Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

Today’s energy predicament is a strange situation that most modelers have never really considered. Let me explain some of the issues I see, using some charts.

[1] It is probably not possible to reduce current energy consumption by 80% or more without dramatically reducing population.

A glance at energy consumption per capita for a few countries suggests that cold countries tend to use a lot more energy per person than warm, wet countries.

Figure 1. Energy consumption per capita in 2019 in selected countries based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise: Our predecessors in Africa didn’t need much energy. But as humans moved to colder areas, they needed extra warmth, and this required extra energy. The extra energy today is used to build sturdier homes and vehicles, to heat and operate those homes and vehicles, and to build the factories, roads and other structures needed to keep the whole operation going.

Saudi Arabia (not shown on Figure 1) is an example of a hot, dry country that uses a lot of energy. Its energy consumption per capita in 2019 (322 GJ per capita) was very close to that of Norway. It needs to keep its population cool, besides running its large oil operation.

If the entire world population could adopt the lifestyle of Bangladesh or India, we could indeed get our energy consumption down to a very low level. But this is difficult to do when the climate doesn’t cooperate. This means that if energy usage needs to fall dramatically, population will probably need to fall in areas where heating or air conditioning are essential for living.

[2] Many people think that “running out” of oil supplies should be our big worry. I believe that lack of the “demand” needed to keep oil and other energy prices up should be at least as big a worry.

The events of 2020 have shown us that a reduction in energy demand can occur very quickly, in ways we would not expect.

Oil demand can fall from less international trade, from fewer international air flights, and from fewer trips by commuters. Demand for electricity (made mostly with coal or natural gas) is likely to fall if fewer buildings are occupied. This will happen if universities offer courses only online, if nursing homes close for lack of residents who want to live there, or if young people move back with their parents for lack of jobs.

In some ways, the word “appetite” might be a better word than “demand.” Either high or low appetite can be a problem for people. People with excessive appetite tend to get fat; people with low appetite (perhaps as a side-effect of depression or of cancer treatments) can become frail.

Similarly, either high or low energy appetite can also be a problem for an economy. High appetite leads to high oil prices, as occurred back in 2008. These are distressing to oil consumers. Low appetite tends to lead to low energy prices. These are distressing to energy producers. They may cut back on production, as OPEC nations have done in the recent past, in an attempt to get prices back up. Some energy producers may file for bankruptcy.

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

Just as people can die from indirect effects of too little appetite, an economy can fail if it cannot keep its energy prices (appetite) up. In fact, an economy will probably collapse quite quickly if it cannot keep oil and other energy prices up. The cost of mining or otherwise extracting energy supplies tends to increase over time because the cheapest, easiest-to-extract supplies are taken first. The selling price of energy products needs to keep rising as well, in order for producers to be able to make a profit and, therefore, be able to continue production.

We know that historically, many economies have collapsed. Revelation 18:11-13 tells us that in the case of the collapse of ancient Babylon, the problem at the time of collapse was inadequate demand for the goods produced. There was not even demand for slaves, which was the type of energy available for purchase at that time. This lack of demand (or low appetite) is similar to the low oil price problem we are encountering today.

[3] The big reduction in energy appetite since mid-2008 has particularly affected the US, EU, and Japan. 

We would expect lower energy prices to eventually lead to a decline in energy production because producers will find production unprofitable. On a world basis, however, we don’t see this pattern occurring except during the Great Recession itself (Figure 3).

Figure 3. World per capita energy consumption, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. On a worldwide basis, energy production and consumption are virtually identical because storage is small compared to production and consumption.

Note that in Figure 3, energy consumption is on a “per capita” basis. This is because energy is required for making goods and services; the higher the population, the greater the quantity of goods and services required to maintain a given standard of living. If energy consumption per capita is rising, there is a good chance that living standards are rising.

The countries of the US, EU, and Japan have not been very successful in keeping their energy consumption per capita level since the big drop in oil prices in mid-2008.

Figure 4. Per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The falling per capita energy consumption for the US, EU, and Japan is what one would expect if economic conditions were getting worse in these countries. For example, this pattern might be expected if young people are having difficulty finding jobs that pay well. It might also happen if repayment of debt starts interfering with young people being able to buy homes and cars. When fewer goods of these types are purchased, less energy consumption per capita is required.

The pattern of falling energy consumption per capita cannot continue for long without reaching a breaking point because people with low wages (or no jobs at all) will become more and more distressed. In fact, we started seeing an increasing number of demonstrations related to low wage levels, low pension levels, and lack of government services starting in 2019. This problem has only gotten worse with layoffs related to the pandemic in 2020. These layoffs corresponded to substantial further reduction in energy consumption per capita.

[4] China, India, and Vietnam are examples of countries whose energy consumption per capita has risen in recent years.

Not all countries have done as poorly as the major economies in recent years:

Figure 5. Some examples of countries with rising energy consumption per capita, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

These Asian countries could outcompete the US, EU, and Japan in several ways:

  • Big undeveloped coal reserves. These resources could be used as an inexpensive fuel to compete with countries that had depleted their own coal resources. Coal tends to be less expensive than other types of energy, especially if pollution problems are ignored.
  • Warmer climate, so these countries did not need much fuel for heating. Even Southern China does not heat its buildings in winter.
  • Pollution was generally ignored.
  • New, more efficient factories could be built.
  • Lower wages because of
    • Milder climate
    • Inexpensive fuel supply
    • Lower medical costs
    • Lower standard of living

The developed economies were concerned about reducing their own CO2 emissions. Moving heavy industry to these Asian nations meant that the developed economies could benefit in three ways:

  1. Their own CO2 emissions would fall, whether or not world emissions fell.
  2. Pollution problems would be moved offshore.
  3. The cost of finished goods for consumers would be lower.

Moving heavy industry to these and other Asian countries meant the loss of jobs that had paid fairly well in the US, Europe, and Japan. While new jobs replaced the old jobs, they generally did not pay as well, leading to the falling energy consumption per capita pattern seen in Figure 4.

[5] The growing Asian economies in Figure 5 are now reaching coal limits.

While these economies were built on coal reserves, these reserves are becoming depleted. All three of the countries shown in Figure 5 have become net coal importers.

Figure 6. Coal production versus consumption in 2019 for China, India and Vietnam based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

[6] World coal production has remained on a bumpy plateau since 2011, suggesting that its extraction is reaching limits. (Figure 7)

Figure 7. World energy consumption by type, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. “Renewables” represents renewables other than hydroelectricity. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 8, below, shows that growth in China’s coal production was the major reason for the big rise in world coal consumption between 2002 and 2011. In fact, this rise in production started immediately after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Figure 8. World coal production by country based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

China’s rapid growth in coal production stopped in 2011. The problem was that extraction from an increasing share of coal mines became unprofitable: The cost of extraction rose but coal prices did not rise to match these higher costs. China could build new mines in locations more distant from where the coal was to be used, but transportation costs would tend to make this coal higher-cost as well. China could increase its coal consumption by importing coal, but that would also be more expensive.

Figure 9. Coal production for selected areas based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In Figure 9, above, we see how dramatically higher China’s coal production has been, in comparison to coal production in other areas of the world. After China’s coal production stalled about 2011, it bounced back in 2018 and 2019 as the country opened mines in the north of the country, farther from industrial use.

Figure 9 indicates that the US’s coal production was on a long plateau between 1990 and 2008; more recently, the US’s production has fallen. Coal production for Europe was falling even before 1981, but the data available for this chart only goes back to 1981. Declining production again results from the cost of production rising above the prices producers could obtain from selling the coal.

Whether or not world coal production will increase in the future remains to be seen. Normally, a person would expect a long bumpy plateau in coal production, such as the world has experienced since 2011, to precede a fall in production. This would be similar to the pattern observed in the US’s coal production. This pattern would also be similar to the shape modeled by geophysicist M. King Hubbert for many types of resource production.

Figure 10. M. King Hubbert symmetric curve from Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels.

[7] World oil production through 2019 has continued upward in an amazingly steady pattern, despite low prices. Its major problem has been unprofitability for producers. 

Figure 7 above shows the total amount of oil produced has continued upward in almost a straight line, except for a dip at the time of the Great Recession.

In fact, every person needs goods and services made with energy products. Rising energy consumption per capita will mean that, on average, every person is getting the benefit of more energy supplies. Figure 11 shows information similar to that on Figure 7, except on a per-capita basis.

Figure 11. World per capita energy consumption by type based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Total world consumption is approximately equal to total world production, since stored amounts are small.

Figure 11 indicates that on a per capita basis, oil supply has been approximately flat. In a way, this should not be surprising. Oil is absolutely essential in many ways. It is used for agriculture, transportation and construction. Oil is also used for its chemical properties in medicines, herbicides, pesticides, lubricants, and many other products. Oil is very energy dense and can be easily stored.

Because of its special properties, many people have assumed that oil prices will always rise. We saw in Figure 2 that this doesn’t actually happen. Low prices have continued for long enough now that they are becoming a serious problem for producers. Many companies are seeking bankruptcy. One analysis shows that 230 oil and gas producers and 214 oilfield services companies have filed for bankruptcy since 2015.

Oil exporters find their countries in financial difficulty, because at low prices, the taxes that they can collect are not sufficient to maintain the programs needed for their people. If the programs cannot be maintained, citizens may become unhappy and revolt.

At this point, oil production during 2020 is down. Figure 12 shows OPEC’s estimate of oil production through July 2020. World oil production is reported to be down about 12%. The highest month of supply was about November 2018.

Figure 12. OPEC and world oil production, in a chart made by OPEC, from the August 2020 OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report.

Figure 13 shows oil production for selected areas of the world through 2019.

Figure 13. Oil production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Middle East production tends to bounce up and down. If prices are low, the tendency is to reduce production, as occurred in 2019.

US production rose rapidly between 2008 and 2019, but dipped in 2016, as prices dropped way too low.

Europe’s oil production (including Norway) reached its highest point in the year 2000. It has been declining since then, causing concern for governments.

The production of what I call Russia+ dropped with the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union in 1991. Oil prices had been very low between 1981 and 1991. It appears to me that these low prices were instrumental in the collapse of the central government of the Soviet Union. Production was able to rise again in the early 2000s when prices rose. My concern now is that a similar collapse will happen for some oil exporters in the next few years, due to low prices, and it will lead to a major decline of world oil production.

[8] Natural gas is the fuel that seems to be available in abundant supply, if only the price could be made to rise to a high enough level for producers. 

Natural gas production can be seen to be rising on both Figures 7 and 11. The fact that natural gas consumption is rising on a per capita basis in Figure 11 indicates that production is rising robustly–enough to offset weakness in coal production and perhaps help increase the world standard of living, to some extent.

We can see from Figure 14 below that the increase in natural gas production is coming from quite a number of different areas, including the US, Russia and its affiliates, the Middle East, and Australia. Again, Europe (including Norway) seems to be in decline.

Figure 14. Natural gas production for selected areas of the world based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Europe includes Norway. Russia+ is the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The problem for natural gas is again a price problem. It is difficult to get the price up to a high enough level to cover the cost of both the extraction of natural gas and the infrastructure and fuel needed to transport the natural gas to its destination.

We used to talk about “stranded natural gas,” that is, natural gas that can be extracted, but whose cost of transportation is simply too high to make the overall transaction economic. In fact, historically, a lot of natural gas has simply been burned off as a waste product (flared) or re-injected into oil wells, to keep up pressure, because there was no hope of selling it profitably at a distance. It is this formerly stranded natural gas that is now being produced.

Figure 15. Historical natural gas prices based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. LNG is liquefied natural gas transported by ship. German imported natural gas is mostly by pipeline. US Henry Hub gas is natural gas without overseas transport costs included.

The increase in investment in natural gas production in recent years has been based on the hope that prices would rise high enough to cover both the cost of extraction and transportation. In fact, prices have tended to fall with crude oil prices, making the overall price far too low for most natural gas producers. Prices in 2020 have been even lower. For example, recent Japan LNG prices have been about $4 per million Btu. Thus, natural gas seems to have exactly the same problem as coal and oil: Prices are far too low for producers.

[9] The world economy is a self-organizing system, powered by energy. It can be expected to behave in a very strange way when diminishing returns become too much of a problem. 

In the language of physics, the world economy is a dissipative structure. This has been known at least since 1996. The economy is a self-organizing system powered by energy; it is not possible to significantly reduce energy consumption without a major collapse.

The economy has many parts to it. I have illustrated the situation in the following way:

The fact that consumers are also employees means that if wages fall too low (for a significant share of the population), then consumption will also tend to fall too low.

Prices are set by the market. Contrary to the popular view, prices are not based primarily on scarcity. Instead, they are based on the quantity of finished goods and services that consumers in the aggregate can afford. If wage disparity gets to be too great a problem, commodity prices of all types will tend to fall too low.

[10] Economists and modelers of all kinds have completely misunderstood how the economy actually operates.

Our academic communities each seem to exist in separate ivory towers. Economists don’t talk to physicists. Physicists know that dissipative structures cannot last indefinitely. Humans are dissipative structures; they each have limited lifetimes. Hurricanes are also dissipative structures that last only a limited time.

Most economists and modelers have never considered the possibility that today’s economy, like that of ancient Babylon, could be reaching collapse because of low demand, and thus, low prices.

Economists don’t realize that once energy resources become too depleted, energy prices are not likely to rise high enough for producers to make a profit; instead, the overall system will tend to collapse. Central banks have been trying, without success, to get commodity prices up to the point where they can be profitable for producers, but they have not been successful to date. I am doubtful that even more new tricks, such as Universal Basic Income, will work, either.

The erroneous belief systems of most economists and modelers leads to all kinds of strange results. The economy is modeled as if it will grow indefinitely. Most modelers assume that if we have oil, coal, or natural gas in the ground, plus the technical capability to pull these resources out, we will eventually pull them out. Perhaps a later civilization, built on the remains of our current civilization, can do this, but our current civilization cannot.

Climate change models are applied to fossil fuel assumptions that are absurdly high, given the problems with low energy prices that we are currently encountering. No one stops to model what will happen to the climate if fossil fuel consumption is decreased very quickly, which seems to be a real possibility in 2020. The loss of aerosol emissions (smog, for example) from fossil fuels will tend to spike world temperatures, even with reduced CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

We are led to believe that an economy similar to today’s economy can operate solely on renewables. This is simply absurd. Figures 7 and 11 show that there are nowhere near enough renewables to support today’s population, even if substitution were possible for fossil fuels. In fact, we need fossil fuels to make and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, electric transmission lines, hydroelectric plants, and nuclear power plants.

If we cannot keep fossil fuels operating because of continued low prices, today’s economy can expect a disturbing change for the worse.

This entry was posted in Financial Implications, Introductory Post 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.

2,368 thoughts on “Today’s Energy Predicament – A Look at Some Charts

  1. Biden today has personally ruled out any USA-UK trade deal if TP reneges on EU-UK WA. He may be playing to Irish Americans in the run up to the USA presidential election but his commitment to the ROI-UK GFA is sincere and long-term.

    TP MPs have hit back hard at Biden, telling him to sort out his own ‘peace deal’ with rioting Americans.

    There are signs that Boris may be starting to back down with concessions to backbench TP rebels. TP has a majority of 80 seats but it remains unclear whether he can get his bill through parliament.

    Both EU and Biden have now explicitly ruled out any trade deal with UK if Boris reneges on WA. The pressure to comply is pretty high.

    Biden warns UK on Brexit: No trade deal unless you respect N.Irish peace pact

    LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace agreement as it withdraws from the European Union or there would be no separate U.S. trade deal.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson is proposing new legislation that would break the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit divorce treaty that seeks to avoid a physical customs border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

    “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet on Wednesday.

    “Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

    • Verhofstadt has piled in.

      > The European Parliament will block a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU if Boris Johnson does not ‘rectify’ the Internal Market Bill further, Guy Verhofstadt has said.

      Mr Johnson’s compromise with his backbenchers – whereby MPs will be granted a vote before a minister can use powers which override international law if the EU undermines the “fundamental purpose” of the Northern Ireland Protocol – has gone through on a new policy paper published today.

      But the Prime Minister’s “climbdown” over the Internal Market Bill has no bearing on its breach of international law, the outspoken MEP and chair of the now-defunct Brexit Steering Group said.

      European Parliament would “not give its consent to any trade deal” if the bill is not further “rectified”, he added.

      Earlier this morning Mr Verhofstadt tweeted his support for presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying: “Biden is right. Boris Johnson might not care about international law or the Good Friday Agreement, but there are many who do! The world is watching with disbelief.”

      • In the absence of a trade agreement, the Withdrawal Agreement is not workable in respect of the Northern Ireland – UK mainland border. What on earth is the UK supposed to do other than ignore it? Its a UK internal border after all.

        Just imagine if goods were not able to pass between Oregon and California because of an agreement Congress made with Mexico.

        • WA is workable but a nuisance with or without a trade deal. Checks and controls between Britain and NI, and between Britain and EU, will be required in either case as UK no longer conforms to EU SM/ CU standards.

          The dysfunctional UK parliament entered into WA after months of internal deadlock. There is no point complaining about ‘It’s not fair!’ UK has to take the responsibility for its own political disfunction. It has no one to blame for WA but itself.

          • Somewhat more than a nuisance. The EU are threatening the UK with not allowing it to be recognised as a third party for food exports. This will effectively end food transport between two parts of the UK. Does not really matter whether it is fair or not or whether the government agreed to this, the UK people will not accept this. Facts on the ground will override treaties.

            • Again, it is the stuff of domestic morale and it has no bearing on international diplomacy. Boris tried to make UK food imports to NI an issue to get domestic sympathy for his internal markets bill. EU dismissed the issue as nonsense and Boris has backed down. It had no real relevance to his bill.

              UK government will be responsible for all ‘action on the ground’ and it will be liable to financial punishments from EU if it fails to implement full checks and controls in the Irish sea. Fighting talk by citizens is not going to change that reality, again it is just morale, not reality.

              > Britain backs down in Brexit ‘food blockade’ row

              Britain backed down in the “food blockade” row with Brussels on Thursday and agreed to EU demands for further details on its food and animal health regime after Brexit….

              The prime minister used the “threat” of the blockade, which EU diplomats dismissed as “spin” and “fake news”, to justify his Internal Market Bill. The Bill has no provisions over SPS but does on export declarations from Britain to Northern Ireland and state aid rules.


      • Does this level of forceful rhetoric coming from the EU not sound like a cornered rat? It sounds strange that an institution as ‘prosperous’ as the EU should speak in such terms. Is the lion really so frightened of the mouse?

        We have a declining ERoI across Western civilisation, with declining prosperity as a result – this likely means the breakdown of the social contract. Societies can no longer afford these complex structures. It seems they now exist simply to threaten us. I, for one, ain’t buying it…

        • “Does this level of forceful rhetoric coming from the EU not sound like a cornered rat?”

          Not really no, it sounds like the EU is in a position to decide whether or not it does a trade deal with UK, and to refuse one if UK reneges on WA. Their position is strengthened by the USA refusal to do a deal in the same circumstances.

          UK rather seems cornered, not in a position of strength.

          Yes there is some likelihood that future scarcity will lead to conflict. But it also seems likely that UK will simply be cut adrift by a block which it has exited. Who knows exactly what will happen in the future?

          • Aye, and good point on EU eyeing up NI (which you made below). At this point I guess we descend into tit-for-tat… I wonder (and secretly suspect) that the UK will develop more responsive systems as a result of reduced bureaucracy (because it will have to if it wants to survive) and more political accountability (in theory it should) – for example, legislation is now written in Westminster rather than Brussels (one of the reasons I voted why I did). The question is, will this result in a greater share of energy for the average Joe?

            For me, as we are an import nation, any strategy has to take the value of the GBP into consideration. The only way to negate the risks of GBP devaluation is to onshore more manufacturing (and more energy use to do this). I’m guessing we’ll now need to compete with the EU rather than cooperate with them as a result of them putting the GFA at risk (and why not, it doesn’t affect Brussels).

            With that said, the competition for resources (both energy products and qualified people to exploit/utilise them) will increase. I think the only viable strategy now for the UK government is to go down the competitive route, as opposed to the cooperative route – maybe the Tories are more suited to this than Labour…

            Also, just wanted to say I have enjoyed your commentaries on the Will to Power. It has been a while since I read Nietzsche so I always appreciate a refresh.

            • According to the article,

              The defiant increase in the rates in the face of the pound’s resilience suggests that traders in the rates market are bracing for a possible collapse in the talks between the U.K. and the European Union. Such an outcome would knock the pound lower and stoke inflation since — in the worst scenario — supply bottlenecks may ensue.

    • The Trump administration has weighed in to say that there is no chance of a USA-UK trade deal if GFA is violated. Trump himself agrees that there will be no negotiation about that.

      > Exclusive: Biden or Trump, no guarantee of a post-Brexit US-UK trade deal

      Asked about the Trump administration’s view Thursday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s office pointed to his June testimony to Congress, where he said there is no chance Congress would pass a trade deal if Britain put up borders in Ireland, violating the Good Friday agreement.

      “I’ve made that quite clear. The chairman [of the committee] has made it quite clear to me. The president agrees this is not something on which we’re going to have a negotiation,” he said.

      The Good Friday agreement is in jeopardy, some diplomats say, because of new legislation proposed by British prime minister Boris Johnson.

      • Just out of interest, where is the desire for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland coming from? The EU? Then surely it is they who are threatening the Good Friday Agreement? I’m yet to remain convinced a customs border is even practical in ensuring the integrity of EU goods. What percentage of goods get checked coming into EU from other nations? Given that Vietnamese people can be trafficked to UK via eastern Europe I’d say this demand needs further scrutiny.

        And with that I’ll shut up for a while…

        • All that matters is that EU and USA put the responsibility to avoid a customs border in Ireland onto UK. Complaining, ‘but it ain’t fair!’ is not going to work. At best that sort of thing is aimed at domestic morale but international diplomacy is not conducted on that basis. UK chose to leave EU and that puts the GFA burden onto UK – that is simply how they see it.

          It is in the interests of EU to make Brexit a nuisance for UK anyway, to keep NI, and to discourage other countries from leaving. And Biden and Trump have an eye to the Irish-American vote. Many Irish went to USA after the Great Famine, so that is finally coming back to bite UK. Also USA is committed to GFA as its own triumph. It is not going to let Brexit damage it without punishing UK. UK is going to have to live with that, complaining will change nothing.

          • I’m sorry, but that is not correct. Either the customs checks are on the North side of the border or they are on the South side. If the former, the UK has broken the agreement; if the latter, the EU has broken it. The law is crystal clear, and any attempt by the EU to shift the blame will look as absurd as Germany’s claim in 1939 that Poland had attacked her. (Not that Germany might not try it; the leopard does not change its spots)

            • All that matters is that that is not how the EU and the USA is going to frame it.

              As far as they are concerned, UK is to blame for the necessity of a border with customs checks and controls, because UK changed the status quo by voting for Brexit. UK cannot leave the CU/ SM without a customs border, which is what UK has done. If you do not have a single market, or at least common standards, then you have to have a customs border. It is does not matter who actually operates the border, what matters is who necessitated it.

              Or rather, what matters is that that is how EU and USA will frame it. Crying ‘but it ain’t fair!’ will get UK absolutely nowhere. That is not the basis on which international diplomacy is conducted. There is no international law that says that the state that operates the border is responsible for its existence, so that claim is just making stuff up and it is an irrelevant argument. The TP is being silly and it is about to get a wake up call.

              The USA ‘special relationship’ is with Ireland not UK, especially in the House of Representatives, and there is no chance that a USA-UK trade deal would get through the HOR, as it would have to, unless Dublin is satisfied by the terms of the WA. That is just reality and no rhetoric is going to change that. Irish-Americans have cultivated relations with HOR over decades and support for Ireland is one of the two areas around which there is truly a bipartisan position in Congress (the other being suspicion of China).

              Also, EU is a much more significant block for USA to stay on good terms with than UK. Britain is just a little island by comparison with 15% the GDP of EU.

              Britannia does not ‘rule the waves’ any more and it is in no position of strength to tell EU or USA how they should frame their interpretation of the border in/ around Ireland. That is purely up to them. Neither does UK have a ‘special relationship’ with USA. Ireland does. It is wake up time for TP and UK. The world is a very different place to a BBC last night of the Proms. TP may still be singing those songs but the rest of the world has long moved on. EU and USA are now the key players and Ireland is their darling. UK is just not that relevant anymore. That TP imagines that it can get anywhere with rhetoric and complaining is just laughable and almost unbelievable.

  2. From the WSJ: Oregon Fires Show Power Lines Pose Threat Beyond California
    Electric lines downed during high winds contributed to the spread of this month’s explosive fires

    Firefighters assigned to the Beachie Creek fire got a close look at what happens when an energized power line tumbles down. As winds picked up on Sept. 7, a tree hit an electric line, causing power to arc into a metal fence and igniting vegetation around a wildfire command center in the town of Gates.

    The flash fire quickly engulfed two buildings and destroyed equipment as the firefighters attempted to contain it. Cornered on three sides by flames, they were forced to abandon the post.

    Sgt. Jeremy Landers of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said his agency had “numerous accounts of power lines down and arcing from those lines” along State Highway 22 in Santiam Canyon, a popular recreational area.


    ‘WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe, with ‘alarming rates’ of virus transmission’

    “Countries across the continent have been easing lockdowns and reopening their economies, but governments are now scrambling to avert further outbreaks.”

    Whenever countries attempt to go back to business as usual, the Coronoa virus starts spreading wildly. What will it be like this coming winter when the usual compliment of flues are making the rounds?

    “The prospect of a flu season during the coronavirus pandemic is chilling to health experts. Hospitals and clinics already under strain dread a pileup of new respiratory infections, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), another seasonal pathogen that can cause serious illness in young children and the elderly. In the United States, where some areas already face long waits for COVID-19 test results, the delays could grow as flu symptoms boost demand. “The need to try to rule out SARS-CoV-2 will be intense,” says Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

    This winter is going to be rough! When people get sick from the flu at first they won’t know if its Covid-19 or a flu. While they’re waiting days for the answer to a test, the symptoms will get worse and their anxiety will skyrocket. When people are waiting in line in a post office and someone in line starts coughing their head off, no social distance will be enough and no one will know if the person has the flu, which is bad enough, or Covid-19 which can really mess a person up permanently, not just the prospect of death.

    Both economically and medically I’m predicting this will be the Winter from Hell.

    • Probably a greater number of deaths at home, due to the uncertainty over the significance symptoms which you mention, and plain fear of going to a hospital.

      The only 2 deaths I have heard of directly here were of men in their 50’s who stuck it out at home and didn’t dare approach a hospital.

      • Probably kinder for them to die that way, than on one of Cuomo’s ventilators…

        Chrome Mags, of course the WHO is going to keep stoking the panic.. Someone posted an excellent video a few pages back. You should check it out.

        Rather than putting another copy up, I’ll give you the name to DuckDuckGo: “Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained!” by Ivor Cummins

        • I’m not sure that Operation Panic is really working now.

          No one at all pays any real attention to distancing here, no longer skipping around one another in the street, and so few have seen or even heard of deaths, as the total the UK turned out to be very modest indeed – not the vast numbers of dead requiring tented morgues in the London parks as was at first hinted.

          Significant, of course, but not horrific.

          • Sadly, most in my area are dedicated mask-slaves. It’s all about the feels; they are “saving lives”. Ok with not stopping “until there is a vaccine.” Sigh.

            • Masks are only mandatory here in shops (but poorly policed), and on the street more young people -student types,not workers – wear them than old, and more middle class women than working class.

              And the most elderly look as though they don’t give a stuff, very rare indeed to see them on the street in masks.

              I was probably among the first people to wear a mask In February when I saw the Chinese in them and the features of the virus were more or less unknown , but now don’t bother in the street at all.

              Misanthropy ensures my social distancing……

          • As a point of reference, I know six people who have contracted the virus. 1. A 19 year old male college athlete that lost his sense of smell and taste for 3 days and had the sniffles. He was back in the weight room a week later, 2. Man in his early 50’s who was sick in bed for three weeks, and spent a night in the hospital (improved with hydroxychloriquine), 3. married couple in their late 40’s who were “as sick as they have ever been” and slept with cell phones at hand out of concern they would need to call the paramedics in the night, 4. Married couple aged 78 and 80. The man (78) was in poor health and died from virus. The woman was 80, otherwise in good health, and was recovering in hospital. She took a fall and bled to death (internal injuries) due to anti-coagulants used to treat the virus. These last two were relatives on my wife’s side of the family and were treated in India, rather than the USA. As wealthy retiree’s they supposedly were getting good care.

            • I’m not sure about vitamin D, though the two elderly folks that died were ethnically Indian, and so we’re darker skinned( more mocha than dark brown). They lived in the northern USA for the past 50 years, but had returned to India 2 years ago. Not sure how much time they were spending outside though, being elderly.

        • Hint:
          Ivor Cummins is largely an attention wanting quack– and an engineer.
          If you like sardonic humor, highly recommended.

          • Thanks, Duncan. I haven’t seen anything else of his… The above presentation plays it pretty straight by my reckoning.

          • Sometimes engineers can look at things a different way and have reasonable insights. I don’t dismiss out of hand people coming from a different point of view. He says some things in the video that clearly aren’t quite right. For example, he thinks the PCR tests are being read in a way that gives a lot of false positives, in the later humps. I think the people are simply younger and likely have better vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels help outcomes in both influenza and COVID.

            It would seem to me that perhaps there might be silently circulating influenza cases in the summer, mainly affecting the young and fit. We don’t test a lot of people to see whether there is asymptomatic influenza in the summertime, as far as I know. I am not sure Cummins really said that silent influenza cases happen in summer, but we know that COVID has a lot of silent cases, in fact likely more silent cases in summer when vitamin D levels are higher. Part of the big drop in COVID deaths from one period to the next is no doubt the result of better treatments for COVID, as we learned more about the disease. I have no idea what happened with H1N1 flu.

            As far as I know, Ivor Cummins is not trying to sell something. I am willing to look at what he has to say. After all, he can’t do much worse than the professional forecasters.

    • This is another chart from the video by Ivor Cummins on COVID:

      He says that the current pandemic echos the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2008-2009. There was an early spike, with quite a few deaths, followed by two later spikes with very few deaths. Fauci was hoping for a vaccine for that one as well, but it disappeared too quickly.

      • And targeted much young individuals.
        Covid is a much different virus.
        (although both are respiratory.)
        The secondary phase, in week two, when the virus has decreased, is when SARS-CoV-2 is most deadly.

        • How deadly would that be, Duncan?

          And when you say H1N1 flu epidemic of 2008-2009 “targeted much younger individuals”, who or what do you think was doing the targeting? Do you suppose lifeless nucleic acid molecules possess a will or intent of their own?

          • Yes, they do. It can be observed in the laboratory: such molecules will approach each other and exchange DNA far faster than the blind forces of the environment could bring them together. You can call that “entelechy”, or you can talk about exchange forces between resonating hydrogen bonds; the effect remains real.

            • Excellent observation, Robert.

              This was basically how mum and dad conceived me. Although I still don’t know who was doing the targeting, the target was hit. The Force was obviously with them.

    • Meanwhile, in the real world, the number of “covid cases” grows as fast as its “death toll” dwindles away to almost nothing. In Europe, for example, the average death toll has been less than 400 covid-related death per week. In a population of almost 500M, that number is so flagrantly meaningless that a sane person can only ask why the obviousnes of the present scamdemic is not generally accepted and being widely discussed.

        • Right, but not the number of “new cases”, that “justify” the most spinned “second wave” of panic and the corresponding tightenig of “sanitary measures” that is being cooked by the authorities right now everywhere. The contradiction is so flagrant that we can only shake our head and smirk,

        • It will only “wind down” with a vaccine or herd immunity.
          We have neither.
          (and both have only limited duration, if other covid virus traits hold)
          It is increasing.

          • It is not increasing.
            If hospitalizations and deaths are not increasing, it’s not a thing any longer.
            At some point even the most fanatical will have to come to grips with that.

            • Don’t worry, I’m sure Covid 20 or 21 with all the latest upgrades will keep the panicky panicking. The people have nerves as taut as piano wires that are just waiting to be hammered by the next scary scenario.

  4. In answer to the question about Dr. Zach Bush, I’d like to offer my opinion about his integrity. I don’t read the medical journals and therefore don’t know if his research or his published articles have been peer reviewed or not, but what he says about the microbiome and the virome, in his lectures and interviews on YouTube, makes a lot of sense. His lectures about the damaging effects of Roundup use also make a lot of sense. Certainly he is well trained. He appears to be an intelligent and well-meaning man.

    • I think he is well-meaning, and I expect a lot of what he says is true. The problem is trying to figure out exactly how much is true.

      I didn’t run across any published articles by Dr. Zach Bush. That would have given him a chance to show precisely what articles he is referring to, either in links or in footnotes. When he is just talking, then a person starts wondering: Did he really understand the underlying article? Is he overgeneralizing?

      He certainly sounds like he means what he is saying, and we all would like to think what he is saying is true. I wish we had better documentation of exactly what he is saying.

      In the COVID talk I linked to, my impression was that he went farther out on a limb than he should have. He was linking heavily to problems with breathing fine particulates. That may be part of the problem, but I don’t think it is as big a part as he suggested. I though he should have brought up vitamin D as being a possible partial mitigation/solution with respect to COVID and possibly even to the Roundup issues.

      • I read your comment about Dr. Bush, Gail Tverberg, with great interest. It could possibly be that his lectures and interviews are directed to a group of people among us who may be more affluent and thereby more healthy because of the choices that affluence may provide. I have not heard Dr. Bush speak of any specific prophylaxis for COVID-19, except for the important need to be outside in the sunshine and fresh air as much as possible and to eat organically-raised food. In a lecture posted a few months ago, he talked about a hypoxic condition that seriously ill COVID-19 patients commonly manifest and the effective treatment of this condition. This was at a time when people were very often being put of ventilators. But I may getting out on a limb myself by writing this. Because this is a public forum, it’s important to try to use as much critical thinking as possible. It seems to me that it’s also important to learn as much as you can and to to maintain a healthy, respectful skepticism. I’m grateful to you for reminding me of this.

  5. I hope this pasted correctly. Wolf has an article out today regarding where all that debt went that was sold earlier this year. I have attempted to post summary graph of who owns US debt. Note SS and public pensions are large holders.

    My interest in this site is mostly real world and what in that world I can affect, my best options going forward To date: dance,vitamin D (6000 IU), magnesium, “don’t worry, be happy,” and oh yes, zinc. If zinc does nothing at least I won’t rust.

    My question is with all this debt who gets nicked and how?

    Real world observation: Prices are going up for good, used machine tools of a size that can be used in a small shop. Large stuff that requires expensive millwrights, large fork lifts and trucks is almost selling for scrap prices – before moving that is.

    Any thoughts?

    Dennis L.

    • The big chunk in “Social Security Trust Fund and US Government Pension Funds” is the funny money that allows the US government to say something like, “With expected future contributions, plus the funds already set aside, Social Security is funded until 2027 (or whatever the year is now). The Social Security Trust Fund and US Government Pension Funds are really pretty much on a “pay as you go basis.” The government debt that is in these funds can’t really be used to pay individuals; it is not even transferrable elsewhere. As a practical matter, the government would have to collect taxes if it wants to pay pensioners with these funds. If this debt has no value, they truly are on a pay as you go basis. Social Security payments are now exceeding Social Security annual funding, I believe, leading to a need for more taxes. There may be a little interest on the debt in this grouping that adds to Social Security funding and other government pension funding. This is the main benefit of the debt in this category.

      Foreign holders are countries like China and Japan that have taken debt in payment for goods. We don’t want these foreign holders to sell their bonds, or interest rates on US debt will rise. The value of the US dollar will fall. If there is a default on these, the US dollar will be out as the world reserve currency.

      US Banks don’t seem to hold much, which is probably good.

      The Federal Reserve has (sort of) bought the part of the remaining bonds using QE. It can’t buy a whole lot more, without leaving too little for other purposes including “liquidity” to smooth international trade.

      • Gail,

        For internal debt, couldn’t one issue more general debt to pay that owed to SS?

        US investors are insurance companies, pension funds?

        If this stuff pays little interest, the owners of the bond asset are essentially 10 people sitting around a table trading it back and forth with one or more losing a bit each trade, but even the winner of the trades has an asset that yields less than the cost of trading. If a bond pays interest, holding it gives some income, if none or zero ten trading is profitless and it seems more and more banks, etc. are exiting trading, consistent with the first sentence of this paragraph.

        One asset of the government might be the military, but if “conquering” an asset costs twice what it yields there is not much booty, indeed negative booty. Thinking of WWII, one wonders if rather than building useless stuff we couldn’t have found a way to just buy Germany and fire the management.

        Your end game of collapse is looking more likely.

        Not a very positive picture from someone who is very positive.

        Dennis L.

        • I’m not sure. One thing I learned working in insurance is if regulations don’t work in practice, just change the regulations. I also am not certain about exactly what rules are in place.

          In theory, it would seem like Trump could waive “FICA” (Social Security taxes) for this year, and instead put more limited-purpose debt into the Social Security trust fund. In fact, someone could do this for the next ten years.

          Most government programs are simply “pay as you go.” My understanding was that a major reason for the trust fund for Social Security was because actuaries knew that when baby boomers retired, there would be an increase in Social Security payments. So they wanted tax collections (“contributions”) to be higher early on, so that there would not need to be a big increase when this happened. The catch was that the government took these excess Social Security contributions and spent them. They effectively were able to reduce federal income taxes. As a placeholder for the funds that they took and spent, non-transferrable bonds were left in their place.

          • Thank you, Gail, that is almost exactly what happened; I was there. The money was spent, though, not on lowering taxees generally, but partly on welfare and partly on special privileges for large corporations. In other words, the largely middle class working people paying into social security were, in part, paying for the upper and nether millstones between which they were being crushed. And now US cities are hollowing out, and we wonder why.

      • There is no real apparent jockeying for the position of holding the status of the global reserve currency, yes China, Russia and few others have already implemented independent infrastructure for int trade settlements/money wires etc. but even that’s still not the umbrella for the whole world.

        We can easily picture the (near) future when US barely resembles union anymore, riots and quasi secession in full swing, debt to GDP above 1000%, while the money trick still functions abroad..

        Look at the recent “deal” with Europe/Germany. The Nordstream2 gas line won’t be sanctioned, but at added cost Europeans are now obliged to invest into build up of new US LNG capacity and infrastructure. We can call it arm twisting, extortion racket, or actually taxation and floor support in another form.

        The collapse being rescheduled, again, for later date.

        • The problem is getting LNG prices up high enough for US exporters to make money on it. Also, they believe that somehow they can engineer a shortage in the US, and thus, raise US natural gas prices. This hasn’t happened so far. I don’t see in happening in the future.

          • The details are not known yet, some reports say it’s just about one billion, some suggest much larger investment on the table. If the former, that’s only very temporary kick back money, similar to POTUS foreign visits announcing armament deals similarly sized in few $B. However, If the latter is the case, expensive LNG could be another system supporting bubble for next half or full decade. That’s good extension of quasi BAU if you are ~70-90yrs old investor..

            • Thank you, and also Gail. The problem with LNG is the transit costs. If natural gas cannot me made profitable through a pipeline, there is no hope of it ever being profitable through LNG shipments. This whole exercise is another piece of NATO blackmail to keep the phony alliance together decades after it should have been shut down. So maybe the subsidy will become part of the military industrial complex, so further diminishing said complex’s ability to fight a real war.

    • “My question is with all this debt who gets nicked and how?”

      all of the above, minus the foreign holders, are probably now the new normal MMT more money today create it as you need it on gov/CB computers kind of debt.

      in other words, it’s debt that pays near zero rates.

      so no one gets “nicked”. It’s a game which both sides are playing.

      though the foreign holders surely must be getting quite more than 0% or else why hold it?

      Gail and others might be able to straighten me out where I’m wrong.

      otherwise, I can imagine that graph getting twice has high in all the bands except foreign holders, and reaching $52T later in this decade. It doubled from 13T to 26T since 2010, so why not double again?

      at 0%, this debt can go way higher.

      • There are several notable upcoming thresholds like US likely suffering from hi de-growth in domestic oil production by ~2022 or sooner, and Asians joining the West in terms of noticeable per capita stagnation (or even bumpy plateau) by mid decade, apart from many other trends. That in itself could produce some “limited” damage like stock and bond market crashes with another round of gov/CB normalization.

        But overall the bottom most likely scenario is that these synthetic debts you are describing would be easily further multiplied over the next decade, so again [disorderly phase shifting crash] pushed aside into the future. I guess we have to wait for some more profound generational change, today’s rulers are still quite effective (be it on the “dark side”) aka lets wait for more mismanagement facing multitude of crisis so ~2030-2040 could be it, for that we need more of the detached-spoiled tech younger generations at the helm at that point..

      • david,

        Could one think of the foreign holdings as a form of “equity?” Foreign holdings are necessary to conduct business, ultimately one needs to have dollars to purchase oil. Iraq, Libya, and Iran were/are holdouts in using the dollar – the results are obvious.

        Foreign holdings are decreasing as a percentage of the whole, less equity to cover the total. Should that total reach a tipping point, should the dollar no longer be necessary for trade, the remaining pile gives essentially no income and is thus worthless, a rock gives no income, same thing.

        So for us as individuals, what assets does one hold?

        Dennis L.

        • Good point about the foreign holdings necessary to conduct business, especially purchase oil, and their falling percentage of the total.

          Perhaps hold on to land, if it is productive land that can be used for farming. Even land with wood for burning has value, in a sense. Of course, if governments want to tax you, you may use your land. And strong men could take it away. It is also hard to support oneself on a single piece of land because there is too much variability from year-to-year in weather, insects and other pests. You really need a community group, or larger, to make a system work.

          • Agree totally on paragraph 2. The most valuable part of my farm are the two sons, late thirties of the man who rents the land. Looking at the small white church one mile from my farm, good people long somewhat boring services, but good people.

            Those foreign holdings were possibly a result of selling goods and services to the US – real wealth. As you have noted China had coal, we exchanged bonds for Chinese coal and they kept the pollution – a pretty good deal. They also skimmed enough of the surplus to build a culture, even dams. Japan, Korea seem similar although they have to purchase energy. If there is less surplus energy in China that implies this may not work much longer, there is nothing in it for China.

            Dennis L.

            • Good points, e.g. lets say China invested in Egypt, the modern infrastructure mass produces now gigatons of budget table grapes for EU supermarkets, China and Egypt then pockets the inrush of said EURs.. But you need lot of such deals globally in aggregate to match and eventually aspire to flip over the existing apple cart of USD (in volume and quality), we are not there yet..

              Besides Europeans just kind of “wait safely” for the American zombie to get hollowed out finally before fully committing to different global layout, which could take more decades to come anyway..

              The onset of less surplus energy in China coming in 2020s means the world stays attached to existing path dependency, incl. the global finance.

          • Erd,

            It is very difficult to exchange for something of value, transaction costs are not trivial. It is expensive to store, it is easy to misplace. Paper gold is most likely non existent. Spend it once and every bandit in the territory will be at your door – back to a castle and a castle needs people to man it, all cost.

            No argument, looking at reality which is something that works for me.

            Dennis L.

    • If you want a big truck or a fork lift to add to your “Thunderbirds” collection, now could be a good time to buy a used one. Around my way, local self-employed builders are snapping up back-hoes and UNIX trucks that can extend the range of jobs they can take on.

      Zinc is another good supplement, getting well known now for boosting the immune system by facilitating the production of T-cells, etc., but zinc deficiency has also long been noted as a factor in skin diseases. Selenium is also widely touted for helping the immune system.

      You might also want to take a look at niacin (vitamin B3), the one vitamin you can actually feel working since it is responsible for the infamous niacin flush. Dr. Abrahm Hoffer used niacin to treat everything from schizophrenia to the chronic debilitating health problems of POW and concentration camp survivors with considerable success. It also works well for preventing and minimizing arthritis, lowering “bad” cholesterol and opening up the capillaries.

      • Thanks for the tips.

        My old mother is an aching heap of misery at the moment, her diet is awful and she refuses to put her head out of the door to get some sun for fear of catching It.

        I am pressing supplements on her, and I hope she will eventually get desperate enough to take them.

      • I searched UNIX trucks and could not find a description, what is a UNIX truck?

        Are you in the US?

        • Pardon my spelling, Dennis. I’m in Japan, and the name of the truck comes from the name of the Japanese company that first developed it and is spelt “UNIC”. It’s basically a long truck with a crane mounted just behind the cab for lifting and transport of heavy loads.

    • Treasuries are the base foundation of the financial system. As such they are regarded as safe haven even by those extremely dubious about the health of the financial system. So theres that. The flip side of the coin that a percentage of the “investors” that hold treasuries are only holding them because it gives them access to much more money through the feds repo loan program.How big of a percentage? My WAG BIG. Its like comparing the solidity of helium to hydrogen. Nothing real solid but relative to each other. Its enough to make you want to believe in shiny rocks or bit coin both of which taste better with a little Vegemite,

    • I believe that this transmission line was to a very old hydroelectric facility. Keeping up the long distance transmission is not something that there is much in the budget for.

    • Somewhat off-topic, but an entertaining interlude. If you are sceptical of the paranormal, do not read it. Scroll down to ‘The Fire‑Starter’:

      On the basis of that article, I bought a book by Tom Kenyon entitled “Great Human Potential: Walking in one’s own light – Teachings from the Pleiades and the Hathors”. It was the only book by him that I could find back then. The title amused me, but I thought it might at least have some entertainment value on a symbolic level. Sadly, the book was such utter drivel as a 12-year-old might have written. I could hardly believe that this was the same Tom Kenyon as had written the insightful article in the link above. I leave that just as a warning. I see he has written other books since, but I have not read them so do not know whether any of them contain any sense.

    • This is a very long article that goes into quite a few things, including gain-in-function research. There is a story about the different level of protections workers wear in different lab settings with different severity of disease pathogen ratings. I presume these levels of protections are in US lab settings . We have seen pictures of lab workers in China’s Level 4 lab with not nearly as much precautions taken.

      There are quite a few of the Level 4 labs around the world and more planned. It struck me as strange that a country like Saudi Arabia should be doing this kind of research. Having these labs around is in a way like having nuclear reactors lots of places around the world. We hope nothing will go wrong.

      • ‘We’ll all go together when we go…..’

        Maybe the Arabs are looking into that Mers thing?

        I tend to feel that this sort of thing cannot be safely entrusted to any Homo Sapiens anywhere.

        We even used mere stones to whack one another on the head and steal child brides and pigs…..

      • A point to make is that GOF research is being done to have vaccines reday in case of…
        We now have a “case of” but where is the vaccine?
        So you want me to believe that after all these years there is no vaccina but suddenly there is one in 6 months?

  6. I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Journalists should be renamed as Town Criers as reading out information handed to them by those in charge is all that most of them do.

        • These days, the articles isn’t produced by humans, rather briefly reviewed by humans and clicking to publish them. The whole MSM is a gigantic jobs program for unemployable feeling the burn.

      • They seem an admission of sorts that industrial civilization, or least large swathes of it, are no longer profitable.

        • That’s been my feeling for quite a while. Interest rates absolutely *should* be negative as we run out of investments that can possibly re-coup their costs on an energy basis. As Charles Hall put it, the cheetah has to get enough energy from a gazelle to make it worth the chase.

            • For once a nice solid little article by Watkins that one could use as a primer for those new to the subject.

              His previous piece was rather distasteful as he seemed to be relishing the suffering to come to even formerly wealthier regions and classes in a spiteful way, which was beneath him. Just as The Archdruid is excited about the ‘managerial class’ falling. There will be nothing pleasing about any of this.

            • As I see it, Tim Watkins sort of has the story right, up until the last 8 paragraphs. He starts off explaining that lions work in groups, chasing after big prey, rather than acting like house cats. Cats are nimbler, and their calorie requirements are lower; they can chase after mice, and this will sustain them. A lion has to use a disproportionately large amount of energy to chase a mouse, and this doesn’t really work. The return on investment is too small.

              He next adds standard fossil fuel EROI theory.

              Then he launches off into standard “sustainability” theory that misses the point that our economy is self-organizing networked system. It cannot make-do with less energy consumption regardless of what the EROI of that energy seems to be. As EROI goes down (the available food mix includes fewer of the preferred large prey), the lion will have to make do with more and more mice in his mix of food, making it harder for him to get enough total food. He is wasting too much energy chasing mice. These mice don’t really sustain him because they don’t have enough calories in total.

              The lion won’t collapse immediately. It, will, however, become much more susceptible to illnesses. Epidemics will likely turn into pandemics, if very many lions eat poorly. In not very long, the whole “pride” of lions will collapse. Perhaps the quantity of smaller, nimbler cats with lesser energy requirements and more ability to be nimble will rise. The ecosystem will balance out; that is always the way it works.

            • I find it hard to believe anyone who seems to think that lions hunt. They don’t; it is the lionesses who hunt.

            • Interesting! Males are solitary hunters. They hunt in areas with a lot of underbrush, where they can use the underbrush to hide. It is the females that hunt in groups.

            • when ladies go shopping, the function of the gentleman is to push the trolley

              i thought everyone knew that

  7. The Master Plan going according to Plan!
    The rapid decline in demand for coins has left the Mint, which has been producing coins in Britain for more than 1,000 years, with a mountain of excess stock.
    It reported in March 2020 that it had stocks of £2 coins 26 times over its target, and was eight times over target for 2p coins.
    The fall in the use of cash has been detailed by a report from the National Audit Office (NAO), which monitors the effectiveness of public bodies.
    A decade ago, cash was used in six out of 10 transactions, but by 2019 that had fallen to less than three in 10, and some forecasts suggest it may slide to one in 10 transactions by 2028.
    The volume of cash payments plummeted by 59% between 2008 and 2019, as consumers have increasingly turned to cashless payment methods.
    The coronavirus outbreak has accelerated the fall in demand for notes and coins, as demand from banks and ATMs slumped by 71% between early March and mid-April.
    During lockdown some businesses stopped accepting cash payments, while consumers often opted for contactless card payments, which they perceived to be more hygienic.
    The NAO has outlined that demand for cash has been recovering since lockdown restrictions were lifted, but it added the pandemic might have a lasting impact on use of cash and access to it.

    Put $$$ in the Cloud…closer to Heaven and much more practical…
    And we all thought there was no reason for the lockdowns!
    More fool 😂 us.

    • BBC reported today that £54billion of notes (50% of cash in circulation) is unaccounted for. The BoE just don’t know here it has gone. Maybe down the back of the sofa?

    • One of the US mints stores a mountain of unwanted one-dollar coins, thanks to failed plans to phase out dollar bills (and perhaps also pennies), which for some reason proved politically controversial.

      • I was living in the US at the time. The coins were pretty ugly, but the real killer was the hundreds of millions of vending machines that would have needed to be replaced. So retail commerce was overwhelmingly against the change, and the few companies that produced dollar coin operated machines sustained a thumping loss.

Comments are closed.