Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

Strangely enough, the limit we seem to be reaching with respect to fossil fuel extraction comes from low prices. At low prices, the extraction of oil, coal, and natural gas becomes unprofitable. Producers go bankrupt, or they voluntarily cut back production in an attempt to force prices higher. As the result of these forces, production tends to fall. This limit comes long before the limit that many people imagine: the amount of fossil fuels in the ground that seems to be available with current extraction techniques.

The last time there was a similar problem was back in 1913, when coal was the predominant fossil fuel used and the United Kingdom was the largest coal producer in the world. The cost of production was rising due to depletion, but coal prices would not rise sufficiently to cover the higher cost of production. As a result, the United Kingdom’s coal production reached its highest level in 1913, the year before World War I started, and began to fall in 1914.

Between 1913 and 1945, the world economy was very troubled. There were two world wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Great Depression. My concern is that we are again headed into another very troubled period that could last for many years.

The way the energy problems of the period between 1913 and 1945 were resolved was through the rapid ramp-up of oil production. Oil was, as that time, inexpensive to produce and could be sold for a very large multiple of the cost of production. If population is to remain at the current level or possibly grow, we need a similar “energy savior.” Unfortunately, none of the alternatives we are looking at now yield a high enough return relative to the required investment.

I recently gave a talk to an engineering group interested in energy research talking about these issues. In this post, I will discuss the slides of this presentation. A PDF of the presentation can be found at this link.

The Low Oil Price Problem

Oil prices seem to bounce around wildly. One major issue is that there is a two-way tug of war between the prices that citizens can afford and the prices that oil companies require. We can look back now and say that the mid-2008 price of over $150 per barrel was too high for consumers. But strangely enough, oil producers began complaining about oil prices being too low to cover their rising cost levels, starting in 2012. Prices, at a 2019 cost level, were at about $120 per barrel at that time. I wrote about this issue in the post, Beginning of the End? Oil Companies Cut Back on Spending. Oil prices now are in the $40 range, so are way, way below both $120 per barrel and $150 per barrel.

Interest rates and the availability of debt also play a role in oil prices. If interest rates are low and debt is readily available, it is easy to buy a new home or new car, and oil prices tend to rise because of the higher demand. When prices are too low for producers, central banks have been able to lower interest rates through a program called “quantitative easing.” This program seems to have helped oil prices to rise again, over a three-year period, after they crashed in 2008.

OPEC producers are known for their low cost of production, but even they report needing high oil prices. The cost of extracting the oil is reported to be very low (perhaps $10 per barrel), but the price charged needs to be high enough to allow governments to collect very high taxes on the oil extracted. If prices are high enough, these countries can continue the food subsidies that their populations depend upon. They can also sponsor development programs to provide jobs for the ever-growing populations of these countries. OPEC producers also need to develop new oil fields because the old ones deplete.

Oil production outside of the United States and Canada entered a bumpy plateau in 2005. The US and Canada added oil production from shale and bitumen in recent years, helping to keep world oil production (including natural gas liquids) rising.

One reason why producers need higher prices is because their cost of extraction tends to rise over time. This happens because the oil that is cheapest to extract and process tends to be extracted first, leaving the oil with higher cost of extraction until later. 

Some OPEC countries, such as Saudi Arabia, can hide the low price problem for a while by borrowing money. But even this approach does not work well for long. The longer low oil prices last, the greater the danger is of governments being overthrown by unhappy citizens. Oil production can then be expected to become erratic because of internal conflicts.

In the US and Canada, oil companies have been funded by bank loans, bond sales and the sale of shares of stock. These sources of funding are drying up, as many oil companies report poor earnings, year after year, and some are seeking bankruptcy protection. 

Chart 6 shows that the number of drilling rigs in operation has dropped dramatically in both the United States and Canada, as oil companies cut back on drilling. There is a lag between the time the number of drilling rigs is cut back and the time production starts to fall of perhaps a year, in the case of shale. These low drilling rig counts suggest that US and Canadian oil production from shale will fall in 2021.

Of course, unused drilling rigs cannot be mothballed indefinitely. At some point, they are sold as scrap and the workers who operated them find other employment. It then becomes difficult to restart oil extraction.

How the Economy Works, and What Goes Wrong as Limits Are Reached

Slide 7 shows one way of visualizing how the world economy, as a self-organizing system, operates. It is somewhat like a child’s building toy. New layers are added as new consumers, new businesses and new laws are added. Old layers tend to disappear, as old consumers die, old products are replaced by new products, and new laws replace old laws. Thus, the structure is to some extent hollow.

Self-organizing objects that grow require energy under the laws of physics. Our human bodies are self-organizing systems that grow. We use food as our source of energy. The economy also requires energy products of many kinds, such as gasoline, jet fuel, coal and electricity to allow it to operate.

It is easy to see that energy consumption allows the economy to produce finished goods and services, such as homes, automobiles, and medical services. It is less obvious, but just as important, that energy consumption provides jobs that pay well. Without energy supplies in addition to food, typical jobs would be digging in the dirt with a stick or gathering food with our hands. These jobs don’t pay well.

Finally, Slide 7 shows an important equivalence between consumers and employees. If consumers are going to be able to afford to buy the output of the economy, they need to have adequate wages.

A typical situation that arises is that population rises more quickly than energy resources, such as land to grow food. For a while, it is possible to work around this shortfall with what is called added complexity: hierarchical organization, specialization, technology, and globalization. Unfortunately, as more complexity is added, the economic system increasingly produces winners and losers. The losers end up with very low wage jobs, or with no jobs at all. The winners get huge wages and often asset ownership, as well. The winners end up with far more revenue than they need to purchase basic goods and services. The losers often do not have enough revenue to feed their families and to buy basic necessities, such as a home and some form of basic transportation.

The strange way the economy works has to do with the physics of the situation. Physicist Francois Roddier explains this as being similar to what happens to water at different temperatures. When the world economy has somewhat inadequate energy supplies, the goods and services produced by the economy tend to bubble to the top members of the world economy, similar to the way steam rises. The bottom members of the economy tend to get “frozen out.” This way, the economy can downsize without losing all members of the economy, simultaneously. This is the way ecosystems of all kinds adapt to changing conditions: The plants and animals that are best adapted to the conditions of the time tend to be the survivors.

These issues are related to the fact that the economy is, in physics terms, a dissipative structure. The economy, like hurricanes and like humans, requires adequate energy if it is not to collapse. Dissipative structures attempt to work around temporary shortfalls in energy supplies. A human being will lose weight if his caloric intake is restricted for a while. A hurricane will lose speed, if the energy it gets from the warm water of the ocean is restricted. A world economy with inadequate energy is likely to shrink back in many ways: unprofitable businesses may fail, layers of government may disappear and population may fall, for example.

In the discussion of Slide 7, I mentioned the fact that if we try to “stretch” energy supply with added complexity, many workers would end up with very low wages. Some of these low wage workers would be in the US and Europe, but many of them would be in China, India and Africa. Even though these workers are producing goods for the world economy, they often cannot afford to buy those same goods themselves. Henry Ford is remembered to have said something to the effect that he needed to pay his workers enough so that they, themselves, could buy the cars they were making. To a significant extent, this is no longer happening when a person takes into account international workers.

The high interest rates that low-wage workers pay mean that loans don’t really help low-wage workers as much as they help high-wage workers. The high interest on credit card debt and personal loans tend to transfer part of the income of low-wage workers to the financial sector, leaving poor people worse off than they would have been without the loans. 

COVID shutdowns are extremely damaging to the world economy. They are like taking support sticks out of the dome on Slide 7. They produce many more unemployed people around the world. People in low wage countries that produce clothing for a living have been particularly hard hit, for example. Migrant workers and miners of various kinds have also been hard hit.

We Seem to Be Reaching a Major Turning Point

Oil production and consumption have both fallen in 2020; oil prices are far too low for producers; wage disparity is a major problem; countries seem to be increasingly having problems getting along. Many analysts are forecasting a prolonged recession.

The last time that we had a similar situation was in 1913, when the largest coal producer in the world was the United Kingdom. The UK’s cost of coal production kept rising because of depletion (deeper mines, thinner seams), but prices would not rise to compensate for the higher cost of production. Miners were paid very inadequate wages; poor workers regularly held strikes for higher wages. World War I started in 1914, the same year coal production of the UK started to fall. The UK’s coal production has fallen nearly every year since then.

The last time that wage disparity started to spike as badly as it has in recent years occurred back in the late 1920s, or perhaps as early as 1913 to 1915.  The chart shown above is for the US; problems were greater in Europe at that time.

With continued low oil prices, production is likely to start falling and may continue to fall for years. It is hard to bring scrapped drilling rigs back into service, for example. The experience in the UK with coal shows that energy prices don’t necessarily rise to compensate for higher costs due to depletion. There need to be buyers for higher-priced goods made with higher-priced coal. If there is too much wage disparity, the many poor people in the system will tend to keep demand, and prices, too low. They may eat poorly, making it easier for pandemics to spread, as with the Spanish Flu in 1918-1919. These people will be unhappy, leading to the rise of leaders promising to change the system to make things better.

My concern is that we may be heading into a long period of unrest, as occurred in the 1913 to 1945 era. Instead of getting high energy prices, we will get disruption of the world economy.  The self-organizing economy is attempting to fix itself, either by getting more energy supply or by eliminating parts of the economy that aren’t contributing enough to the overall system. Conflict between countries, pandemics, bankruptcies and economic contraction are likely to be part of the mix.

Coal Seems to Be Reaching Extraction Limits as Well 

Coal has essentially the same problem as oil: Prices tend to be too low for producers to extract coal profitably. Many coal producers have gone bankrupt. Prices were higher back in 2008, when demand was high for everything, and again in 2011, when quantitative easing had been helpful. 

There have been stories in the press in the past week about China limiting coal imports from Australia, so as to make more jobs for coal miners in China. The big conflict among countries relates to “not enough jobs that pay well” and “not enough profitable companies.” These indirectly are energy issues. If there was more “affordability” of goods made with high-priced coal, there would be no problem.

Coal production worldwide has been on a bumpy plateau since 2012. In fact, China, the largest producer of coal, found its production stagnating, starting about 2012. The problem was a familiar one: The cost of extraction rose because many mines that had been used for quite a number of years were depleted. The selling price would not rise to match the higher cost of extraction because of affordability issues.

The underlying problem is that the economy is a dissipative structure. Commodity prices are set by the laws of physics. Prices don’t rise high enough for producers, if there are not enough customers willing and able to buy the goods made with high-priced coal.

We Have a Major Problem if Both Coal and Oil Production Are in Danger of Falling Because of Low Prices

Oil and coal are the two largest sources of energy in the world. We can’t get along without them. While natural gas production is fairly high, there is not nearly enough natural gas to replace both oil and coal.

Looking down the list, we see that nuclear production hit a maximum back in 2006 and has fallen since then.

Hydroelectric continues to grow, but from a small base. Most of the good sites have already been taken. In many cases, there are conflicts between countries regarding who should get the benefit of water from a given river.

The only grouping that is growing rapidly is Renewables. (This is really Renewables Other than Hydroelectric.) It includes wind and solar plus a few other energy types, including geothermal. This grouping, too, is very small compared to oil and coal.

Natural Gas Has a Low Price Problem as Well

Natural gas, at first glance, looks like it might be a partial solution to the world’s energy problems: It is lower in carbon than coal and oil, and it is fairly abundant. The problem with natural gas is that it is terribly expensive to ship. At one time, people used to talk about there being a lot of “stranded” natural gas. This natural gas seemed to be available, but when shipping costs were included, the price of goods made with it (such as electricity or winter heat for homes) was often unaffordable.

After the run-up in oil prices in the early 2000s, many people became optimistic that, with energy scarcity, natural gas prices would rise sufficiently to make extraction and shipping long distances profitable. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while prices can temporarily spike due to scarcity and perhaps a debt bubble, keeping the prices up for the long run is extremely difficult. Customers need to be able to afford the goods and services made with these energy products, or the laws of physics bring market prices back down to an affordable level.

The prices in the chart reflect three different natural gas products. The lowest priced one is US Henry Hub, which is priced near the place of extraction, so long distance shipping is not an issue. The other two, German Import and Japan Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), include different quantities of long distance shipping. Prices in 2020 are even lower than in 2019. For example, some LNG imported by Japan has ben purchased for $4 per million Btu in 2020.

The Economy Needs a Bail-Out Similar to the Growth of Oil After WWII

The oil that was produced shortly after World War II had very important characteristics:

  1. It was very inexpensive to produce, and
  2. It could be sold to customers at a far higher price than its cost of production.

It was as if, today, we had a very useful energy product that could be produced and delivered for $4, but it was so valuable to consumers that they were willing to pay $120 for it. In other words, the consumer was willing to pay 30 times as much as the cost that went into extracting and refining the oil.

With an energy product this valuable, a company producing it would need virtually no debt. It could drill a well or two, and with the profits from the first wells, finance the investment of many more wells. The company could pay very high taxes, allowing governments to build roads, schools, electricity transmission lines and much other infrastructure, without having to raise taxes on citizens.

Besides using the profits for reinvestment and for taxes, oil companies could pay high dividends. This made oil company stocks favorites of pension plans. Thus, in a way, oil company profits could help subsidize pension plans, as well.

Now, because of depletion, we have reached a situation where oil companies, and in fact most companies, are unprofitable. Companies and governments keep adding debt at ever lower interest rates. In fact, the tradition of ever-increasing debt at ever-lower interest rates goes back to 1981. Thus, we have been using debt manipulation to hide energy problems for almost 40 years now.

We need a way to counteract this trend toward ever-lower returns. Some people talk about “Energy Return on Energy Investment” or EROEI. I gave an example in dollars, but a major thing those dollars are buying is energy, so the result is very similar.

I think researchers have set the “bar” far too low, in looking at what is an adequate EROEI. Today’s wind and solar don’t really have an adequate EROEI, when the full cost of delivery is included. If they did, they would not need the subsidy of “going first” on the electric grid. They would also be able to pay high taxes instead of requiring subsidies, year after year. We need much better solutions than the ones we have today.

Some researchers talk about “Net Energy per Capita,” calculated as ((Energy Delivered to the End User) minus (Energy Used in Making and Transporting Energy to the End User)) divided by (Population). It seems to me that Net Energy per Capita needs to stay at least constant, and perhaps rise. If net energy per capita could actually rise, it would allow the economy to increasingly fight depletion and pollution.

Conclusion: We Need a New Very Inexpensive Energy Source Now

We need a new, very inexpensive energy source that buyers will willingly pay a disproportionately high price for right now, not 20 or 50 years from now.

The alternative may be an economy that does poorly for a long time or collapses completely.

The one ray of hope, from a researcher’s perspective, is the fact that people are always looking for solutions. They may be able to provide funds for research at this time, even if funds for full implementation are unlikely.

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,885 Responses to Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

  1. Ed says:

    Looks like Harris wins. I do not expect much to change.

    • Z says:

      Nothing ever changes because the Presidents are not in charge……

      You really think Trump was running things? Obama? Bush Jr?

      Come on

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Unemployment rates are soaring around the Mediterranean.”

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia are considering deeper oil output cuts early next year to try to strengthen the oil market, one OPEC source and one source familiar with Russian thinking said on Tuesday.”

  4. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Over and out: Emerging Markets central bank 20-month easing cycle grinds to a halt:

    “Central bank interest rate cuts across emerging markets ground to a halt in October, bringing to an end an easing cycle that had exceeded the one sparked by the 2008 financial crisis and the 2010 euro crisis.”

  5. Harry McGibbs says:

    “As winter approaches, health experts are warning that the United States faces a dark COVID-19 winter. They should also be warning of a long and painful U.S. economic winter.

    “It is not simply that the economic recovery is at risk of faltering if the earlier easing of COVID-19-related lockdowns is at least partially reversed and if a second fiscal stimulus package is delayed until after January 20. It is also that the world’s overvalued equity and credit markets could be seriously unsettled by a double-dip European economic recession and by a serious emerging market debt crisis.”

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “…one thing is clear: America, no matter who wins, is bitterly divided and uncertain as to how it should proceed.

    “So toxic is the polarisation that one would need to go back to the late 1960s – race riots, counterculture, Vietnam War protests – to find any meaningful analogy in recent history.”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    The Bank of England Has a Transmission Problem:

    “Mortgage lenders have hiked borrowing costs even as the Bank of England has reduced its key policy rate… For lenders who were already nervous about borrowers being unable to pay their debts, the prospect of a second collapse in growth will prompt them to rein in their support even further.”

  8. MG says:

    The problem behind the actual protests in Poland is the accumulating genetic mutations in the population. If the population is getting poorer and it is required to protect the life of the mutated individuals, but with the declining incomes and support of the state, then such protest are a logical outcome.

  9. Yoshua says:

    Mr Pool


    STAND – BY

    Election chaos…the moment they announce a Trump victory the riots begin?

  10. MG says:

    The current elections in the USA are about the center and the perifery. I know such situation from Slovakia, where the depopulating countryside voted for an authoritarian party with a controversial nationalist and conservative leader and the capital and the urban centers voted for the democratic parties.

    If Trump wins, it means that the USA continues to implode in a way that the depopulating areas dictate the results of the election, while the urban centers are not able to absorb people from the imploding countryside.

    • The very country of Czechia was formed that way. Prague was always a German city and the local slavs were disorganized. Around the 19th century, following a famine, a lot of the slav peasants went to Prague to get jobs; Some hucksters ran around and told the peasants that they were Czechs, something they never heard about before but made them feel somewhat better by giving them some kind of identity. That eventually led to the creation of the fake country of Czechoslovakia thanks to the strange notion of democracy of Woodrow Wilson, but before 1830s, the Czechs simply did not exist.

      • MG says:

        The important thing is that the energy center of the Czechoslovakia, the Silesia, was inhabited by the Slavs, so Czechoslovakia had the power for existence. There is also a geographical divide formed by the mountains that separate Czechia/Moravia from German/Austrian territory.

        Slovakia was connected to this energy center of Silesia in the 19th century via Košice–Bohumín Railway (

        Moreover, Slovak and Czech language were historically always very close, especially thanks to the protestant movement and the teachings of Martin Luther. The first Slovak printed book was the Cathechism of Martin Luther in Czech language “(1581) Katechysmus / To gest: Kratičke obſazenji a wyklad přednich Cžlankůw Wyrij a Náboženſtwij Křestianského / čemuž ſe Lidé Křeſtianſſtij / a zwlaſſté Díjtky w Sſkolách / počátečné wyučugij. Wytiſſteno w Bardijowe Skrz Dauida Guttgeſella. – Prvá slovenská tlačená kniha.” The Slovak Lutherans used the Czech translation of the Bible, too.

        That way Czechoslovakia was formed.

        Slovakia became and independent state thanks to the nuclear energy in the second half of the 20th century.

        Not much about Woodrow Wilson, but about the energy, natural borders and the Slavic language used by the religious communities of the Slavs living in this area.

      • Kulm> I guess you have got the latter (recent history) part more or less correct, but botched the first part. When the Germanic tribes moved further west and south of Danube towards the end of the Roman Empire the ~vacated realm of CEE was occupied by western Slavs (Poles, Bohemians, Lusitania? Serbs, and Slovenian-Serbs-Croats-Bulgarians in the southern Balkan vector; and a bit in the Baltic sector as well). The Slavic kingdoms of the CEE slowly gained recognition and sort of independence from earlier tight vassal status to established Germanic kingdoms in the Middle Ages. In terms of Prague, it was briefly upgraded to one of the capitals of Europe as the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire moved there in mid-late 14th century, while it did not last long, after him the son hold it only for a while.. The imperial court “spoke” Bohemian/Czech, ~French, Latin and German, the Emperor was multilingual son of Bohemian (Slavic) Queen. The Bohemian-Czech kingdom lost Independence during the “30yrs War” as in early-mid 17th century, Austria took over much CEE. At that time most of the nobility and intellectuals were still bilingual, legal papers, literature, arts-maps and so on up to to that epoch work with the term Bohemia/ns.

        The Polish or the Slavic Balkans were subjected to even more turbulent history, also complicated by the late coming Ugro-Finish Hungarians. Some observe the region is kind of in between W and E tectonic plates in terms of politics and culture, also it’s true the Germans had several centuries had start (coexisting more ~closely w. late Roman Empire period), which obviously showed.. Nowadays are Germans (left over gene-pool after WWII) working hard on their new Turkish identity, so perhaps the old antiquity kiss magic washed off..

    • Tim Groves says:

      Trump has already won the election.

      However, a handful of states are refusing to certify the results, despite Trump’s lead being unassailable.

      Now comes the fix, the ballot stuffing, the coup, the sellout!!

      • We debated these voting scenarios few days ago, and it seems now (post election evening – night US time) dialed it pretty accurately what’s going on. Basically, to overview the campaign strategies were as follows: they put political contractor PedoJoe Ltd. in the basement – msm, net, and pollsters ran ~15% win margin propaganda. While Don ran marketer ground game and secured real wining margin ~15% as evidenced by real polling and actual physical people showing up on rallies etc. So, that’s almost ~30% swing into reality, eh but we can’t have that..

        When the election results started coming in you had the usual initial “blue wave” from several big cities, then it washed away by the red tsunami of suburban, exurban and rural votes. However, in the late evening after ~70-90% *already counted suddenly another batches of “mail in” votes out of nowhere started to threaten flip already decided states..

        So, it obviously looks as if someone (inside the vote counting chain) is just dialing levers for the outcome either to flip the whole election (very **bold move at that point) or at least make it contested till early December and further use it as future 24/365 hammer for another “~illegitimate 4yrs tenure” drummed up message by the same msm-net swampers..

        * the incumbent there considers to refer to Supreme Court to stop further additional mail in vote counting on or beyond the rule book (differs county to county) but generally midnight threshold, suspicious multiple votes by same people etc.

        ** as discussed previously the scenario of undershooting potential results (they planned for not such high discrepancy months before) of Don’s ground game securing lot of votes results in the end for opting into very dangerous election fraud strategy at the last minute

    • Adam says:

      It’s similar issue in the UK. Forgotten towns in the north voting Brexit, at odds with those in London.

  11. Malcopian says:

    The unintended consequences of coal mining in Germany’s Ruhr valley.

    The Pumps That Must Run Forever, Or Part Of Germany Floods

    • Jason Carter says:

      The Trump affect. MAGA for 4 more years!

      • It is certainly not the landslide for Biden that forecasters were predicting. The forecasters cannot figure out how to count the votes of the many people who don’t have “land” phone lines. Interviewing people with land lines gives a very biased sample toward the richer and more educated.

  12. Oh dear says:

    Human all too human…

    The Daily Mail today has an article about Neanderthals, us and chimpanzees that offers some interesting ‘insights’ into the human condition.

    Neanderthals and humans were engaged in brutal guerrilla-style warfare across the globe for over 100,000 years, evidence shows

    …. Top predators

    Predatory land mammals are territorial, especially pack-hunters. Like lions, wolves and Homo sapiens, Neanderthals were cooperative big-game hunters.

    These predators, sitting atop the food chain, have few predators of their own, so overpopulation drives conflict over hunting grounds.

    Neanderthals faced the same problem; if other species didn’t control their numbers, conflict would have.

    This territoriality has deep roots in humans. Territorial conflicts are also intense in our closest relatives, chimpanzees.

    Male chimps routinely gang up to attack and kill males from rival bands, a behaviour strikingly like human warfare.

    This implies that cooperative aggression evolved in the common ancestor of chimps and ourselves, 7 million years ago.

    If so, Neanderthals will have inherited these same tendencies towards cooperative aggression.

    All too human

    Warfare is an intrinsic part of being human. War isn’t a modern invention, but an ancient, fundamental part of our humanity.

    Historically, all peoples warred. Our oldest writings are filled with war stories.

    Archaeology reveals ancient fortresses and battles, and sites of prehistoric massacres going back millennia.

    To war is human – and Neanderthals were very like us. We’re remarkably similar in our skull and skeletal anatomy, and share 99.7% of our DNA.

    …. The Neanderthal resistance

    War leaves a subtler mark in the form of territorial boundaries. The best evidence that Neanderthals not only fought but excelled at war, is that they met us and weren’t immediately overrun.

    Instead, for around 100,000 years, Neanderthals resisted modern human expansion.

    Why else would we take so long to leave Africa? Not because the environment was hostile but because Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe and Asia.

    It’s exceedingly unlikely that modern humans met the Neanderthals and decided to just live and let live.

    If nothing else, population growth inevitably forces humans to acquire more land, to ensure sufficient territory to hunt and forage food for their children. But an aggressive military strategy is also good evolutionary strategy.

    Instead, for thousands of years, we must have tested their fighters, and for thousands of years, we kept losing. In weapons, tactics, strategy, we were fairly evenly matched.

    Neanderthals probably had tactical and strategic advantages.

    They’d occupied the Middle East for millennia, doubtless gaining intimate knowledge of the terrain, the seasons, how to live off the native plants and animals.

    In battle, their massive, muscular builds must have made them devastating fighters in close-quarters combat.

    Their huge eyes likely gave Neanderthals superior low-light vision, letting them manoeuvre in the dark for ambushes and dawn raids.

    Sapiens victorious

    Finally, the stalemate broke, and the tide shifted. We don’t know why.

    It’s possible the invention of superior ranged weapons – bows, spear-throwers, throwing clubs – let lightly-built Homo sapiens harass the stocky Neanderthals from a distance using hit-and-run tactics.

    Or perhaps better hunting and gathering techniques let sapiens feed bigger tribes, creating numerical superiority in battle.

    Even after primitive Homo sapiens broke out of Africa 200,000 years ago, it took over 150,000 years to conquer Neanderthal lands….

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      that’s cool, thanks.

      at a bird feeder, the bigger birds will fly in and drive off the smaller birds.

      if it’s just similar sized species, they will often fight briefly and the victor will eat the seeds after the opponent was driven off.

      even the smaller cute songbirds will fight for food.

      we are evolution.

    • Kowalainen says:

      It would not surprise me one bit if Neanderthal and humans fought side by side against other humans and Neanderthal tribes/groups as times got tougher during the impending ice age.

      Evidence for that: The Europeans have some 2% Neanderthal DNA.

      The dinosaurs didn’t go extinct. They became birds.

      The Neanderthal did not go extinct, in fact they are alive and well in most Europeans.

      Being of smaller posture has quite some advantages during ice ages. Basically all monkey business died off during the last one.

      The skinny, dexterous ones with some Neanderthal “spice” on top won at the end, at least in Eurasia.

      Gaia decides.

    • James says:

      Like human, like ant. Ants, at least according to this study, seem to be able to sense genetic differences which is a basis for war. With humans the differences are sometimes obvious in the phenotype, but another discernible difference is in the ant phermones or language in the case of humans. The differences in languages in human tribes or nations contributes to speciation or at least tribalism.

    • Country Joe says:

      My Grandfather only went to the third grade, but he knew everything. He said the biggest advancement in weaponry in the history of Man was when someone figured out how to tie a rock on the end of a stick.

    • Interesting! But how did Neanderthals get to Europe and the Middle East in the first place?

      • Tim Groves says:

        They came over from Australia on working holiday visas, obviously!

        In their startling new book, Steven and Evan Strong challenge the “out-of-Africa” theory. Based on fresh examination of both the DNA and archeological evidence, they conclude that modern humans originated from Australia, not Africa.

        The original Australians (referred to by some as Aborigines ), like so many indigenous peoples, are portrayed as “backward” and “primitive.” Yet, as the Strongs demonstrate, original Australians had a rich culture, which may have sown the first seeds of spirituality in the world. They had the technology to make international seafaring voyages and have left traces in the Americas and possibly Japan, Southern India, Egypt, and elsewhere. They practiced brain surgery, invented the first hand tools, and had knowledge of penicillin.

        This book brings together 30 years of intensive research in consultation with elders in the original Australian community. Among their conclusions are the following:

        There is evidence that humans existed in Australia 40,000 years before they existed in Australia. (This one must be a typo)
        There were migrations of original Australians in large boats throughout the Indian/Pacific rim.
        Three distinct kinds of Homo sapiens are found in Australia.
        There is evidence from the Americas that debunks the out-of-Africa theory.
        The spiritual influence of the Aborigines is reflected in the religions of the world.

  13. Ed says:

    I voted. It took 40 minutes. It was just polite patient fellow towns folk.

    I was so disappointed no antifa bombers, riots, broken glass.

    • I voted in early voting about 10 days ago. There was no line. Just walked in, filled out the form, someone checked my name off and I voted.

      I walked down to the church where I would normally vote today. I counted eight or nine cars total parked beside the back entrance used for voting. There were several other cars, parked on the opposite end of the parking lot (used by church employees and students at the local university). I deduced that there couldn’t be very many people inside voting or waiting to vote.

      • Election forecast:

        Biden wins, knowing he cant run in 2024

        2022 Biden sends in a sicknote, retires due to ‘ill health’.

        Harris takes over

        this gives her 2 years to make her mark as POTUS before fighting 2024 with a good chance of winning as first woman POTUS in her own right

        • Kowalainen says:

          The vote count takes more than a year with the election declared invalid. Interim impotent government until the next time around.

          Rinse and repeat.

          Reference case: Sweden.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          my post election forecast:

          4 years of a degrading economy with bAU level prosperity for those at the very top, and decreasing prosperity for most citizens, coupled with a continuing unraveling of social order.

          because of this, the POTUS in 2024 will appear to be a failure.

          I agree, there is almost no chance Bi-deng will be POTUS in 2024 even if he has had his corruption and mental decline hidden well enough by the MSM to allow a “victory” tonight.

          the “winner” will own this inglorious future.

        • Harris will launch a war against whites.

        • Yoshua says:


          Obama’s network controls the democratic party.

          Michelle Obama will run in 2024.

          Joe was just sent out to be slaughtered against Trump.

          A least according to Marko Albert ( Live Monitor) a political advisor working in Washington.

          • Will there be a 2024?

            I doubt it

            • Yoshua says:

              According to Albert the US military and the dollar will continue to rule the world.

              There’s still enough resources for the US in the world.

            • Malcopian says:

              I think America will need a war hero in 2024. I nominate Amber Heard. She has just won her case against Johnny Depp. He hurled bottles at her ‘like grenades’, but she survived. He hit her so hard that ‘the blood splashed up the wall.’ Yet her injuries looked no worse than if she was wearing light makeup. Tough cookie or what?

        • Bei Dawei says:

          Biden by a landslide, but he doesn’t resign or anything, even if that might help his party. Come on, what is he–Mother Teresa? He runs again in 2024, unless he dies first, or the public outcry over the still-imploding economy becomes too great.

          Also in 2024: Gail predicts economic collapse!

          Armenia wins WW3.

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            right now:

            Donald Trump has 87 million Twitter followers.

            Hillary Clinton has 29 million Twitter followers.

            Joe Bi-deng has 12 million Twitter followers.

            from here in the northeast USA, this is david reporting for OFW news.

            back to you.

            • Bei Dawei says:

              Could be because we don’t expect insane 3:00 AM tweetstorms from Biden.

            • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              the major point here is that HRC is way more popular (by this limited data) than Biden.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Another major point is that Joe Biden isn’t by any stretch of the imagination actually running for President. Indeed, he can barely walk unaided to a podium and back.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Election forecast: Trump will win by a comfortable margin in the electoral college and a slight majority of the popular vote. After that, we can look forward to months of fruitful and productive work ironing out the specifics by the lawyers and the pundits.

          The Dem circus and the street radicals have scared normie America out of its complacency so I predict voting levels will be higher than in 2016.

          At this point, 2024 is too far down the road to speculate about. In the meantime, I expect the bumpy road to get bumpier.

          • Well put Tim, If Don gets in, perhaps we are into some brief extension of post covidenko ~quasi BAU, a little bit of time getting ready to build bridges to nowhere, nevertheless lets be thankful even for that. It could be only ~1-3yrs though before some “cunning derailment” sets in.. we ought to use the time wisely..

      • Tom says:

        Who did you vote for Gail? And why?

  14. Yoshua says:

    Mr Pool

    Decoded “The FUN is about to begin”

    The video is an emergency broadcast played in reverse.

    Mr Pool’s timeline points to this day 3 Nov (113). Last year on this day they claimed to have released the virus.

    Maybe nothing.

  15. JMS says:

    Spanish scientist recommends not to speak on the metro. Control freaks and social higienists are certainly having a wonderful endless field day.
    Yet i have a hard time seeing how the spaniards, who are easily the most talkative and loudest people in the world, will comply with this measure.

    “The CSIC researcher in atmospheric aerosols, María Cruz Minguillón …has surprised by asking for another [measure]: silence in the subway. “It would be ideal if the metro would indicate‘ Silence always, ’suggested la in the Via Lliure program of RAC1. As he stated, “Quiet and with a well-fitted mask, the risk is very low.”
    Minguillón explained that in the subway there is no type of ventilation. Due to this, in the event that someone is infected in the vehicle, it is important that the air is contaminated as little as possible. That is why he recommends not talking, not even on the phone. “If I speak on my mobile, and I speak loudly because there is noise in the subway, 50 times more aerosols are emitted.” And he insists that as a protective measure, we go quiet on public transport.

    • One issue that is not mentioned is that Europe tends to have far fewer ICU beds than the US. A WSJ article says,

      According to an August study in the Journal of Critical Care, the U. S. has 34.7 ICU beds per 100,000 population, compared to 29.2 in Germany, 15.9 in Belgium. 11.6 in France, 9.7 in Spain, 6.6 in the UK, and 6.4 in the Netherlands. Hospitals in Europe’s national health system operate under global budgets that keep a tight cap on hospital on funding.

      When you put this together with these countries’ reliance on poorly ventilated public transport, there is the possibility of disaster. I can understand wanting to keep everyone quiet, but doing this indefinitely will not make people happy.

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The spread of coronavirus this year has hit trade and travel as it plunged many countries into recession. It has also triggered renewed efforts to nationalise supply chains, particularly for key medical equipment and drug ingredients…

    ““There was already a strong case that globalisation had stalled and in some respects was going into reverse. The globalised world that centred on the twin poles of China and the US was breaking apart. But that shift became all-but-irreversible this year,” Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, wrote in note in September.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Despite hopes that the shock of coronavirus could lead to a more egalitarian society, all the evidence suggests it is instead widening existing divisions — between generations and geographies, genders and ethnicities and, crucially, between white-collar remote workers and those whose jobs can only be done face to face.

      ““We are really not all in this together. It is far, far worse for some than for others,” Gertjan Vlieghe, a Bank of England policymaker, said in a recent speech.”

      • Oh dear says:

        Sadly, egalitarianism and univerersal solidarity tend to be predicated on a situation of plenty. It is a lot easier for people to get on with each other when the sun is shining and prosperity and security abound. Otherwise people tend to divide into hostile camps in order to pursue their own interests. The human ‘herd’ can be pretty predictable. It is already visible to some extent.

        The dissipative structure that is deprived of energy will find ways to break itself apart in order to form smaller structures that better ‘fit’ with the available energy. Human angst is ‘secondary’ to that reformative process. All that is ‘really’ happening is that the cosmos is forming structures to dissipate energy but it seems a lot more ‘personal’ than that to ‘persons’ in so far as they are involved.

      • ““We are really not all in this together. It is far, far worse for some than for others,” Gertjan Vlieghe, a Bank of England policymaker, said in a recent speech.”

        This is really the issue. It is a K shaped recovery.

        • Rodster says:

          Or as a poster on aptly called it the FU Recovery.

        • Bobby says:

          Yes a K shaped recovery followed by an O shaped one every time Sars-Cov2 breaks out setting the economy back each time, This is generating nasty ‘ KO’ ( knock out) cycle, one that’s slowly redistributing wealth to the rich.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Most likely a series of Vv recoveries with increasingly smaller font size of the “v”. Until it flatlines.

          Have we seen this before?


          Waddaya’ think?

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            that was then and this is now.

            TPTB will do anything and everything to keep stock values from dropping.

            otherwise, yes, in the real economy dealing with the overall prosperity of the lower 90% of citizens, those who own very little or no stocks, there is a lot of merit to Vv recoveries.

            a series of recessions this decade, with each recession never recovering to the previous year’s economic level.

            then, by next decade, recessions will be the normal outcome for most years, with the exception of rare years of small growth.

        • Duncan Idaho says:

          Not a “recovery” yet.
          Infections are at a all time high—
          We need a vaccine– until then, infections will continue to increase.

          Lets hope a spike vaccine works– if not, it will be much longer.

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            yes, the EU in particular has had a massive surge in daily cases and daily deaths, now running much higher than the USA.

            what the freak is wrong with Europe?

            but it’s irresponsible for gov officials to talk about some potential distant vaccine, when there might never be an effective one.

            because most everyone everywhere is somewhat low or very low on vitamin D levels, and good nutrition is here-and-now, unlike the vaccine.

            it’s almost criminal that Fauci CDC et al are not loud and clear that there is a vitamin D crisis that contributes greatly to the harmful effects of the virus.

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Oman’s finance ministry announced it is considering rolling out unprecedented income taxes to bridge the country’s budget deficit after oil prices crashed with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic…

    “None of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states – all oil-revenue reliant countries – currently collect taxes from individuals.”

    • Most of the people are poor to begin with. Adding taxes on individuals cannot possibly be popular.

      • Eh, GCC people poor, seriously, doesn’t compute Gail ???

        No, the govs simply plan to slap Income and or higher VAT on their pop, so trimming their frivolous opulence slightly, hence the middle classes just had to opt for a notch less equipped imported stuff (say German lux carz) and the earned taxes would pluck holes from the oil / natgas (as well as their global banking-investments) sluggish revenue as of lately. Obviously, it’s just a temporary fix, one wonders it took so long to finally launch it there.. desperation rises..

        But you are correct, it won’t be popular even in the realm of GCC, although this has been debated there for years. It will also effect the revenues elsewhere as the flow of affluent clients to European spa resorts diminishes somewhat. Obviously, the GCC elite circles GCC won’t have to sell their second residency villas, chateaux and lux flats abroad.

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Voters describe a fundamental unease about America’s future… The division and anxiety are evident in conversations among voters in long lines outside early voting places and across browning autumn lawns where warring yard signs pit neighbor against neighbor.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “America’s economy faces severe new strains in the two months between Tuesday’s election and January, a period when Washington could be consumed by political paralysis and gridlock.

      “This window is typically used by successful presidential candidates to plan for the outset of their administration, but several large economic sectors are bracing to be hit by both an increase in coronavirus cases and the arrival of winter weather.”

      • Massive layoffs ahead, without changes. Many people face having their heat and power shut off, or being evicted, without changes. I would expect massive debt defaults as well.

  19. MG says:

    Millions in cold and damp homes could be at greater risk of COVID-19 this winter

    • Kowalainen says:

      Did you hear that UK and North America?

      Fix your goddamned pimped up sheds and let the frackers drill for heat pumps instead of squeezing the juice out of rock.

      That should keep them busy for at least a decade if not more.

    • Wuhan is in the part of China that does not have heated homes in winter. The people in Wuhan wear coats inside, to keep warm. It is also fairly wet. I am not sure whether this table will keep its shape:

      Wuhan – Average temperatures
      Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
      Min (°C) 1 4 7 14 19 23 26 25 21 15 8 3
      Max (°C) 8 11 15 22 27 30 33 32 28 23 17 11
      Min (°F) 34 39 45 57 66 73 79 77 70 59 46 37
      Max (°F) 46 52 59 72 81 86 91 90 82 73 63 52

  20. Oh dear says:

    Justin Welby is having a hissy.

    Come on Wustin, what would Jesus do? Did he not dine with the outcasts rather than with the respectable?

    Surely Jesus would be all for the closure of churches while gatherings of drunkards, addicts, gays and trans stay open. ‘Go the extra mile’ and all that.

    ‘On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”‘

    ‘Go into thy closet and pray, and thy father in heaven shall hear thee.’

    There you have it.

    Anglicans claim to justified by faith anyway, so they have no real need of any sacraments. They are the ‘righteous’ by their own account, and the ‘sinners’ and the ‘sick’ must come first.

    I really should be the Archbishop myself. At least I read the thing – and took it in.


    The Most Reverend Justin Welby is seeking a meeting with ministers to complain about the rules.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that forcing church services to stop during lockdown is a ‘huge loss’ for worshippers.

    The Most Reverend Justin Welby is seeking a meeting with ministers to complain about the rules.

    He wants to challenge the Government about why churches have to shut out their congregations while other gatherings are treated as essential and will be exempt.

    Among the meetings that can continue after the shutdown begins on Thursday are those for recovering drug and alcohol addicts and support groups for gay and transgender people.

    …. They continued: ‘And since we were not consulted about the lockdown provisions, we fully intend to speak with Government about why certain exemptions are made and not others, emphasising the critical role that churches play in every community.’

    • Bei Dawei says:

      “Anglicans claim to justified by faith anyway, so they have no real need of any sacraments.”

      This is a classic Protestant view, but Anglicans are divided on this. Their Anglo-Catholic wing has a high view of the sacraments. (Not that any of this will really matter in the future–membership is plummeting.)

  21. Oh dear says:

    Unbelievable. What on earth is Boris doing?

    > Home Secretary Priti Patel will order police to stop protests involving more than TWO people during lockdown

    UK police chiefs are said to have been briefed on the weekend. It is believed that some senior officers are worried that the move is too oppressive for a liberal society.

    • In other words, a HINDU runs Britain’s police.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Seems about right. The brits ran India for some time.

        Now, let India run Britain for some time, ideally to the ground.

        How’d ya like that, fscking filthy offspring from the East India Company.

        Now suck it.

        • Tim Groves says:

          And of course, Britain has a Hindu chancellor too these days in Rishi Sunao. Perhaps he’ll manage to finally balance the budget, which has been out of whack ever since John Major let Soros break the Bank of England.

          In Act III, Tommy Robinson organizes non-violent resistance to the all-encompassing Hindu state and its monopoly on selling English muffins, becomes known Mahatma Robinson, and is whisked off by the Metropolitan Thugs to Pritti’s Temple of Doom—the Tower of London, which has been renovated in the Dravidian style—where he is forced to practice yoga for six hours a day..

    • Even very peaceful protests, using masks and social distancing, will be banned.

  22. Son of a child. says:

    I have just finished rereading The Master and his Emissary, subtitle : The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by IAIN McGILCHRIST (trying to read and understand would be more like it). To me it could be summarised as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice writ large. I first read the book around 2012 after Mary Midgley (1919-2018) reviewed the book for the Guardian and finished somewhat along the lines of “read this book”. Mary is one author who makes philosophical ideas understandable, I particularly recommend “The Myths We Live By” and “Beast and Man”. As I started reading Gail’s website around 2013 I remember one particular commentator (maybe Xabier) referring to The Master and his Emissary in his reading and I thought “someone else has interests similar to mine” as my family and friends view me as a bit of a “doomer”. I read Gail’s website almost every day (she is my go to girl) and I have listed these books as worth reading as a balance to the technological optimists that sometimes surface in Gail’s comments. This is the first time that I have commented here but now that I have broken the ice there could be more to follow.

    • Welcome and thanks for your thoughts!

    • I am afraid I haven’t read these books. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a story about an aspiring magician unleashing more power than he can really control. Mickey Mouse, in the 1941 movie Fantasia, makes mops and brooms come alive. They quickly get out of control, bouncing around the room to music.

    • Tim Groves says:

      I agree with your assessment of Mary Midgley’s work. I first came across her when she was critiquing Richard Dawkins’s “Selfish Gene” idea, much to his chagrin. And I’ve enjoyed several of her books on philosophy/ethics.

      Let’s toast her!–LB1on6Ho

  23. JMS says:

    My favourite quote of Vonnegut:
    “Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.”

    • Xabier says:

      Perfect, JMS!

      ‘A really lovely species, only went about trashing things and insulting Mother Nature when the oil got into it. Unfortunately, oil was just everywhere, in such easy reach and so cheap ……’

  24. Dennis L. says:

    Tim Morgan has a new post up today, it seems well worth a read. I have pasted a link to a chart below, never sure if the chart or the link as well appears.

    Basic summary is discretionary income is going to continue to decline.

    He also thinks transfers of wealth will be called for perhaps in the form of higher taxation. Monthly bills to run properties, etc. seem to climb yearly let alone debt service. Here in Rochester there are more candidates running for office on the theme of spending restraint, that said the city does a good job of infrastructure maintenance.

    Somewhere in todays reading I came across a writer pointing out the usefulness of a trade education vs a university style. The debt has buried the kids and looking at the latest Morgan report it will not get any easier for them. Local CC is wonderful, good teaching but they happily announced an additional two vice presidents or whatever.

    Local plumbers union has their own training hall, a guess is it is not politically correct, good place to get a job. It also appears various manufactures are putting in training facilities for their HVAC control equipment. My take is many of the trades may be bypassing the cc, etc. The advantage to the trades is they control the supply of tradesmen. It is hard for the average person to find a way into the licensed trades – for plumbing and electrical a master license is required to pull permits.

    Idle thoughts, this month’s Surplus Energy Economics is a good read.

    Dennis L.

    • A few quotes from Tim Morgan’s post:

      Barring short-lived exercises in outright monetary recklessness, most discretionary sectors are set to shrink, and asset prices (including equities and properties) are poised for a sharp correction.

      Finally, economic concerns are set to dominate voters’ priorities, displacing non-economic issues from the top of the agenda. Calls for economic redress – including redistribution, and, in some areas, nationalization – are set to return to the foreground in ways to which a whole generation of political leaders may be unable to adapt.

      Additionally, the economy has now reached the point at which rising ECoEs affect the availability of energy itself, trapping producers between the Scylla of rising costs and the Charybdis of diminishing consumer affordability.

      I will be the first to agree that consumers will be able to buy less and less, partly because less is being produced, but exactly how this will play out is less obvious.

      Morgan talks about, “Barring short-lived exercises in outright monetary recklessness,” but that may be exactly where we are headed, if Jerome Powell is chair of the Federal Reserve. Recklessness might kick the problem down the road a bit, and keep asset prices high.

      Morgan says, “economic concerns are set to dominate voters’ priorities.” Yet in the US, most people think that Biden will win, promising to shut down the economy for COVID and raise taxes. I suppose that they are assuming that with the higher taxes, he will distribute more money to the many poor people in the economy, so that, looked at from the point of view of the poor people, they will come out ahead. This would be part of Morgan’s “redistribution.”

      Regarding, “the economy has now reached the point at which rising ECoEs affect the availability of energy itself,” I think we are long past this point. As I pointed out in my current post, oil prices have been too low for producers since 2012. That is eight years. He is missing the point regarding where we are now. He doesn’t see the important role taxes needed by the government play in determining the true cost of energy.

      • Yes, properties are certainly correcting, but in upwards direction instead, lolz..

        While the 2000-2010s were all about “southern comfort” snapping up abandoned, derelict farms, ready for rejuvenation – in southern parts of the US for pennies, it’s mostly all gone by now, at least the quality gem stuff.

        The 2020s are all about the “northern exposure” though, the last frontier were poor schmuck can get large acreage on the cheap. Yes, ultra short growing season demands laser sharp execution of farming, but veggies and fruits are available with contemporary knowledge even in these cold regions.

        Interestingly enough, the US/NA remains the best place on globe to get rural, Asia not so much, trololol.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Potatoes grow like weeds on the bright summer days and “nights” north of the arctic circle.

          But its easy to ruin the whole crop by planting too early and not storing the potatoes frost free during the winter.

        • Tim Groves says:

          At least in the South, Southeast and East Asian monsoon regions, you don’t need a lot of land to grow enough food to feed an average family and have plenty of extra crops to give away or sell, if you’ve a mind to do that.

          I grow almost a ton of rice in a paddy about two-thirds the size of a football pitch, and far more potatoes, yams, pumpkins and green vegetables than the family could possibly eat in a former rice paddy the size of a tennis court.

          Since I’ve been in this game, I’ve always found it a lot harder to sell food than to give it away or to grow it in the first place.

          I blame all these North American exports of tasteless and roundup-saturated produce that depress prices in food markets all over the world. Without this tsunami of cheap grains and vegetables, Asian people would have keener appetites and we farmers and growers would be making a killing!

      • Thierry38 says:

        Gail, I don’t really agree when you say “He doesn’t see the important role taxes needed by the government play in determining the true cost of energy”
        Taxes play an important role in his model SEEDS, maybe he explains this further in other articles. Here is what he writes:
        “SEEDS analysis indicates that taxation absorbed 67% of French prosperity last year, compared with 53% back in 2004. For the average French citizen, this means that a comparatively modest decline of 6.2% (€1,910) in his or her overall prosperity has been exacerbated by a €3,010 increase in taxation, leaving disposable (“left in your pocket”) prosperity 34% (€4,920) lower in 2019 than it was in 2004. France, of course, is something of an extreme case, but the general tendency has been for rising taxation to magnify prosperity deterioration into a markedly more severe squeeze at the level of disposable prosperity”

  25. Lidia17 says:

    Just listened to this podcast, which is pretty good regarding the Great Reset:

    I think Corbett is unrealistic about libertarian tech stuff like alternative digital currencies and the like, but since he has a tech bent he can see some of their competing techno-utopian plans more clearly.

    • Rodster says:

      Thanks for the link. James Corbett is one smart cookie and he has a great skill of taking the complex and making it understandable.

    • Corbett interview is about the World Economic Forum trying to set an agenda for the world. Klaus Schwabb is the head of WEF. “COVID-19 transformation map” is shown, as framework for how COVID-19 will affect every aspect of the economy. This is a really a co-ordinated agenda, regarding how COVID-19 can be made to affect other areas.

      WEF says banking needs to be restructured, with public-private partnerships. About monopolization and centralization of power. Favored selected companies.

      Regarding education, everything online, making it easier for those who are offended to object and stop the particular educational program. (Example, say wrong thing about Palestinian situation.)

      Can’t criticize corporations, if they are acting as an arm of the state. System gets to be state capitalism, using public-private partnerships.

      [There is more–I didn’t get farther.]

      • Oh dear says:

        That sounds exactly like what we anticipated – a ‘socialisation’ of finance and industry to countervail systemic unprofitability and to keep the economy going for a bit longer. I have to say that we nailed that one.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          that’s the reasonable Great Reset.

          covid is just a virus, but the turning from a centuries long increase in net (surplus) energy to an imminent irreversible decrease is monumental.

          the cases and deaths issues are in the forefront, but the real story is the background of the increasing difficulty of profitable investments.

          covid related deaths will be in the millions, but is a minor story compared to civilization turning to decades of decreasing prosperity caused by the change in energy supplies.

          the Great Reset is happening, and not at all caused by covid which is just a catalyst that is speeding up the process slightly.

          • Oh dear says:

            Yes, the problem of unprofitability is systemic, as the problem is one of energy that is unaffordable to customers (other companies), and not just unprofitable to energy producers. They are two sides of the same coin. Expensive energy bills cut the profitability of other companies.

            And it spreads through the interdependent, networked economy, through the supply chains, and customer (other companies) chains – again two sides of the same coin. Companies with more expensive energy bills must raise the price of their products, while others in the same situation can less afford them.

            Thus unprofitability is systemic with a particular locus in the energy sector.

            It is systemic because capitalism is an interconnected system in which the price and the profit of one company must be extracted from that of others. Expensive energy eats away at all companies’ bottom line and erodes their profitability.

            Thus the entire unprofitable economy needs ‘socialisation’ in order to countervail systemic unprofitability, through taxes, state support of companies, QE, ZIRP etc. – and likely the nationalisaton of banks, energy sectors and major industries – the ‘commanding heights’.

            Socialisation is likely to increase as unprofitability becomes more intense. Likely ‘capitalism’ in any meaningful sense is on its way out. It depends on systemic growth and profitability, and the servicing of debt. – No growth, no systemic profitability, no capitalism.

            • Kowalainen says:

              The predicament can be summarized with:

              WTF are we going to do with directly unproductive and marginally productive capital in the economy? Capital in the form of money, machinery and people.

              1. Continue with the smoke and mirrors until we hit rock bottom of the seneca cliff
              2. Curtail the worst excesses and place the marginally productive on UBI

              This is the struggle of an ending epoch.

            • There certainly will be a push toward socialization. I don’t know to what extent it will succeed. If there really is not enough for even the basics for everyone, then no one can make it through the bottleneck. The way the physics usually works is to allow at least a few (the best adapted) to make it through the bottleneck. If there are some available energy resources, they will be able to dissipate them.

        • Lloyds of London originally was backed by a number of rich “Names,” rather than having traditional capital. I suppose the result could be something similar.

          Lloyds of London discontinued this approach when it was discovered that in the case of systemic risk (too many bad outcomes system-wide), this approach didn’t really work.

          • Harry McGibbs says:

            My father was a Lloyds name and not notably rich. His father gave him membership of Lloyds for a wedding present, which was quite a fashionable thing to do at the time. Unfortunately he lost more in the first year of the crisis than he had made in the twenty or so years leading up to it.

            We knew people who were bankrupted by it; one even killed himself. Meanwhile, the whole debacle was viewed, particularly on the left, as just desserts for the spoilt wealthy.

            • neil says:

              What I remember from the time is widespread incredulity at signing up for unlimited liability.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Another thing about digital currencies (nothing that’s mentioned in the podcast but stuff I was recently thinking about..): they make it super-easy to enforce negative-interest-rate regimes. Digital currencies also makes taxation easy, since no transaction is allowed to escape the gov.

        Furthermore, though, I think their digital ideas could branch beyond the idea of a common “currency” and veer more into social-credit territory. Credits could be issued that have no monetary value, but be personalized chits for gov.-provided goods, whether tangible or intangible. Think of all the video games where people collect “whatevers” that facilitate their progress in the game. Maybe you don’t pay in a common currency to buy food, or for your kid to go to a private school, or to take a train trip.. you pay with various tokens which gov.s can invent and manipulate at will, with much more facility than they can manipulate conventionally-understood shared currencies. It’s possible to envision a life that simply does not use dollars or yuan to track value or savings.

        • Hubbs says:

          “Social credit score” will determine how many rationing coupons you receive for food, housing, transportation miles, and UBI.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Anonymize the digital currency transactions by the means of encryption.
          An ongoing legal investigation can deploy computation to crack the encryption.

          Every transaction traceable in theory, but only with energy expenditure. Cracking the codes for large swaths of the population should be computationally intractable by design. Update the encryption codes as cracking algorithms and computer hardware improves.

          That would work I think.

          • Lidia17 says:

            That would work if you were the benevolent dictator. The entire point of the GR exercise is tracing. One of their featured partners is a company that tags cattle.

            Patented platform that can track and detect anomalies in cattle behaviour at any time and place.

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


        • The big issue I see is that Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Russia all need something of this sort, or they stop exporting oil. Venezuela, if it had some currency that would allow them to purchase products internationally, could perhaps continue to produce oil.

          I expect countries would produce digital currencies (plus ration booklets for whatever is in short supply) for their own citizens, but not for citizens elsewhere. How much these digital currencies would be honored outside would vary. Without a worldwide digital currency, honored everywhere, global trade would go to zero quickly, I am afraid. Governments of oil exporters might collapse.

    • Thierry38 says:

      An other interesting point of view about the reset

      • “The Great Reset for Dummies.” This article is good, but it is too long, IMO.

        • Well, the long introduction and tangents also discussing individual motivational factors in that article are very important. Lets take it further along, for example we have got one intelligent-mad guy tech oligarch, who by watching some b&w “movie set” landing footage and sciency literature as youngster + reflecting upon enviro concerns convinced himself that people should colonize Mars (now!) as the Earth is already lost. Moreover striking it lucky at times of gusher of free money he was able to revamp certain moribund industries such as the US auto and aerospace. Now all these ventures are going to pay big dividends (energy storage, AI – EV truck fleet and subscription sat network) so the relative power of said individual increases, possibly multiplying the various schemes of human control described in that article even more..
          In short, the craziness has yet to go full circle (at the expense of others), then followed by collapse, not the other way around.

        • Thierry38 says:

          I have read it twice but sure it is long. Hard to summarize it, this is why I can’t quote one or a few sentences, I invite everyone to take some time, you won’t regret!

      • Lidia17 says:

        One may download the entire (195pp.) “Great Reset” book by Schwab here:

        I have not started reading it yet.

    • Xabier says:

      Their plans cast a long shadow ahead of them. Liberty will die under their system, as will the human spirit.

      No freedom of association will be possible with 24/7, highly intimate, monitoring and the digitalisation of nearly all interactions and transactions; no free association = no freedom of expression = no check at all on the rulers = unfettered corruption and general mental degeneration.

      With the end of physical texts in durable books, any dangerous or subversive ideas could be wiped out, whole texts amended to suit the reigning ideology or simply vanished away, and non-ideological history abolished.

      Freedom from tyranny was enjoyed historically by two main groups: barbarian tribesmen, living beyond the effective reach of emperors, and the true bourgeoisie whose self-governance was protected by charters – their ‘liberties’.

      I daresay most will be happy with the new life under the Re-set, as long as they are housed, fed and have their small pleasures. It won’t seem so very different, and less so the poorer you are now -in fact they might feel much more secure. Care will be taken to keep them entertained or drugged.

      Far above them, the elite will live rather like Hermann Goering, and the senior levels of the old Soviet Bloc, all their luxuries hidden from view.

      Every change imposed will be justified by ‘ Just following the science’……

  26. says:

    The Dems is a reflection of China. Mostly decent folks disillusioned by rip roaring corrupt politicians.

    The tech companies want to vote for dems, yes, but by god they hate the imbeciles in the Democratic Party.

    Dems losing the election is a feature, not a bug.

  27. Yoshua says:

    Another terror attack in Vienna.

    A synagogue was targeted?

    7 dead so far…

    One terrorist carried a suicide belt and blew him self up.

    • Yoshua says:

      Vienna has normally been spared from attacks since it’s the Islamist center of Europe and their financial hub.

      Something has changed.

      • Y> interesting comment, leading to:

        As always, it’s about factions, factions, factions..
        Somebody down the chain did not get paid (Saudies and Gulfies budgets struggling) or was personally betrayed in proxy wars theater, so here lashes out madly where it has been agreed upon not to..

        • Kowalainen says:

          Nah, divide and conquer tactics. Let me ponder upon who’s good to hate today. For my own shady psychopathic interests of course.

          1. Christians
          2. Muslims
          3. Jews
          4. Uighurs
          5. Blacks
          6. Russians

          Time to roll the dice… Aaand, we have a winner.

          Wo hoo!

          Number 2 it is, now, pick one deluded yahoo from the mosque and bump him over the edge.

          • Oh dear says:

            Muslims are being made the ‘other’, the ‘outsider’. Those who do not have ‘our values’, are not committed to ‘our way of life’, those who are ‘not us’. One can see it all over the MSM and the internet. Macron is at it right now. It is the role that J ews used to play in Christian societies.

            The concept of the ‘other’ is intended to reinforce the ‘us’, to solidify the ‘herd’. The ‘us’ is defined in contrast to the ‘other’ and vice versa. The result is the conformity of the ‘herd’. Thus TPTB tend to use a ‘scapegoat’, on whom to focus ‘blame’, in order to maintain its own dominance over situations, to keep its ‘herd’ in line.

            The ‘herd’ tends to do most of the work for TPTB in alienating and ‘othering’ the scapegoat, but it does not empower the ‘herd’, it reinforces their subjection. It is the ‘herd’ as ‘herd’.

            Eg. EDL are basically petty British state nationalists, whatever their origins further back. Their only function is to reinforce the ‘normality’ of state dominance. Ironically they are also ‘othered’ by the state, to keep the ‘herd’ in line. They are state patsies.

            But the worse the energy situation gets, the wider that ‘blame’ will be sought and found. It will not end at Muslims, society will gradually tear itself apart as the dissipative structure becomes untenable. The dissipative structure will find ways to tear itself apart in order to form smaller structures that better ‘fit’ the available energy.

            Scottish, Welsh and Irish independence, and possibly regional English ‘independences’, will be the least traumatic way to decompose this society into smaller, less centralised structures – which is all the more reason to support SNP, the Plaid and Sinn Fein.

            Perhaps we can use our intelligence to decompose the society without the worst of the divisions and trauma. That means distancing the ‘herd’ from the state centre toward the regions. The UK is decomposing and we can get ‘ahead’ of that curve.

            • Erdles says:

              “Muslims are being made the ‘other’, the ‘outsider’”.

              Nothing then to do with the 1400 white female children in Rotherham sexually abused by Muslim grooming gangs over a twenty year period? Or the hundreds in each of Oxford, Doncaster, Rochdale, Telford and so many more of our towns where Muslims live?

            • Kowalainen says:

              I feel a whiff of the group therapy session. Yup, it stinks.

              It is so pathetic with people switching the in-group when it is in line with their self-interests.


            • Oh dear says:

              I see that Tommy Robinson was arrested again last weekend for the umpteenth time. He may be a massive fan of the British state but it is no fan of his. They locked him on a wing with radicals spitting on him last time. State patsies are used and abused by the state and then they cry about it. Anyone who gets involved with that lot seriously lacks insight and self-awareness. TR simply lacks any way out of his niche, otherwise he would pack it in tomorrow. State patsies are fodder, it is their own look out.

            • Lidia17 says:

              “Muslims are being made the ‘other’, the ‘outsider’. Those who do not have ‘our values’, are not committed to ‘our way of life’, those who are ‘not us’. ”

              Nothing to do with them burning down cathedrals and slitting the throats of priests and old ladies… Nothing to do with them attacking people in gay nightclubs or at pop concerts…

              They are the other, because they are the other. They do not have Western values, and are not committed to a Western way of life. They don’t make a mystery out of any of this—why do you feel the need to obscure things?

              They have dozens of Islamic countries in which they could choose to live, whereas the apparent global goal is for there to be no European Christian countries. You may be on board with this project, but please just say so openly rather than blaming the victim.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Move back to what? Ruins? Yeah, the ruins and dried up oil wells. Hmm, makes me wonder who stole all that oil? Any guesses?

              Yup, the in-group therapy session is definetlety whafting everywhere now.


              Macaroniman and Kurz is all smiles. Mutti phews, she didn’t have to run the concentration camps this time around.

            • Oh dear says:

              “You may be on board with this project, but please just say so openly rather than blaming the victim.”

              The British state is entirely responsible for the demographic transformation of Britain, just like other European states.

              There really is no ‘mystery’ about it. The CBI openly boasts about how it persuaded the government to lift any cap and any income threshold on incomers. The capitalist state parties, TP and LP have always supported it since WWII and the loss of the British Empire and its colonial labour pools.

              Let me ‘demystify’ the situation for you. The British state is a capitalist state that exists to advance the interests of organised capital. It has been since the bourgeoise took over the country in the Civil War. It is not an ‘ethno’ state and it never has been.

              Citizens are worker-citizens who are here to make money for organised capital and to service the structural debt of the capitalist state. The state uses the attachment of citizens to the state simply to manage them as a worker ‘herd’ to exploit.

              Your ethnicity makes no difference to the state, only whether you can make it money. If you happen to be ‘native’ and that increases your ‘loyalty’ to the state, then all the better, so long as you know your place and do not try to cause any divisions.

              Otherwise you will end up on the prison wing along with the Islamist radicals to keep you company, like TR. And that will be no fun at all. You are simply a nuisance to the state, the same as the Islamists. The state wants worker-citizens who keep their heads down and get on with their work.

              If the British state nationalists are on board with this project, please just say so openly rather than playing the ‘victim’ (whoever that is supposed to be). They may be massive fan boys of the British state but it is no fan of theirs. The ‘ethno, Christian’ state is entirely imaginary and a ticket to the radical wing.

            • Oh dear says:

              K, I do not really have a ‘war face’. I maintain a pleasant, civilised aspect (say cheese for the camera). It tends to be the most productive manner. Society rewards sociable behaviour. Of course I do not confuse the web with society and I enjoy the odd manners as much as anyone else.

              We live in democracies and anyone with any sense sticks within the limits of what the society encourages. SNP are on 58% support, Welsh independence has around 1/3 support, while SF is the largest party on the island, in government in the north and in opposition in the south.

              British nationalists do not even have a party any more. The old ‘Unionist’ parties are not really that bothered about the UK any more, they certainly would not engage in ‘war’ over it. Polls show that most TP voters could not care less if UK breaks up.

              So, let’s try to stay in reality when we discuss these matters. This is a modern democracy and only democratic behaviour is realistic. Any political cause that has ‘no electoral road’ is simply not a realistic cause and might as well be forgotten about.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Oh dear, I’m just being silly to drive home a point.

              On the Internet, sarcasm and irony is the default stance.

              Otherwise, I agree with you regarding the gullible lunatics that is used to put blame on entire minorities.

              That is so convenient and lazy.

              First “invite” them over by dropping bombs in their home countries, then have Soros deliver handy pamphlets and some dosh for that migration convenience, just to boost consumption and as cheap labor.

              When it’s no longer desirable, throw them to the wolves.

              The useless eaters in the bourgeoisie love them as an abstract profitable proletariat but hate them in person, the artisanry love them in person but hate the concept of the proletariat.

              Now what?

              Repatriations or concentration camps?

            • Tim Groves says:

              An important question, net pas?


    • Ed says:

      People are being shot dead and up belly up the the glass window to film it with your cellphone!? Get behind something bullet proof.

    • So, hopefully that baby Metternich .at should now step up the action, incl. call for shutting down EU ports for MENA migrants.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Well, with the oil mostly gone from ME and everything else in ruins.

        Yup, about time to abandon the worthless project in a state of despair.

        It was and is a bad idea turning south for the worse.

        But what do I know, except that feeling of cynical and ruthless exploitation of radicalized and gullible religious schmucks.

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