paralysis” resulting from worries about the trade war, Brexit, the Trump impeachment investigation, and the possibility of a recession ahead, strategists at BofAML led by Michael Hartnett write in a recent note to clients, as quoted in another Bloomberg article. In just the 7-day period through Oct. 9, they observe that global equity funds saw $9.8 billion of net withdrawals, while bond funds recorded $11.1 billion of net inflows.


    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Dealmaking world-wide is set to plunge by 25% next year as the risk of a global recession hits confidence and the upcoming US presidential election creates added uncertainty.

      “The value of M&A will decline globally from $2.8tn in 2019 to $2.1tn in 2020, according to a new report by international law firm Baker McKenzie.”


      • Again, the second term for Donald seems as given now, the demographics has not changed much since last time, the true “red storm” will come to the US eventually (in a decade or two) but not this time yet. And the top Dem candidates have comparatively negative appeal to average population. So, yes there is overall increasing uncertainty over the US system going forward (unpredictable policy, int treaty busting, ..), not much about the way of the elections are going to end up though.

        • Thinkstoomuch says:

          2nd term for President Trump is in no way a given, IMO, might not even be likely. Yogi Berra said, “Its tough to make predictions about the future.”

          Talk to President Bush about the difference between summer 1991 and Nov 1992.

          Additionally 2000, 2008 (wasn’t that supposed to be Senator Clinton’s year in 2007), 2016(GOV. Bush was supposed to be the REP. candidate). Heck in 1983 the US was having difficulties(big ones) and President Reagan was doomed, 1987 Black Thursday and President Bush(again IIRC). Just covering the big ones, all the eventual losers thought they could win, I would hope.

          I agree that the current Democratic candidates not being well viewed though that depends on who you listen to. A year can make some huge changes. The way the GND is viewed does/will have a lot to do with it. The one of a few things they agree on, though details vary.

          I am pretty sure if the recession people are forecasting happens a reenactment of President Clinton’s 1992 win is probable.

          Weather forecasters do better than most political forecasters for the US. Look at how well they do. The projected path of Dorian changed in a day or 2. It was doing across Florida into the Gulf of Mexico originally. Then it was going to skim inland starting in West palm Beach County. How much did that reflect what happened?

          Just have to see what happens next Nov.


  43. “The UK just got more power from renewables than fossil fuels for the first time”

    This has a bunch of links, to more claims than I have time/info to try to deal with now — but, my questions remain: how could any of this — including hydro, nuclear, geothermal (in Iceland), or even wind or solar, or the power grids themselves, even exist without the fossil-fuel-based infrastructure?
    Why are places like Hawaii still importing lots of diesel fuel to run their power grids?

    • Xabier says:

      All these claims about ‘renewables’ ignore the fossil-fuel foundations of their performance.

      About as credible as the ‘everyone’s going Vegan, sales of vegan food up 20%’ headlines we see every week.

    • Tim Groves says:

      In the event of a cold winter—and they still happen occasionally—the UK requires up to seven times as much thermal energy (an extra 350 GW of current renewable power capacity) in winter as in summer.

      I wish them good luck with securing that from unreliables or mitigating the need through better insulation.

      Decarbonization zealots are a death cult, seriously!


  44. Sven Røgeberg says:

    J-PAL Co-Founders Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo Awarded Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

    • So what did they do? Find a substitute for cheap energy to power the economy?

      • doomphd says:

        they award Nobel prizes for economics but not for more practical disciplines like geology. Hubbert deserved a Nobel prize, but his work scared the sheep.

      • Sven Røgeberg says:

        They got the price for aiming at reducing the poverty (nothing new in economics since Adam Smith):
        «Banerjee and Duflo co-founded J-PAL with Sendhil Mullainathan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003 with a mission of reducing poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL conducts randomized evaluations of innovative policy ideas and programs to identify what works, what doesn’t, and why in the fight against poverty; and works with partners to bring the most effective programs to scale.»

  45. Dennis L. says:

    Serious stuff:
    Farming is hard, really, really hard; we all eat(yes, there are many who question what we are eating) because of farming and to a lesser extend fishing. I am not sure the Green New Deal can do much about this, CB’s have yet to master 3D printing of grains. There would seem to be some issues with what is sold abroad as well given that this appears to be a political year. This ignores the economic impact entirely.
    Losing a crop is heartbreaking; there is an old hymn, “Bringing in the Sheaves,” that with each year is more appreciated by me. God smiled on my farm this year, good crop, good yields and crop is almost in the bin, last year much corn lay on the ground after heavy rain and wind storms. It is not personal, it is the fickleness of the gods or whatever.

    Dennis L.

    • Xabier says:

      Thank you for your farming posts.

      My family farrned for centuries: olives, wheat, apples, and nothing makes me happier than to see rows of well-tended vines and pruned olive trees, or apple trees laden with fruit, etc.

      A few years ago here in England the whole cereal crop was devastated by constant rain, the sight of it grey and rotting was depressing in the extreme.

      But no one really noticed in town: when I mentioned it they looked blank……

      Vegans make me rather angry with their small-minded determination to get rid of small, well-run and humane mixed farms, and the hardy sheep farmers of the hills – nothing nobler to my mind.

      • neil says:

        Indeed. We had a couple of years here where potato and grain production failed completely. I got the same reaction when I pointed out we’d have been looking at a famine in an earlier generation.

    • I expect that one of the major functions of governments has been to try to provide some stability to food supplies. For example, store up extra from good years, to use in good years.

  46. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Power lines are suspected to have been involved in a major wildfire that led to evacuation orders for 100,000 people and was blamed for two deaths in Los Angeles County last week, authorities said Monday.

    “The Saddleridge Fire ignited in a 50- by 70-foot area beneath a high voltage transmission tower on Thursday…”


    • I expect that there have been fires in Texas caused by power lines too, but fortunately the population level is lower.

      At least one of Venezuela’s big outages seems to have been caused by fire.

    • Chrome Mags says:

      That’s ironic. PG&E cuts off power to hundreds of thousands, but a downed power line in an area with power still on, leads to a fire. Apparently it’s very difficult to anticipate weather related or otherwise, downed power lines that cause fires. My suggestion to PG&E is to leave the power on and improve the infrastructure.

      • PG&E is in NORTHERN CA (where I am), not LA — EG, LA City has their DWP (Department of Water & Power), which runs the power grid there; elsewhere, there are various utilities.

      • Xabier says:

        Unfortunately, we can realistically only look forward to infrastructure decline in every respect, following this last phase of build-out – mostly worthless, badly-built, real estate, motorways, business parks, wireless networks, etc – based on cheap debt.

        Everything is desperately short-termist, and regular upkeep doesn’t bring the returns which everyone is desperate for today.

        Fossil fuels, flowing in abundance, have temporarily obscured the essential reality that all things human must rot, shatter, break down and decay to nothing – except perhaps our plastic waste, that’s new! What a lasting memorial for our idiotic species……..

  47. Get HaPpY says:

    HA,HA,HA…this should bring a smile to Greta….her followers will be missing a lot of school time in the years ahead!

    From the Automic Earth…Thank You!

    Well, they’re on oil company. What did you expect?

    • No Choice But To Invest In Oil, Shell CEO Says (R.)

    Royal Dutch Shell still sees abundant opportunity to make money from oil and gas in coming decades even as investors and governments increase pressure on energy companies over climate change, its chief executive said. But in an interview with Reuters, Ben van Beurden expressed concern that some shareholders could abandon the world’s second-largest listed energy company due partly to what he called the “demonisation” of oil and gas and “unjustified” worries that its business model was unsustainable. The 61-year-old Dutch executive in recent years became one of the sector’s most prominent voices advocating action over global warming in the wake of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
    Shell, which supplies around 3% of the world’s energy, set out in 2017 a plan to halve the intensity of its greenhouse emissions by the middle of the century, based in large part on building one of the world’s biggest power businesses. Still, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from Shell’s operations and the products it sells rose by 2.5% between 2017 and 2018. A defiant van Beurden rejected a rising chorus from climate activists and parts of the investor community to transform radically the 112-year-old Anglo-Dutch company’s traditional business model. “Despite what a lot of activists say, it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it,” van Beurden said. “We have no choice” but to invest in long-life projects, he added.
    [..][ “We can sustain an upstream portfolio all the way into the 2030s if there is an economic rationale for doing that and a societal rationale for doing that,” van Beurden said. “Fortunately enough, we have more of those than we have money to spend on them.” Van Beurden rejected as a “red herring” arguments that Shell’s oil and gas reserves, which can sustain its current production for around eight years, would be economically unviable, or stranded, in the future. A lack of investment in oil and gas projects could lead to a supply shortage and result in price spikes, he said. “One of the bigger risks is not so much that we will become dinosaurs because we are still investing in oil and gas when there is no need for it anymore. A bigger risk is prematurely turning your back on oil and gas.”
    Shell plans to increase its annual spending to around $32 billion by 2025 from the current $25 billion, with up to one tenth allocated to renewables and the power business. The company, the world’s largest dividend payer, plans to return $125 billion to shareholders in the five years to 2025.

    Bless their little hearts….BAU is kicking and screaming all the way down the road Full THROTTLE 🙄

  48. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s factory deflation deepened in September due to slowing output growth and falling raw material prices, adding to signs that China’s domestic slowdown is an increasing drag on the struggling world economy.

    “The producer price index fell 1.2% from a year earlier, as forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Surging pork prices [spiking 69% yoy in Sept] drove consumer inflation higher, cutting into household spending power.”


Comments are closed.