Why a Great Reset Based on Green Energy Isn’t Possible

It seems like a reset of an economy should work like a reset of your computer: Turn it off and turn it back on again; most problems should be fixed. However, it doesn’t really work that way. Let’s look at a few of the misunderstandings that lead people to believe that the world economy can move to a Green Energy future.

[1] The economy isn’t really like a computer that can be switched on and off; it is more comparable to a human body that is dead, once it is switched off.

A computer is something that is made by humans. There is a beginning and an end to the process of making it. The computer works because energy in the form of electrical current flows through it. We can turn the electricity off and back on again. Somehow, almost like magic, software issues are resolved, and the system works better after the reset than before.

Even though the economy looks like something made by humans, it really is extremely different. In physics terms, it is a “dissipative structure.” It is able to “grow” only because of energy consumption, such as oil to power trucks and electricity to power machines.

The system is self-organizing in the sense that new businesses are formed based on the resources available and the apparent market for products made using these resources. Old businesses disappear when their products are no longer needed. Customers make decisions regarding what to buy based on their incomes, the amount of debt available to them, and the choice of goods available in the marketplace.

There are many other dissipative structures. Hurricanes and tornadoes are dissipative structures. So are stars. Plants and animals are dissipative structures. Ecosystems of all kinds are dissipative structures. All of these things grow for a time and eventually collapse. If their energy source is taken away, they fail quite quickly. The energy source for humans is food of various types; for plants it is generally sunlight.

Thinking that we can switch the economy off and on again comes close to assuming that we can resurrect human beings after they die. Perhaps this is possible in a religious sense. But assuming that we can do this with an economy requires a huge leap of faith.

[2] Economic growth has a definite pattern to it, rather than simply increasing without limit. 

Many people have developed models reflecting the fact that economic growth seems to come in waves or cycles. Ray Dalio shows a chart describing his view of the economic cycle in a preview to his upcoming book, The Changing World Order. Figure 1 is Dalio’s chart, with some annotations I have added in blue.

Figure 1. New World Order chart by Ray Dalio from an introduction to his theory called The Changing World Order. Annotations in blue added by Gail Tverberg.

Modelers of all kinds would like to think that there are no limits in this world. Actually, there are many limits. It is the fact that economies have to work around limits that leads to cycles such as these. Some examples of limits include inadequate arable land for a growing population, inability to fight off pathogens, and an energy supply that becomes excessively expensive to produce. Cycles can be expected to vary in steepness, both on the upside and the downside of the cycle.

The danger of ignoring these cycles is that researchers tend to create models of future economic growth and future energy consumption that are far out of sync with what really can be expected. Accurate models need to include at least some limited version of overshoot and collapse on a regular basis. Models of the future economy tend to be based on what politicians would like to believe will happen, rather than what actually can be expected to happen in the real world.

[3] Commodity prices behave differently at different stages of the economic cycle. During the second half of the economic cycle, it becomes difficult to keep commodity prices high enough for producers. 

There is a common belief that demand for energy products will always be high, because everyone knows we need energy. Thus, according to this belief, if we have the technology to extract fossil fuels, prices will eventually rise high enough that fossil fuel resources can easily be extracted. Many people have been concerned that we might “run out” of oil. They expect that oil prices will rise to compensate for the shortages. Thus, many people believe that in order to maintain adequate supply, we should be concerned about supplementing fossil fuels with nuclear power and renewable energy.

If we examine oil prices (Figure 2), it is apparent that, at least recently, this is not the way oil prices actually behave. Since the spike in oil prices in 2008, the big problem has been prices that fall too low for oil producers. At prices well below $100 per barrel, development of many new oil fields is not economic. Low oil prices are especially a problem in 2020 because travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic reduce oil demand (and prices) even below where they were previously.

Figure 2. Weekly average spot oil prices for Brent, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Strangely enough, coal prices (Figure 3) seem to follow a very similar pattern to oil prices, even though coal is commonly believed to be available in huge supply, and oil is commonly believed to be in short supply.

Figure 3. Selected Spot Coal Prices, from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Prices are annual averages. Price for China is Qinhuangdao spot price; price for US is Central Appalachian coal spot index; price for Europe is Northwest European marker price.

Comparing Figures 2 and 3, we see that prices for both oil and coal rose to a peak in 2008, then fell back sharply. The timing of this drop in prices corresponds with the “debt bust” in late 2008 that is shown in Figure 1.

Prices then rose to another peak in 2011, after several years of Quantitative Easing (QE). QE is intended to hold the cost of borrowing down, encouraging the use of more debt. This debt can be used by citizens to buy more goods made with coal and oil (such as cars and solar panels). Therefore, QE is a way to increase demand and thus help raise energy prices. In the 2011-2014 period, oil was able to maintain its price better than coal, perhaps because of its short supply. Once the United States discontinued its QE program in 2014, oil prices dropped like a rock (Figure 2).

Prices were very low in 2015 and 2016 for both coal and oil. China stimulated its economy, and prices for both coal and oil were able to rise again in 2017 and 2018. By 2019, prices for both oil and coal were falling again. Figure 2 shows that in 2020, oil prices have fallen again, as a result of demand destruction caused by pandemic shutdowns. Coal prices have also fallen in 2020, according to Trading Economics.

[4] The low prices since mid-2008 seem to be leading to both peak crude oil and peak coal. Crude oil production started falling in 2019 and can be expected to continue falling in 2020. Coal extraction seems likely to start falling in 2020.

In the previous section, I showed that crude oil and coal both have the same problem: Prices tend to be too low for producers to make a profit extracting them. For this reason, investment in new oil wells is being reduced, and unprofitable coal mines are being closed.

Figure 4 shows that world crude oil production has not grown much since 2004. In fact, OPEC’s production has not grown much since 2004, even though OPEC countries report high oil reserves so, in theory, they could pump more oil if they chose to.

Figure 4. World crude oil production (including condensate) based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Russia+ refers to the group Commonwealth of Independent States.

In total, BP data shows that world crude oil production fell by 582,000 barrels per day, comparing 2019 to 2018. This represents a drop of 2.0 million barrels per day in OPEC production, offset by smaller increases in production for the US, Canada, and Russia. Crude oil production is expected to fall further in 2020, because of low demand and prices.

Because of continued low coal prices, world coal production has been on a bumpy plateau since 2011. Prices seem to be even lower in 2020 than in 2019, putting further downward pressure on coal extraction in 2020.

Figure 5. World coal production based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[5] Modelers missed the fact that fossil fuel extraction would disappear because of low prices, leaving nearly all reserves and other resources in the ground. Modelers instead assumed that renewables would always be an extension of a fossil fuel-powered system.

The thing that most people do not understand is that commodity prices are set by the laws of physics, so that supply and demand are in balance. Demand is really very close to “affordability.” If there is too much wage/wealth disparity, commodity prices tend to fall too low. In a globalized world, many workers earn only a few dollars a day. Because of their low wages, these low-paid workers cannot afford to purchase very much of the world’s goods and services. The use of robots tends to produce a similar result because robots can’t actually purchase goods and services made by the economy.

Thus, modelers looking at Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROI) for wind and for solar assumed that they would always be used inside of a fossil fuel powered system that could provide heavily subsidized balancing for their intermittent output. They made calculations as if intermittent electricity is equivalent to electricity that can be controlled to provide electricity when it is needed. Their calculations seemed to suggest that making wind and solar would be useful. The thing that was overlooked was that this was only possible within a system where other fuels would provide balancing at a very low cost.

[6] The same issue of low demand leading to low prices affects commodities of all kinds. As a result, many of the future resources that modelers count on, and that companies depend upon as the basis for borrowing, are unlikely to really be available.

Commodities of all kinds are being affected by low demand and low selling prices. The problem giving rise to low prices seems to be related to excessive specialization, excessive use of capital goods to replace labor, and excessive use of globalization. These issues are all related to the needs of a world economy that depends on a high level of technology. In such an economy, too much of the output of the economy goes to producing devices and to paying highly trained workers. Little is left for non-elite workers.

The low selling prices of commodities makes it impossible for employers to pay adequate wages to most of their workers. These low wages, in turn, feed through to the uprisings we have been seeing in the last couple of years. These uprisings are part of “Revolutions and Wars” mentioned in Figure 1. It is difficult to see how this problem will disappear without a major change in the “World Order,” mentioned in the same figure.

Because the problem of low commodity prices is widespread, our ability to produce electrical backup of all kinds, including the ability to make batteries, can be expected to become an increasing problem. Commodities, such as lithium, suffer from low prices, not unlike the low prices for coal and oil. These low prices lead to cutbacks in their production and local uprisings.

[7] On a stand-alone basis, intermittent renewables have very limited usefulness. Their true value is close to zero.

If electricity is only available when the sun is shining, or when the wind is blowing, industry cannot plan for its use. Its use must be limited to applications where intermittency doesn’t matter, such as pumping water for animals to drink or desalinating water. No one would attempt to smelt metals with intermittent electricity because the metals would set at the wrong time, if the intermittent electricity suddenly disappeared. No one would power an elevator with intermittent electricity, because a person could easily be trapped between floors. Homeowners would not use electricity to power refrigerators, because, as likely as not, the food would spoil when electricity was off for long periods. Traffic signals would work sometimes, but not always.

Lebanon is an example of a country whose electricity system works only intermittently. It is hard to imagine that any other country would want to imitate Lebanon. Lack of reliable electricity supply leads to protests in Lebanon.

[8] The true cost of wind and solar has been hidden from everyone, using subsidies whose total cost is hard to determine.

Each country has its own way of providing subsidies to renewables. Most countries give wind and solar the subsidy of “going first.” They are often given a fixed rate as well. Both of these are subsidies. In the US, other subsidies are buried in the tax system. Recently, there has been talk of using QE to help wind and solar providers lower their cost of borrowing.

Newspapers regularly report that the price of wind and solar is at “grid parity,” but this is not an apples to apples comparison. To be useful, electricity needs to be available when users need it. The cost of storage is far too high to allow us to store electricity for weeks and months at a time.

If we were to use intermittent electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels in general, we would need to use intermittent electricity to heat homes and offices in winter. Sunshine is abundant in the summer, but not in the winter. Without storage, solar panels cannot even be counted on to provide homeowners with heat for cooking dinner after the sun sets in the evening. An incredibly huge amount of storage would be needed to store heat from summer to winter.

China reports that it has $42 billion in unpaid clean energy subsidies, and this amount is getting larger each year. Countries are now becoming poorer and the taxes they are able to collect are lower. Their ability to subsidize a high cost, unreliable electricity system is disappearing.

[9] Wind, solar, and hydroelectric today only comprise a little under 10% of the world’s energy supply. 

We are deluding ourselves if we think we can get along on such a tiny total energy supply.

Figure 6. Hydroelectric, wind, and solar electricity as a percentage of world energy supply, based on BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Few people understand what a small share of the world’s energy supply wind and solar provide today. The amounts shown in Figure 6 assume that the denominator is total energy (including oil, for example), not just electricity. In 2019, hydroelectric accounted for 6.4% of world energy supply. Wind accounted for 2.2%, and solar accounted for 1.1%. The three together amounted to 9.7% of the world’s energy supply.

None of these three energy types is suited to producing food. Oil is currently used for tilling fields, making herbicides and pesticides, and transporting refrigerated crops to market.

[10] Few people understand how important energy supply is for giving humans control over other species and pathogens.

Control over other species and pathogens has been a multistage effort. In recent years, this effort has involved antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines. Pasteurization became an important technique in the 1800s.

Humans’ control over other species started over 100,000 years ago, when humans learned to burn biomass for many uses, including cooking foods, scaring away predators, and burning down entire forests to improve their food supply. In my 2018 post, Supplemental energy puts humans in charge, I wrote about one proof of the importance of humans’ control of fire. In the lower layers of a cave in South Africa, big cats were in charge: There were no carbon deposits from fire and gnawed human bones were scattered around the cave. In the upper layers of the same cave, humans were clearly in charge. There were carbon deposits from fires, and bones of big cats that had been gnawed by humans were scattered around the cave.

We are dealing with COVID-19 now. Today’s hospitals are only possible thanks to a modern mix of energy supply. Drugs are very often made using oil. Personal protective equipment is made in factories around the world and shipped to where it is used, generally using oil for transport.

Conclusion

We do indeed appear to be headed for a Great Reset. There is little chance that Green Energy can play more than a small role, however. Leaders are often confused because of the erroneous modeling that has been done. Given that the world’s oil and coal supply seem to be declining in the near term, the chance that fossil fuel production will ever rise as high as assumptions made in the IPCC reports seems very slim.

It is true that some Green Energy devices may continue to operate for a time. But, as the world economy continues to head downhill, it will be increasingly difficult to make new renewable devices and to repair existing systems. Wholesale electricity prices can be expected to stay very low, leading to the need for continued subsidies for wind and solar.

Figure 1 indicates that we can expect more revolutions and wars at this stage in the cycle. At least part of this unrest will be related to low commodity prices and low wages. Globalization will tend to disappear. Keeping transmission lines repaired will become an increasing problem, as will many other tasks associated with keeping energy supplies available.

This entry was posted in Energy policy and tagged , , , , , by Gail Tverberg. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

2,650 thoughts on “Why a Great Reset Based on Green Energy Isn’t Possible

  1. looks like i will have to be tested for covid19, i drive trams for a living and a positive patient may have infected me when she illegally travelled on my tram she appeared of asian origin so maybe she could not understand the warnings coming from the public address system continuously oh well at least i was forced to go home hopefully I have caught nothing wish me luck guys.

  2. With 25% of Australia’s GDP, the state of Victoria heads into Stage 4 lockdown for the next 6 weeks as the number of new daily CV-19 cases continue to escalate. The fear is now palpable. This thing isn’t going away, and the economy isn’t going to recover, although there’s plenty of brave talk. There’s even discussion of a Stage 5! What that would look like is anybody’s guess. People shot on the spot for breaking curfew?

    Prospect of stage 5 lockdown in Victoria sparks fear

    As Melburnians reel from Monday’s announcement that Stage 4 COVID restrictions would include the shutdown of businesses and workplaces across the city, they were confronted with an even more distressing prospect.

    What would a Stage 5 Melbourne look like?

    • That virus is relentlessly spreading globally. Meanwhile in our local rural grocery store in No. CA they just had to shut the store down for a few days while they scrubbed everything to try and rid the place of the virus, which had started to be a super spreader location.

      One reason for the recent uptick in number of cases are more and more people are throwing caution to the wind. Also in our area on Sat. night there was a huge party at a big house down next to the lake, and from the sound of the singing on the PA system, they were all lit up. A rousing good time had by all right past midnight, but likely there will be more people getting sick. Easy to be become impatient with the situation, wanting to live a little.

      • No, it seems they don’t. Isn’t that the point of Nate Hagens ‘Superorganism’ and your ‘Networked System’ approach?! What we as individuals’think’ is entirely beside the point, if it was your blog and others would have been shut down. Remember the t-shirt? “In America you’re free to think and say whatever you want- you’re just not free to KNOW”.

        • Right! In a self-organizing system, people tend to think from their own perspectives. Politicians think from the point of view of their voters. Voters think from the point of view of themselves and their immediate relatives. If they see the possibility of death or a long hospitalization from the illness, they will tend to stay at home and will want politicians who seem to keep them safe.

          The fact that this doesn’t really work in the aggregate is hard to see.

    • – A whopping 208 people have died of the coronavirus in Australia. Virtually all of them have been nursing home residents.

      – The Australian government publishes every death. Eight people under the age of 60 have died and only 26 people under the age of 70 have died. A full 136 have been over 80.

      – The average lifespan of Australians is 82. The median average coronavirus death in Australia appears to be 85..

      Despite these facts, Australia is going into the most extreme semi-permanent lockdown of possibly any country, a lockdown that has every possibility of collapsing the economy.

      Why?

      • Because… reasons.

        I’ve seen others asking the same question as you Kim, and as of yet I really haven’t heard a satisfactory answer (whether realistic or conspiracy theory based).

        One thought that popped into my mind is that we might all be looking at the problem in the wrong light… there doesn’t seem to be any national benefits to any one nation shuttering itself and destroying it’s own economy, but perhaps there are benefits from a globalist perspective that aren’t as readily apparent?

        Another thought that occurred to me was the possibly that covid is actually incredibly debilitating / lethal, but in the longer run (i.e. get it now, die horribly in 5 or so years from immune system collapse… possibly reanimate as a zombie?). If that were the case, and the government was aware of it (possibly because they had a hand in creating it), they may come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with it is not to mention the whole “insanely lethal in the long run” bit and just try to lock it down now to stop the spread while they still can (better than having to admit they created and/or released something that may be responsible for the decimation of the species).

        Really, I’m just spitballing ideas here though…

        Cheers,
        -GBV

      • I guess they want to prevent the hospital system from getting crushed. They also believe that printing enough money will solve the economic issue, eventually.

      • If you’ve already made it to 82, you’re statistically very likely to make it beyond 85. That’s the difference.

    • @ psile

      “as the number of new daily CV-19 cases continue to escalate. The fear is now palpable. This thing isn’t going away,”

      Why this hysteria? In Australia, just 208 people have died of the coronavirus. Eight people under the age of 60, 26 people under the age of 70, and 136 over 80. The average lifespan of Australians is 82.

      So we are closing the economy? Have we all gone stark, staring mad?

      • Kim, a realistic con-s-piracy theory is that elite pirates are con-spiring to con everybody else out of their wealth, health and livelihood by stealth.

        This is controlled demolition with the virus as the pretext for shutting down great swaths of economic activity. Most people are going to get shafted and become a lot poorer and many people are going to suffer and die prematurely.

        Try crashing the economy on purpose without a good excuse and the masses would react unpredictably and possibly uncontrollably. But have a good excuse ready that they’ve been programmed to believe in and they will be as good as little lambs.

      • Yes, humans are losing their collective nut as industrial cilivilastion begins its terminal descent, and we’ve only just commenced. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

      • Exactly, crashing the economy and ruining millions of lives for the sake of a slight retardation in the deaths of the very elderly. Simply insane.

        I have to say I’d imagined that lock-downs would be dropped as a policy response once it had been seen what long-term damage they have done. The negative effects have become clear very early, too.

        I was neglecting the incontrovertible fact that governments tend to make more disastrous decisions than beneficial, as kind of general rule.

        • The economy was always going to crash. Going into 2020 things were looking very bad globally anyway. 12 years of non-stop money printing and malinvestment will do that. Coronavirus came along and burst the bubble, like a bazooka. It was simply the catalyst, or rather, the accelerant, in this case.

  3. I am waiting to see what happens to the Texas economy that’s when you will see collapse!! I know that Wyoming is suffering greatly because they have no tax revenue coming in. When you try to google info on this you don’t get much! Fracking has got to be suffering greatly…

    • I found this article from January 2020. New Record: Texas Oil and Gas Industry Paid $16.3 Billion in Taxes and State Royalties in 2019, Most in Texas History

      Billions in oil and gas taxes and royalties directly support Texas schools, teachers, roads, infrastructure and healthcare facilities

      The way this is broken down is

      Property taxes = $4.0 billion
      Sales, state and local taxes = $3.7 billion
      Crude oil production tax = $3.9 billion
      Natural gas production tax = $1.7 billion
      Franchise, oil well servicing, and other taxes = $828 million
      Royalties to State Funds = $2.2 million

      Total Paid = $16.3 billion

      Texas’ state budget was roughly $250 billion for 2019, so this would suggest that the oil and gas industry accounted for 6.5% of the state budget.

      There is no state or local income tax. This is likely the result of the benefit of the revenue from the oil and gas industry.

      I am sure that Alaska gets a big benefit from the oil and gas industry. Other oil and gas producing states as well.

    • Dan, thanks for the reference. We have been talking about fracking for some time, most of the emphasis on the producers themselves, the below article gives a hint into what a less fossil fueled economy might look like. For Wyoming the general meme is get more from the wealthy, e.g. RE transfer taxes. The problem is there is only marginal wealth, e.g. stock market. No company would sell in whole for what the market has priced the FANGS none of these companies sell/make a “real product.”

      https://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/state-of-wyoming-braces-for-1-5-billion-revenue-decline/article_6593964f-998f-5ba3-9956-d87cc490a336.html

      Note in Wyoming per the above article to balance the budget all state employees would need to be laid off excluding education if I am reading correctly. Does anyone think existing pensions might be “adjusted” before that happens?

      Dennis L.

  4. The problem is utilization. The global economy is no different than a factory or refinery. If you reduce the quantity of a product or service you must proportionally increase the cost in order to cover you fixed cost. The entire system can not and will not work in a contraction.

    It really doesn’t matter what the politicians do or say. What can’t be done won’t be done.

    Curiously the last man standing will likely be the Federal Reserve. In essence they are the pawn shop to the world. Through the swap desk they are back stopping the global financial system as the lender of last resort in US dollars. The currency of the most demand.

    As I have said before this is a dissipative structure. At its core is the US banking system built on the Breton Woods agreement. Like a hurricane the strength of the core facilitates sub systems like China or the EU Once the energy starts to decline the periphery collapses. Starting with the weakest and rushing progressively toward the core. No matter how hard the center tries to keep the periphery at bay it eventually overruns the system.

    Rome called them Barbarians. We call them illegal aliens or migrants. The new cities of the world are refugee camps.

    Fundamentally the world is a socialist system. There is no such thing as free market capitalism that’s an illusion. The system is completely regulated and subsidized without any thought to whether something is profitable or not. Can we honestly say that the stock market is any different than the old Soviet Union? Or different than present day China? Value is commanded into existence. Perhaps not by a government office but rather a collective desperation.

    However as many of us have experienced a person often rallies just before death. This system is no different. In a last ditch effort to return to the glory days the world will unite in something grand. But the laws of physics are against them. As well as other laws. Very sad situation.

    • “Fundamentally the world is a socialist system.”

      capitalism seemed to work on the upside of a few centuries of increasing FF and prosperity.

      on the downside, countries may very well be turning towards populism and a higher dosage of socialism, not that it will prevent the continuing decline in per capita prosperity.

      • Thanks, JT. You have a knack for bringing a fresh perspective on these matters.

    • I think a lot of people miss the importance of economies of scale. The system works backwards with shrinkage. As you say,

      “If you reduce the quantity of a product or service you must proportionally increase the cost in order to cover you fixed cost. The entire system can not and will not work in a contraction.”

  5. My wife and I own a little mom & pop retail store in Vermont. A week or so ago I received a letter from the state department of taxes that grant money was available for small businesses that experienced a greater than 50% drop in retail sales due to Covid in any one month since March. I filled out the application on line since we did have a more than 50% drop in sales in the month of May. Today I get another letter in the mail saying we have been approved for a grant of $41,786 which is 10% of our total reported sales on our monthly sales and use tax returns for the year 2019. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

    We already applied for and received a forgiveable $13,000 PPP loan back in May. So now we are going to be receiving almost $55,000 of free government money. The thing is we don’t really need this. We actually having a decent year. Sales haven’t been down that much since we re-opened in June even though we are now only open five days a week. Our payroll and overhead have been much lower.

    My only conclusion about this is that the PTB want us to stay home, conserve fuel, not go to large gatherings, not travel. But they also don’t want us to starve to death, ri-ot, or otherwise cause civil unrest. That’s why they are handing out free money like its candy. They also expect the economic disruption to go on for quite a while.

    The grant actually comes from the federal government $1.25 billion coronovirus relief fund according to the form. How much longer can all this helicopter money go on I wonder?

    • We all wonder how long all of the helicopter money can go on. The value of the dollar has been dropping recently, perhaps related to the free money and perhaps related to the virus.

    • Take that money, Tom, and use it wisely!

      It’s your patriotic duty to do what you can to help keep the economy ticking over through the uncertain times ahead. If that means paying taxes, then pay your taxes. If it means accepting grants, then accept your grants.

    • Yes, some curtailment is necessary until there is viable alternatives to FF’s. If, that is an IF, with super duper capitol letters. Starvation and uprisings isn’t in anybody’s interest.

      Take the money, learn to play an instrument. If you’re going to buy something, make it something that will last or can be repaired ad infinitum. Fsck the mass produced el cheapo jank.

      • What’s your idea of the most sustainable instrument (other than the human voice)? Keeping baroque instruments going seems like an enterprise. I have an accordion, but that’s clearly a child of the industrial age.

        • For example, there are tube/valve and semiconductor amplifiers/synthesizers more than 60 years old still going strong. The strings will eventually wear out, but hey, steel wires is plentiful. The electronic circuits not so much. A copper trace and a properly designed semiconductor junction does not care if current flows through it or not.

          Signals from the voyager space probes are still detectable with modern radio telescopes.

          You will perish together with most of mankind before Gaia sends her synthetic offshoots into interstellar space.

          Your role as an useful consumer has traced its conclusion.

    • If I look at the listing of countries that are best to raise a family, this is the list I see:

      1. Iceland
      2. Norway
      3. Sweden
      4. Finland
      5. Luxemburg

      BP shows energy consumption per capita as follows for these countries:

      1. Iceland 647.8 gigaojoules per capita in 2019
      2. Norway 328.5
      3. Sweden 223.4
      4. Finland 198.4
      5. Luxemburg 276.1

      Worldwide, energy consumption per capita is 75.7 gigaojoules per capita. Having high energy consumption per capita seems to be a requirement for a suitable place to raise a family.

      I expect that these countries have a lot of other things in common, such as few black citizens in the population.

      • What I noticed of the first four nations is that they are Scandinavian socialist nations, though I understand that available energy per capita is a more important determinant over economic ideology in their successes.

        D3G

        • if Iceland didn’t have surplus energy practically coming up through the floors of every house, it would be a very unpleasant place to live and support 300 k people

          • Historically Iceland was really only a place for the desperate to settle on (and the original females were Irish slaves mostly – no choice!), and loved only by those who were born there.

            The clever Scandinavians, on the other hand, spread out to the rich and fertile, well-wooded, lands of England, Southern Scotland, N. France, and of course Italy

            For sheer energy, ferocity and intelligence they were a remarkable race, once they had acquired Christian civilisation.

            • When I studied icelandic I was taught that Iceland was colonized by norwegians in conflict with some norwegian king. They named the island Iceland to give the place bad pr in order for them to avoid vistors from Norway.

              Quite a few swedish vikings settled in Russia and even Constantinople. The first russian empire was founded by these Vikings. The russian rivers were used as a high way from the Baltic sea to the Black sea. The eastward bound ships were constructed to be dragged on logs between rivers.

              Sometimes I fear that the clever people were the ones leaving Scandinavia. Leaving the halfwits behind. Looking at the present situation in Sweden certainly makes you wonder…

            • Yes, and the mentally deprived and poverty stricken rabble stayed mostly in Sweden. The adventurers went elsewhere.

        • I am sure that they developed different types of economies because they very badly need energy to heat their homes. They also need substantial homes, and some sort of vehicles to ride in and transport their goods. They could not have the simple huts of Africa and India and depend heavily on walking for transportation.

          In these cold countries, families couldn’t just have a large number of children and expect them all to be able to find jobs. According to Google, the following number of people immigrated to the US and Canada:

          Iceland 140,000 immigrants; Current population of Iceland 364,000
          Norway 5.7 million immigrants; Current population of Norway 5.4 million
          Sweden 1.5 million immigrants; Sweden population 10.2 million
          Finland 780,000 immigrants; Current population of Finland 5.5 million

          Clearly, Norway has had the biggest problem with overpopulation and needed to move immigrants elsewhere. Iceland looks to be second.

          I am a grandchild of Norwegian immigrants, so I am aware of the large number of Norwegian immigrants.

          • Norway has been sending the world immigrants since the time of the Vikings.

            The Vikings sailed down from Norway, Denmark and Iceland to conquer Normandy, taking up speaking French and becoming the Normans, who then went on to conquer England and become the bulk of its ruling aristocracy.

            Word is they have blue blood.

            • Nope, red. Descendent(according to someone in the family who did the research) of a Norwegian King and one of the chambermaids(well, whatever.)

              We are very multicultural.

              Dennis L.

            • Nope: like Dennis, my blood is red. But a couple of my kinsmen are buried in Palermo Cathedral, thanks to my Norse ancestors and their adventures.

            • I combined the numbers of immigrants to Canada and to the United States in my North American figures. I used some figures I found with Google, but not necessarily from Wikipedia. I had read previously that the number of Norwegian immigrants exceeded the number of people living in Norway now. My guess is that my Swedish immigrant numbers may be too low.

              There is a question of how to count immigrants. Do you count the people alive today who say they are of a particular background, or do you count the people who occupied boats at that time? Different sites have different estimates.

            • The swedish emmigrant number looks correct. Figures I have seen should put the norwegian number slightly below the swedish. I have read that migration to north america if you look at per capita of country of origin, (number of migrants/population of country of origin) then Ireland is number one, followed by Norway. Sweden got the third place.

              These countries are all relatively small, in the end the most common ancestries of USA+Canada are german or english.

        • Sweden and Denmark have successful capitalist companies and that’s where their wealth comes from. Socialism is defined as the state controlling the means of production. This is not Sweden ,Denmark or Finland.

      • These are also expensive, high-tax countries.

        There may not be many black people, but Sweden in particular has a large number of refugees. Besides that, there is a surprisingly large community of Satanic bikers who do things like, fight over drug territory and burn down churches.

        • Remember a program featuring a high tax country, Denmark, 50% tax rate and interviewer folks randomly on the city block. The ones shown weren’t concerned because of what they were given in return, medical care, old age retirement, education, including higher college, ECT. So, suppose it’s all relative, one pays one way or another…the key is how it is applied…fair, equity, and with little exploitation of gouging.
          Currently. In the United States we are witnessing mindless virtual unlimitedly giveaways that are hidden and enrich the wealthy even more.

          Same as it ever was.

          • For those who don’t have time to listen to this, here’s a summary.

            Left gatekeeper Noam Chomsky, world-renowned political dissident, canny linguist and author, renowned academic who lectures everyone, everywhere on everything, all the time, is looking more like an actual garden gnome with each passing year.

            In this interview, right off the bat he remarks on Jeff Bezos (who looks more like an egg with each passing week) making billions of dollars in a single day and specifically blames Trump (who looks more like a buffoon every time he appears in public) for this outrage, for the pandemic, and for all the other disparities that are widening like an ocean ridge in the US these days. He admits today’s kleptocracy is the result of forty years of neoliberalism but blames Trump anyway.

            From six minutes in Noam starts attacking coal on account of the pollution caused by burning it. Then he goes on to attack Bolsanro (who looks like a Brazilian version of Carl Sagan) for his politically incorrect attitude to indigenous native aboriginal peoples such as the Yanomami, who have a charming time-honored cultural practice of raiding nearby tribes, killing the men and raping and beating any women they catch and bringing them back to their shabono to be kept in the tribe.

            And next week, Amy Goodman (played, some say, by the same actress who first achieved fame as Janice Joplin) promises to bring us yet more of Professor Noam Chomsky. Perhaps she’ll ask him about why he believes the US Government(s official line on nine-eleven and thinks everyone who doesn’t is a more-on? I can hardly wait.

            • From the speech recognition AI crowd it is rumored that the algorithmic performance increased by two orders of magnitude every time a linguist got booted out of the community.

              Never let the sanctimonious and hypocrite “left” decide anything of importance. Let them continue be the irrelevant and counterproductive laughingstocks of IC.

            • What about the “sanctimonious and hypocrite” right? What about a conversation that acknowledges the complexity of the political-economic spectrum rather than a simplistic left:right, either/or dichotomy?

            • There isn’t any “real” left worthy of a rational debate. Even the Marxist “messiah” Slavoj Žižek threw in the towel and turned against the sanctimonious, hypocrite and pretentious “left”. I don’t blame him. It’s boring and dumb as a second coat of paint.

              I think the world had enough of the fakery, divide and conquer tactics of special privileges and hypocrisy. No, it is our show. It is called mankind with all our particularities and flaws. Deal with it. EOD.

          • Here is the second part of Amy’s interview with Noam.

            It’s entitled “The Gangster in the White House.” Norman will really enjoy this.

            We continue our conversation with world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky. He responds to President Trump’s cuts to U.S. support for the World Health Organization and the surge in deaths in the United States to another record high, and discusses conditions in Gaza, the rise of authoritarianism around the world, and the progressive response. “This is typical behavior of autocrats and dictators. When you make colossal errors which are killing thousands of people, find somebody else to blame,” say Chomsky. “In the United States, it’s unfortunately the case, for well over a century, century and a half, that it’s always easy to blame the ‘yellow peril.’”

        • The way things are gong he may be the first Rabbi ever to be eaten by Icelanders.

          • A fresh young graduate from a religious college decided that his first job would be as a missionary. He would go and convert a recently discovered tribe in South America, about whom he knew only what their discoverer had written in his journal: a map, a few pencil sketches, and a three hundred word phrase book. Being a modern graduate, he knew some science, mainly astronomy, had a grounding in natural theology, and of course a good grasp of his holy book. These three disciplines together, he thought, were bound to succeed. So he went into the tropical forest, with three hired bearers: one carrying food, one carrying the books, and the third carrying beads, small mirrors, and other trinkets for barter. He never returned.

            Two years later, the college decided to try to find him, so they hired a real explorer and sent him off. The explorer entered the forest, followed the map, and found the tribe. His two bearers were each carrying a freshly caught ground sloth, so he was warmly received and the tribe prepared a feast.

            While the sloths were roasting, the chief of the tribe invited the explorer to share a large gourd of palm wine. In the chief’s hut, decorated with many excellent local handicrafts, the explorer saw a small bookshelf, holding four books. “Where did you get those, sir?” he asked. “From a young visitor a couple of years ago. Would you believe it, he tried to convert us to his religion. Could his gods watch over the palm trees and the ground sloths? I don’t think so.”

            The explorer looked at the books, and remarked: “So he tried to convert you with science, philosophy, and scripture. But they didn’t work?” “No” replied the chief, “rather, we converted him.” “By what method, sir?”

            The chief gave a big grin, revealing his neatly filed, pointed teeth. “By gastronomy.” he answered.

            • Yes, the “left” is cannibalizing itself. The artificial construct of corruption, hypocrisy and sanctimony is soon a distant memory. Good riddance.

    • As a former resident of Mexico, I’ll take it over the States to raise a family.
      But it is probably showing my bias—-

      • surely you lived there when their oil production was vastly higher.

        good thing for you that you got out before the massive plunge.

        • Hint:
          Global oil production “peaked” in November 2018.
          We are not even close to that now.
          Will we ever surpass that?
          I would not hold your breath.

  6. a new way of measuring job gains and losses:

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/03/the-record-setting-jobs-comeback-looks-like-it-could-be-coming-to-an-abrupt-halt.html

    “One measure gaining popularity is the weekly Household Pulse Survey from the U.S. Census.

    The survey is a relatively new one but gives a rolling idea of how the jobs market is playing out. The numbers for the Labor Department’s reference week, which includes the 12th of each month, paint a bleak picture: nearly 6.5 million fewer people on the employment rolls from the same week in June.”

    oops, for July it shows a monthly loss of 6.5 million jobs.

  7. No need any longer for anyone to worry about the future. The World Economic Forum has it handled.

    The Great Reset Dialogues
    In the run-up to the Annual Meeting, the Forum will host a virtual series: “The Great Reset Dialogues”. These dialogues are a joint initiative of the World Economic Forum and HRH The Prince of Wales. During these dialogues, various key stakeholders will discuss core dimensions of The Great Reset.” https://www.weforum.org/great-reset

    People here at Finite World may be interested to see what the great and the good have in store for us, coming out of this COVID “emergency”. Well, if we go to the Great Reset “about” page, https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/about we find a list of personnages who will be the leading lights at the “The Great Reset” summit in January 2021, convened by the World Economic Forum.

    The first person listed as one of the livestream speakers is “Victoria Alonsoperez, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chipsafer, Uruguay, and a Young Global Leader.”

    What is “Chipsafer”, you ask yourself – with an unpleasant shiver of premonition – that its representative has such a prominent position in the WEF speaker list? Well, at the Chipsafer website we read as follows:

    Chipsafer is a “patented platform that can track and detect anomalies in cattle behaviour at any time and place.”

    “Do you want to know what your livestock is doing while no one is watching? Chipsafer will show you.”

    “We transform the data gathered with our sensors into actionable information. The farmer can access all the information through his personal account.”

    So, the first matter to be settled at this W.E.B Great Reset forum is how they should go about chiping and tracking the livestock.

    How does everyone feel about that? Still think that this Covid thing is not a plandemic?

    • yes, it obviously is not a plandemic, and with every passing week this is reinforced.

      • Not to me. Even if the virus is real, the pandemic is most obviously is a pandemic and a scamdemic.

        John Rappoport today:

        So once again, we don hazmat suits and enter the mad, mad world of basic COVID lies. For purposes of argument only, we assume a new coronavirus was actually discovered, the diagnostic test is meaningful, and case numbers are also meaningful.

        Within that mad world, the amount of fraud is still immense.

        As I’ve documented, all sorts of case-number cons are running loose. Little, medium, and large cons. Entering “COVID” on all test results from labs. Oops. Computer error. The PCR test itself spits out false-positives because it lights up like a Christmas tree when it encounters various irrelevant germs. And so forth and so on.

        But here is a superhighway version of fake number counting. By definition. Written in stone. Institutionalized. From the twinkle-toe mavens at the CDC, home of numbers, house of cards. Read on.

        The revelatory reference is: Children’s Health Defense, July 24, “If COVID Fatalities Were 90.2% Lower, How Would You Feel About Schools Reopening?” By H. Ealy, M. McEvoy, M. Sava, S. Gupta, D. Chong, D. White, J. Nowicki, P. Anderson.

        “Had the CDC used its industry standard, Medical Examiners’ and Coroners’ Handbook on Death Registration and Fetal Death Reporting Revision 2003, as it has for all other causes of death for the last 17 years, the COVID-19 fatality count would be approximately 90.2% lower than it currently is.”

        The article is somewhat complex. It should be studied carefully. Here is my main takeaway:

        The special CDC guidelines for labeling patients “COVID” are absurd. These rules open the door to falsely inflating case and death numbers. This is more than fiddling with statistics. It’s an institutional and official invitation to create fake cases. Gigantic numbers of them.

        https://blog.nomorefakenews.com/2020/08/03/covid-case-numbers-far-lower-than-claimed/

          • but okay, we all filter information through our minds in imperfect ways, so of course there are different opinions on such a complex web of information which we see in the pandemic and its responses.

            I see fummbling bummbling leaders/politicians, beginning with the Commmmies in China.

            no one has yet convinced me of their pre-planned role in the preplannedemic.

            to me, as an opinion, the plandemic theeeory falls apart without an acceptable side theeeory for how and why the Commmie response fits with the followup responses by the other countries.

            but I think we’ve batted that birdie back and forth over the net a few too many times.

            • The information we’ve been given is complicated and partial, and we can parse it and evaluate it and interpret it and draw conclusions from it in lots of ways. What we see depends on where we stand, what direction we are looking in, what kind of eyewear we’re sporting, and our ability to distinguish between fact and fiction, as well as on whatever clues we spot. And of course, those clues can be red herrings or misconceptions that cause us to jump to confusions or even contusions.

              Without wishing to bat the shuttlecock back over the net yet again, I’d like to say that there must be some objective tests that we could apply to all the data that would demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt whether anyone had a role in pre-planning the response to the pandemic. I’m thinking here of a close examination of the CDC’s instructions as to what constitutes a COVID-19 diagnosis (discussed by Rappoport in the article linked to above, a close examination of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “Lock Step” scenario from 2010, a close examination of Event 201, a high-level pandemic exercise conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on October 18, 2019 in New York, etc. Of course, any such evidence will be circumstantial, but in the absence of confession, information in the public domain is the best evidence we are likely to get.

          • Tim, I long ago turned off any and all spelling checkers. They are wrong 90% of the time. And “autocorrect” should be exterminated with extreme prejudice; it makes proof reading your text many times harder.

            Of course, you could always download grammarly, and learn how to “write smarter”. Yes, they actually said that in their advertising material. I mean, adjective, adverb, mixing them up is no big deal, right?

            • Robert, I write much better without a spell checker, let alone a grammar advisor. My problem is that I can’t figure out how to stop some program or other from auto-correcting what I type into the comment box. I’m not sure whether the function is part of the browser or the WordPress software.

            • The good thing about spell checkers is that when it goes awry it’s so horribly wrong that it is funny.

              A good reader does rarely even notice spelling errors. Bad grammar and wording, though.

              It is a challenge to write good English for the non native posters. I would say that the OFW crowd is very forgiving in this aspect and it is very good to read the well-written posts of the bookworm crowd.

  8. I will put some links below so that the interested can get a better idea of what the great and the good of the World Economic Forum have in mind for us. It is all the usual mix of racism, racism racism, social justice, ill-considered fluff, and fruitcake-nutty renewable future stuff along with schemes for UBI and – mostimportant – deepening global corporate communism… and so on. There is nothing in it that woudn’t be familiar to and approved by any current liberal arts undergraduate…except maybe the part that we are all microchipped by a Venezualan cattle company, but who knows?

    “In the post-COVID-19 world, there are three features that will need to be fully institutionalized as part of the new local and global social contract.

    1. Capitalism and socialism will need to merge (Used to be called “fascism”.)
    2. We must improve coordination between the public and private sector
    3. We must improve access to equal opportunities

    Of interest to us here at Finite World is that I have seen not a single word of recognition that – and there is no stopping it – fossil fuels are going away. There is certainly no mention or recognition that our modern wealth was created with fossil fuels.

    Another question is, does this stuff represent real high level thinking (in which case we are insane as well as lost) or is it just more playing-for-time eyewash?

    https://www.weforum.org/great-reset
    https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/about
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/great-reset-must-place-social-justice-centre/
    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/

    • it’s an average level of thinking based on the iggnorance of standard academic economics.

      • The Davos community have access only to average thinkers who are ignorant of standard economics? So it isn’t all just eyewash for the masses to advance their own goals for total global power in the hands of a very few? Even though every word of it explcitly lays out a path in that direction? And even though – as the COVID figures for Australia plainly show – the epidemic is a fraud.

        Huh. Who knew?

    • There is a plan, definitely. But unlike Q, I wouldn’t tell anyone to trust the plan. I would merely suggest that you trust that there is a plan. The same strategies to deal with the pandemic and the economic consequences are being rolled out in a host of countries.There is obviously a program and when countries don’t get with the program—such as Belorussia not locking down and India using HCL as a prophylactic—they are being publicly shamed.

      The program includes a strategy for reducing use of fossil fuels because, as you say, they are going away, but without informing the world of this unpalatable fact. Instead, the normies and Delusistanis will get to panic about a viral pandemic to take their minds off the far more serious intractable energy crisis that is going to leave most people bereft of what they have long been brought up to believe was a decent standard of living.

    • 1. Capitalism and socialism will need to merge
      2. We must improve coordination between the public and private sector
      3. We must improve access to equal opportunities

      1. Its been tried. It was called “National Socialism”, and it did not end well.
      2. In other words, the public sector (the parasites and control freaks) will do the coordinating, and the private sector (the wealth producers) will be coordinated.
      3. Equal opportunity is code speech for giving opportunity to those who don’t deserve it, and denying it to those who do. The end result is obvious: people are hired for their chromosomes rather than their competences, and we all end up like Zimbabwe. Or like US Democrat vice presidential candidates.

      • Yes, it is of course a distributed means of production without the horrid centralization of machine shop floors like those in China. Some efficiency has to be sacrificed for robustness.

        It is classic feedback control theory (robust control) that needs to be applied on a global scale. A failure in one part cannot jeopardize the entire system.

        It is good that the means of production is brought closer to the customer.

        Next big trend: Pop up manufacturing with transportation of basically only raw materials. 3D printers are available and astonishingly competent CNC machines can be had for less than a couple of months salary.

        Yep, let’s go distributed. It’s the only way to be sure.

        • Maybe 3D printers work for a few things, but not for a lot of others. I doubt that most replacement parts for wind turbines could be made in this way. I doubt that replacement tires for cars or replacement batteries for cars could be made in this way.

          Missing toilet paper could not be replaced in this way. Lack of food likely could not be solved with this work around, unless one particular part of one machine with a problem could be replaced in this way.

          • I wonder, can a 3D printer make another 3D printer? This idea was explored in an amusing science fiction novel from 1959, “A for Anything”, by Damon Knight.

            • Not really, the raw materials will be produced on-extraction site. It is madness to send raw materials to one site for refinement, then shipped across half of the world to be assembled by slave laborers, when most of that stuff can be manufactured locally, if not directly at home.

              Most carpenters rarely takes a swing with an axe at a tree. Rather buys planks. It has been this way for, I don’t know exactly, thousands of years perhaps. The same analogy holds true for 3D printers and CNC machinery.

            • But our modern devices require dozens or hundreds of different raw materials. Even if these are produced on-extraction site (in the middle of the Congo, for example), they somehow need to get to the 3D printer. In fact, they often have to combined, using a lot of heat, with other raw materials. These processes are not portable.

            • You are confusing consumer goods with tools of the trade. The means of production isn’t the produce.

              The produce of IC will inevitably become raw materials only.

              It is the ultimate JIT/artisan society.

  9. To answer Kim, the insiders and smart people know what’s coming and are acting accordingly i.e. trying to suck out max $$ while they still can.

    An interesting sidepoint: Gold was reclassified as a tier 1 asset in 2018. Central Banks and other people in the know front ran this decision by ~1 year and bought massive amounts.

    As countries go bankrupt from overspending and corruption, money you have in the bank becomes unobtainable and/or worthless e.g. Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Argentina etc. Many financial commentators think the US is well down the collapse track and that it will probably Balkanise into separate regions.

    100% of fiat currencies eventually become worthless – a perfect track record. E.g. what will a Zimbabwean 100 trillion dollar note buy you? Stuff all. With the FED printing trillions, how long has the USD got?

    True believers in social justice, the green revolution, BLM, or whatever the frenzy du jour is are useful idiots aimed at various subplots.

    Mass vaccination is an obvious plan, remembering it’s hugely profitable. They’re indemnifying just about everyone involved in the COVID treatment process, so forget about safety and proper testing procedures.

    Would they like to chip everyone? Hell Yes. Sell it on health, safety and convenience to coax the sheeple to line up. No cash and chipped people means fantastic social control possibilities.

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