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

    • Good point! Low prices affect oil, natural gas and coal. We can expect production of all three to plunge, more or less simultaneously. Natural gas is often produced with oil. If the oil production is stopped because of low prices (or another issue, such as pipeline problems), the natural gas production will stop at the same time.

  1. Sweden’s unorthodox response to COVID-19: What went wrong?
    Health Minister Lena Hallengren discusses Sweden’s coronavirus death toll, the worst by far in Scandinavia.

    https://www.aljazeera.com
    (search page)
    Sweden’s rate is by far the worst in Scandinavia.

    • what do they mean “wrong”?

      while countries such as Spain are having a second spike, Sweden probably got it over and done with in one spike.

      we really need to wait and see what the data is for Finland and Norway a year from now.

      got patience?

        • Well, Marxist ‘critical’ thinking got a lot very wrong – always depends on the fundamental axioms.

        • very likely.

          but logic, reason, and critical thinking suggest that Sweden, by taking a bigger hit earlier, will have less coming than Finland and Norway.

          it will be clearer by next Spring.

          • The results would give an indication of longer term immunity.

            We will see soon enough.

          • If that theory would hold, then why hasn’t Taiwan at a ‘stone throw’ distance from Mainland China been stricken much harder in the second and third wave?

            Something tells me they won’t even notice the “regular” flu and colds anymore. The Wuhan sh1tshow put an end to those perpetual disgraces of WHO and all the other half-assed government efforts to classify those perpetually ongoing pandemics as “normal”.

            No, the flu and regular colds isn’t “normal” in a technologically advanced civilization. There should be ZERO regularly occurring pandemics. Yes. ZERO.

            • We’re up to 26 live cases, all apparently imported. (476 total cases, high of 311 live cases, low of 3, 7 deaths.) The government has been vigilant and proactive, and at the slightest sign of a spike, the whole population will be wearing masks again. The biggest danger seems to be from asymptomatic spreaders.

        • Yep–
          This is just the start, if you are paying attention.
          Hopefully Sweden learned a lesson, and will keep infection down like the rest of Scandinavia.

      • ??????????????????????????????????????????????

        Maybe you could try one of the new news subscrpition services from Mars. Just ignore the anti-Venusian bias.

    • Sweden’s coronavirus death toll, the worst by far in Scandinavia.

      Why would you judge Swedish deaths as any worse than those of Danes, Finns, or Norwegians?

  2. Changes in US Federal Law may affect small scale solar and address the issues Gail has brought up regarding the cost of spinning reserve. I have personally thought about expanding solar to better utilize net metering, my concern has always been the Fed giveth and an the Fed taketh away. Bummer.

    https://www.utilitydive.com/news/a-blow-to-small-solar-a-win-for-states-and-utilities-regulators-analysts/582467/?utm_source=Energy+News+Network+daily+email+digests&utm_campaign=15e053ac7c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_05_11_11_36_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_724b1f01f5-15e053ac7c-89250807

    Dennis L.

    • The fixed prices for solar were a huge subsidy. They were wrong originally, both for small scale solar and large scale solar. Also wind. Sometime, they have to go away.

  3. If you came for the TRUTH….this is straight talk…never before in History has this been done in concert Worldwide

    Extreme money printing, diluting the value of the Dollar, the old rules do not apply anymore
    Seems adjusted for inflation, Precious Metals may have more legs for the run…if you can get it!💥🤑
    That’s not to say panic selling by the poor may flood the supply and the price crashes.
    Life is gamble…..

  4. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/cdc-methanol-hand-sanitizers-poisoned-15-killed-4-172919134.html

    ‘CDC: Drinking methanol hand sanitizers poisoned 15, killed 4’

    ‘Two months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that some Americans were DRINKING BLEACH to stave off the coronavirus (a practice that’s both extremely dangerous and ineffective), a new report has found evidence of an equally dangerous trend: DRINKING HAND-SANITIZER.’

    “Four of the individuals — all of whom were located in Arizona or New Mexico — died and three were released with “VISUAL IMPAIRMENT.” At least four of the patients were still in the hospital by early July.”

    • these are all of the same type, Americans, who are expected to wear masks in public, keep at a social distance when it’s reasonable, wash their hands and otherwise practice good hygiene, and stay home when they feel like they are running a fever.

      perhaps the intelligence of a hundred million Americans should not be overestimated when it comes to living in a pandemic,

    • Fools.

      The secret is to consume a small amount daily over several years, so you build up an immunity to it…

      Cheers,
      -GBV

      • This practice was introduced by Mithridates VI Eupator, King of Pontus, who was so worried about being poisoned that he took small doses for years to build up immunity. According to legend, when he later decided to kill himself he found that no poison would work, so he had himself run through with a sword.

    • They were just trying to get high. The article says, “It’s important to note that the study says all of the patients had a history of hand-sanitizer consumption, suggesting that some may have been using it as an alcohol substitute.”

      Let me repeat that: “all of the patients HAD A HISTORY of hand-sanitizer consumption.”

      • Hilarious. Too poor to drink eau-de-cologne, one supposes. Victims of Capitalism and the Patriarchy.

  5. This is a nice overview of how the energy supply has underpinned economic life over the past thousand years by someone who understands the need for “a theory of energy” and seems to get the predicament we are in.

    There is, then, no “puzzle” behind our inability to increase productivity; it is a symptom of our economic disease. We are, quite simply, out of power. We are running the economic machine as fast as it can go. We have squeezed all of the economically viable productivity improvements out of our technologies and are now dependent upon raw energy – which is currently declining globally across the non-energy sectors of the economy – to drive further growth.

    This was already a crisis long before SARS-CoV-2 put in an appearance; as witnessed by the divisions and extremities that gave rise to the Brexit vote in the UK, the election of Donald Trump in the USA and the wave of nationalist-populism around the world. Sadly, this is only a taste of what lies in store if the energy available to us continues to decline. Only a more energy-dense, zero-carbon and at least equally versatile alternative to oil can save the day. And for now at least, no such alternative exists. Renewable energy is neither dense nor versatile enough; although it may slow the decline in fossil fuel energy. Hydrogen is three times more powerful but it doesn’t exist freely in nature; meaning that most of its energy would have to be used in separating it from natural gas or (even more expensively) water. Nuclear has enormous theoretical energy but as yet nobody has figured out how to safely and productively utilise it. And even if one of the many new reactor designs were to be economically viable, it will be the 2030s and beyond before these put in an appearance and long after 2050 to deploy them on anything like the scale required to replace the energy we currently obtain from oil.

    Like medieval plague doctors seeking to respond to the Black Death, without a theory of energy modern economists blithely imagine that our problems can be overcome by simply printing new currency out of thin air. The left would choose to invest it in non-renewable renewable energy-harvesting technologies for which there is simply not enough left of Planet Earth to achieve more than a fraction of the intended aim. The right, on the other hand, will go full steam ahead in attempting to extract fossil fuels which lie beyond the hard limits of an oil-powered economy. Whichever path we take, the final destination will be the same – a much smaller population living a much less consumptive life on a largely depleted planet whose changing climate may ultimately render even that life unsustainable.

    With a theory of energy, we might, perhaps, cushion the blow by saving the best of our current way of life – like access to clean drinking water and basic healthcare – before it is too late. But, at a time when emotions outweigh data and reason in decision making; I’m not holding my breath.

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2020/07/20/the-symptom-of-our-disease/

    • “But, at a time when emotions outweigh data and reason in decision making; I’m not holding my breath.”

      I always find these kinds of “I’ve got a big brain and should be making all of the decisions” comments very strange. So what would Mr Bigbrain’s solution have been – at any point in the development of these events over the last 10,000 years? Oh, let me guess, I’ll bet that at some point – I’m so sorry but this is what the computer tells us – million or even billions would have to die.

      But don’t worry, I have a big rational and unemotional brain and therefore always make correct decisions.

      This “I have a big brain and sop should be making all of the choices” way of looking at things is obviously inhuman, as well as being so fabulously unsophisticated (and solipsistic) that it disproves its own claim to intelligence. But it is also insane. This is the serial killer’s view of the world and of other people.

      Utiltarianism – which this amounts to – as a doctrine for centralized social organization has proven to be a monstrous tragedy every time it has been tried. It doesn’t even work at the level of the domestic home. Centralized “rational”, “data-driven” control over all of human life is NOT “rational”. Utilitarianism is not “rational”. It is insane.

      Or maybe I am wrong. Let’s try an experiment, yet again. So here is what we’ll do: we’ll count up all of the relevant numbers, using Likert scales to assign numbers to more sensitive social values, then make life-value-decisions based on viability, the ability to contribute to society, and other “rational” metrics, and using these very scientiifc calculations, we (the special bigbrains) will assign every individual a life-value score. Based on that we can then implement centrally-directed rationing of some kind, right? Next step, calculate death rates (I think we are going to need bigger abacuses) and report back to the data-collectors – who of course just concidentally have the highest life-value rankings of any of us. .

      Because – as we all know – the most important thing is to get that “emotion” out of the decision-making, right?

      • the concluding sentence with “emotions” seems to be relatively unimportant to the rest of his thesis.

        he is spot on that energy is the base of all economic activity.

        Tim Watkins here, and Tim Morgan, and Gail Tverberg, each in their own ways, are the best we have at articulating the dilemma faced by humans as the base of most prosperity keeps on eroding away.

        this Tim Watkins article is quite excellent, with or without a few imperfections.

        • I see what you are saying but the idea of the tyranny of those who advocate rationality is always – I believe – to be guarded against. And in this instance the comment ended with the promotion of rationality as a society-organizing ideal, which it most definitely is not. So I was triggered.

          To those who tell me that there is any (large scale) salvation in rationality I answer with just two words – game theory.

          • Well said, Kim. Yes, these “rational” people have never heard of game theory. Their idea of rationality is based on B F Skinner’s “stimulus / response” stuff, which didn’t even work on his tame rats (as several of his former students hilariously documented). The “rational” philosopher kings create the stimulus, and the sheep obligingly respond. Except we don’t. For example, a favourite way to raise more revenue is a “luxury tax”. But luxuries, by definition, are optional, and when the angry sheep simply stop buying diamond necklaces, or private yachts, the revenue drops towards the floor.

            That’s why I long ago stopped believing in philosopher kings (helped along by Karl Popper’s “The Open Society and its Enemies”), and decided Nature was a better ruler than all our kings put together.

            • Deviating from ones own nature, pretending being something “more”, that is indeed nothing else than pure delusion and a recipe for disaster. Who are we (as a species) even to try to comprehend the processes and intents of a planetary sized extremely complex dynamic system, a behemoth organism floating around in the plasma sheath of a goddamn star.

              Believing that mankind is somehow the only true sentient beings is ignorance. Shocking ignorance. A bunch of rapacious primates rummaging around and dreaming up all sorts of fantasy to motivate their actions more or less completely dictated from the limbic system.

              It’s about time to come to terms of who we are, and figure out how to curtail the worst behaviors.

      • He is certainly quite wrong, and utterly naive, in implying that emotion and lack of rationality is the root cause of our predicament.

        Lets hand over all decisions to A Great Thinker, or to the dispassionate AI God soon to be manifested among us, and all will be well?

        What did the enthronement of the Goddess Reason avail in the early and hopeful days of the French Revolution? Soon she was wading in blood, rape, torture and wars.

        The Nazis saw themselves as ruthless rationalists – most ironically in their insane social and racial policies.

        The Soviet state was meant to be a manifestation of pure rationality, free of superstitions and bourgeois emotions.

        All delusion and a waking nightmare.

  6. Re mail-in voting, it should be taken into accunt that a very large portion of teh populatin, especially in a place like New York, is functionally illiterate. They cannot follow or act on written instructions. So we will see quite a cock-up in November, exactly according to plan.

    https://nypost.com/2020/08/05/84000-mail-in-ballots-disqualified-in-nyc-primary-election/

    The mail-in ballots of more than 84,000 New York City Democrats who sought to vote in the presidential primary were disqualified, according to new figures released by the Board of Elections.

    The city BOE received 403,213 mail-in ballots for the June 23 Democratic presidential primary. But the certified results released Wednesday revealed that only 318,995 mail-in ballots were counted.

    That’s means 84,208 ballots were not counted or invalidated — 26 percent of the total.

    One out of four mail-in ballots were disqualified for arriving late, lacking a postmark or failing to include a voter’s signature, or other defects. The Post reported Tuesday that roughly 30,000 mail-in ballots were invalidated in Brooklyn alone.

    • there is a splendidly sweet aroma of irony here.

      the D side of politics is the side that seems most eager to do mail-in ballots for the November election.

      the story here of course is a sckrewwwed up D primary vote.

      oh well, come November, as they say “vote early and often”.

    • Wow, maybe they couldn’t actually sign their names? Just at the ‘make a cross here’ level…..

  7. https://www.oann.com/exclusive-16-republican-senators-back-new-payroll-assistance-to-u-s-airlines-letter/

    “A group of Senate Republicans on Wednesday backed extending a $25 billion payroll assistance program for U.S. airlines after warnings that carriers may be forced to cut tens of thousands of jobs without government action, according to a letter seen by Reuters.”

    this is crayzzie. These jobs are going away as soon as this program ends.

    they are Zommmbie Jobs, in an industry of largely Zommmbie Companies.

    let two of the three major airlines fail, since one is more than enough for the future self-organizing economy which is relentlesssly resetting at a lower level.

    • I like that last clause about endless resetting at a lower level. I am stealing that phrasing.

    • Insane, but all politics and graft.

      Cargo Cult economics: maintaining the form without any substance.

      A cousin of mine thought she’d hit the jackpot when she hooked up with an airline pilot: loads of cash, secure employment, expanding industry, etc

      Now, he’s history and working in his family cake shop, rather depressed to say the least. And of course that business has itself been hard hit, too.

      I’m impressed by her pragmatic ruthlessness though. She knows love doesn’t pay the bills.

      • interesting slice of family dynamics there xabier

        i’ve tried to offer very subtle warnings to a couple of my very prosperous grandkids–that things are going to change—but they too are convinced it will go on forever

        • I know a couple who were both Virgin cabin crew. He was a purser; she was a flight attendant and they made a reasonable living by supplementing their income with a bit of low-key smuggling. They were laid off a couple of months ago with pay-outs totalling £16k.

          They have two children under ten and were already very stretched on an ambitious mortgage. Ordinarily the obvious move for laid off cabin crew would be into hospitality but of course there are no jobs there either, so their prospects are not good, to say the least.

          They have all moved into her mother’s house and are trying to rent out their home so that the can keep up with the mortgage – a miserable situation for all concerned!

          • This pattern of moving in with relatives and renting out the old home would quickly lead to too many homes relative to the number that the market actually needs. This would seem to be the underlying problem associated with the idea of demolishing homes because they might be infected with COVID. The total amount of energy required is lower, if fewer homes are in use.

        • When the music is playing and the wine flowing, no one wants to recognise the ghost seated quietly at the banqueting table……

          I feel that banshees get the conveying of bad news just about right.

    • Amusing. Perhaps I shall start a “horse and buggy” company and ask for a few billion from the government. And after all, that’s green, isn’t it? The Republicans can vote to save the drivers’ jobs, and the Democrats can vote to save the horses from the glue factory. Win/win!

      • on BBC world service this morning, they were interviewing Montana coal miners

        They all intended to vote for Trump next time, because he was the only hope they had of saving coal. No matter about his lying record

        Voting for prosperity wins every time

        • Depletion is hard to do battle with. Coal mines have been closing for a long time, because their cost of production is too high relative the to the market price. It is an earlier version of the problem that oil and natural gas are facing now.

    • False positive sums up this entire situation.
      Infected minds will bring this potemkin village to its knees.

      Its the flu; its impacting worst in people who are futherest from nature in their lifestyles, their food, their medical chicanery.
      Hospitals are no place for sick people!!

Comments are closed.