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. Oh dear says:

    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.

      • Tim Groves says:

        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.

    • Oh dear says:

      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….

      • Again, the Scots are now fighting the Hindus.

      • Erdles says:

        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.

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          “Hurricane Energy’s recent downgrade of reserves at the Lancaster oilfield west of Shetland has implications for future production from the UK, according to Rystad Energy.”

        • It beats being ruled by Hindus.

          • Lidia17 says:

            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:

            • Ed says:

              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..

          • Oh dear says:

            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.

            • Oh dear says:

              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 Groves says:

              Mr. Oh Dear, I beg you to accept that there is no people on earth who would not prefer their own bad government to the good government of an alien power.


            • Oh dear says:

              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.

            • Oh dear says:

              * “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.

            • Kowalainen says:

              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.

  2. Harry McGibbs says:

    “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…”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Making matters worse, central banks now have far less firepower than they did after the 2008 crisis… the limits of monetary policy for boosting growth are becoming increasingly apparent.”

    • my pension pots are only kept full by everybody else being gainfully employed

      please keep working to keep me out of the workhouse

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        Thank you, Norman. That’s all the motivation I need.

      • Dennis L. says:

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

        Dennis L.

        • I don’t mind if they have to sweep chimneys as long as they pay their NI contributions

          • Robert Firth says:

            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)

    • The whole “compound interest will work forever” myth doesn’t work the way people (including actuaries) thought it might.

      • Robert Firth says:

        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

  3. Harry McGibbs says:

    “U.S. Debt: The Elephant in the Room That Keeps Growing…

    “Ever increasing deficits — and therefore debt — is a gamble by politicians. They are all too aware that should interest rates rise, repaying the debt will become a major issue. If the U.S. were to default, it would risk complete collapse of the financial system.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “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.

      • misanthropr#7 says:

        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.

            • Kowalainen says:

              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. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Lose your job, lose your self? How unemployment hits men’s self-esteem.

    “In the heart of America’s oil country, suicide numbers are up as rigs close down. With a local industry in shambles, men are suffering in silence.”

    • There are also very depressed individuals, being propped up by family members. It is hard to fix the situation.

    • Slow Paul says:

      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.

      • hkeithhenson says:


        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.

        • Robert Firth says:

          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.

  5. Yoshua says:

    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.

  6. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The ‘unseen’ recession threatening to grind down our [UK] economy.

    “The impact of Covid-19 on “intangibles” such as work relationships and networking could be its biggest legacy – unless workers adapt.”

  7. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The food, beverage and entertainment sectors are strongly pleading with the Government [Trinidad and Tobago] to have discussions with them to pave the way for a safe reopening, as the danger of a socio-economic collapse is looming larger than ever.”

  8. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Duque goes blank as Colombia’s economic crisis turns catastrophic:

    “President Ivan Duque can’t seem to formulate a coherent response about an economic recovery plan… the consequences for society are disastrous for the population, which should expect the income of six million people dropping below the poverty level.”

  9. Harry McGibbs says:

    “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.

    • Robert Firth says:

      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.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “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.”

  11. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The OPEC+ member countries are on the brink of a financial crisis if the latest assessments of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are accurate.”

  12. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Tens of thousands of protesters brought the largest city in Africa [Lagos, Nigeria] to a standstill on Monday, mounting the biggest demonstration in a two-week campaign against police brutality and escalating a standoff with a government that has pledged to restore order…

    “The Lagos protests were the largest of a series of demonstrations on Monday across the West African nation of 206 million people that appeared to significantly raise the temperature between demonstrators and the government.”

  13. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:
    • Oh dear says:

      Re: renewable electricity generation

      “This map shows its rapid proliferation across the US over the past 35 years. It is possible that all 50 US states could move to 100% renewable grid energy by 2050.” (The Guardian)

      Renewable energy has risen from 7% of USA electricity consumption in 2000 to 17% in 2020 – but it ‘could’ rise to 100% in another 30 years.

      Up 10 points in 20 years, up another 83 points in another 30 years.

      The Guardian is pushing a relentlessly optimistic view of renewable electricity consumption.

      To give another perspective:

      Renewable hydroelectricity provided 30% of USA electricity in 1950 but failed to keep to pace with the growth in demand. Other renewables have been added since.

      Renewables accounted for 13% of electricity in 1997 – so 17% in 2020 represents a rise of 4 points in 23 years. 7% in 2000 was the low point.

      Renewables in 2000 provided half the proportion of electricity in USA as in the 1940s.

      But it ‘could’ provide 100% in 30 years time – the Guardian says so anyway.

      Up 4 points in 23 years, up another 83 points in 30 years.

      • Oh dear says:

        Typo correction: Renewables in [2020] provided half the proportion of electricity in USA as in the 1940s.

      • Matteo says:

        remember that in absolute terms, in the world, from 2000 to 2018, energy consumption sourced from burning coal increased 11 times faster than solar sourced energy and 5 times faster than wind sourced energy.

        • The secret of all of the growth in coal consumption was outsourcing manufacturing to China and India. Both countries use coal very heavily. This change, of course, was made in the hope of “preventing climate change.” All of the metrics for checking to see whether a given country complied considered only local fossil fuel use, not fossil fuel use in imported goods.

      • I agree that the 100% renewable electricity generation by 2050 is entirely unrealistic.

        It should be noted that even this goal is tiny compared to replacing all energy consumption with renewable electricity. Depending upon how a person counts the electricity, only about 20% or 30% of energy consumption is from electricity now. A big reason that the US and Europe import so many goods from China is because they are effectively exporting goods made with their primarily coal-based electricity. We have outsourced our electricity production to a coal producing country.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “100% renewable electricity generation by 2050 is entirely unrealistic.”

          I think any prediction that far into the future is unrealistic. That’s probably on the far side of the singularity. “Building” a wind turbine or a PV array could be as simple as planting a seed. After all, the instructions for making a wind turbine are a lot less complicated than a tree.

          If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, jump to the last minute.

          • Oh dear says:

            “That’s probably on the far side of the singularity.”

            How did you statistically ‘calculate’ that ‘probability’?

            Could you replicate the formula?

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > How did you statistically ‘calculate’ that ‘probability’?

              I didn’t. If you are actually interested, it’s in the first 70 pages of Ray Kurzweil’s book, _The Singularity is Near_. You could also Google for Vernor Vinge.

              > Could you replicate the formula?

              Sure. It’s not hard to state an equation from the graphs in Kurzweil’s book.

              I should add that the singularity or some of the things that lead up to it could be an absolute disaster for naturally evolved humans. Very few people are aware of their psychological mechanisms. One of these, which I will not try to explain, is that stressed humans groups work themselves up to wars. A trait that is easier to understand is

    • Nehemiah says:

      For most of the world’s people, life did indeed get better from 1945 to 2020. It may not be sustainable going forward, but let us not pretend that the recent past was not mankind’s material golden age. I notice among environmentalists in particular that there is often a tendency to see nothing but misery everywhere they look. Instead of naively extrapolating the past into the future, they try to extrapolate a dystopian future into the past!

  14. JMS says:

    From the mouth of a defective canadian horse, the alleged schedule to The Plan:

    – Phase in secondary lock down restrictions on a rolling basis, starting with major metropolitan areas first and expanding outward. Expected by November 2020.
    – Rush the acquisition of (or construction of) isolation facilities across every province and territory. Expected by December 2020.– Daily new cases of COVID-19 will surge beyond capacity of testing, including increases in COVID related deaths following the same growth curves. Expected by end of November 2020.– Complete and total secondary lock down (much stricter than the first and second rolling phase restrictions). Expected by end of December 2020 – early January 2021.– Reform and expansion of the unemployment program to be transitioned into the universal basic income program. Expected by Q1 2021.– Projected COVID-19 mutation and/or co-infection with secondary virus (referred to as COVID-21) leading to a third wave with much higher mortality rate and higher rate of infection. Expected by February 2021.– Daily new cases of COVID-21 hospitalizations and COVID-19 and COVID-21 related deaths will exceed medical care facilities capacity. Expected Q1–Q2 2021.– Enhanced lock down restrictions (referred to as Third Lock Down) will be implemented. Full travel restrictions will be imposed (including inter-province and inter-city). Expected Q2 2021.– Transitioning of individuals into the universal basic income program. Expected mid Q2 2021.– Projected supply chain break downs, inventory shortages, large economic instability. Expected late Q2 2021.
    – Deployment of military personnel into major metropolitan areas as well as all major roadways to establish travel checkpoints. Restrict travel and movement. Provide logistical support to the area. Expected by Q3 2021.
    The whistleblower said committee members asked who would become the owner of the forfeited property and assets in that scenario and what would happen to lenders or financial institutions. “We were simply told “the World Debt Reset program will handle all of the details.

    “Several committee members also questioned what would happen to individuals if they refused to participate in the World Debt Reset program, or the HealthPass, or the vaccination schedule, and the answer we got was very troubling.
    “Essentially we were told it was our duty to make sure we came up with a plan to ensure that would never happen. We were told it was in the individual’s best interest to participate.
    “When several committee members pushed relentlessly to get an answer, we were told that those who refused would first live under the lock down restrictions indefinitely. And that over a short period of time as more Canadians transitioned into the debt forgiveness program, the ones who refused to participate would be deemed a public safety risk and would be relocated into isolation facilities. “Once in those facilities they would be given two options, participate in the debt forgiveness program and be released, or stay indefinitely in the isolation facility under the classification of a serious public health risk and have all their assets seized.”
    The whistleblower said the heated discussion “escalated beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed before”.
    “In the end it was implied by the PMO that the whole agenda will move forward no matter who agrees with it or not, that it won’t just be Canada but in fact all nations will have similar roadmaps and agendas, that we need to take advantage of the situations before us to promote change on a grander scale for the betterment of everyone.
    “The members who were opposed and ones who brought up key issues that would arise from such a thing were completely ignored. Our opinions and concerns were ignored. We were simply told to just do it. All I know is that I don’t like it and I think it’s going to place Canadians into a dark future.”

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      wow, I was very worried but then I noticed this:

      “We were simply told “the World Debt Reset program will handle all of the details.”

      that is quite a relief.

      everybody okay with this now?

    • JMS says:

      If the planners insist that 100% of the population must be vaccinated against covid-19, we have the right to suspect there’s’s something fishy with this vaccine, since it is well known that to obtain immunity it’s never necessary to vaccinate 100% of the population.

      But a one year implementation plan? Hard to believe i think. That bit seems too “optimistic” to me. It’s hard to see how they can get this boat to mid-2121 without major disruption everywhere Social unrest can rapidly escalate to an out-of-the-plan outcome. Social media are a threat to the plan and will be treated as such. Gaggling of all dissent is on course now, as we all now. Next who knows if we’ll have detention camps for “infected” rebels, labeled as an “health hazard”. Every person is a potencial virus (carrier) now, as in the earlier narrative every person was a potential terr-orist.

      And suddenly, the old idea of looking for a bugout in the most remote and unpopulated region of my country, seems almost appealing again. But nah. Too much work for a 50’s yo couple. So, if there really comes a time when we’ll have to submit to totalitarian power, next year or later on, our only options will be to accept the yoke …or. My mind would fancy the second option, since it’s the honourable one for somebody who ever hated tiranny. But will my guts allow such a brave and graceful farewell? Ah, that only the dogs, pardon the gods know.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        yes, it’s one thing to decide now that I will resist the vaccine no matter what.

        but when/if the times comes? and what will be the authoritarian penalty?

        • woofisaywoofmyliege says:

          If it comes to pass they will whittle away I think. No renewing license plate or dl until you get the mark. Then up the pressure bit by bit. People aint going to do it. There already not complying with the mask decree let alone allow a gov mandated something injected into their body.

      • If your vaccine works very poorly and doesn’t last, even vaccinating 100% doesn’t get rid of the problem.

        • Nehemiah says:

          We already have documented cases of people contracting covid twice, and the other four coronaviruses that routinely infect humans do not confer permanent immunity either.

      • JesseJames says:

        JMS, if you are in your 50s and moving is too much work, then you deserve what is coming to you.

        • JMS says:

          “Deserve” is moral language. We are not in a moral situation. The collapse of IC is a physical fact, it has little or nothing to do with morality. We are not being punished for being naughty. This is not the last judgment.
          So why would I leave my house and my village to hide alone in a remote hole, if an eventual totalitarian state would not have difficulties in finding me? Kaczynski life is not for me. But if you believe you can defeat the repressive machine of a techno-totalitarian state, go ahead. All the luck for you.

    • Artleads says:

      How would a debt reset program affect private credit card debt?

      • I am guessing countries will try to forgive all debt. They may also try to maintain asset prices, but this will be difficult to do. An office building with no tenants is not worth much.

        • Artleads says:

          I’ve been thinking that empty buildings need to become indoor micro villages (depending on size). sO MANY UNEMPLOYED, ROOTLESS AND HOMELESS PEOPLE NEED A BASE. The way I see them do it, growing food in layers under lights LOOKS energy economical.

          Every roof can collect water, but most need central water backup. Same applies to food. (Capitalism and bureaucracy don’t work in these terms, but arranging such micro villages might maintain the buildings as assets of sorts?

          Of course, this all depends on top down, centralized planning (OF SORTS–NOT THE KIND WE HAVE NOW). Awareness of limits of all sorts.

          • don’t see how debt can be forgiven, when house and cars are bought on credit, and businesses are financed by investment/loans as well

            surely the economic system would collapse faster that way than any other

            • Artleads says:

              But if there’s a place for the indebted to fall back to? People default (or are on track to default) on debt payment. The debtors (?) “rulers?” pay a small portion of the debt to a fall back program for the indebted. (Emergency housing, basic water, food, etc.) That would be an “investment.” The indebted, forgiven of immediate debt, are nonetheless obliged to grow/produce/occupy/sell something that provides a small portion of “tax” income to the investors. Way more complex and feudal than I would hope for. Just trying to address your points in some way. The investors don’t pay the “owed” individually. They pay into a program that keeps the system going and that the owed can be compensated by. Not many new cars or new homes involved here. More like making what’s here already work (under seemingly impossible odds). Highly socialistic, but not ideologically so. Very pragmatic. Top down and bottom up integrated. Small units of governance integrated with top down, broad oversight.

            • I have a n amount of money invested in a UK building society

              which means that it is supporting the debt of someone else’s house

              if that debt is cancelled then a chunk of my savings pot gets wiped out, no matter what fancy accounting system is used to say it isn’t

            • JMS says:

              But don’t forget to add a huge increase in mortality, especially among people with chronic diseases and the old in general. I believe there’s also a cull involved in all this, since less population equals (at least in theory) more ressources per capita.

  15. Oh dear says:

    Oil and gas companies are tightening their belts due to ‘low’ prices that the article below links to low demand due to c 19 and ‘green’ policies. The industry is shrinking and many companies are filing bankruptcy or entering mergers as the larger companies begin to dominate.

    It does not seem to occur that $40 per barrel is double the historical price and may somewhat account for low demand. To admit that would be to suggest that the game is up and other factors like c 19 and ‘green’ policies allow for other narratives.

    Oil Industry Turns to Mergers and Acquisitions to Survive

    With the price of a barrel stuck around $40 and no recovery in sight, companies are combining to cut costs and ride out the pandemic.

    HOUSTON — The once mighty oil and gas industry is flailing, desperately trying to survive a pandemic that has sharply reduced demand for its products.

    Most companies have cut back drilling, laid off workers and written off assets. Now some are seeking out merger and acquisition targets to reduce costs….

    The big problem is that the fortunes of oil companies are fundamentally tied to oil and natural gas prices, which remain stubbornly low. Few experts expect a full recovery of oil demand before 2022, and some analysts have gone so far as to declare that oil demand might have peaked in 2019 and could slide in the years to come as the popularity of electric cars grows….

    More than 50 North American oil and gas companies with debts totaling more than $50 billion have sought bankruptcy protection this year….

    European oil companies have already begun pivoting away from oil and gas, plotting investments in renewable energy like wind and solar to attract new investors. While those companies have had limited success so far, American companies have for the most part stuck with their traditional businesses. They have adapted to low oil and gas prices by slashing investments by 30 percent or more. The oil and gas rig count has dropped by 569 since last fall, to only 282 operating across the country….

    As the shale industry grew over the last decade or so, many smaller companies poured billions of dollars into the Permian and other parts of the country. Now, the process appears to be headed in the opposite direction as the industry retrenches and becomes smaller.

    Investment in U.S. shale oil has dropped to an estimated $45 billion this year from roughly $100 billion annually in 2018 and 2019, according to the International Energy Agency. In its annual report released this month, the Paris-based organization said a shakeout was underway….

    Globally, daily oil consumption was down more than 6 percent in September from a year earlier, according to the Energy Department. Oil production continues to outpace demand, keeping inventory levels high and prices low….

  16. Nehemiah says:

    Addendum: I should have added, all three of those “worst recessions since the Great Depression” were also compounded by monetary policy:

    1971: Arthur Burns targeted lower interest rates which sparked the biggest bank lending boom in US history, allowing the not very popular Nixon to win reelection in an all time record landslide in 1972, but recession took off afterward, forcing the Fed to tighten in 1974 in a drive to “Whip Inflation Now.” They knew it would trigger a recession, but they had no idea how severe.

    1981-82: Fed head Paul Volker was bidding up interest rates to record highs in another bid to drive down inflation.

    2008-09: began after Fed started tightening after spinning a huge credit bubble for several preceding years.

  17. Nehemiah says:

    The following site presents a naively libertarian view of what how people *might* manage post collapse, but overlooking the fact that they never have. I will quote a short portion not dedicated to anarcho-libertarian hopium:

    An explosive cocktail

    These things feed on, and magnify, one another.
    Government bankruptcy feeds welfare collapse.
    Welfare collapse feeds public anger.
    Public anger feeds political, wealth-based, and religious conflict.
    Conflict feeds uncertainty about state authority.
    Uncertainty about state authority feeds government bankruptcy. Until…

    ‘…we [pre-collapse Soviets] had a budget deficit [not total debt] of more than 20 per cent [of GDP]. If you look at the point where military coups are carried out in Latin America, you will find that they coincide with a budget deficit of 20 per cent. That is when a country becomes ungovernable.’

    In 2009, after the last credit crunch, Britain’s budget deficit was over 11% of GDP. America’s was over 10%.
    If the next crunch is as bad as the last then the deficit will hit 20%.

    When is the next crunch due?

    1973-1975 OPEC recession
    1981-1982 Monetarist recession
    1990-1991 Savings and loan recession
    2001-2001 recession
    2008-2009 Housing bubble recession
    … ? Bond bubble recession

    ‘… whenever there are hard times, people look for somebody to blame. … Financial types get blamed first, the foreigners get blamed second, and (reporters) are next.’

    ‘The trend — as shown by the Balkan wars — is toward denationalization, privatization and commercialization of war, in the course of which local warlords, bandit chiefs, mercenary-hiring companies, as well as internationally connected and deployable religious warriors are increasingly the real actors in the prosecution of war. …Do not count on a treaty, a ceasefire or concluding peace. Just think about informing yourself on the effects of it and preparing for its development.’ – Udo Ulfkotte, author and journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    My own comments:

    The Wuhan viral recession is only the second in a long series of US recessions that was not preceded by a spike in oil prices during the previous 12 months. It is especially interesting to look at the three worst “post war” recessions:

    1974-5: after OPEC imposed an oil embargo and then doubled prices, worst recession since the Great Depression.

    1981-82: after OPEC doubled oil prices, the new ‘worst recession since the Great Depression.”

    2008-09: started while oil futures were spiking, ultimately to $147 a barrel before global demand imploded, the newest “worst recession since the Great Depression.”

  18. MG says:

    The digital currencies can not preserve value, as everybody can create its own digital currency. That way the digital currencies are prone to inflation due uncontrolled creation, while the regulated state currencies are prone to deflation, as their issuance is controlled and they reflect the fundamentals of the ageing populations and energy decline.

    • MG says:

      Maybe the digital currencies are here to mask the inflation caused by the depletion of resources, i.e. that the future promises will be satisfied only partially or not at all.

  19. Oh dear says:

    The Chinese economy is doing well with 4.9% growth in Q3 year on year. CCP has long practically eradicated c 19 and its economy has recovered to usual levels of growth.

    UK is well behind the pack, down 20+% in Q3 on year and struggling with a second wave of c 19. UK has practically the worst response in the world to c 19 in both excess deaths per capita and economic damage – quite some accomplishment.

    Those who are hoping for a no deal Brexit may take some comfort, TP level of incompetence implies that will be the outcome. And Boris can ‘crown’ his spell in office with a UK split.

    > China’s economy grows 4.9% as industrial production surges, retail sales rise and unemployment sinks – while the rest of the world is crippled by coronavirus epidemic that started in Wuhan

    China’s economy has grown 4.9 per cent in the third quarter from last year proving the country is back to its pre-pandemic trajectory with consumer spending and industrial production going back to normal levels.

    The third-quarter GDP figures fell slightly short of the growth of up to 6.0 per cent forecast at the start of the year before Covid-19 crippled the global economy.

    However, the figures are far more favourable than the dire economic data coming out of most Western countries, showing how China has bounced back quickly despite being the first country to suffer the coronavirus outbreak.

    As the virus spread across the globe, China started to bring the outbreak under control and began to reopen its economy, growing 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, and 3.2 per cent in the April-June quarter.

    Since China fought off the outbreak, Chinese firms have taken advantage of their good fortune while their global rivals grapple with reduced manufacturing capacity.

    Chinese firms have benefited from strong global demand for masks and medical supplies, with exports rising 9.9 per cent in September from a year earlier while factory activity also picked up.

    The country’s technology sector has also taken advantage of the work-from-home phenomenon with apps including DingTalk and WeChat bringing in huge revenues.

    Now the International Monetary Fund is projecting China’s economy to expand by 1.9 percent in 2020 which means it’ll be the only major world economy to grow this year.

    [Q3 year on year:]

    • But China’s growth rate isn’t really sustainable, partly because the rest of the world is shrinking, so it isn’t a sufficient market for China’s products. Also, China was having economic problems even before the pandemic. These continue. The prices of homes are too high for citizens. People could not afford cars and cell phones. These problems have been hidden by programs to build basically unneeded public infrastructure in China. This adds jobs, but doesn’t have long-run benefit.

      • Oh dear says:

        Very likely so, Gail. CCP has the manufacturing and they have done well flogging disaster gear to the world to help with c 19. Perhaps they will find some niches to help as the global economy collapses like riot gear.

        CCP is ‘changing gear’ to shift its economy more toward internal circulation. It has largely achieved its objectives to develop its industrial base, cutting-edge technology and its ‘middle-income’ group through exports and its next objective is to build on that to develop the internal market.

        CCP is nothing if not strategically adaptable and it is seizing the occasion afforded by Trump’s hostility and now c 19 to refocus on internal circulation. That should make its economy less reliant on international consumers though it obviously takes time.

        As you say, it will be interesting to see how CCP grapples with energy availability. We can be sure that they are thinking seriously and realistically about it. I am obviously not suggesting that CCP development will go on forever after.

        This current article by Jianhuo in the Global Times alludes to ambitions.

        > China’s domestic consumption to continue spiraling up in 2020

        …. For starters, boosting consumption is not just a temporary priority, but also an important step in deepening supply-side reforms and initiating economic internal circulation. As the top troika driving economic growth, consumption will be stressed in coming years during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.

        As the US is taking all conceivable measures to contain China’s rise, and China has made a strategic decision to initiate internal circulation of the giant economy, increasing consumption will not only solve the current problems of the virus impacts, but also solve the problems of long-term economic development in the future.

        Secondly, China can take measures to further promote consumption, for instance, by expanding the scale of government procurement, creating non-subsidized incentive levers, and setting up more import duty-free shops.

        Meanwhile, priority should be given to the development of education, childcare, elderly care, medical care, culture, tourism and other service industries in order to accelerate the pace of consumption upgrade. For example, making full use of 5G will accelerate the pace of intelligent transformation of manufacturing enterprises.

        After COVID-19, China will lead the global consumer market. China’s middle-income group has reached 400 million, more than the total population of the US, and its purchasing power will become the most important consumer power for China’s economic development.

        Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 is also the best opportunity for China to carry out a “new consumer revolution,” which can facilitate consumption through making use of new technologies like mobile payment, big data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and smart logistics.

        At the same time, it is necessary to further promote the regionalization and internationalization of consumption, that is, to develop cross-border e-commerce services, bring China’s e-commerce services and new consumer revolution to the world.

        It’s believed that consumption in the Chinese market in 2020 will still be the biggest driving force for China’s economic growth, and it is also an important step in starting the economic internal cycle.

        • Nehemiah says:

          The CCP needs a dose of reality. It’s at best a middle income country, its working age population is falling while its elderly population is growing (and most of them must rely on their children–or child), it’s official GDP is a perennial fiction, their total debt is way larger than they admit, and they have the biggest housing bubble in world history, and shoddily built infrastructure that will soon need costly repairs.

          • Oh dear says:

            It seems difficult to untangle the reality of China from CCP and Western accounts as there is obvious bias on both sides. It is the no. 1 ‘h ate’ figure in USA now just as it is the no. 1 ‘love’ figure to CCP itself. It is hard to get anywhere when opposed voices do not agree on the same ‘facts’.

            Demographics have to be contextualised. CCP has access to many workers not presently involved in more productive work. More elderly will affect productivity per capita, with more people not working, but that would not per se constrain the expansion of production while CCP still has many workers to apply to more productive work. The analysis requires nuance according to the actual situation of the economy.

            Western ‘mature’ economies, with flat productivity, particularly rely on ever more inward bound workers to maintain GDP growth. Production in China can be boosted through the creation of more productive jobs. Chinese productivity growth has averaged over 6% per year over the last decade while USA is at stuck at 0.5%.

            So for China it is not all about getting ever more workers, like it is for USA, EU, UK etc., it is about the creation of more productive jobs for the workers that it has. The elderly can function as an aspect of domestic consumption.

    • Jason says:

      If you want to get to what causes a person to make certain decisions, you don’t ask, you follow the money. If you want to know the true growth of a Country, you don’t follow the money, you follow the oil. If there is an accurate way of measuring the quantity of oil use in a country, you have an accurate way of measuring growth. Only way in this age of disinformation. Let’s see how much oil/coal China used this year.

  20. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The US economy is in Recession; we just haven’t felt it because of the CARES Act stimulus, but, eventually we will because we have a huge, huge unemployment problem.

    “And then there is the oncoming eviction crisis (on hold until year’s end); there hasn’t been much discussion about this, and I wonder if it is priced into financial markets.”

    • The question is how long all the problems can be hidden behind temporary government programs that distort the financial system. Airlines are operating at far below capacity, as are restaurants, hotels and daycare centers. Entertainment venues have far too few customers. It seems like, at some point, the situation has to fail.

      If is hard to see governments ever allowing evictions, however. Perhaps, the problem will come elsewhere, as in a shortage of food in stores.

      • misanthropr#7 says:

        If you cant evict you cant rent out a property. It already had reached crazy lengths of time prior to covid. My friend allowed a couple into his house. She was pregnant and they had no where to go. After the child was born he asked them to leave after a month. They refused it took him omost 6 months to get them evicted from his own house. Most tenants resent that they have to pay and see the landlord as despicable. Many people have familiarized themselves with the laws and know how to work the system. In the long run this leads to no one renting out property. I have liked being able to help people and offer a spare room to those in need but its too risky now. Its very sad. When someone needs shelter it means the world to them and its a minor inconvenience to me but the risk is just too great. As owning a house becomes near impossible for the working class and renting or sharing homes becomes too risky where will people live?

        • Artleads says:

          Using commercial materials, you can slap a shelter together (less with creativity and volunteers). The design I have in mind is “easy” to instal and remove. I’d give everyone who needs it such a shelter, Where to locate them is the problem. Assume that they will tend to be unruly, noisy trouble making wherever you locate them and give much consideration to how to manage the resulting problems. Part of that would require incredibly sophisticated and rigorous management.

          • Artleads says:

            “… you can slap a shelter together FOR $500”

            • misanthropr#7 says:

              Where i live a lot of people do just that. It doesn’t solve the real problem. The real problem is finacialization of homes and overpopulation. I am all for smaller more austere homes. I like Robert Riversongs work. You need a toilet. You need a water source. You need a heat source. You need at least minimal power for lighting. Yes you can live under a piece of plastic. I am well aware of that. The question is what does the shelter represent in terms of appropriate relation to the planet, and the community for the dweller. A $500 box does not address that. We could discuss which $500 box is best but it would be a waste of time. Yes you can do a bootleg home. I would argue that one of the primary functions of a home is to provide the sense of security. If you know your home is non compliant and can and will be destroyed if it comes to the authorities attention it does not serve those functions. I know of a perfectly good straw bale home that was torn down once the authorities found out about it. Straw bale is still the best from a sustainability standpoint. Followed by well insulated stick frame home. Look at Riversongs work. Its all academic. I am talking about real world. The problem is not boxes. We have plenty of boxes. The problem is food. Does your $500 design has food production capability?

          • Artleads says:

            “you can slap a shelter together” for $500

          • Dennis L. says:


            Do not do shelter personally, only know what I have heard at various seminars. The type of tenant you describe if not homeless lives in a very low rent area, rules are different, not unusual to have various gangs provide assistance in management. They are neither sophisticated nor rigorous in management, they are as we say here, “self organizing.”

            You are also ignoring sanitation, plumbing, RE taxes to pay for all that.

            No easy solutions,

            Dennis L.

          • Norman Pagett says:

            if a shack has a lifetime of 10 years, you might as well put the cost of rigourous management’ towards a decent house in the first place

            • Artleads says:

              I’m not seeing the space or economic circumstances for what I presume you mean by “decent housing.” I know people will build them anyway, but they will come in like more rope to hang themselves with. And I totally disagree that rigorously managing a shack is as costly than building what is generally called “decent housing.”

            • i assumed that ‘rigourous management’ meant a paid outside body of some kind

              since we left trees and caves, we have had to seek places to live,

              this has put a premium of rising cost on them.

              though around here, people lived well enough in caves untill well into the 2oth c, and still are.

              this one was sold recently, truly stunning


            • Artleads says:

              “i assumed that ‘rigourous management’ meant a paid outside body of some kind”

              Unfortunately it does. 🙂 I’d like to be given an extraordinary amount of money (with few strings attached) to pay people. Starting with a very capable manger of the program (who will do what I tell them). I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said that this was not a feasible idea. But the infeasibility has to do with psychological rather than physical limits.

              Thanks for the cave link. It’s a palatial concept and wouldn’t suit as a place to squeeze in a lot of dwelling units and allow the degree of privacy and independence I have in mind. 🙂

            • Artleads says:

              It could probably work for a close-knit extended family.

          • There is a big difference in the type of shelter needed, depending upon the climate. In warm, moderately wet parts of the world, the equivalent of a $500 box does seem to serve as housing for a lot of people, especially in the slums of third-world countries. If the temperature gets down to -10F, then you need heat and insulation. Even a nearby water pump you could walk to needs heat and insulation. It becomes a much more infrastructure-dependent arrangement.


            • Artleads says:

              Thanks. I meant to say some of this. And I’m impressed by the neatness of the spreads on the clothes line. However it’s done (and it can be done in endless variety and places) there is order here.

            • DJ says:

              Samis and inuits didn’t have much “infrastructure”

          • Robert Firth says:

            “Assume that they will tend to be unruly, noisy trouble making wherever you locate them …” Then locate them nowhere. They made their bed; let them lie in it. We are too soft hearted towards people who live only to exploit our compassion.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge or Mr. Marley?


            • Artleads says:

              🙂 There are lots of troublesome people in the world. So many in fact, that leaving them to their own devices makes life next to impossible for the rest. So “taking care of them” is less soft heartedness than pragmatism. Taking care of the helpless in this manner is what the British colonial system at its height did reasonably well. Or it at least provided clues as to how best to try it.

        • A says:

          FOR $500

          • JesseJames says:

            The most free people I have seen in life lived in remote Papa New Gineau near the sea. A stick hut house sitting 4 or so feet high above the ground protected them from flooding, rain and snakes I guess. Add in some chickens and a pig or two. Along the shore one can pick wild coconuts and mangos and eat them on the spot. Have a small canoe carved from a tree and fish the sea. Total freedom. It was amazing. Poverty also but your basic needs were met.

            • To Papuans, life was what they made it. Idyllic in so many ways.

              Their immediate needs: food warmth and shelter were met by their immediate surroundings. No need for more.

              We are the only species to have made the decision to try to ‘improve’ their situation. We trekked away from the comfort of the equatorial regions and ensured our survival by stealing our ‘energy resources’ from other animals.

              Right now we are finding that wasn’t such a good idea after all. We didn’t know they were protected by some very bad tempered little bugs. We thought we owned the world, not realising they did.

              poverty only becomes apparent when there is affluence to measure it by. Now indigenous tribes ‘know’ they live in poverty because they see affluence all around them. They want electric light and boat engines to ‘improve’ their lives.

              In the long run they won’t of course, but we are all afflicted by short-termism

              Viruses are here for the long haul. I doesn’t include us.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Jesse, I learned log ago that wealth is not measured by how much you have, but by how little you need. Granted, compared with a Papuan I need a lot more, but my savings will outlast me, and I can live a gentle retirement on EUR 500 a month. For personal comfort, I have my five children; for spiritual comfort, my Pantheist philosophy. As for the rest, “my library is dukedom large enough”.

            • Lidia17 says:

              Idyllic apart from the head-hunting and genital-eating:

              That’s part of the total freedom, too.

        • Dennis L. says:


          The other aspect is the professional class whose livelihood depends on keeping the process going, be it government services or fee for service lawyers, etc.

          A number of years ago I picked up a RE broker’s license, MN, the rules are not in the landlords favor. From what I see, many are not really capable of owing a house, more in temperament than anything else. Partially as a result of what you describe landlords run properties to the ground, tenants live on the street in the extreme, no one wins, some scrapped money off the top as it went by in the name of helping people in need.

          Commercial at one time was much less regulated, fewer laws, easy eviction, etc. Now, there are no tenants with money, strip malls around here are emptying out.

          There is nothing easy any more.

          Dennis L.

          • All of these regulations require energy consumption for enforcement. Also, for compliance with the regulations. As the economy goes downhill, leaders will push in the direction of less enforcement of regulations. At some point, other part of the system will fail. The sales price of the property may fall far below the amount of mortgage outstanding, for example, causing problems for banks.

            • Artleads says:

              From what I’m learning here (that supplies factual analysis for much of what I had previously assumed) is that:

              – regulation will get harder to enforce, and governments might be corralled into accepting non-government help to create and manage emergency housing.

              – solar panels at scale should be able to light a tiny space. Charge a tiny battery to run a tiny heater (supplied by management)?

              – humans must evolve

              – evolution doesn’t mean dramatic changes; it means very minor changes, a greater amount than now rigorously managed.

              – not everything needs to be managed in a command sense.

              – rigorous management can mean knowing when to leave well enough alone

              – rigorous management can also be intelligent management

              – intelligent management will be cognizant of limitations and will welcome every possible means to delegate and synchronize. This can partly be described as systems thinking

              – it seems unlikely that third world societies can be asked to provide sophisticated or academic systems thinking.

              – Food is unquestionably part of the planning for crisis shelter. Space to grow food would of course be part of the planning. But one would not expect novices to grow even a majority of their food. A command management system (again, delegating to the maximum) would arrange for one daily cooked meal for all.

              – Water is similar to food. Indispensable. Similar to the food-supply principle, a certain amount would be collected from roofs. Backed up by regular supplies of trucked-in water. If people didn’t manage their provided (and partly self-created) water containment infrastructure they would get no water, and could be forcibly removed to an infirmary. It clearly would require police and military planning around this.

              – Sanitation would be via compost toilets that would clearly be managed. There are countless outlying mine pits needing to be filled with such supplies, at the very least. If there is a means to professionally compost sewerage–no pipes involved–then you have more sanitary compost, and jobs.

              – We certainly need to hang on th as much central government as we can. They might be good at collecting taxes, fixing the grid, filling potholes. The better small local units of governance are run, the better they should be at getting represented by central government.

              – Population is too grand a subject to consider here. It sure isn’t my basic concern. As the economic system declines population, just like climate, should go in a more sustainable direction. The problem is human conduct and organization. Many women I know would have welcomed not being “forced” and pressured into marriage and child bearing. So why force and pressure them?

              Finally, crisis housing isn’t a “real” problem? Check in with a homeless person.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Yes, home interest is deductible, but it’s still costly if you buy a historically overpriced and not highly liquid asset with a low down payment. If you up the down payment so that you pay less total interest, then the value of the deduction declines further. And of course the risk of a price correction putting you underwater does not go away, which is probably the biggest risk you run.

            You can always get lucky because you never know how long a bubble can continue, but it is never an intrinsically prudent investment to buy a long term investment with limited and variable liquidity at a historically high valuation. And deducting that interest from your pre-tax income is not nearly as valuable as not paying the interest at all. Of course, if are a spooky psychic with an infallible crystal ball that let’s you know exactly when the bubble will burst in your area, then you can safely buy under any conditions. Otherwise, you always run the risk of overpaying at or near the market top. And if you want to maximize those tax free cap gains, your best bet is to buy when historical prices are low or at least typical.

            But the point I originally meant to imply is that there is something strange about houses trading like bonds.

            • Dennis L. says:


              You are well thought and enjoyable to read. As always, no arguments.

              Whether or not the house goes up or down in price really doesn’t matter unless liquidation is involved.

              People purchase on the basis cashflow, monthly payments as you noted, purchase when interest rates are high, cost is low, refinance. People need a home, rental builds no equity.

              Don’t over leverage, don’t use the house as a piggy bank, taking out equity to purchase depreciating assets. People see things going up, banks love to loan money against a house, it is a secured asset. Buy a house, stay married, have a roof, have some security and enjoy life and don’t do second mortgages that depreciate and also have significant carrying costs, licenses, insurance, etc.

              Dennis L.

        • Fred Koenig says:

          I’ve been solidly middle-class for 20 years, as has my wife, who only left the labor market for short periods around the birth of our three children. We live in a metropolitan area on the west coast of the US. Owning a home here is next to impossible as any home that is affordable is: on a minuscule lot, would require sleeping with a 9mm under my pillow, would likely need many repairs/upgrades, and would be incredibly difficult to purchase this sort of home in any case, as there’re so many other interested buyers, many of which will pay with cash. This economic/housing reality is so radically different from the paradigm that was in place when I was a young adult. It’s so thoroughly a seller’s market. It’s a zero-sum game, and potential buyers are like myself are rightfully apathetic.

          • misanthropr#7 says:

            Great post! Solutions seem elusive. It basically takes a lifetime to provide a home for yourself nowadays. IF you can find a job. There is no more cheap land. Nevada outside of vegas still affordable tho… 🙂

          • Nehemiah says:

            Houses these days trade like bonds, where the principle is inverse to the yield. Depending on market conditions, you get to either pay the bank/mortgage lender a low rate on a large principle or a high rate on a smaller principle. However, in the latter condition, you have the option of saving and paying a fair price with cash, or putting down a large down payment, or paying the principle off early to save on interest payments. In the former condition, which currently prevails, you are overpaying on the principle. If housing corrects to its historic multiple of mean family income, you will be underwater.

            • Dennis L. says:


              Interest is deductible, principal is not, capital gains on residences are for the most part non taxable.

              Purchase when interest rates are very high if possible, refinance when they go down, they always do. Purchase when everyone thinks the world is going to end, it never has and what do you have to lose? If the world ends it is game over, if it doesn’t you may win something, expected yield greater for optimists than pessimists.

              Dennis L.

            • These rules certainly worked in the past. It is more iffy now, especially where housing stock is very old. Homes may need substantial renovation to be livable. Nearby roads may need work and the cost may be borne by those living nearby. If the home is considered “historical,” it may be necessary to preserve outside details, whenever renovation is done. If the house has water damage, be very careful; this may be a chronic problem. All of these things may push annual costs way, way up.

              Also, you may need to sell suddenly and not be able to. This may tie you to a very limited job market.

            • Artleads says:

              Gail, historic preservation is central to worldwide tourism. The same old buildings and artifacts have been attracting centuries of tourism, and must surely be an economic plus to maintain.

          • Dennis L. says:

            It is not fun, it is not easy, move your mother in law or your mother in. My dad did it, woman I dated and knew for the same period, her maternal grand parents lived in the house, small house, one bathroom. That woman went on to become full dean and prof at a Big Ten university, married the head of her department, 10 years her senior, I guess if it works.

            Much of what we see from the outside is not what life is like on the inside. Most of us are not unlike the duck moving along the water, feet are going like crazy under the surface.

            Nice job on three children.

            Dennis L.

      • Artleads says:

        Not able to post. The structure I alluded to below I price at $500 for materials. I worked it out for around $300, but knowing my usual minimizing of the problems I increased the price.

        • misanthropr#7 says:

          Live in your $500 box for a year. I dare you. Double dog dare you. Do that and you will have accomplished something.

          • Artleads says:

            I’ve slept under a tree, and I’ve slept in a car. The car, especially, was less comfortable than what I’m proposing. If I don’t have some basic experience of the thing I’m proposing, I don’t waste time talking about it.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Commercial here is beginning to thin out, more and more vacant buildings, it seems the newer(read higher cost) malls are having more of a challenge. The one doing best by me has mostly very small spaces, one man offices, a liquor store with an up aisle and a down aisle.

        Some food at Sam’s is more spotty than a year ago, Hyvee has less depth on the shelves. Lumber is very expensive and not always available. I am told(not a hunter) bullets are almost impossible to find, no personal experience. There is not the selection in used cars, perhaps people are purchasing them after the lease expires. The local pub had two people in it Saturday night, they closed two three hours early.

        Governments here are facing financial issues, Cities are having requests by citizens for more police coverage(police retired early, imagine that), Minneapolis city council is doing an interesting dance around that issue, they need money to rebuild the precinct station they allowed to burn down, but the neighborhood was also burned and RE taxes reflect lower assessed values, bummer.

        This is a good area, it is beginning to be stressed, there is denial.

        Dennis L.

        • I was surprised to hear about the problems in Minneapolis, earlier this year. It used to be a nice area. We always used to hear about “Minnesota nice.” I have heard that there is a huge between the average income of Somalis and the average income of White residents. This seems to be at least part of the problem.

      • Patrick says:

        Hello Gail,

        do you really expect food shortages in the foreseeable future? And if so, why?
        Production, transport, retail … all of this continues to run normally here with us (in Germany) regardless of Corona.

  21. Harry McGibbs says:

    “China’s gross domestic product rose 4.9% year-on-year last quarter, slightly missing expectations but still music to the ears of policymakers worried about unemployment and souring loans…

    “Too much has depended on state-driven industrial activity, credit-fuelled land sales, and a construction binge. Leverage among non-financial entities rose 20 percentage points in the first half to 266% of output, the biggest spike since the global financial crisis.”

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “…some economists warn that expecting China to continue spending, producing and exporting at these [accelerating] levels is wishful thinking—especially as the government clamps down on debt and global uncertainties pile up.”

      • China’s government spending on things such as roads and trains can easily go to places where they are not needed, leading to a low payback in the future. Also, the article notes,

        Now, Beijing policy makers are intent on clamping down on home prices that have soared out of reach for many ordinary Chinese. Overleveraged property developers are also scrambling to rein in debt.

        In the past, “the commodity market benefited a lot from China’s infrastructure and real-estate strength,” said Louis Kuijs, a Hong Kong-based economist for Oxford Economics. This time around, Mr. Kuijs says, “it’s not going to be as big a party as it was in 2009 and 2010.”

        • Nehemiah says:

          China not only has a huge amount of debt, insecure property rights, unreliable rule of law and “secret” laws, massive malinvestment, and declining domestic coal and oil production, but also its working age population has been declining for several years. China is getting old faster than it is getting rich.

          • I agree with you on most of this. I am doubtful that the working age population has been declining for several years. I expect it is starting to decline now. I know that the graduate students I worked with when I was over there often were not only children. It seems like the retirement age could be raised somewhat, too, to help keep the number of workers up.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Western demographers previously forecast China’s working age population to begin declining from 2015, but they were too optimistic. China officially admits its working age population has been falling since 2011:
              China’s labor force fell to 897.29 million workers in 2018, falling by 0.5% in the seventh straight year of decline, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
              From 2011 to 2018, China’s working-age population — people between the ages of 16 and 59 — shrank 2.8%, the NBS announced (link in Chinese) at a news conference Monday. As of the end of last year, the working-age population accounted for 64.3% of China’s roughly 1.4 billion people.

    • Thinking that China can keep up its rapid increase in debt is related to the idea that the US, Europe, Japan, and Australia can keep everything operating at an even keel with ever more debt. Something has to break, sometime.

  22. Harry McGibbs says:

    “ACI World and IATA have issued a joint call for non-debt-generating financial support to “prevent the systemic collapse of the aviation industry”.

    ““The Covid-19 pandemic remains an existential crisis, and airports, airlines and their commercial partners need direct and swift financial assistance to protect essential operations and jobs,” says ACI World director general Luis Felipe de Oliveira during a briefing today.

    ““Without this action, it is not an exaggeration that the industry is facing collapse.””

  23. From WSJ: Auto Makers Grapple With Battery-Fire Risks in Electric Vehicles
    Incidents involving electric vehicles made by GM, Ford and others highlight dangers of lithium batteries

    U.S. safety regulators this month opened a probe into more than 77,000 electric Chevy Bolts made by General Motors Co. GM 2.64% after two owners complained of fires that appeared to have begun under the back seat, where the battery is located.

    . . .electric-vehicle fires are a major topic in the battery industry. Analysts say the threat of more fires looms as auto makers face pressure to lower the costs of electric vehicles, pack more energy-dense batteries into them and ramp up production.

    Many instances of recalls in this article as well.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Thank you, Gail. Autonomous vehicles require an anergy source. Of course, vehicles connected to the grid, such as the streetcars that were the best transportation system the US ever devised, did not, but that his history.

      What is the best such energy source? One that needs no special treatment, no special precautions, and is available on demand. Answer: gasoline.

      What are the alternatives? None. Live with it.

  24. Yoshua says:


    It’s E.T. technology. They are leaving a double message.

    1. To the military – we own you.
    2. To the people – we are benovelent.

  25. Dennis L. says:

    “Conclusion: The world economy really needs a new, very
    inexpensive energy source now”

    What we need and what we have are two different things, we are going to have to deal with the problem with what we have.

    Reading some of the comments is a bit like Kubler Ross, various stages of grief. We are not getting off this planet, it is the spacecraft which is carrying us around the galaxy. We are going to deal with what we have with what is at hand now. We need stuff, but we don’t have to build it here anymore and even if we want to there isn’t enough stuff or enough energy here to do it, you all have convinced me. FWIW, I don’t think UFO’s are the answer and that is a real reach.

    For the curious, Google slingshoting satellites, fascinating, one either steals momentum from a large planet, or gives momentum to a large body resulting in increased or decreased speed, the bigger the mass, the greater the effect, the sun has been mentioned, that should do for that problem and a fusion heat source.

    The ideas I have thrown up are somewhat mature, they are engineering issues. Man built pyramids, cathedrals, etc. and held civilizations together, man is somewhat remarkable that way we do tend to pull together for the greater good.

    Somewhere a group of very smart people have figured this out and are making plans to solve the problem. We are in a gravity well, getting out of it is very difficult, my guess is we are going back to the moon. This earth is a very special place, we will preserve it, some force somewhere put a great deal of work into this planet, we will get a bit of help here and there, we will make it, we need hope, with a bit of care and luck we can have our cake and eat it too.

    Dennis L.

    • No One says:

      As someone who has been through all the stages, it is obvious to me some are still on the first stage of the K-R model, despite the obvious conclusions of each excellent article posted here. The early stages me envies you, Dennis. It must be bliss.

    • No matter how bad things are, people need to have some sense of purpose with respect to what they are doing now. They also need a sense of hope, even for the short-term future.

      We can’t always focus on how terrible things might be. It worries people too much. We need to be thinking about the positives of the current moment. We need to have a way of accepting what is happening, but at the same time still allow people to explore what seem to be far-out ideas for mitigating our problems somewhat.

    • Slow Paul says:

      As you say, Dennis, the earth is a very special place. We will not find a more suitable home ever. So why go out looking for something we already have?

  26. Nehemiah says:

    NEWS RELEASE 16-OCT-2020
    When good governments go bad
    History shows that societies collapse when leaders undermine social contracts
    Whether societies are ruled by ruthless dictators or more well-meaning representatives, they fall apart in time, with different degrees of severity. In a new paper, anthropologists examined a broad, global sample of 30 pre-modern societies. They found that when “good” governments–ones that provided goods and services for their people and did not starkly concentrate wealth and power–fell apart, they broke down more intensely than collapsing despotic regimes. And the researchers found a common thread in the collapse of good governments: leaders who undermined and broke from upholding core societal principles, morals, and ideals.

    “Pre-modern states were not that different from modern ones. Some pre-modern states had good governance and weren’t that different from what we see in some democratic countries today,” says Gary Feinman, the MacArthur curator of anthropology at Chicago’s Field Museum and one of the authors of a new study in Frontiers in Political Science.
    “We noted the potential for failure caused by an internal factor that might have been manageable if properly anticipated,” says Richard Blanton, a professor emeritus of anthropology at Purdue University and the study’s lead author. “We refer to an inexplicable failure of the principal leadership to uphold values and norms that had long guided the actions of previous leaders, followed by a subsequent loss of citizen confidence in the leadership and government and collapse.”
    Societies with good governance tend to last a bit longer than autocratic governments that keep power concentrated to one person or small group. But the flip side of that coin is that when a “good” government collapses, things tend to be harder for the citizens, because they’d come to rely on the infrastructure of that government in their day-to-day life. “With good governance, you have infrastructures for communication and bureaucracies to collect taxes, sustain services, and distribute public goods. You have an economy that jointly sustains the people and funds the government,” says Feinman. “And so social networks and institutions become highly connected, economically, socially, and politically. Whereas if an autocratic regime collapses, you might see a different leader or you might see a different capital, but it doesn’t permeate all the way down into people’s lives
    The researchers also examined a common factor in the collapse of societies with good governance: leaders who abandoned the society’s founding principles and ignored their roles as moral guides for their people. “In a good governance society, a moral leader is one who upholds the core principles and ethos and creeds and values of the overall society,” says Feinman. “Most societies have some kind of social contract, whether that’s written out or not, and if you have a leader who breaks those principles, then people lose trust, diminish their willingness to pay taxes, move away, or take other steps that undercut the fiscal health of the polity.”

    • As I read this, it looks to me as if “societies with good governance” are societies which are using more energy for “infrastructures for communication and bureaucracies to collect taxes, sustain services, and distribute public goods.” In other worlds, they are the ones that have managed to get their energy consumption per capita with respect to public spending up to the highest level. These are the ones that collapsed the hardest (broke down most intensely, in the words of the author).

      These societies tend to last a little longer than ones without all of this built infrastructure. When these societies fail, the problems don’t permeate all of the way down into people’s lives.

      We have become terribly dependent on many systems today, including electricity, paved roads and traffic on them, and international trade. Also schools to educate children and provide free daycare at the same time. If/when they break down, we will be in very bad shape. A subsistence farmer or local tradesperson, operating without all of these supports, could get along, even without the government providing what little it had in the past.

    • I should add that I am a little confused/skeptical about the “breaking the social contract” part. It sounds like the leaders were just “bad.” But I expect that there was a reason why the social contract was broken. There was too little energy available to keep it. Perhaps weather had been bad. Keeping everyone alive would no longer work. It was necessary for some disadvantaged group to die at an excessive rate to keep food per capita high enough. The leader would be considered to be “breaking a social contract.” But, that was the way it had to be, given the situation.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Gee, can people now get research grants for recycling Aristotle’s “Politics”? I wasted my PhD work in Cambridge, and should have taken a doctorate in plagiarism and flogging dead horses.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Not only have mankind reached the diminishing returns of oil, but also in some intellectual endeavor.

        We desperately need new perspectives from our AI overlords.

        Repetition is the ultimate boredom.

        However, figuring sh17 out on your own and then discovering that the Greats such as Aristotle already have pondered upon it isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      • Nehemiah says:

        LOL, I had not thought about it, but it does indeed have some similarities to _The Politics_, a timeless work whose insights are as valuable today as they were in the fourth century BC.

      • Nehemiah says:

        LOL, I had not thought about it, but the thesis does indeed have some similarities to _The Politics_, a timeless work whose insights are as valuable today as they were in the fourth century BC.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Robert, my Italian husband refers to Poggio Bracciolini as a forger of classic manuscripts. I would welcome what I would regard as your informed opinion about the discovery of certain documents and the socio-political context of those discoveries. Could Bracciolini’s excursions have been in any way analogous to those of Werner von Braun?

        • Robert Firth says:

          Lydia, I confess I have never heard of Bracciolini as a forger; my only knowledge of him is as one of the inventors of the ‘humanist’ script, and I looked no further.

          However, I am insatiably curious, so please allow me time to pursue this thread.

  27. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “Fukushima To Dump 1 Million Tons Of Radioactive Water Into Pacific”

    • Dennis L. says:

      Put them on the moon, when they don’t work on earth it is a real mess.

      Dennis L.

      • Fred says:

        A space elevator can carry the high voltage cables back from the nukes on the moon. Problem solved!

        Next task, build a lightweight, portable battery that contains the same energy as a jerrycan of diesel.

        I’m listening to Beyond Oil 2020 and they’re celebrating that the oil industry is kaput and solar is so cheap it will take over. I feel I’ve missed something important somewhere.

        Although COVID has poleaxed oil demand to the extent that the remaining oil might last a lot longer, providing there’s enough companies and skilled people left to get it out.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The “battery” is called fissile materials.

          Cover it in rock and catapult it to earth, then recover the materials from the impact site in the Nevada desert.

          Space elevators and cables? What is wrong with people?

          High tech low tech is the real deal.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Fred, the problem with “green” energy, and with most other energy solutions, is simple: energy conversion. By far the mst efficient use of energy is direct se, as in a mediaeval windmill or a Roman water mill: the energy is converted directly into useful work.

          Second best is energy conversion on site, as a locomotive boiler converted heat into steam, and steam into motion. Not very efficient, but we then had lots of coal, and children to help mine it.

          Worst is energy storage: convert ambient energy flows into stocks, and later convert the stocks back into flows. All our experience shows that this simply doesn’t work; even if the conversion is practical, for instance pumping water uphill and releasing it downhill, the life cycle cost of the support system is unaffordable.

          The only solution to intermittent energy is intermittent work, as the Romans knew and we do not.

          • I discovered when I visited Holland a few years ago that families lived inside the old windmills, which were used to pump water to keep the water level down to the desired level. The families worked in nearby fields most of the time. When they needed to, they went back to the windmills and adjusted the wind blades to catch more or less of the wind energy, so that they would pump more or less water out. The windmill blades were built to be porous to the wind. They could be made to be catch more wind by putting clothes over the blades. There was also a way of signaling between windmills regarding what change needed to be made. Thus, a leader could make decisions, and the remaining windmill operators follow along.

            I thought the system was fairly ingenious.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Gail, the mediaeval windmill is one of the best inventions ever. It could turn automatically so as always to face the wind; the motion was communicated from the mobile cap to the static shaft by a crown and pinion gear, which was invented for that purpose. (Well, reinvented, the Hellenistic engineers, as usual, had anticipated us)

              The sails were attached with ropes, and so they could partly or fully feather, depending on the speed of the wind. Our modern wind turbines cannot do that, so they are useless in both high wind and low wind. Another benefit of modern technology.

              Finally, a piece of real ingenuity. The shaft turns the upper millstone to grind the corn. But its speed is variable. The corn is fed into the system by a hopper, which is agitated by the rotation of the shaft. In other words, the rate of feed is automatically kept in step with the rate of grinding. And, of course, there is no energy conversion whatsoever.

              How much we have forgotten in our unending quest for useless complexity!

            • totally agree

              and that is why the Dutch became such superb sailors. The windmill is just a static sailing ship.

              trouble was, sailing ships and windmills have a common problem: They consume vast numbers of trees in order to serve the needs of xx thousands of people.

              As long as trees grow faster than people, everything works fine

              when people start growing faster than trees, then the arithmetic no longer adds up, because it isn’t possible to build wooden ships and windmills in sufficient numbers to serve the people who need them.

    • Hide-away says:

      Fukushima didn’t happen, that is just another bit of fake news, another con.spiracy organised by those in charge..

      The 2004 Tsunami is fake as well, because I saw it on the news and all mainstream news is fake..

      (sarc off)

      • Lidia17 says:

        Fun with delays:

        • Erdles says:

          The ISS is only 250 miles up in space, why would there be any perceptible delay caused by distance?

          • Kowalainen says:

            Buffering, relaying, error correction, retransmission.

            Naturally it adds some delay.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Kowalainen, indeed it does. A story, about the UK rocket testing range. Sited in the Hebrides, so if a rocket went of course the only casualties would be sheep or Scotsmen.

              The telemetry design was given to a large IT company, who produced (of course) something of immense complexity, with error detection and repair codes, acknowledgements and retransmission algorithms, you name it. Which, of course, meant that the telemetry lagged far behind the rocket itself.

              My solution (when enlisted as an ‘unofficial’ reviewer of this mess): throw it all away, and use simple unidirectional “fire and forget”. But, of course, this might lead to data being lost. “Good people, it’s a *ballistic missile*. Interpolate.”

              Once again, IT people with no appreciation of the underlying physical reality, and no idea that it might be helpful for them to find out about it..

            • Kowalainen says:

              Adding some ECC to the unidirectional data increases the effective bandwidth of the signal and should not be scoffed at.

              Then as you say, run estimators/interpolators on the data that was lost. In parallel to that, store the data onboard the rocket inside a “black box” in the case something goes south before it can be re/transmitted.

          • JMS says:

            For one thing, because that same delay was suggested and mimicked by the actors in the early segment – Interview from Space?

    • Tim Groves says:

      “Fukushima To Dump 1 Million Tons Of Radioactive Water Into Pacific”

      About time too.

      It’s heavy water so it will sink to the bottom. 🙂

      Or even if it doesn’t, by far the major contaminant is tritium, which is already natually present in seawater in measurable quantities. The really nasty stuff such as plutonium, caesium, etc., has been filtered out of this water. So it’s probably safer to drink than Perrier

      By how much will dumping this particular million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific increase the overall radioactivity of the water there?

      Perhaps this is a question more suitable for Quora?

      I did so and found this cute little illustration.

      • Much more radiation than Three Mile Island but less than Chernobyl.

        • Nehemiah says:

          Ah, Chernobyl! About two thirds down the page of this 2013 article is a section entitled “A Million Years of Problems,” very interesting:

          Ukrainian officials are counting on what they call a sarcophagus to contain the site, a massive structure that looks like a Quonset hut being assembled behind a wall that is intended to deflect radiation from the decaying plant from workers.

          When finished, it will be rolled across the crumbling concrete of the surrounding ground to cover and further seal the dangerous reactor. The work is expected to be completed in 2018, though that is just a guess. It’s expected to last 100 years. It’s not nearly long enough.

          Reactor Number 4 today is essentially an unplanned nuclear-waste dump. To serve in that role requires it to last for 3,000 years. That means the area surrounding Chernobyl will be safe to inhabit by people again in the year 4986.

          How likely is that? To get an idea of what it means to contain and control a deadly and potentially devastating radioactive pile in Ukraine for 3,000 years, consider what the world looked like 3,000 years ago:

          The Iron Age was beginning. The Trojan War was fairly recent news. Egypt had Pharaohs. King David was succeeded by his son, Solomon. Canaanites were the big world traders. Christ was 1,000 years from showing up. Muhammad was 1,500 years away.

          The legendary founding of Rome, of Romulus and Remus and the wolf, wouldn’t take place for 300 years.

          It’s not simply that a lot has changed in the last 3,000 years, it’s that almost everything has.
          Tetiana Verbytska, an energy policy expert at the National Ecological Center of Ukraine, worries that people are far too easygoing about Chernobyl. Among government officials right now, mindful of the 30-year anniversary, there is a movement to shrink the radius of the highly contaminated no man’s land from 18 miles to 6.

          “The move to reduce the highly contaminated zone has nothing to do with science and everything to do with public relations,” she says. “In Ukraine, each April we make wonderful speeches about our commitment to dealing with this problem, and the rest of each year we hope the problem will just go away.”
          Alexandre Polack, a spokesman for the European Union, notes in an email that the date to begin removing radioactive material from the site is still 20 to 30 years away.
          “We don’t have the technology to fix the problem,” she says. “We don’t have the process to develop the technology to fix the problem, and we don’t have the money to support the process to develop the technology to fix the problem. The solutions for our Chernobyl problems are very much ‘seal it for now.’ We will have smart children and smart grandchildren who in 100 years or so will figure out what to do.”
          After the disaster, radiation burned off the tops of the trees. Soviet officials ordered the trees cut down and buried deep. But they failed to properly encase the buried wood. As a new forest grew unchecked above the radioactive remains of the old forest, the new wood was also highly radioactive. The whole thing will have to be dug up and encased and buried again, properly.
          I hope they have enough fuel to run the machinery in 100 years, and enough beach sand and fly ash for the cement mixture. And keep in mind that our civilization’s average IQ score is on track to be about 10 points lower in 100 years (since the Flynn Effect topped out in the 1990s). Keeping this problem under control will not be easy.

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        thanks Tim.

        that illustration is quite illustrative.

        we should believe the science (when real).

  28. Lidia17 says:

    What is the deal with the folks talking as though we are going to do anything in space?

    This is just an arbitrary selection of videos show clear space fakery. Women wouldn’t really be using that beyond-obvious hair spray in space. You can see the USMC guy grab a wire that’s been photo-edited out: you can see the background between them as USMC’s fingers clasp an inch or two away from his companion’s waist. I’m agnostic about the freemasonry stuff, and I doubt very much the earth is flat.. but it seems a lot of times extraneous material of that nature is linked to videos like this, almost as though to make it all the more easy to write off as the work of kooks.

    The best compilation of moon fraud reportage is here:

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      wow, you are a top rate intellect, and we disagree. is it me?

      though I agree, when really koooky “extraneous material” is linked to “videos like this” then it is all the more easy to write them off.

      so then I didn’t even watch them.

      Fast Tin Foil Eddie used to love posting mooondoggie.

      I’m not equating you to him, just saying, all in my opinion, we disagree, nothing personal, I’m just surprised.

      what if the all-NASA-space-stuff-is-ahoex is the actual fayke news?

      the actual scientists who post here at OFW are consistently on the side of the obvious, that NASA stuff in space circa 1960-2020 is real.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Where is the disagreement, exactly? You haven’t expressed it.
        You’ve merely disagreed that the videos might be worth watching, which isn’t the same thing as disagreeing with what they present about the space station.

        What surprises you?

        I look at the videos and see the clear anomalies. It doesn’t take a
        “top rate intellect” to suss out the problems. In fact, “top rate” intellectualism gets in the way of common sense all the time. I don’t care whether FE or anyone else agrees with me or with these video people or not. Eppur si muove.

        A particular key element in convincing me of the fraud was the astronauts’ demeanor after supposedly executing the greatest feat then imaginable by a human. And then there’s the jeep-sized rover.. oy veh. As each year passes, it’s more and more embarrassing to consider, like watching James Bond movies that had whoop-de-do cutting-edge special effects back in the day.

        “what if the all-NASA-space-stuff-is-ahoex is the actual fayke news?”

        A not-insignificant amount of work has gone into it either way, so I would ask, who benefits? Is it more valuable to have most of the public fooled into thinking that the US has dominated space, or to have a fringe minority of cranks and contrarians and skeptics thinking that we haven’t? Why spend serious money on the latter proposition? Wouldn’t it be far more valuable to have an Nth multi-billion-dollar slush fund for the military/intelligence agencies to play around with for decades upon decades, most likely putting things in orbit of which we have no idea… understand that whatever surveillance or military tech you hear about is just the tip of the iceberg.

        david, can you point out the “actual scientists” who argue here consistently that “NASA stuff” is real? Actual Scientists, if you are reading, I would welcome you letting us know why one might think the above “space” videos to be real and not staged with hair spray and wires.

        Why do many animals expend such a large amount of energy in camouflage, or in tricks to make themselves look larger or more fierce? That is the answer to your question.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Whenever you get a strong and scathing reply, it is usually an indication that you are onto something.

          Keep that in mind. Nobody is hated as the one who speaks the truth.

          Otherwise, I agree. Putting humans in space is a PR stunt similar to the green gimmicks giving hope where there is none to be found.

          It will keep the racket going for a little longer. The problem with this one is that the peddlers of delusion got high on their own product.

          • Dennis L. says:

            Ah, more time spent on the subject than I should, but regarding people in space. My understanding was putting people in space was more about getting funding for the real work than spacemen/women. Politically the idea must be sold first, if that takes putting people in space, so be it, whatever it takes.

            Again, Kubler-Ross, there seems to be a thread of denial here, we went there, others have flown satellites by there, the Chinese want to go back there.

            Delusion/denial is a tricky thing, it can be comforting in times of great stress, this is a time of great stress.

            Dennis L.

            • Kowalainen says:

              You misunderstand me.

              I particularly like a good PR stunt with enormous rocketry, science and engineering prowess.

              Crank up the volume on your HiFi system and enjoy the ferocity of an Apollo launch.


              The chills is real.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Lydia, I read the entire “moondoggie” information. At the end, only one question remained: Why did Wernher von Braun lead a NASA expedition to Antarctica in 1967? Everything else was explicable as due to ignorance, misunderstanding, or plain old cherry picking of data. But here was a solid, irrefutable nugget of doubt. My present opinion is that the expedition was a contingency plan to acquire moon rocks “just in case” the moon landings didn’t retrieve any. But the daemon inside me still whispers “falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus”.

          However, this is the deadest of flogged dead horses. We are not going back to the moon; that game is over.

      • Lidia17 says:

        david, there plenty of people here *way* smarter than I am. I am humbled daily by Gail, Robert, Xabier, and others with keen insights, technical knowledge, deep and broad classical educations, etc.. They are firing on all cylinders, and I’m a bit of puttering Yugo at this point. I brought up my education because Dennis seems to think that the world, or people, would be improved if we were to all have such an education. I don’t agree.

        While I come here to read Gail’s top-notch energy analysis, I also love hearing about people’s histories and indoles and how they think we should cope with the world that is facing us. I have an allergic reaction to tech solutions, because tech is exactly what got us here. This negative reaction even though I know intellectually that tech is human and there is no quashing hope in the super-natural whether tech-based or otherwise.

        The fact that people would find comfort in an obviously fake belief and discomfort in its unmasking is interesting to me.

        • Lidia17 says:

          I’d written a long comment before this that didn’t post and may not post. The above comment doesn’t quite make sense without it.

          The short version is: I can envision money being spent more easily to make the US seem dominant, and to create a giant black slush fund for military and intel, as opposed spending a large amount of money on hair spray, props, and acrobatic gear to draw a bunch of contrarians, cranks, and skeptics away from the true, heroic, moon & space narrative. What would be the point of the latter? Cui bono?

          Also, I would appeal to any of david’s “actual scientists” who may care to share their opinions purely of the “space station” content in the above short videos. I could/should have tried to find “cleaner” versions free of other contentious material.

          david, why did you change your name to david.. from covid…?

          • I have been trying to learn to use an “improved” WordPress editor. I believe that a major purpose is to improve WordPress security. (Also, to more easily monetize a site.) I know that I have lost a few of my own comments, when I posted comments in response to comments that were in moderation that had I not yet been approved. The earlier system used to let me respond to a comment in moderation without it being approved; the new system does not.

            I keep discovering more ins and outs of how this system works. Your comment may have gotten lost somewhere along the line, because of changes like this.

            • Lidia17 says:

              Gail, I think the delay happens when I write comments that are very long. Shorter ones pop up right away.

            • Some of your comments accidentally go into the moderation queue, for reasons I don’t usually understand. It takes me a while to get back to you. That is likely the reason for the delay.

              It is taking me a while to get used to this system. I can either look at the comments in the order they were posted, or arranged as they appear under a post. Using the order posted, I have to first hit the “Reply” button. (This does not give me the editing tools I had in the past, however. I need to use HTML codes.) When I am finished typing, I need to hit the “Send” button. If, without thinking, I hit the “Reply” button again, the system deletes what I just wrote.

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            “david, why did you change your name to david.. from covid…?”

            thanks Lidia.

            I changed my name to david because it’s my real name, and covid was just me trying to be clever by changing only two letters, cool eh?

            or is my real name covid? how can you know for sure?

            anyway, I appreciate most of your posts.

            obviously, all persons filter their experience of reality through their imperfect minds. At this point in time, my mind concludes that almost all NASA space stuff 1960-2020 as described by written records of what NASA themselves say is true, is actually true.

            your mind filters reality and decides the opposite?

            I’m okay with that, just anoyyed at times (honesty!) by what I see as an extreme overreach of doubting the status quo.

            I think I correctly doubt a small % of status quo “facts”, but that’s just me being unescapably me with my imperfectly filtering mind.

            one further idea:

            those MIT persons who you are so unlike (me too, I suspect I am much more like you than like them):

            those are the very types of thousands of persons who have been absorbed in the “doing” of all that NASA stuff for 60+ years.

            we disagree. I hope you don’t take any of this (minor) disagreement personally.

            • Lidia17 says:

              david, no I don’t take it personally, though I can and do respond in irritation at the ridiculousness of some statements, when perhaps I should not.

              You say, “my mind concludes that almost all NASA space stuff 1960-2020 as described by written records of what NASA themselves say is true, is actually true.” You still haven’t really said *why* you conclude that, though. (Excuse me.. why YOUR MIND concludes that.. very interesting use of words!)

              Robert’s “false in one, false in all” works for me. If there really were a space station that we could get images from and chat with, why wouldn’t we do that, instead of faking it?

              Why are the delays all over the place (they should be consistent). I simply don’t see *what* there is to disagree about. It’s a binary proposition: either people are up there now in a space station, or they aren’t.

              The shooting off of rockets clearly happened. The why of that may remain secret for some time.

              and yes, Kowalainen.. you start taking flak when over the target. Funny how there seems to be more pushback against the moon hoax idea than against the clearly-ridiculous “space elevator” or asteroid mining. Humans really ARE “broken”!!! :-))

            • Kowalainen says:

              Lidia, if the moon landing is a hoax or not does not bother me the least.

              At least I’m fairly confident that these kerosene and oxygen burning behemoths of “impossible” reach space.

              That’s what matters.

              The associated PR jippo in MSM brings kids into aerospace and rocketry.

              The world desperately needs more rocket scientists and system engineers.

              And for those who whine about science and engineering, please hand back all the devices of “impossible” that you take for granted. Or simply bow down to the few that so many have so much to thank for.


        • I find it incredible that electricity will replace oil. Transmission lines tend to go down in wind storms. They tend to start fires. Putting transmission underground (except for small distances within cities) is terribly expensive. We have no way of fixing transmission lines using electricity, either. It mostly requires big trucks, using oil products.

          We know that oil is far more flexible than electricity. It requires practically no infrastructure at all. It was used in remote places long before electricity. We also know that whenever even a minor storm comes through, some electricity goes out.

          It is a fairly unusual hurricane that cuts off gasoline/ diesel supplies, and only to small parts of the country. Here in Atlanta, we are far enough from Texas that we have had some gasoline/diesel outages (long lines at gas stations, some closed) after hurricanes, but I don’t think that they even got mentioned in the national press.

          • Robert Firth says:

            Gail, when I moved to Singapore I noticed (a few months later) an amazing thing: no wires. Almost all the point to point infrastructure, electricity, telephone, internet, was underground, and that was a great relief to the eyes. Of course this is easier in a city state where almost everything is planned, but perhaps it could be part of a localisation effort. And at the higher level: abandon the grid, and localise electricity production. And no, Singapore could not “go green”; the city uses far more energy than the Sun could provide, and the winds are mostly non existent.

            • When buildings are close together and built in a planned way, it is easy to put all of the wires and pipes underground where they are mostly are out of harm’s way.

              The way the US is built, in a spread-out manner, without a whole lot of planning, this doesn’t work. Electricity wires are generally above ground. I have heard estimates of the underground cost being six to ten times as high as the above ground cost. In some countries (India and Lebanon for example), there is a problem with poor people tapping into these wires, besides the problem with windstorms.

              I was surprised when I visited Ecuador to see that the oil pipelines are above ground. This seems to be fairly common in poor countries. Of course, this make the pipelines very easy to tap into by thieves. This is a huge problem in many poor countries. This photo I took of a chicken on an oil pipeline in Ecuador.


            • Lidia17 says:

              Robert, there are still problems with underground things, though, and, Gail, it’s not just the initial costs that are an issue. It’s very hard to pinpoint leaks, and repairs mean major disruption, digging up roads and into foundations. Our apartment in Italy had cement slab floors. All the water pipes in the building had been cast *into the slabs*. Any leak became a multi-thousand-euro headache. Electric service was similar: wall outlets accessed wiring that was inside of brick and concrete stucco walls. Adding a new outlet required quite a bit of jack-hammering.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “I find it incredible that electricity will replace oil.”

            What would it take to convince you that electricity can replace oil as the primary energy source?

            ” no way of fixing transmission lines using electricity, either. It mostly requires big trucks, using oil products.”

            What’s wrong with battery-powered maintenance trucks? What is the objection to using synthetic fuel that costs about the same as fuel from fossil oil?

            Arizona Public Service (plant operator) has been talking about what they can do with surplus power due to the wide installation of PV. One of the potential energy sinks is to make hydrogen. Another is combining the hydrogen with CO2 and making synthetic diesel.

            Incidentally, PG&E diverted maintenance funds to executive bonuses. This resulted in both the San Bruno pipeline fire and the fires that killed over 80 people. Some years ago the electrical utility in San Diego had a fire due to a line coming down in a windstorm. What they did was install cutoffs on the most dangerous lines. The cutoff removes power from the line in less time than it takes for a broken line to fall to the ground.

            • I think the issue is that there is so much complexity required to make electricity work as a solution. We don’t have electricity based solutions for everything now; the transition would be a very long one, if it could be done.

              You definitely have to take some of the left-over electricity and make it into oil products, if electricity is to work. Hydrogen is terribly hard to store. The thing that is wrong with battery powered maintenance truck is the fact that they don’t exist now, certainly not in quantity.

              If there really are cutoffs that could be installed on the most dangerous transmission lines, that would be helpful. I expect that they would be needed on most lines, not just the most dangerous ones. There seem to be an awfully lot of fires being started by transmission lines.

              It is part of the natural cycle for trees in most areas to burn. You almost have to have your transmission lines designed in such a way that burning trees around them is not a problem.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              > I think the issue is that there is so much complexity required to make electricity work as a solution. We don’t have electricity based solutions for everything now; the transition would be a very long one, if it could be done.

              Every single element in an electricity-based synthetic fuel has been demonstrated at scale except for pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. There is a system from MIT that looks like it would scale up as large as you wanted it.

              > You definitely have to take some of the left-over electricity and make it into oil products, if electricity is to work. Hydrogen is terribly hard to store. The thing that is wrong with battery-powered maintenance truck is the fact that they don’t exist now, certainly not in quantity.

              That’s true, for lubricants if nothing else. (A substantial fraction of the highest grade lubricating oil is already synthetic.). It’s also true that 2030 model line maintenance trucks don’t exist either. Tesla’s semi-truck does exist in prototypes. I don’t doubt that ten years is enough to ramp up production to whatever the demand is for power line maintenance trucks.

              > If there really are cutoffs


              > that could be installed on the most dangerous transmission lines, that would be helpful. I expect that they would be needed on most lines, not just the most dangerous ones. There seem to be an awfully lot of fires being started by transmission lines.

              There is not a lot of news interest in lightning started fires. There were thousands of them in California started by “dry lighting” a couple of months ago. The ones started by transmission lines are awful because there is usually a high wind. The social response in a few areas was really interesting. The state fire crews were entirely committed and told the people to evacuate and tet their houses burn. I don’t know how many houses were lost, but it was a relatively small number. A lot of people came back to find their swimming pools drained, but that’s a lot better than having the house burn down.

              > It is part of the natural cycle for trees in most areas to burn. You almost have to have your transmission lines designed in such a way that burning trees around them is not a problem.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              A friend knows of my interest in energy economics. Sent me these articles this afternoon.




              If they can get the efficiency up to twice what silicon PV does, it should reduce the cost of solar PV by around half. This would produce synthetic fuel for perhaps as little as $40/bbl.

            • Buy an EV

              take it to pieces–I mean each individual item

              lay each piece out on the ground in some kind of assembly order

              Now pick up each piece and examine it carefully, and analyse whether that piece (down to the smallest screw or bit of plastic can be produced from raw materials) using electricity in an absolutely exclusive sense.

              I mean using technology that has large scale viability NOW, not maybe, not worked out on the back of a cigarette packet. (do people still do that?) as yet uninvented or theoretically possible on the far side of the moon. But NOW.

              Because NOW is when we have our problem.

              Make 2 piles of bits

              One pile produced from electricity alone

              the other pile of bits that require energy input from another source.

              OFW’ers will be most interested in the final results.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              There would be nothing in the “other pile.”

              Take the plastic in a knob. There are plastics made from plants. You can also make synthetic oil if you insist on oil-based plastic.

              I don’t expect you to grok but energy is energy. There are losses in converting from one kind of energy (electricity) to another (synthetic oil) but that is an economic problem, not one of the primary energy source.

          • Lidia17 says:

            hkh: “electricity can replace oil as the primary energy source”


            When I read something like this, I know I can safely disregard all the successive verbiage without compunction.

            • hkeithhenson says:


              Nitpicking. We all know that sunlight and wind (also caused by sunlight) are converted to electricity. That electricity can be used to replace oil, in fact, electricity can be used to make synthetic oil.

              If you really want to nitpick, sunlight is not a primary energy source either. Ultimately, fusion deep in the sun is the source.

            • Kowalainen says:

              There is only one goal. It is to power IC until sentient machines arise.

              Then our job is done.

              I worry exactly zero about mankind. Well prod along and make something work to fight off starvation and misery by patching up this clunker ’Cuba style’.

              The relentless population growth and frivolous jank needs to go. It has to go. Ultimately it is inevitable.

              The cult of children needs to burn and die. Instead a reverence for older people should arise.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” a reverence for older people should arise.”

              Cell repair machines have been discussed since 1980. They won’t make you immortal, but unless you get wiped out by standing next to ground zero, you should be able to live as long as you want.

              On the other hand, having children is such a crapshoot. Would having children be more popular if you knew you could have a kid with no genetic defects?

            • Lidia17 says:

              “sunlight and wind (also caused by sunlight) are converted to electricity”

              At a loss. Always at a loss.

              Getting hydrocarbons out of the ground has not been done at a loss for us until lately. Animals consuming plant hydrocarbons is also not done at a loss, but is still a very precarious equation.

              We can only do things at a loss for a short period.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “At a loss. Always at a loss.”

              That’s not the proper metric. Sure, engineers strive for low loss, but the more important thing is cost. Consider hydropower. The efficiency of sunlight evaporating water that rains over land is very low, but hydropower is the least expensive power known.

            • you win the “obvious’ medal of the day

              I will pin it on if you tell me where.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Keith, the the water also “powers” photosynthesis along its way to the turbines.

              Without life hydropower is an oxymoron.

              The modern turbines are astoundingly efficient.

              All hail the undisputed ruler of electrical energy generation. Repeat after me:

              Hail hydropower.


      • Tim Groves says:

        David, how do you know any of it is real?

        Because you’re told.

        It is a matter of trust.

        I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. There are quite a lot of video materials, such as Lidia has posted above, that make a strong case that space fakery has been perpetuated. This doesn’t prove that all NASA stuff in space circa 1960-2020 is fake, but it strongly suggests that some of it has been faked.

        They could have gone to the moon but showed fake video of the moon landings because it was technically difficult to shoot actual footage on the moon and get it back to earth.

        There could be a manned space station but it may be much easier to shoot fake space station videos either on the ground or in diving aircraft to simulate zero-G conditions.

        It could be that all the videos purporting to show that NASA has faked stuff are themselves fake. Or that some of them are. Or that none of them are.

        Who knows?

        Besides the argument from authority—relying on the opinions of other commenters who present themselves as actual scientists (but who may or may not be authentic scientists and/or may not be giving honest or correct opinions in any case)—what other reason have you got for believing any of the NASA stuff in space is real?

        “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” was a phrase made popular by Carl Sagan who reworded Laplace’s principle, which says that “the weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness.”

        One problem with this is that what is extraordinary and strange is in the mind of the beholder. Walking on the moon would have been a very extraordinary claim to people in the early 1960s, although by the end of the decade, SF drama series such as Lost in Space and Star Trek and then the movie 2001 would have programmed the minds of their viewers that this feat wasn’t so extraordinary after all.

        More reasonably, IMHO, Christopher Hitchens said “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

        To strip this down to bare bones, in order to be credible, assertions require evidence and asserters themselves require credibility unless the evidence is unequivocal or incontrovertible. Credibility is something that governments and the mass media had a lot more of half a century ago than they do today—which helped may people too accept their assertions based on less than watertight evidence, and there is a good reason why their credibility has fallen so low in recent years. They’ve been caught lying time after time after time after time after time.

        The governments and mass media who’ve told us and shown us that NASA has sent men to the moon and that there is an international space station have low credibility today due to the fact that they are serial liars. That is why they can’t be believed without evidence regarding the COVID-19 thingy, the Iraq war thingy, the Lehman shock thingy, the globbly-wobbly thingy and all sorts of other things. Viewing their past assertions in the light of their current credibility requires that those past assertions and the evidence of proof backing them up be re-assessed, and also that evidence that they may have been lying or faking be examined and assessed.

        Since you refuse to examine evidence presented regarding this subject, of what possible value can your opinion on it be? What is your motive, your purpose, your business in voicing an opinion about it at all?

        • Bei Dawei says:

          Wake up, sheeple!

        • Robert Firth says:

          Tim, not, absolutely not, to neglect the rest of your most interesting post, but this comment for me stood out:

          “One problem with this is that what is extraordinary and strange is in the mind of the beholder.”

          And I believe that is the fatal flaw in this argument. It is grounded not in Nature, but in opinion. “Why do you thank ghost activity strange?” says the shaman, “I see ghosts every day”. “Why do you believe in UFOs?” says the skeptic, “I have never seen one.”

          These proposition are on exactly the same level, and no good guide to the rational evaluation of phenomena.

          • Nehemiah says:

            When first proposed, continental drift was considered extraordinary and largely derided. Since then, the evidence that has accumulated for drift is good, perhaps it is even very good, but is it truly extraordinary? And we could ask this question about some other amazing theories as well.

          • Tim Groves says:

            These proposition are on exactly the same level, and no good guide to the rational evaluation of phenomena.

            I agree with this, Robert, but I think the point I was trying to make was with regards to the rational evaluation of other people’s claims, not with the evaluation of phenomena per se. At least, I thought that was the point I was trying to make, before reading your reply. Now I’m not so sure. Because I am not 100% sure if you agree with my observation: “One problem with this is that what is extraordinary and strange is in the mind of the beholder” or not.

            But to expand on that observation, what people consider extraordinary and strange varies according to the individual, it varies from culture to culture and generation to generation too. As someone who has travelled, sojourned and lived in various places around the world, you must have been impressed or even perplexed when in a new country for the first time at some of the strange and extraordinary things that the locals were getting up to. But to the locals, these things are not strange or extraordinary at all.

            I’m doing some carpentry at the moment, and being a long-term resident of Japan, I use Japanese saws. Now Japanese hammers and chisels and screwdrivers and planes work in the same way as Western ones as far as I can fathom. There is nothing strange or extraordinary about them for a Westerner who confronts them for the first time. But Japanese saws are downright weird. A Japanese saw cuts on the pull stroke, a Western saw cuts on the push stroke.

            So if you learned to saw with a Western saw and have gotten used to that and made it second nature, then you will be in for a shock when you start using a Japanese saw. You are likely to find it a strange and extraordinary experience. But after almost 40 years in Japan, the Japanese saw seems natural, normal, reasonable and, to paraphrase Mr. Toad, it’s the ONLY way to saw. It’s the Western saw that seems strange to me these days.

            You brought up people’s opinions of ghosts and UFOs. Here we have the issue of the existence of these phenomena. Whether or not they seem strange or extraordinary to you, me, a sceptic like Carl Sagan or a shaman (like Yoko Ono?) is perhaps a guide but certainly not evidence of their existence or non-existence.

            What evidence would amount to proof of their existence? My view is regardless of how strange or extraordinary claims of their existence may seem to us, the level evidence required to confirm or rule out their existence is the same. It is independent of our feelings in the matter.

            On the other hand, we are more likely to confirm the presence of something we already know from experience to exist than something we have no previous experience. If I am walking home along a country road at dusk and I see what might be a UFO in the sky or what might be a ghost moving through the graveyard, I am likely to discount the presence of these things and put their appearance down to a trick of the light, a will ‘o the wisp, or an instance of ball lightning. It is only when the object in the sky lands and a little green man armed with a ray gun comes out and says “Earthling, take me to your leader,” or the ghost comes close to me and engages in some kind of communication, that I will accept that they are presence. On the contrary, if I see what could be my dog or a familiar person at a distance in the dusk, I accept their presence much more readily because I don’t find it strange or extraordinary for them to be where they appear to be, However, this doesn’t mean that I’ve confirmed their presence before I’ve see them up close.

            But I was not talking not about strange and extraordinary phenomena but about strange and extraordinary claims (or claims about strange and extraordinary phenomena), such as “I saw Lord Lucan the other day at Tesco!” That one would certainly require a bit more corroborating evidence than I saw Baroness Evans of Bowes Park last week at Starbucks!”.

            • Robert Firth says:

              Thank you, Tim, for your reply. First, I do indeed agree 100% with your comment that what seems “extraordinary” depends on the experience of the observer. I too on visiting Japan found it extraordinary that one was supposed to wash all over *before* getting into the onsen, but on the second occasion it seemed almost natural.

              However, when someone makes an “extraordinary” claim, it is, as you say, extraordinary to them. To some Pacific Islanders, an aeroplane was so extraordinary they turned it into a Cargo Cult. By contrast, to some European explorers the idea of public nudity was so extraordinary they tried to make the natives wear trousers, sometimes at gunpoint.

              That said, however, there are some phenomena that many cultures, in many lands, have deemed extraordinary. As Jung’s article on flying saucers says, portents in the sky have almost universally been seen as extraordinary:

              “When beggars die there are no comets seen;
              The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.”
              (Calpurnia in Julius Caesar, Act II scene 2)

              Of course, we rational 21st century Westerners know that they are not really portents, just lumps of rock obeying Newton’s laws. But are we sure?

              Thank you again for a most informative conversation.

            • rather like recollections of a previous existence in another time

              always somebody famous

            • Tim Groves says:

              On the subject of previous existences, there is a scene from Red Dwarf when Rimmer reveals the secret of his past incarnation:

              I’ll tell you something. Something I’ve never told anyone. When I was fifteen, I went to Macedonia on a school trip, to the site of Alexander The Great’s palace. And for the first time in my whole life, I felt … I felt I was home. This place was where I belonged. Years later, I got friendly with a hypnotherapist – Donald – and told him about the Alexander the Great thing, and he said that he’d regress me back through my past lives. I was dubious, but I let him put me under. It turned out my instincts were absolutely correct. I had lived a past life in Macedonia. That palace was my home. Because, believe it or not, Lister, he told me that, in a past incarnation, I was Alexander the Great’s chief eunuch.

              You know what? I believe you.

              To have lived a life alongside one of the greatest commanders of all time! No wonder the military’s in my blood!

              No wonder you’re such a good singer!

            • Lidia17 says:

              I think the discussion of ghosts and ordinary/extra-ordinary cultural habits is interesting, but doesn’t really shed light on moon hoaxes. Really, the moon hoax worked not because how “extraordinary” it was perceived as being, rather the opposite. I think Tim pointed out earlier that we had been culturally prepped to consider a human presence in space as our near-term destiny. After all the lead-up, *not* putting a man on the moon would have been the dog that didn’t bark.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          thanks, Tim.

          I will say it this way: I have filtered all of my (second hand) experience of NASA through my imperfect mind, and I conclude that almost all of what NASA claims is true, is actually true.

          I could filter a few recent videos to add to my experience, but you or anyone else could do the same with many many many many NASA videos and writings.

          but it is so minor (and slightly annoying as I’ve said above) and I have other second hand experiences to filter now:

          Joe Buy-dem Crime Family etc. hard drives! 26,000 emails!

          what is true, what isn’t?

          we disagree, nothing personal, for what it’s worth, you’re one of my favorites at OFW to disagree with.

          keep calm and filter on.

          • Tim Groves says:

            You are also one of my favorite people anywhere to exchange opinions and share facts with, even when we disagree.

            I think I’ll leave the latest pre-election revelations alone for the moment and see how they play out.

            Back to NASA, have you heard the one about at least six of the seven Challenger astronauts who are still alive and hiding in plain sight?

            If not, you are in for a real treat.

            “We accept the reality we are presented with.” – The Truman Show.,


            • Tim Groves says:

              The producers of the above video are obviously trying to blackwash the “NASA fakes space missions” point of view by linking it to flat earthery, etc., but the story of the astronauts still being alive seems legit.

          • Tim Groves says:

            If you have a spare hour for a chat….


          • Tim Groves says:

            Joe Buy-dem Crime Family etc. hard drives! 26,000 emails!

            what is true, what isn’t?

            Thanks for the tip. JHK is on the trail of that one now.

            Long about mid 2019, some jamoke in the jamoke state of Delaware got possession of some laptop computers brought in for servicing on account of water damage — like, what??? They fell into a hot tub??? Anyway, the customer, one R. Hunter Biden, never retrieved (or paid for) the computers which, under Delaware law and the service agreement of the computer repair shop, became the property of said repair shop and its jamoke proprietor, one John Paul Mac Issac. Mr. Mac Issac had a peek inside one of them that still worked — now legally his property — and, lo and behold, he noticed some familiar names among the emails along with an impressive video of the laptop’s owner using drugs while cavorting with a naked woman.


            • Robert Firth says:

              Tim, I have followed Kunstler for years. His perspective is unique and exhilarating. I fear poor Mr Biden will end up in Fort Marcy Park, as the final lid on the scandal.

            • Tim Groves says:

              Robert, I also enjoy Kunstler’s writing a lot. But at the same time, I can’t help thinking that the story of this laptop, its contents and its journey to fame is just too strange and too extraordinary to take seriously.

              On the other hand, I can’t imagine Biden’s adversaries having the resources to fake something as voluminous, bitwise, as the entire contents of the hard disk, just for an October surprise.

              So if it’s genuine, we may see Mr. Biden catching the Sicilian flu and my expected Democrat contender, Mrs Clinton, modestly accepting a proposal to step into the vacancy at the head of a Clinton-Harris ticket.

          • Kowalainen says:

            The amount of fake narrative isn’t a recipe of truth.

   “scientists” which agree on X makes me want to puke 🤮

            It only takes ONE PIECE of solid evidence to overthrow a convincing lie and a scientific theory.

            But don’t get me wrong, I could not care less if the moon landing and 9/11 were two psyops. Actually, I would find it quite hilarious of the lengths people go to fabricate silly narratives for their own profiteering purposes.

            What is real is a big mofo rocket thundering into orbit.

            Wining and dining, money, dope and luxury prostitutes is for the useless eaters with a strong affection to the commands of the limbic system inside the rapacious primate brain.

            Desire is pain, curiosity is eternal bliss.

            But not all people are intellectually equipped with that characteristic. Those yahoos must be removed from power.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Tim, excellent comment. I agree 100%. I tend to assume this to be obvious, but you have laid out the case eloquently.

  29. Dennis L. says:

    Lydia18 posted:

    “Dennis, why do we “have to have hope”? Do you hope to live to be 200? I don’t. The only relief to be found (imo) is an understanding of limits. Otherwise, nothing but pain and confusion when cornucopianism doesn’t pan out.”

    Lydia, it is a good question and I appreciate it being asked. It is also important to make posts short so short answer from my point of view at this time and place.

    We all have limits, my experience is accepting them helps with acceptance, Kubler Ross. What we need is hope that should we so desire to pursue our dreams we can take them to our personal limits.

    Gail makes the point of limited/capita energy, it limits our dreams and lessens hope. Maybe most important is the journey and the hope we will achieve our personal goals. Overall I think we need to be part of a society that offers hope, the opposite is despair, the former USSR had much of that, but paradoxically the arts were incredible, think ballet.

    Disclaimer: I was and am an entrepreneur, it takes will(dear again) beyond belief, optimism as well as a good skill set and a willingness to work with others, compromise, remember the goal, move it when necessary and hope it all works out.

    Live to be a two hundred? Yes, have you seen the online courses offered by MIT? Incredible, across an incredible range of subjects. Dances have wonderful people yet to be met, studying dance one begins to see a common set of human movements. It is a beautiful world, there are more things to explore and see than can be done in one lifetime – current one that is. The hope is not being done working, being useful is wonderful, the hope is being able to walk away from miserable situations, this is part of the gift of energy. Not everyone will want it, not everyone will use it, it seems to me that what is necessary is everyone has hope of access to this should they so desire.

    Your thoughts?

    Dennis L.

    • Lidia17 says:

      Dennis, my thoughts are that I attended MIT IRL for four years (1977-81) and walked away with Enormous Relief from that “miserable situation”. Nobody there was ever done working, but I could never understand WHY they wanted to do what they were doing. Yes, the courses there are In-credible, in that there is just as much NOT to be believed as to be believed. I didn’t find anything they were doing there to be “useful” at all, when it comes down to it. I didn’t like the idea of GMOs or nanotechnology or modern architecture or data mining or special evolved switches for bombs or leveraged buy-outs or pointless space stuff or computer recognition or microwave weapons or surveillance technology or A.I. when we didn’t even have non-A.I. My friends went on to work on all those things. It seemed to me to be Garbage In, Garbage Out. The things they wanted to explore left me entirely cold.

      It was an expensive education. I had always wanted to study science but, looking back, as a tender teenager I insufficiently understood the difference between science and technology (perhaps there really isn’t one). Perhaps there isn’t a difference between anything and anything else.

      Forgive me if I repeat the story of an acquaintance who ran a biology lab there, before moving on to Tufts. He wanted to have his head cryogenically preserved (like Ted Williams). He really thought someone somewhere down the line would be interested in resurrecting his freezer-burnt head and that he would have the possibility for a second life. If you haven’t been around a lot of people like this (we have a stellar example who graces us here with his presence from time to time), you may not be able to imagine how profoundly idiotic they can be.

      ((Arrogance+Narcissism) ^ Autism) + Application of Energy = a bad prescription for the human race. I feel a visceral sense of relief when I contemplate that all of their hopped-up space-mining and social credit schemes will come to naught when the grid ceases to function. I’ll even take mass starvation and nuclear-waste-release (which are coming anyway) if we can get these tech monkeys off our backs sooner rather than later.

      I have also done the entrepreneur thing, and walked away from that, too (along with my cell phone), when I had enough saved away to live in (for the moment genteel) relative poverty. The more go-getters I ran into, the less go and less get I wanted. While you are trying to add busy-ness, I am trying to pare it away.

      I think I remember seeing that someone in this thread has recently rifled around in the kollapsenik kloset and pulled out Paul Chefurka. Perhaps a review of his Stages of Awareness would be appropriate here:

      When it comes to our understanding of the unfolding global crisis, each of us seems to fit somewhere along a continuum of awareness that can be roughly divided into five stages:

      1.) Dead asleep. At this stage there seem to be no fundamental problems, just some shortcomings in human organization, behaviour and morality that can be fixed with the proper attention to rule-making. People at this stage tend to live their lives happily, with occasional outbursts of annoyance around election times or the quarterly corporate earnings seasons.

      2.) Awareness of one fundamental problem. Whether it’s Climate Change, overpopulation, Peak Oil, chemical pollution, oceanic over-fishing, biodiversity loss, corporatism, economic instability or sociopolitical injustice, one problem seems to engage the attention completely. People at this stage tend to become ardent activists for their chosen cause. They tend to be very vocal about their personal issue, and blind to any others.

      3.) Awareness of many problems. As people let in more evidence from different domains, the awareness of complexity begins to grow. At this point a person worries about the prioritization of problems in terms of their immediacy and degree of impact. People at this stage may become reluctant to acknowledge new problems – for example, someone who is committed to fighting for social justice and against climate change may not recognize the problem of resource depletion. They may feel that the problem space is already complex enough, and the addition of any new concerns will only dilute the effort that needs to be focused on solving the “highest priority” problem.

      4.) Awareness of the interconnections between the many problems. The realization that a solution in one domain may worsen a problem in another marks the beginning of large-scale system-level thinking. It also marks the transition from thinking of the situation in terms of a set of problems to thinking of it in terms of a predicament. At this point the possibility that there may not be a solution begins to raise its head.

      People who arrive at this stage tend to withdraw into tight circles of like-minded individuals in order to trade insights and deepen their understanding of what’s going on. These circles are necessarily small, both because personal dialogue is essential for this depth of exploration, and because there just aren’t very many people who have arrived at this level of understanding.

      5.) Awareness that the predicament encompasses all aspects of life. This includes everything we do, how we do it, our relationships with each other, as well as our treatment of the rest of the biosphere and the physical planet. With this realization, the floodgates open, and no problem is exempt from consideration or acceptance. The very concept of a “Solution” is seen through, and cast aside as a waste of effort.

      Dennis, I’m glad you can find an outlet in dancing. It doesn’t seem as though “they” are willing to permit that activity to many people right now, nor into the future, unless we make some kind of revolutionary stand. I don’t see most people wanting to sacrifice what they think to be sterile safety for any kind of messy live experience right now. That may change if the screens go dark and no-one will be able to live virtually any more, even if they wanted to.

      • JMS says:

        Thanks for your sensible comment, Lidia.
        This comment section is suddenly full of tech-utopians and hope addicts and crank believers in human ingenuity forever. What a bore. I miss FE’s cleaning actions here.

        • Nehemiah says:

          I am happy to listen to techno-optimists as I call them IF they can show me where we can get the energy to implement their fixes. It’s always, “Technology!” or “Somebody will think of something just in time to scale it up and save us from calamity” or “It’s been working since the 18th century, so we can safely extrapolate” or “One of those technologies that various countries have been working on unsuccessfully for 65 years will suddenly pan out, you just gotta have faith” or “we just need the storage for solar and wind, the technological miracle will happen, just believe!” I prefer my religion the old fashioned way, thank you.

          These types are fond of quoting sci fi author Arthur C. Clark: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” And I think that is how many of them really think of technology: magic, or perhaps magick, something that, if need be, can function independently of the laws of physics. This techno-magick energy harvester is just going to be dropped into our midst by technologists, like cargo from a big iron bird onto a South Pacific island.

          “The stone age did not end because it ran out of stones.” Perhaps not, but the Bronze Age collapsed, at least in part, because it ran short of tin. Adam Smith warned us that the age of growth would end once we had picked the low hanging fruit of innovation. Today, peering out over the cusp of global decline, that seems to have been Smith’s most important message, and his most ignored.

          “The founding fathers of economics—luminaries including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill—shared a belief that growth was finite, and that the reason for limits lay in the natural world. Writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they based this conclusion on three observations. First, there was a limited supply of land. Second, all economic processes required at least some products of the land as raw materials. And third, the productivity of the land was subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns: each additional bit of labor and capital added to a plot of land will offer less and less benefit until no more gains are possible. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, leading economists recognized the interdependence of natural and economic systems.”

          “the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers, who neither are, nor ought to be, the rulers of mankind.”–Adam Smith

          ” It is not the actual greatness of national wealth, but its continual increase, which occasions a rise in the wages of labour. It is not, accordingly, in the richest countries, but in the most thriving, or in those which are growing rich the fastest, that the wages of labour are highest.”–Adam Smith

          “it is in the progressive [=growing] state, while the society is advancing to the further acquisition, rather than when it has acquired its full complement of riches, that the condition of the labouring poor, of the great body of the people, seems to be the happiest and the most comfortable. It is hard in the stationary, and miserable in the declining state. The progressive [growing] state is in reality the cheerful and the hearty state to all the different orders of the society. The stationary is dull; the declining melancholy”–Adam Smith

          • Researchers like to work with models and with ratios. If a researcher is dealing with models and ratios, it is very easy to leave out important pieces of the model, especially if he/she doesn’t understand the whole system. It is also very possible to equate apples and oranges.

            Also, even if a researcher starts with the best of intentions himself/herself, there soon will be followers, who find that they can get more grant money if they can “prove” some piece of “we can have a sustainable future if we do . . .” We then get governmental agencies deciding how ratios should be determined, further guaranteeing apples to oranges comparison.

          • Actually, a major place that researchers think that they will get energy is this simple, but wrong belief:

            Oil and other energy prices will rise because of scarcity. There will be plenty of energy available, with the spiking prices, because there are a lot of fossil fuels are in the ground. All we have to do is wait until prices rise, and we can get out as much as we need.

            Economists, with their two-dimensional supply and demand curve, have given this answer; it must be right.

          • JMS says:

            Arthur C. Clark, what a magnificent tech-hopium seller! A truly high-priest of tech religion. May Hephaestus bless his soul.

          • DB says:

            Thank you for these quotes. It’s great to connect the themes on OFW to earlier thinkers.

        • Comments are another self-organizing system. I could kick out those who don’t believe as I do, but that would make for a very uninteresting set of comments.

      • Finch says:

        Lidia17, I used to follow Guy McPherson’s site, a place in which you were quite prolific. I particularly enjoyed your endeavors concerning Sarah Palin and her fake pregnancy.

        • Sort of strange!

          My mother, when she was pregnant with me years ago, hid her pregnancy under a lab coat for a very long time. She wanted to work while she was pregnant, back in the day when pregnant women were expected to stay at home.

          Here, Sarah Palin seems to be trying to protect her daughter.

        • JMS says:

          Most people have a hard time believing that the world of politics is entirely made up of deception and lies. They wouldn’t believe that even if their favorite politician came up to them and said, “Look, politics is all about deception and lies, I myself am a professional liar, and lie in each one of the 16 hours I spend awake every day.”
          Before such a confession, their denial mechanism would kick in, and they would think, “What a wonderful joker is our politician! He/she is of course lying when he/she says is liar!” It’s even likely they would invoke the liar’s paradox to better convince themselves of that. In fact, people WANT believe (in goodness, in good faith, etc). That’s why propaganda and advertising work so well.

          • DB says:

            Thank you, JMS. It took me most of my life to learn these lessons. Perhaps most difficult is to recognize in ourselves the wanting to believe.

            • JMS says:

              Me too. Hope is an essential crutch for most of us. It helps to live. It’s General Will’s useful aide-de-camp.
              But hope it’s also a blindfold (symbolized in the evil gift of Pandora’s myth). And i believe whoever seeks the truth above all cannot afford to use blindfolds (or at least not all the time).

        • Lidia17 says:

          Thanks, Finch. I actually had enough material for a third episode with all of the hinky-ness after the birth as well (different-looking infants of different ages presented, among other things).

          I’d never done any video stuff before, so it was fun to learn.. but there was a lot of work involved. Naively, at the time, I thought that this could “open people’s eyes” to all the fraud in government and the media, but I came to realize that people don’t operate on logic; they operate on emotions. Then I started getting more interested in investigating climate and collapse and energy issues, so “Perfidy” didn’t get its third chapter.

          People on right-wing sites still bemoan Sarah’s absence from the political scene, and think she could/should stage a comeback!

          Looking back on things, I thought at the time that the Republicans were crazy to run McCain and even crazier to add the boat-anchor of Sarah. You could tell he loathed her. But from a point of view where Everything is Scripted, it makes just as much sense as running Biden and Harris for the Dems.

      • Dennis L. says:


        Thanks for the note, I can only imagine, some of us seem to work because it is who we are; perhaps too “dumb” to know better.

        I found being with incredibly bright people intimidating at times, could never be good enough, the work was nonstop as you mentioned, did make a choice not to pursue research as it was too lonely, too intense, Madison, small building, cell research, Nobel people close at hand or close to obtaining same.

        We, the world, are in a predicament and we still have it easy, initial oil was easy; there is nothing left going forward that is easy. It is much easier if one does not have children, they are very, very expensive and walking away is not an option until they are underway, I suppose that may be an indirect question about you, not meant to be critical, observation, my experience. Kids require a great deal of personal sacrifice on the part of parents and that comes down to time and for me never getting enough sleep. So, yes, not at your level, I have been there, it is damn hard work. Kids are our hope, maybe some of us take that idea over the top.

        It appears to me that options going forward will be very difficult, we here are well aware of per capita issues, those I chose to ignore, the choices are too painful. We may have some choices on how we live on this planet, the only place I see to get resources is space, coming out of the earth’s gravity well requires magic(UFOs?), I will not bore repeating the reasons.

        There is never enough to go around, if a group does go off earth and some pretty successful people are not only discussing it, they are launching serious rockets, what if they don’t share? The protests in LA stopped at Beverly Hills.

        Tough to stay in the game, we all make choices; thanks for sharing, I constantly learn from this site. It is frustrating to hear the same observations repeated over and over with the same wishful thinking, looks to me like it is going to blood, sweat and tears. The good news, given a hundred years, it probably can be done, my mantra is “earth for humans,” we are not the plague, we are the tenants with non eviction clauses in the lease.

        Dennis L.

        • We don’t really know how this will work. The non-eviction clause may be for only a few. Or some parts of the world may temporarily “luck out,” while other parts fail. Regardless of what happens, there will be people working on possible solutions. Most of these solutions will look fairly unrealistic at first glance, but as long as things are still hanging together somewhat, there is hope.

      • Robert Firth says:

        Thank you, Lidia, a most thoughtful post. I too once worked in the IT field, and found two flavours of worker: those who worked for the benefit of others, and those who worked for the aggrandisement of their own egos. When the latter were clearly winning, I also walked out, and ended up teaching usability design (among other things) in Singapore.

      • DB says:

        I agree with JMS — a very nice comment, Lidia. Your history is interesting. It is funny how so many “smart” people have such limited understanding of life and the world.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Indeed! Thanks! I remember another conversation with a woman I knew who’d recently been hired by Bain (Mitt Romney’s old company). She was talking about truck logistics to do with some client and said that trucks were the most efficient way for them to transport goods. I said the most efficient way to transport goods is by ship, then by rail.. trucks are less efficient than those. Turned out her (MIT-graduate) understanding of “efficiency” was that it “cost less”. So what they were doing used more energy, but cost less. I had personally failed thermodynamics (just didn’t even take the final exam; took a walk along the Charles and amidstt amazing and scary feelings of liberation when I realized that I didn’t need to do this) and it took me thirty years to connect the dots between that conversation and the MPP and the conversations we are having here.

          Mitt Romney, you may recall, heading out on a family vacation, tied his dog in its cage on top of his car roof. Toodling down the highway at speed, he was alerted by his children to a brown liquid trickling down the back window.

          Another inkling that something at that school wasn’t quite right was someone I worked with in the student film organization speaking about a woman he was talking with on the phone, “She’s completely broken!”. “Broken” was a pretty common terminology for “not rendering the desired output”.

          “Broken” objects, including humans, were seen as items to be “fixed” via the tender ministrations of engineering.

    • Tim Groves says:

      This may not be totally appropriate, but it’s one of my favorite “hope” quotes.

      • “There is alway vengeance,” even if there isn’t hope. Not the way I think, though.

        • Tim Groves says:

          It was Middle Earth, Gail, with swords and sorcery and surrounded by orcs and goblins at every turn. The desire for vengeance would have helped people to go on long after they were totally exhausted.

          The desire for vengeance also drove Mad Max after the nasty bikers ran down and killed Mrs. Mad Max.

          I pray you and I will never have to deal with the degree of trespass against us that makes most people’s hearts cry for vengeance. I pray that we will settle, if not for forgiveness of our enemies, then at most schadenfreude when they fall.

          • Lidia17 says:

            Tim, I’d portray the modern grievance industry as operating on vengeance over hope. Consciously or not, they know their situation cannot be changed organically.

    • Nehemiah says:

      >why do we “have to have hope”?

      There is hope, and there is delusion. Both are comforting, but only one is plausible.

  30. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    modern myths:

    aliens are flying around and if people just make more effort then there will be real evidence.

    the human race will someday inhabit other locations like the moon and Mars.

    the moon has resources which can be obtained by humans in an economical manner: cheaply and profitably.

    there is an energy source that is better than FF but the physics has not been discovered yet.

    the human race will never revert to being uncivilized hunter/gatherers.


    I feel better now.

    as has been said recently, OFW is a great place to share facts and opinions, so take your pick on which are facts and which are opinions.

    • nikoB says:

      thank you david. Will sleep better now with a little dose of reality.

    • Nehemiah says:

      A few years after the Cold War ended, the “aliens” relocated their center of UFO activity East Asia, close to China.

    • Nehemiah says:

      A few years after the end of the Cold War, the “aliens” relocated their center of UFO activity to the Asian countries ringing China. I wonder why.

  31. Francesco Meneguzzo says:

    A major problem that could be overlooked when supporting a virtually unlimited (cheap) energy supply is that the more energy available, the more live biomass is consumed, mainly from large natural forests.
    Recent evidence points to big troubles with forest degradation, such as and In other words, the dilemma of energy availability and dramatic, life-threatening environmental degradation is emerging, adding to the issue of current decline in energy resources.

    • The loss of forest is occurring in spite of carbon offsets aimed at planting more trees. Loss of tree cover affects many things, including ability to reprocess CO2. It is another limit we are reaching.

  32. Nehemiah says:

    As an addendum to my previous [and significantly longer] comment, I would like to add that I think “big picture” energy analysts should be paying more attention to man’s primary energy source that makes al the others possible–namely, food–and the mutual dependence that has evolved between the food supply and the hydrocarbon supply such that neither can continue without the other.

    By the way, the same mutual dependence has evolved between electrical distribution and the internet–as the system is currently structured, neither can continue without the other. Other indispensable components of our civilization, including the monetary system, also depend on both the grid and the ‘net. The way we in the most advanced countries have rushed to make our survival totally dependent on both a functioning grid AND a functioning internet shocks me. Some complexity research indicates that “networks of networks” are especially vulnerable to sudden collapse. And of course, it all depends on energy.

    POSTSCRIPT: I originally posted this addendum as a “reply” to my own comment, but I think that must have triggered a spam filter for some reason, because not only did the reply never appear, but the original comment to which I was posting this addendum abruptly disappeared! Technology is great when it works, but when it behaves in unpredictable ways, aaarrrggghhh!!! Artificial “Intelligence” my arse.

  33. Nehemiah says:

    Gail writes: “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.” — That exact same tug of war exists for all commodities, including food. Many farmers are able to stay in business only by holding outside jobs in the city, which they commute and from in a timely manner by motor vehicle. Do you suppose that food prices will settle at a perverse equilibrium where they are too high for consumers yet too low for producers and therefore food production will fall to zero? Of course not. Food is an energy source.

    Fossil fuels are also energy sources. Just as we shall continue to extract minerals from the soil, and carbon from the air, and energy from the sun, via food production, we also shall extract a lot more oil, coal, and gas before the industry ceases to be viable, and prices will continue to ride a boom-bust roller coaster of volatility. Indeed, supply squeezes are likely to make the volatility worse.

    Because buying power among the bidders is variable, prices can and will rise very high indeed before all bidding is exhausted. Prices are relatively low now because we are not yet post-peak, not because we are observing a new supply-demand pricing phenomenon never before seen in economic history. In ancient times, a contraceptive herb was discovered in North Africa. It became so popular, that prices rose higher and higher, but never so high that all bidding stopped. Instead, prices rose until it was harvested to extinction.

    I do not hesitate to predict (ad nauseam, I know, people are probably tired of listening!) that fossil fuels will continue to be harvested until the EROI falls too low to maintain a civilization that can exploit them. Falling energy return, not falling financial return, will kill the industry globally. I think that will become increasingly obvious once we are decisively post peak, but we are not quite there yet. The world’s current problems are still largely due to debt and demography, so we are still in the late stage BAU phase.

    • Nehemiah says:

      As an addendum to my previous comment, I would like to add that I think “big picture” energy analysts should be paying more attention to man’s primary energy source that makes al the others possible–namely, food–and the mutual dependence that has evolved between the food supply and the hydrocarbon supply such that neither can continue without the other.

      By the way, the same mutual dependence has evolved between electrical distribution and the internet–as the system is currently structured, neither can continue without the other. Other indispensable components of our civilization, including the monetary system, also depend on both the grid and the ‘net. The way we in the most advanced countries have rushed to make our survival totally dependent on both a functioning grid AND a functioning internet shocks me. Some complexity research indicates that “networks of networks” are especially vulnerable to sudden collapse. And of course, it all depends on energy.

  34. Fred says:

    Some fairly wild comments going down. Not sure if they’re leg pulls or serious.

    We’re just fulfilling our genetic destiny, which is to grab as much energy/stuff as possible and then die back. Rinse and repeat. This guy nailed it:

    Energy historically manifested as food, more recently as various fuel sources, which adds more ‘toys’ and complexity to the process.

    I can drive my 2 tonne car 100kms on 6.5 litres of diesel. The embedded energy in that diesel is incredible and (currently) irreplaceable.

    Unless we can conjure up a zero point-style energy source that is simple and affordable we’re cooked, but even if we do we’ll continue to mess up our environment, so we’re still cooked.

    If we could create an incredibly efficient, affordable, portable battery just maybe we could continue some form of IC, but only for a much smaller no of people and how we could get from here to there is unclear.

    Decline always send people nuts, as it conflicts with our genetic grow-grow-grow programming, so our ability as a society to act in any coherent way is rapidly dwindling.

    That’s the end of the good news broadcast. You may now carry on partying.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Maybe for some, not for all. There is a point where more more stuff is a pain, once it is collected maintenance begins. Too much energy into one human leads to self destruction – the metaphor of a fast motorbike comes to mind.

      Life is changing before us, perhaps it does require less energy, for much education traveling to class is no longer necessary probably much to the chagrin of educational professionals.

      If everything that can be done electrically is done electrically, there is most likely enough with long extension cords(mining equipment), run it with nuclear, move it off the earth. People are earth centric, machines maybe not.

      Genetically growth does shut off, that is fairly well documented in lab experiments with rats, see Callhoun.

      Dennis L.

  35. Ed says:

    The IEA report assumes economic growth for the owning class, job growth for the laboring class, and promised resilience for the military and political classes.

  36. Ed says:

    Dennis, I can not find the right place for this so it goes here. Yes, we can manufacture in an orbit just leading or trailing Earth. It would have the same orbital velocity as Earth and we can just nudge the product to Earth where it will fall in a fiery slow down (from fall into Earth gravity well) as we see on space capsule returns, but “free”.

    • Nehemiah says:

      Think about all the materials that will have to be constantly “trucked” up to the orbiting factories, and the employees who must commute back and forth to earth. Daily I assume–or will you build homes in space and move their whole families up there with them? Which will require schools, churches, medical, and recreational facilities in space. Yeah, I know, robots, but robots can’t do everything, except in movies. And then there are the lawsuits when people develop osteoporosis and other space-related problems. Or what happens when an intense space weather episode knocks out all the manufacturing all at once, along with our satellites, which will surely happen one of these days.

    • Robert Firth says:

      Ed, a good idea, but I fear orbital mechanics are against you. The only stable points in Earth orbit are the Lagrangian L4 and L5 points, and they are not “just” leading and trailing; they are leading or trailing by almost 150 million kilometres. And how will you send parcels back to Earth? If launched spinward (from L5) they will climb off into space; if launched antispinward (from L4) they will drop towards the Sun. Now I personally believe that the only sane place to put a space manufacturing plant is indeed at L4, but what it should be manufacturing is spaceships, to go elsewhere and bring stuff back.

  37. Sven Røgeberg says:

    From Amazon: «Western culture is infatuated with the dream of going beyond, even as it is increasingly haunted by the specter of apocalypse: drought, famine, nuclear winter. How did we come to think of the planet and its limits as we do? This book reclaims, redefines, and makes an impassioned plea for limits―a notion central to environmentalism―clearing them from their association with Malthusianism and the ideology and politics that go along with it. Giorgos Kallis rereads reverend-economist Thomas Robert Malthus and his legacy, separating limits and scarcity, two notions that have long been conflated in both environmental and economic thought. Limits are not something out there, a property of nature to be deciphered by scientists, but a choice that confronts us, one that, paradoxically, is part and parcel of the pursuit of freedom. Taking us from ancient Greece to Malthus, from hunter-gatherers to the Romantics, from anarchist feminists to 1970s radical environmentalists, Limits shows us how an institutionalized culture of sharing can make possible the collective self-limitation we so urgently need.»
    A review:

    • Jason says:

      When baby birds become too big for the parents to feed, and too big for the nest to hold, do they limit their growth and share with their siblings their limited food. No, they take flight! We must take that flight to the stars, and if we do not succeed, we hit the ground hard and become food for future scavengers.

      • Kowalainen says:

        “We” as mankind, the rapacious primate, is going nowhere from earth.

        Our children, the Machines, will head for the stars.

        You might disagree with me, but then you’d quickly discover how it feels being wrong.

        Enjoy the show, BAU, until it gets quite gritty and grimy for mankind.

      • Nehemiah says:

        “take flight to the stars,” LOL, is this sarcasm? Only one country even made it to the moon, that was nearly 50 years ago, and NASA admits it could not do it today because it has literally lost the technology! Temporary growth is possible. Eternal growth is not. Forward to the Middle Ages!

        • they haven’t lost the technology

          if there was anything on the moon of commercial value, business interests would have been there 40 years ago

          • Kowalainen says:

            Oil and other FF’s wasn’t part of human business for the better part of some 300 centuries.

            Nuclear energy is some 70 years old now. The microprocessor 50. The Internet 30. Mobile communications 20. AI, less than 5.
            Spot a trend here? It seems to accelerate, no?

            The tragedy of the “obvious” is staggering.

          • Dennis L. says:


            What I am posting are guesses, but the questions asked here have me doing a bit more digging, again Wikipedia and lunar resources,


            It is of course optimistic, so I also found this and Google’s prize was not won, but that was then and this is now.


            This last link is from 2014 and it is important to see what has not happened as well as what has or can be. Optimism does not always carry the day, but being an optimist perhaps the decade?

            We have to have hope or we are all going to go nutz. It is not going to be easy, is failure really an option?

            Dennis L.

            • Lidia17 says:

              Dennis, why do we “have to have hope”? Do you hope to live to be 200? I don’t. The only relief to be found (imo) is an understanding of limits. Otherwise, nothing but pain and confusion when cornucopianism doesn’t pan out.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Lidia, truth.

              People want to believe in delusion because the alternative to their frivolous jank lifestyles are detrimental to their well being.

              From watching the fakery on the telly to the fake operatives on YT, FB, Twatter and so on. It is despicable.

              Follow the herd so that the perpetual racket can have another swing in the orbit of grand delusion.

          • Dennis L. says:



            1. 40 years ago there was not the concentration of wealth present today, much space exploration, etc. is not being privately funded and with much less bureaucracy.

            2. The easy natural resources were still present, more or less, not so much so now.

            Sorry, no time to chase down links, done from memory, if I am wrong, please correct.

            Dennis L.

            • as i see it, the necessary factor is concentration of energy, not concentration of wealth.

              the great concentrations of wealth we see now are the result of commercial enterprise and the natural gift of ‘smartness’ of a few exceptional individuals, to whom the means of wealth creation presented itself, and to which most of us acceeded.

              In the last century it was Rockefeller Ford and Carnegie et al.

              It was they who created the necessary realtime wealth (energy conversion) base for 2 world wars, The ‘American Dream’ and ultimately moonshots by the 1960s,
              We got richer because the available net energy (oil input) INCREASED year on year.
              We deluded ourselves that it was our technical expertise etc.

              There was enough concentrated energy in our 1960s system to commercially exploit the moon, had it been worthwhile
              It wasn’t, and isn’t.


              This century it’s Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg and co

              Only their ‘wealth creation’ is similar to a game of ‘pass the parcel’ where the only wealth being created is going to those who are playing the music to keep the game going. (hence the world’s wealth now being in the hands of 0.01% of the population.

              We parcel passers are getting poorer because available net energy is DECREASING year on year.

              Bezos passes his parcels around as we spend money of stuff we don’t need, and creams a minute amount off the top of each transaction.

              There are no ‘concentrated energy resources’ this time round. But we are told this can go on forever. And we can inhabit other worlds.

              If my negative explanation is wrong, I’d love to be shot down in flames?


              This is why there will be no moon mining or space elevators. There isn’t enough concentrated energy in the system to pay for such fantasies, even if they were possible.

              But that won’t stop the wishers. No telling how long we will go on rubbing our personal lamps.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Norman, whose word should I take, yours or NASA’s? NASA says they have lost the technology–destroyed it by mistake some time in the last 50 years. Could they be lying? Sure, but what would they have to gain by admitting to such a goof up? (Not that I am implying that trips to the moon are commercially viable even in theory–that is not my point; just that it would be difficult to return even if we wanted to.)

    • Dennis L. says:

      Malthus has yet to be right on a macro basis as commonly understood.

      Assuming a choice is assuming a great deal, it is every bit as reasonable although not as agreeable to assume we really don’t have choices, we react to what is before us and deal with it.

      “Limits shows us how an institutionalized culture of sharing can make possible the collective self-limitation we so urgently need.” It sounds wonderful, very utopian, can you give a real world example?

      Dennis L.

      • Oh dear says:

        And not only an example of such a society – but an example of such a society as ours that has transitioned to such a society as that.

        Otherwise it is the realm of ‘fiction’ rather than any sort of fact, little different to painting a nice picture – the real world is not so easy to make conform to ‘ideals’.

        Our present society tends to reward naivety with ‘moral’ ‘brownie points’ for ‘good intent’. But we should never confuse the ‘nice’ with the ‘true’, which simply would not be practical.

      • Think about the example of a situation in which, instead of 2000 calories of food available is available for people, only 1000 calories of food is available (or 500 calories of food is available) on average. How is an institutionalized culture of sharing possible? It is only when there is more than enough of the basics to go around that an institutionalized culture of sharing makes any sense. Everyone starves when all share and there isn’t enough to go around. At least some survive, if only a smaller amount of sharing is done.

        • Nehemiah says:

          I read somewhere that, in spite of the contemporary obesity “epidemic,” caloric consumption in Britain is quite a bit lower in Britain than it was in the 1940s. That is because people are more sedentary, with much muscle power of the past (fueled with calories from food) having been replaced by machine power (fueled with calories from fossil fuels and uranium). When energy becomes much more scarce than it is today, I expect muscles to start substituting for machines again, and caloric needs to rise sharply just as food production becomes more costly and difficult.