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.

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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.

2,885 thoughts on “Fossil Fuel Production Is Reaching Limits in a Strange Way

  1. “Tens of thousands of Chileans gathered in the central square of Santiago to mark the one-year anniversary of mass protests that left over 30 dead and thousands injured, with peaceful rallies on Sunday devolving by nightfall into riots and looting…

    “Fire truck sirens, burning barricades on roadways and fireworks on downtown streets added to a sense of chaos in some neighborhoods.”

    • The mass protests in Chile started before all of the shutdowns. The problem was too low prices for their exports, such as copper and lithium.

  2. “There’s nothing quite like the feeling of uncertainty and dread right in the moments before a disaster of gargantuan proportions unfolds in front of our eyes.

    “We might be living in that moment now if immediate measures aren’t taken to prevent what is soon to be an oil spill so horrifically devastating that it would be eight times bigger than the Exxon Valdez oil spill…”

    • The potential oil spill is taking place offshore of Venezuela. There are many oil seeps in the ocean. In fact, the way most offshore oil is found is by looking for oil seeps. Oil-eating bacteria eventually take care of any oil that finds its way into the oceans. It is my understanding that there are a lot of oil seeps. A best estimate of the amount escaping from seeps is 600,000 tons of oil, annually, with a big range.

      The amount of this spill potential spill is 1.3 million barrels of oil, which is equivalent to about 190,000 tons of oil. So it is equivalent to a little less than 1/3 of the amount of oil that would be spilled into the oceans worldwide, in a given year.

    • An outfit that cannot even spell “Caribbean”, and does not have the sense to use a copy editor, can hardly be trusted on graver and more technical matters.

      • When we visited Cuba, we observed that the especially the buildings right near the ocean (where they got salt water spray, I expect) were in especially bad shape. The country has been struggling with too little energy for years. Venezuela was providing some oil, but even that is likely missing now. I am sure the country is badly off. Nearly all of the homes were built very long ago.

  3. Dr. Kit Green is employed by the DoD.

    US soldier that encounter and are exposed to the UFO phenomenon are actually dying.

    Dr. Kit Greer is saying that they die within 5-7 years after he receives them as patients.

    High ranking DoD personnel are now saying that “They are Walking Among US”.

    The abduction program was all about creating human looking hybrids that would colonize our world.

    • I’ve been there, it’s very tough to lose your job. What good are you then to your kids and your spouse? A colleague of mine lost her father to suicide in similar fashion. Lost his job as a truck driver, divorced and couldn’t provide for his children.

      And to make matters worse, suicidal thoughts are viewed by many as some sort of mental disease, when it basically is just a matter of poor survival prospects weighing down on ones shoulders.

      • Hmm.

        There is a field called evolutionary psychology EP makes the claim that behavior (such as capture-bonding or going to war) is the result of Darwinian selection. People who suicide are dead, which you would think has selected out their genes. But that’s not the entire story. Gene copies exist in relatives. (Look up Hamilton’s rule.) Going to war in the stone age was not far from suicide. It could have been that conditions back then improved the survival of suicide genes indirectly. Not saying this is why people (in some circumstances) commit suicide, but it’s the kind of thinking about psychological traits that EP suggests.

        • hkeith, that has a;so been observed in prey animals. An individual will sound a warning when a predator approaches, which saves the herd but is often a suicidal act. Likewise, stronger kin will defend weaker kin, allowing them to escape even at the cost of their own lives. And the Egyptians made Sekhmet also a goddess of war, because a lioness will give her life to defend her cubs.

          Is it all gene selection? I don’t think so. I think altruism arose independently, as a moral imperative, and it survived and flourished because it was, indeed, an instrument of kin survival.

    • “Dollar collapse would seal America’s calamitous fate… Aziz Huq: “The great secret about the US constitution is that it relies on public acceptance. Without legitimacy, nothing can last for long.”

      “Seemingly, fiat currencies fit this description perfectly. The real test for America will be how it deals with a massive inflating currency of diminishing value with far less purchasing power.”

    • I expect that either defaulting, or printing too much money (by nearly all countries simultaneously) would have the same effect. World trade would be greatly reduced. Some more local trade might exist, around more local hubs.

      • Might this be a small problem if 85% of your food and 95% of your manufactured goods are imported?

      • Yep, we had this debate numerous times already.
        The USD regime’s last functioning support pillar are the “foreign USD” aka int/global rich, when they pull support it’s game over. Now, the question remains when this moment comes, before or after or mid way through said balkanization / regionalization process.. ? If history serves as guide, it must happen in early stages of the brake up process, i.e. now-ish or in next few years, unlikely in decades..

        ps you are very correct hinting there is a faction or general push for synchronized devaluation-defaulting, I’d be very skeptical such scheme could be ever achieved, but we never know..

        • I hadn’t thought about the global rich being important. The cycle breakers in the past, if I understood correctly, have been lack of letters of credit related to imports. These are issued by banks, guaranteeing payment. There may also be problems in the availability of insurance related to imports. It is these financial institutions that can see the risk in the situation, who don’t want to put themselves at risk.

          • These fin institutions have owners, key shareholders..
            In past econ/fin moments of upheaval the sentiment was that system change agenda (beyond tactical maneuvers) is not exactly necessary on the table, hence it had been delayed again. We are evidently decreasing the number of such future “lucky” can kicking interventions by more or less allied interests, at some point the lords will be all about carving portion from the dying carcass only for themselves. We might be near such moment.

            • It’s tricky to get fictive money out of the system. To much jank debt is floating around that never can be put into circulation in the real economy.

              The CB money laundry racket will cease to be and then those computer digits sloshing around in the system will be as worthless as 0’s and 1’s in a broken old diskette.

  4. “The economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has heightened retirement insecurity for billions of people around the world who now face working longer, or having less income in later life, according to a new analysis of global pension systems.

    “Even before the crisis, private and public retirement systems were under strain…”

      • Yes, absolutely correct. This requires children, youth, a cycle and they must be intelligent, disciplined while finding meaning in what they do.

        Dennis L.

          • But Norman, in this age of central heating, there are no chimneys. Maybe send them down coal mines? Oops: no more coal mines. Ah, an idea, how about hiring them for a 200 episode TV series called “more cuties”? Problem solved, and moreover in a gender inclusive way. (just kidding, don’t call the cops)

      • And not just actuaries; the Nobel Prize winnins economist Paul Samuelson agreed:

        “The beauty of social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound. Everyone who reaches retirement age is given benefit privileges that far exceed anything he has paid in — exceed his payments by more than ten times (or five times counting employer payments)!

        How is it possible? It stems from the fact that the national product is growing at a compound interest rate and can be expected to do so for as far ahead as the eye cannot see. Always there are more youths than old folks in a growing population. More important, with real income going up at 3% per year, the taxable base on which benefits rest is always much greater than the taxes paid historically by the generation now retired.

        …A growing nation is the greatest Ponzi game ever contrived.”

        In former times, he would have been a knighthood winning toady. But in former times, there would have been a court jester, who by religion and tradition was allowed to speak the truth the King did not want to hear, but needed to hear. No longer, I fear.

        • It was this issue, plus the fact that people starts getting concerned about oil limits about 2005, that got me interested in starting

  5. The Tories are ‘war gaming’ with an outside agency about how to deny Scots a vote on Scottish independence. Bloomberg has the scoop.

    > UK Tories Start War Gaming to Prevent Scottish Independence

    Boris Johnson’s government is sketching out a strategy to counter rising support for independence, with a memo circulated to a select group of people including Cabinet minister Michael Gove, according to people familiar with the discussions taking place, it is being reported.

    The document from a political consultancy firm that works closely with the Tories looks at tactics to delay and then avoid a referendum in the event of a majority for the SNP in next May’s elections, an outcome that polls suggest is likely.

    Continuing to dismiss Scottish calls for another independence vote outright could be “counterproductive,” the memo said.

    Possible counter-measures include London handing more power to Edinburgh and ratifying a new settlement through a vote, and even pressuring the European Union to reject the idea of Scotland rejoining the bloc as an independent country.

    One person familiar with the memo seen by Bloomberg News that a group was coming together to work on the issue. Gove’s office said it doesn’t comment on leaked documents….

    The document, seen by Bloomberg News, sets out the uphill struggle the pro-U.K. cause faces after the pandemic boosted the standing of Sturgeon and damaged the popularity of Johnson and the Conservative Party.

    The 21-page memo was written by Hanbury, which was set up by Ameet Gill, former Prime Minister David Cameron’s one-time director of strategy, and Paul Stephenson, who was director of communications for pro-Brexit group Vote Leave. One of the firm’s partners is James Kanagasooriam, who worked with the Scottish Conservatives on elections in 2016 and 2017.

    The report covers the state of play, voter and polling trends, a strategy for next year’s Scottish elections and what do to in the event of an SNP majority.

    “If the SNP builds on this momentum then the endpoint could be a full-blown constitutional crisis or a second independence referendum,” the report said. “Either of these outcomes would consume significant political capital for the government.”….

    • Ameet Gill. James Kanagasooriam. Yes, very English people.

      I stand by my claim that Chuck Fitzclarence and his soldiers fucked up in 1914, and the sacrifices of the British soldiers were in vain.

      England has been conquered by people from the Subcontinent. The Scots are fighting India now.

      • Yes, and the Indians (or at least one of ’em) are in charge of the Emerald Isle too, and of the UK treasury—that used to be a Scottish monopoly, didn’t it?—and of Google? Very smart people, the Indians. Don’t misunderestimate them.

        • So smart, they never really built anything of renown. Taj Mahal was built by the Islamic rulers.

          If the people of England want to live like the denizens of Kolkata, it’s their choice.

    • The ladies are shifting to YES according to recent polls.

      > Scottish independence ‘gender gap’ disappearing, says elections expert

      …. The professor said two demographic features were worth nothing are the disappearance of the “gender gap” and the continued difference in age groups.

      He said: “It may, perhaps, even be the case that a narrow majority of men voted Yes in 2014 and either way the No victory appeared to rest heavily on the support of women – who perhaps were more averse to what they considered to be the risks of independence.

      “Now, the picture appears to be rather different. On average the last nine polls have put support for Yes at 54%.

      “These same nine polls on average put the figure for both men and women at 54% too.”

      He said younger voters continue to support a Yes vote in greater numbers than older Scots, while many voters are finding it “difficult to follow” the argument over the transfer of EU powers….

        • The Scots will be fighting each other soon, that’s what they did before the English helped them out.

        • Heard in New Delhi- repeatedly. “I cant wait to get back to London for a decent curry”

      • Apparently 75% of Scots would vote for independence if there was economic benefit. By that they mean £500 in their pocket, not per year. Just about sums up your typical Glaswegian nationalist.

          • We may get Harris, who I recently learned is a “TamBram”.
            (I don’t know anything about the NDTV site, just came across this in a random comment thread elsewhere.)

            It is interesting that the “blacks” being proposed in US politics aren’t African-*Americans*, but exotic international mixes (with the emphasis on international). Stacy Abrams’ resentment right now could probably power a small city:

            • India has institutionalized racism for three thousand years. No riots, no burning stores. The lower orders now their place and accept it. Can Kamala do the same for America?

            • Lidia17> ad “..exotic int mixes..” being promoted, BINGO, I was wondering about it a bit years ago, the clincher for me came only with Obama and Harris, two specimen of pre-manufactured toy candidates in rapid succession.

              It’s a giant wurlitzer they played on the public via msm for decades, such extra ordinary hair brained schemes and agendas in domestic and foreign policy were therefor not questioned, even deemed normal..

              Hopefully, as people could be played and fooled around only for decades/centuries, but not for the eternity of time..

          • I am not sure what you have against the rule of the Hindus.

            You previously spoke of the durability of Western civilisation. Well Hindus have a long record of sustaining a civilisation. You seem to blame the English for their own demise, which is fair enough I suppose, so why would you not prefer the Hindus to ‘rule’? Maybe they would do a ‘better’ job?

            Are you sure that you appreciate the factors to allow a civilisation to survive? How do you square your project to save WC with energetic decline? What parts of WC are you particularly concerned to preserve? Is there much of that left today anyway? Is WC not precisely what has brought itself to this ‘pass’?

            • Whatever the Hindus (and the Sikhs, etc) might have in their mind, it is not in the best interest of Western Civilization to condone that.

              Hindus never really ruled themselves after the 11th century, being ruled under a variety of Islamic regimes, Persian, Mongolian, Afghan, you name it. They never really built anything of importance on their own.

              Whatever bad things the English might have done, it is still preferable to whatever the subcontinent can bring on, given the sorry state of the subcontinent now.

              WC can always go back to the medieval era.

            • What was so great about Europe in the Medieval, pre-Renaissance era?

              Are you so sure that Europe can ‘go back’? Back to what exactly?

              Not just the culture and the technology but the people are physically different now. It is doubtful that most of us are physically hardy enough even to survive in pre-modern conditions, without the ‘all mod cons’ to which we are accustomed, let alone psychologically adapted to ‘fit in’ and ‘go along’ with such a social system.

              The old feudal castes and the peoples that they bred are long gone, and the classes are long mixed into the bolshy, rough proletarians (us) of today. The English are not really a ‘genteel’ people at all, you would probably, actually be thinking of the Hindus on that count.

              The Middle Ages grew out of their own previous history, the Roman Empire and the Germanic barbarians. That is all long gone now and their people with it. We are the long proletarianized masses of today. The feudal castes simply do not exist any more, even physiologically let alone in terms of their ‘values’ and social structures.

              The idea that Europe can somehow ‘go back’ 700 years seems simplistic, vague and likely naïve. You do not think that other ‘r aces’ are ‘interchangeable’, so why do you assume that the modern European breed of today is interchangeable with that of 700 years ago?

              Europeans are proletarianized and in fact just about anyone can ‘fit in’ and ‘adapt’ to that culture in a fully functional manner. Capitalism is the great ‘equaliser’ that makes us all more or less alike, especially these days. Remember, England had ‘land clearances’ into the cities 500 years ago and that is a long time to meld the classes.

              The Hindu caste system remained intact into the present period. I am not suggesting that we ‘want’ to go the way of feudalism, but if we did, the Hindus would likely be closest analogue to the feudal ruling class that is now long gone in Europe, certainly in England.

              The only way to really ‘know’ the English is to actually know them, personally and up close, and they are a proletarian people, there is nothing feudal about them, not physically or mentally. There are zero ‘aristocratic’ types left, if that is what you are thinking of. Not that most of us would care to be ‘ruled’ by them or by anyone if it comes to it. The modern English do not take well to class authority lol.

              I am obviously not suggesting that we would want to embrace a feudal caste system, or any kind of class system, but Hinduism would seem to be much closer in its ‘values’ to what you are suggesting than WC in the modern period. And the Hindus are the closest analogue that we have to a feudal ruling caste. So it seems odd that you would single out Hindus in this context while advocating a ‘return’ to feudalism.

            • Tim, let us not stand on formality, no one ever does, not in England any way, maybe in Japan but not here. This is not some Hollywood flick. A new ‘people’ is forming in England.

              34% of primary school kids are now of another background and that will be a majority within two decades. They will be the parents and grandparents of the future. The British state has expanded the population to expand the workforce and to grow GDP, adding trillions of pounds to the private sector over a lifetime. The domestic fertility rate is collapsed, at 1.57 for UK-born mothers. The ‘breed’ of the future will be very different to that of the past.

              All things are in flux in the cosmos and that includes peoples and breeds. Nothing is, all is becoming. Industrialisation has had a massive impact on the genotype, especially in the post-imperialist period of the dependence of the capitalist state on the domestic workforce, just as cultural and technological shifts had a massive impact on the genotype in the Neolithic and Bronze Age transitions. That is how the genotype of England has always been formed.

              The ‘English’ of yesteryear are ‘gone’, or rather they will be melded with the current population of England. That is just how it is, and you may as well get over it, everyone has here.

              The ‘British state’ is a capitalist state and it exists to represent the interests of organised capital. The Tories have now agreed with CBI to lift any cap on inward bound workers and they intend to maintain the current level of 700,000 per year (350,000 net) for decades to come. It is not an ‘ethno’ state and it never was, and ethnicity makes no difference whatsoever to the British state.

              The British people are ruled by itself, to mean by persons of British citizenship and of any ethnicity, including Hindus. That is the reality of the actual British people and the actual British state. The ‘ethno’ British state is entirely imaginary and it ‘exists’ only in the imagination of some ‘ethno nationalists’. They have had zero impact on British politics and they are now disbanded here.

              Post-collapse politics is pure ‘crystal ball’ territory. I have no way of foreseeing it and neither does anyone else. It all depends on the material conditions of the time. The dissipative structure that is society will find its optimum manner of organisation in order to dissipate the available energy. The ideological superstructure will reflect the economic base, as it always does. Elements of democracy may remain, there is no way of saying from here, although historically a general franchise is very much the exception rather than the rule.

            • * “The ideological superstructure will reflect the economic base, as it always does.”

              I wish that I had added, “Politics is epiphenomenal to the dissipative structure.” lol

            • @Oh dear

              the death of the aristocrats has been very, very exaggerated


              and they still own most of the island of Great Britain


              They succeeded hiding well from the chavs.

              The Hindu culture (there are quite a few tribes who believe in that religion ) is not really designed to develop anything, change anything or build anything. It is an eternal wheel of karma where nothing really changes. However if the English prefer it that way, let them enjoy the waters of Thames-turned Ganges.

            • It’s hard to kill off the aristocracy if there is an influx of the occasional smart ass chav specimen.

              It is sort of the impulse response of the in-group genetics. Who gets to stay and who will experience downward social mobility.

              Play along with Gaia and soon you’ll rule the seas and sit upon the empire in which the sun never sets.

              Regarding Hinduism. Check out who is the CEO ‘s of Google and Microsoft.

              There are some outrageously smart kids in India.

              It’s about time for them to flush the stagnation and overpopulation down the tubes.

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