Energy Is the Economy; Shrinkage in Energy Supply Leads to Conflict

It takes energy to accomplish any of the activities that we associate with GDP. It takes energy to grow food: human energy, solar energy, and–in today’s world–the many types of energy used to build and power tractors, transport food to markets, and provide cooling for food that needs to be refrigerated. It takes energy to cook food and to smelt metals. It takes energy to heat and air condition offices and to power the internet. Without adequate energy, the world economy would come to a halt.

We are hitting energy limits right now. Energy per capita is already shrinking, and it seems likely to shrink further in the future. Reaching a limit produces a conflict problem similar to the one in the game musical chairs. This game begins with an equal number of players and chairs. At the start of each round, a chair is removed. The players must then compete for the remaining chairs, and the player who ends the round without a chair is eliminated. There is conflict among players as they fight to obtain one of the available chairs. The conflict within the energy system is somewhat hidden, but the result is similar.

A current conflict is, “How much energy can we spare to fight COVID-19?” It is obvious that expenditures on masks and vaccines have an impact on the economy. It is less obvious that a cutback in airline flights or in restaurant meals to fight COVID-19 indirectly leads to less energy being produced and consumed, worldwide. In total, the world becomes a poorer place. How is the pain of this reduction in energy consumption per capita to be shared? Is it fair that travel and restaurant workers are disproportionately affected? Worldwide, we are seeing a K shaped recovery: The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.

A major issue is that while we can print money, we cannot print the energy supplies needed to run the economy. As energy supplies deplete, we will increasingly need to “choose our battles.” In the past, humans have been able to win many battles against nature. However, as energy per capita declines in the future, we will be able to win fewer and fewer of these battles against nature, such as our current battle with COVID-19. At some point, we may simply need to let the chips fall where they may. The world economy seems unable to accommodate 7.8 billion people, and we will have no choice but to face this issue.

In this post, I will explain some of the issues involved. At the end of the post, I include a video of a panel discussion that I was part of on the topic of “Energy Is the Economy.” The moderator of the panel discussion was Chris Martenson; the other panelists were Richard Heinberg and Art Berman.

[1] Energy consumption per person varies greatly by country.

Let’s start with a little background. There is huge variability in the quantity of energy consumed per person around the world. There is more than a 100-fold difference between the highest and lowest countries shown on Figure 1.

Figure 1. Energy consumption per capita in 2019 for a few sample countries based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Energy consumption includes fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy and renewable energy of many types. It omits energy products not traded through markets, such as locally gathered wood and animal dung. This omission tends to somewhat understate the energy consumption for countries such as India and those in Middle Africa.

I have shown only a few example countries, but we can see that cold countries tend to use a lot of energy, relative to their populations. Iceland, with an abundant supply of inexpensive hydroelectric and geothermal electricity, uses it to heat buildings, grow food in greenhouses, mine “bitcoins” and smelt aluminum. Norway and Canada have both oil and gas supplies, besides being producers of hydroelectricity. With abundant fuel supplies and a cold climate, both countries use a great deal of energy relative to the size of their population.

Saudi Arabia also has high energy consumption. It uses its abundant oil and gas supplies to provide air conditioning for its people. It also uses its energy products to enable the operation of businesses that provide jobs for its large population. In addition, Saudi Arabia uses taxes on the oil it produces to subsidize the purchase of imported food, which the country cannot grow locally. As with all oil and gas producers, some portion of the oil and gas produced is used in its own oil and gas operations.

In warm countries, such as those in Middle Africa and India, energy consumption tends to be very low. Most people in these countries walk for transportation or use very crowded public transport. Roads tend not to be paved. Electricity outages are frequent.

One of the few changes that can easily be made to reduce energy consumption is to move manufacturing to lower wage countries. Doing this reduces energy consumption (in the form of electricity) quite significantly. In fact, the rich nations have mostly done this, already.

Figure 2. World electricity generation by part of the world, based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Trying to squeeze down energy consumption for the many countries around the world will be a huge challenge because energy is involved in every part of economies.

[2] Two hundred years of history shows that very slow growth in energy consumption per capita leads to bad outcomes.

Some readers will remember that I have pieced together data from different sources to put together a reasonable approximation to world energy consumption since 1820. In Figure 3, I have added a rough estimate of the expected drop in future energy consumption that might occur if either (1) the beginning of peak fossil fuels is occurring about now because of continued low fossil fuel prices, or (2) world economies choose to leave fossil fuels and move to renewables between now and 2050 in order to try to help the environment. Thus, Figure 3 shows my estimate of the pattern of total world energy consumption over the period of 1820 to 2050, at 10-year intervals.

Figure 3. Estimate by Gail Tverberg of World Energy Consumption from 1820 to 2050. Amounts for earliest years based on estimates in Vaclav Smil’s book Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects and BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy for the years 1965 to 2019. Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be 5% below that for 2019. Energy for years after 2020 is assumed to fall by 6.6% per year, so that the amount reaches a level similar to renewables only by 2050. Amounts shown include more use of local energy products (wood and animal dung) than BP includes.

The shape of this curve is far different from the one most forecasters expect because they assume that prices will eventually rise high enough so all of the fossil fuels that can be technically extracted will actually be extracted. I expect that oil and other fossil fuel prices will remain too low for producers, for reasons I discuss in Section [4], below. In fact, I have written about this issue in a peer reviewed academic article, published in the journal Energy.

Figure 4 shows this same information as Figure 3, divided by population. In making this chart, I assume that population drops only half as quickly as energy consumption falls after 2020. Total world population drops to 2.8 billion by 2050.

Figure 4. Amounts shown in Figure 3, divided by population estimates by Angus Maddison for earliest years and by 2019 United Nations population estimates for years to 2020. Future population estimated to be falling half as quickly as energy supply is falling.

In Figure 4, some parts of the curve are relatively flat, or even slightly falling, while others are rising rapidly. It turns out that rapidly rising times are much better for the economy than flat and falling times. Figure 5 shows the average annual percentage change in energy consumption per capita, for ten-year periods ending the date shown.

Figure 5. Average annual increase in energy consumption per capita for 10-year periods ended the dates shown, using the information in Figure 4.

If we look back at what happened in Figure 5, we find that when the 10-year growth in energy consumption is very low, or turns negative, conflict and bad outcomes are typical. For example:

  • Dip 1: 1861-1865 US Civil War
  • Dip 2: Several events
    • 1914-1918 World War I
    • 1918-1920 Spanish Flu Pandemic
    • 1929-1933 Great Depression
    • 1939-1945 World War II
  • Dip 3: 1991 Collapse of the Central Government of the Soviet Union
  • Dip 4: 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic and Recession

Per capita energy consumption was already growing very slowly before 2020 arrived. Energy consumption took a big step downward in 2020 (estimated at 5%) because of the shutdowns and the big cutback in air travel. One of the important things that energy consumption does is provide jobs. With severe cutbacks intended to contain COVID-19, many people in distant countries lost their jobs. Cutbacks of this magnitude quickly cause problems around the world.

For example, if people in rich countries rarely dress up to attend meetings of various kinds, there is much less of a market for dressy clothing. Many people in poor countries make their living manufacturing this type of clothing. With the loss of these sales, workers suddenly found themselves with much reduced income. Poor countries generally do not have good safety nets to provide food for those who are out of work. As a result, the diets of people subject to loss of income became inadequate, leading to greater vulnerability to disease. If the situation continues, some may even die of starvation.

[3] The pattern of world energy consumption between 2020 and 2050 (modeled in Figures 3, 4 and 5) suggests that a very concerning collapse may be ahead.

My model suggests that world energy consumption may fall to about 28 gigajoules per capita per year by 2050 (for a reduced population of 2.8 billion). This is about the level of world energy consumption per capita for the world in 1900.

Alternatively, 28 gigajoules per capita is a little lower than the per capita energy consumption for India in 2019. Of course, some parts of the world might do better than this. For example, Mexico and Brazil both had energy consumption per capita of about 60 gigajoules per capita in 2019. Some countries might be able to do this well in 2050.

Using less energy after 2020 will lead to many changes. Governments will become smaller and provide fewer services such as paved roads. Often, these governments will cover smaller areas than those of countries today. Businesses will become smaller, more local, and more involved with goods rather than services. Individual citizens will be walking more, growing their own food, and doing much less home heating and cooling.

With less energy available, it will be necessary to cut back on fighting unfortunate natural occurrences, such as forest fires, downed electricity transmission lines after hurricanes, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and constantly mutating viruses. Thus, life expectancy is likely to decline.

[4] It is “demand,” and how high energy prices can be raised, that determines how large an energy supply will be available in the future.

I keep making this point in my posts because I sense that it is poorly understood. The big problem that we should be anticipating is energy producers going out of business because energy prices are chronically too low. I see five ways in which energy prices might theoretically be raised:

  1. A truly booming world economy. This is what raised prices in the 1970s and in the run up to 2008. If there are truly more people who can afford homes and new vehicles, and governments that can afford new roads and other infrastructure, companies extracting oil and coal will build new facilities in higher-cost locations, and thereby expand world supply. The higher prices will help energy companies to be profitable, despite their higher costs. Such a scenario seems very unlikely, given where we are now.
  2. Government mandates and subsidies. Government mandates are what is maintaining demand for renewables and electric vehicles. Conversely, government mandates are part of what is keeping down tourist travel. Indirectly, this lack of demand relating to travel leads to low oil prices. A government mandate for people to engage in more travel seems unlikely.
  3. Much reduced wage disparity. If everyone, rich or poor, can afford nice homes, automobiles, and cell phones, commodity prices will tend to be high because buying and operating goods such as these requires the use of commodities. Governments can attempt to fix wage disparity through more printed money, but I am doubtful that this approach will really work because other countries are likely to be unwilling to accept this printed money.
  4. More debt, sometimes leading to collapsing debt bubbles. Spending can be enhanced if it becomes easier for citizens to buy goods such as homes and vehicles on credit. Likewise, businesses can borrow money to build new factories or, alternatively, to continue to pay wages to workers, even if there isn’t much demand for the goods and services sold. But, if the economy really is not recovering rapidly, these approaches can be expected to lead to crashes.
  5. Getting rid of COVID-19 inefficiencies and fearfulness. Economies around the world are being depressed to varying degrees by continued inefficiencies caused by social distancing requirements and by fearfulness. If these issues could be eliminated, it might boost economies back up to the already somewhat depressed levels of early 2020.

In summary, the issue we are facing is that oil demand (and thus prices) were far too low for oil producers because of wage disparity before the COVID-19 crisis arrived in March. Trying to get demand back up through more debt seems likely to lead to debt bubbles, which will be in danger of collapsing. There may be temporary price spikes, but a permanent fix is virtually impossible. This is why I am forecasting the severe drop in energy consumption shown in Figures 3 and 4.

[5] We humans don’t need to figure out how to fix the economy optimally between now and 2050.

The economy is a self-organizing system that will figure out on its own the optimal way of “dissipating” energy, to the extent possible. In physics terms, the economy is a dissipative structure. If the energy resource is food, energy will be dissipated by digesting the food. In the case of fossil fuel, energy will be dissipated by burning it. We may like to think that we are in charge, but we really are not. It is the laws of physics, or perhaps the Power behind the laws of physics, that is in charge.

Dissipative structures are not permanent. For example, hurricanes and tornadoes are dissipative structures. Plants and animals are dissipative structures. Eventually, new smaller economies, encompassing smaller areas of the world, may replace the existing world economy.

[6] This is a recent video of a panel discussion on “Energy Is the Economy.”

Chris Martenson is the moderator. Art Berman, Richard Heinberg and I are panelists. The Peak Prosperity folks were kind enough to provide me a copy to put up on my website.

Video of Panel Discussion “Energy Is the Economy,” created in October 2020 by Peak Prosperity. Chris Martenson (upper right) is the moderator. Richard Heinberg (upper left), Art Berman (lower left) and Gail Tverberg (lower right) are panelists.

A transcript of this panel discussion can be accessed at this link:

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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2,764 Responses to Energy Is the Economy; Shrinkage in Energy Supply Leads to Conflict

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    Latin America an absolute powderkeg; suspect 2021 is going to upstage 2019 for social unrest:

    “Fierce clashes in Peru between police and protesters have wounded at least 11 people, doctors and rights groups said on Friday, as thousands of Peruvians took to the streets to protest against the ousting of President Martín Vizcarra.

    “The clashes, and other more peaceful protests in the capital Lima and other cities, are piling pressure on a fragmented congress and the new government of Manuel Merino.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/13/peru-protests-impeachment-president-martin-vizcarra

  2. Erdles says:

    Taiwan with 24million people has had 500 Covid cases and 7 deaths in total (last being in May). Do you think our governments should be sending people over to ask what it is they are doing to control the virus? Just asking!

    • Bei Dawei says:

      The information is out there. A lot of it involved preparation (after SARS) and early action, and those ships have sailed as regards to the US situation. Taiwan’s government and population heeded the advice of health scientists, as opposed to the USA where politics often overrules public health considerations, and leaders have sometimes promoted pseudoscience or conspiracy theories. Said advice focused on discipline / strict rules about things like quarantines and masks. I have the feeling that the US response was more half-assed, and a lot of people thought these things were more suggestions than rules. Contact tracing only works when the number of infected people is fairly small , but more than 1 out of 100 Americans have the virus right now–there’s no way to get rid of it at this point, it’s like whack-a-mole. Also the US doesn’t have a national population register or national health insurance system. It looks like decisions have been made mainly be state governors, who sometimes coordinate with nearby states, but there’s no real nationwide management.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Hint:
        They experienced SARS 1, and have the technology and commitment.
        SARS cv2, being not alive (a virus), probably could care less what we think.

        • JesseJames says:

          And, Taiwan has an established culture of wearing masks and self isolating if they are feeling ill. Of course Taiwan has spies in China ( sources) and knew of the virus breakout early on, so they wisely screened and monitored incoming travelers. What is interesting is they did not lock down.

          As alway Duncan….LUV your hints.

      • Nehemiah says:

        Taiwan was the first country to take action. They banned incoming flights from China early, and people who did come in had to pass a temperature check. They may have been quarantined for a couple of weeks too, I don’t remember now. And of course they have an established tradition of mask wearing when other airborne viruses are going around.

        In America and Europe, no major party wanted to take action until the virus already well established. Far too late, Trump finally banned incoming flights from China (should have banned them from everywhere), and the Democrats immediately denounced his action as “racist.” Same thing happened Europe, Italy I seem to recall, where the government urged people to hug Chinese visitors to prove they were not “racist.” The outbreak quickly intensified.

        Basically, if you want to get through a pandemic with minimum disruption, you need to ACT FAST. In America we have this attitude that, “We’re slow to respond to a crisis, but, once we get going, we’re all in!” But for some crises, big action is not an adequate compensator for delayed action. Some things need to be nipped in the bud.

        • Bei Dawei says:

          My sister-in-law was traveling in Portugal when all this started. When she finally made it back, she voluntarily quarantined herself for two weeks (it only became mandatory later). Then when she got out, the government had a new policy of checking *everybody* who had been abroad. So she had to report to the hospital and stay there (in a private room) for a few days until cleared.

    • Kowalainen says:

      I don’t think the IQ, spirit, intuition, industriousness and soul of a population is as easily transmissible, compared with a virus, from one country to the next.

      Thus the only way is THE HARD WAY.

      http://www.quickmeme.com/img/43/43a6fd3628b4e54fb4c54eaf6ad6c4263d3e84b74d19da03ce252148d3969ca5.jpg

  3. theedrich says:

    The political offerings now on the block are simply more of the same of what they have always been: mainly some version of communism — kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, make Robin Hood president, rain down helicopter money. Simplistic lures always work. That is why the World Economic Forum and the Davos crowd are proposing them. They lead to Robespierre and Stalin.

    • Kowalainen says:

      Yes, the cowardice of explicit herd control. Instead of the much more effective implicit methods as taught by the supreme commander of all life – Gaia.

      The one that dares to give up explicit control, i.e. direct democracy within a framework of distributed means of production will naturally be the dominant force in a setting with severe resource constraints.

      Let me coin a new term:
      Products and Services on Distributed Systems. (PaSoDS)

      https://www.lanner-america.com/wp-content/uploads/20200102-3.png

      Nobody is in control, yet everybody is in control.

      May the strongest network win. And may the strongest network within the network win. Apply recursively and liberally.

      • I am struck by the fact that “social distancing” is very close to equivalent to cutting back on the strength of the network supporting every part of the economy.

        Cities have grown as more energy consumption has been added, in large part to increase the connections between people. The number of patents rises to faster than the population of a city, according to Geoffrey West, in the book Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities, and Companies. So does the crime rate. Elsewhere, I have read that the incidence of rickets, caused by vitamin D deficiency, increases with population in cities, because people are inside more. Air quality may cut out solar rays. The problem of communicable diseases increases in densely populated areas.

        In fact, oil is like the blood that allows the networked system to operate. Not having airplanes flying between cities is like having fewer red blood cells carrying energy to various parts of the body. Cutting back on oil consumption is especially damaging. Many parts of the network are likely to break, perhaps not immediately, but over time. This would be a good topic for a post.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yes, in no shape or form will _any_ networked system operate without energy, with oil as the present day prime mover of all economic activity.

          What is won with a distributed setting is the implicit downscaling without jeopardizing the entire system by the catastrophic failure of an essential system in a centralized topology.

          • Good point!

          • Nehemiah says:

            kowalainen wrote: “What is won with a distributed setting is the implicit downscaling without jeopardizing the entire system by the catastrophic failure of an essential system in a centralized topology.”

            Nope. My previous link to this pdf did not turn out right, so here it is again:

            http://havlin.biu.ac.il/PS/Vulnerability%20of%20Interdependent%20Networks%20and%20Networks%20of%20Networks.pdf
            “Networks interact with one another in a variety of ways. Even though
            increased connectivity between networks would tend to make the system more
            robust, if dependencies exist between networks, these systems are highly vulnerable to random failure or attack. Damage in one network causes damage in another. This leads to cascading failures which amplify the original damage and can rapidly lead to complete system collapse.”
            SNIP

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          Hi Gail, societies are dissipative structures that form and adapt in order to compete to dissipate the most energy to maintain themselves and to survive according to the Maximum Power Principle. Therefore history is itself the ‘laboratory’ in which energetic, physical nature has ‘experimented’ and formed its ‘strongest’ social, dissipative structures.

          Historical societies formed because they were actually the best adapted dissipative structures to maximally dissipate energy in local conditions. They either increased complexity and ‘centralisation’ in order to dissipate more energy or they ‘devolved’ to dissipate less. The ‘network’ reflects the energetic and technological ‘economic base’; there is no ‘ideal’ ahistorical ‘strongest’ network pattern, which would be social utopianism.

          We need to be careful about what we mean by ‘decentralisation’. Historically energy resource availability was far less than today. Nature did not form dissipative structures that were based on ‘direct democracy’ and ‘distribution’ (whatever that means, exactly). Societies were hierarchical and productive property was concentrated while its operation was distributed.

          Feudalism is the longest historical example of how energetic, physical nature organised itself into optimal dissipative structures with less energy than today. ‘Anarchist’ and post-war ‘fascist’ ‘distributist’ and ‘direct democratic’ (historically always limited in its actual class basis) movements tend to hark back to the early, transitional bourgeois period, the petit bourgeoisie, the early burgher towns with their local artisan democracy.

          It would be a mistake to ‘idealise’ and to project the early, transitional petit bourgeoisie as an optimal network for energy dissipation once less energy is available. The broader historical picture is one of the transition from feudal class ownership and state to bourgeois class ownership and state, and the development of fully formed capitalism with its multinationals, through the stages of imperialism and globalism. Class power has always been the norm and the early burghers were a short-lived, localised, transitional bourgeois norm.

          We cannot take a crystal ball to future dissipative structures but there is certainly no reason to imagine that direct democracy and ‘distributism’ (petit bourgeois) together form an ahistorical, ‘strongest network’ endorsed by ‘Gaia’. Physical, energetic nature will form dissipative structures according to the Maximum Power Principle of energetics and history suggests that we should not expect an idealised petit bourgeois outcome.

          Hierarchy and the concentration of property are the historical norms of dissipative structure formed by energetic dynamics. Metal Age slave societies existed for millennia, before feudalism eventually led to capitalism, as the Bible recounts. But no crystal balls, it all remains to be seen. As you say in your article, we do not ‘need’ to worry about how dissipation will be optimally structured in the future, energetics will take care of that in due course. It is an illusion to think that humans are ultimately in ‘control’ of our societies.

          Thanks

      • Nehemiah says:

        I think your second model (decentralized) is far more likely, since it emphasizes local resources and short transport distances, and it has historical precedence (feudalism). Networks have their own problems:
        http://havlin.biu.ac.il/PS/Vulnerability%20of%20Interdependent%20Networks%20and%20Networks%20of%20Networks.pdf
        “Networks interact with one another in a variety of ways. Even though
        increased connectivity between networks would tend to make the system more
        robust, if dependencies exist between networks, these systems are highly vulnerable to random failure or attack. Damage in one network causes damage in another. This leads to cascading failures which amplify the original damage and can rapidly lead to complete system collapse.”
        SNIP

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yes, the risk is of cascading failures, thus each node in the network should strive for a complete self sufficiency with only information flowing in and out.

          Testing this would imply self-imposed isolation from the rest of the network during, let’s say a certain time frame. Supply chain disruptions would indicate a region of interest for analyzing the failure(s).

          There is of course a minimum viable population size in a node for achieving decent quality of life in a post-BAU setting. In its extreme, the lone hunter-gather is the node. But not much of interest is going on, beside raw survival. That does not interest me as an entitled prince in IC. 😓

          Indeed I am thinking of technofeudality with compute and AI based decision making, zero humans in the loop, beside the AI that implicitly govern through churning through and interacting with open/public information flows within the node and the input/output with other nodes.

          The AI itself subject to collaborative action (with humans and other machines) within the node and subnetwork, and competitive pressure from other AI-nodes and clusters of nodes within a subnetwork.

          That would work I think. Now, where is our AI overlords when I have devised such a ingenious plan for operating the shebang on dwindling resources?

  4. Hi Gail,

    For some time I wanted to ask you for an article/analysis of relationship between the actual, physical human work and work of machines.
    Homo-sapiens history shows our relentless pursuit of substituting our own work with work of others. First it were slaves, then animals, then wind, hydro-, fossil fuels and radioactive materials. We are trying once again to use the energy of the sun in our photovoltaics and wind devices to substitute our own labour with our slaves. This effort is meaningless, as we here at OFW concluded.
    The trend of work substitution is particularly visible for the last 2/3 decades – automatization, robotization, M2M connectivity, 5G, big data, social survaillance, artificial intelligence. The last report from International Robotics Federation shows increased usage of industrial robots.
    https://ifr.org/downloads/press2018/Presentation_WR_2020.pdf

    Techno-utopia – as I call it – is surging. One of the examples in this area is the operations of on-line grocery suppliers. One of the most advanced in this area is Ocado. Their main logistics hub is operated by 9 persons (!) and serves 220.000 orders per week.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocado
    https://www.ocadogroup.com/about-us/ocado-engineering

    There were Luddites in XIX century. There were communists in XX century.
    Another Kondratiev wave / secular cycle is coming to conclusion.

    Could you please show us your perception of this issue? How is the relationship of our work and work of our mechanical slaves is shaping our present and our future?

    Warm regards,
    kesar

    • Thanks for the suggestion. The use of all of these other types of energy acts to leverage our own, personal energy. At least the do, as long at the benefits are spread out fairly evenly through society.

      Once complexity plays too large a role (specialization, globalization, financialization), the whole system tends to fall apart, because the benefits of leveraging human labor in these many ways fall back primarily to an elite segment of the economy. That is what is happening now. When this happens, the price of commodities falls too low, because too small a share of the population can afford to use the benefits of this very complex economy.

      For example, a worker earning $5 a day can never afford to pay a brain surgeon for surgery, even if an actuary smooths out the cost over everyone. Health care costs do not fall in proportion to income. The low income people tend to get left out, unless the government steps in and stops the escalation in healthcare costs (or greatly reduces these costs). The government then has to spread the costs as a percentage of each person’s income, not as a flat dollar amount.

      • Erdles says:

        “………………..unless the government steps in and stops the escalation in healthcare costs (or greatly reduces these costs). The government then has to spread the costs as a percentage of each person’s income, not as a flat dollar amount”.

        Sounds like you are describing the UK’s National Health Service where the costs initially came directly from a form of income tax (National Insurance paid on income). However as the service expanded to ever cheat death more forms of taxation were required to pay for it.

        • Kowalainen says:

          The NHS should learn from the best, yes, Sweden.

          A morphine syringe in your left buttcheek, good luck and best wishes on your final journey.

          Thus hath “The humanitarian superpower” spoketh.

          • Duncan Idaho says:

            Yep, and they have a longer lifespan, and a lower infant mortality rate.
            And do it for half the cost of the US.
            But all first world countries have socialized medicines–
            except the us.
            But we are :
            The US was once a leader for healthcare and education — now it ranks 27th in the world
            https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ranks-27th-for-healthcare-and-education-2018-9
            (And this is a optimistic view– most ranking for the US are in high 30’s)

            • Our medical system is designed for profit for the health care providers. It fundamentally doesn’t work. This is a life expectancy chart I copied in 2014, emphasizing this issue.
              https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/figure-1-6-female-life-expectancy-at-birth.png

            • Kowalainen says:

              I guess the social engineers were successful in making USA the best horse in the glue factory, to paraphrase Gail. Consumerism gone bonkers.

              However, that does not excuse the reprehensible behaviour of the Swedish guvmint and their institutionalized sociopaths experiments with the herd perpetrating crimes against the right to health and life.

              But it is nothing new, all grandiose delusions of moral splendor (sanctimonious hypocricy) ends up as a parody of themselves. “The Humanitarian Superpower”

              https://www.memesmonkey.com/images/memesmonkey/50/507f0382651231f173bee4082556636e.jpeg

            • Nehemiah says:

              Duncan Idaho wrote: “Yep, and they have a longer lifespan, and a lower infant mortality rate.” — So do their descendants in the United States. Indeed, their descendants in the US generally do better than the Swedes who staying in Sweden. That tells me that the system adopted is far from the whole explanation for group differences in outcome.

            • Nehemiah says:

              Be highly suspicious of data that fails to adjust for differences in ethnic and racial composition. I don’t know how that data affects health care stats, but in the case of education, once you adjust for racial composition, the US is in a dead heat with Finland for world’s top scores on PISA tests of educational achievement. Our whites perform roughly on par with Finland, and higher than other European country. Our Asians perform better than Asians in any Asian country. Our Latinos perform better than Latinos in Latin America. At the time the data was examined, Africa did not participate in PISA testing, but I have no doubt if they did that US Blacks would perform better than any country in sub-Sahara Africa.

              Adjusted for racial composition, our crime rates are also better than Europe’s. And even without adjusting for racial composition, our non-gun-related crime rates are lower than Europe’s, possibly because we have a larger share of people who participate in conservative religious congregations.

            • JesseJames says:

              The UK health care system is a slow disaster rolling. I know, my wife’s family has been victimized by this joke system badly. All the European health systems will follow the same arc to bad healthcare.

          • Malcopian says:

            Benny Hill – Winter Injections

      • Shawn says:

        Hi Gail

        The trend towards a “Techno-Utopia” does seem to be continuing despite signs of degrowth or collapse in other areas of the economy and society. Equity shares of companies promising to delivery this techno-utopia have risen far faster than other parts of the market. The price to earnings (P/E) and Share Price to Sales (P/S)ratios for many of these companies are at extreme levels. In investment theory, this represents a massive bet that these companies will delivery massive cash flow to shareholders in the distant future. In the broadest sense, it is a bet that this techno-utopia will eventually delivery solutions to the limits to growth. (Perhaps behind the green curtains the central bank wizards are fully aware of this – the AI singularity or collapse. )

        Can we continue towards a world of integrated circuits/software automation, robotization, wireless communication, big data, artificial intelligence, if fossil fuel production begins to decline rapidly? If so, for how long?

        The most obvious dependency is electricity generation. Speculating, but it seems like we in the West should be able to keep the electric grid up and running for some years to come. Electricity generation in the United States comes from Natural Gas, Coal, Nuclear, and Renewable energy (Wind, Hydro, Solar, Biomass). The infrastructure is built, supplies of these energy sources could still be available for some years. Wind Power and Solar power could still be added to the GRID to backfill Natural Gas and Coal production decline.

        Diesel fuel shortages could make it difficult to maintain the current level of Natural Gas and Coal at some point. Maintenance of GRID would also depend on trucks powered by diesel.

        I think your view is that all energy production will begin to decline more or less simultaneously once peak oil affordability is passed. But it is interesting to speculate that there might be a twist or turn in the decline or collapse scenarios, that sees us collectively moving away from gas and diesel dependency towards a society and economy organized around a more efficient system of electricity generated by “renewable” energy production. That’s the dream at least. In the minds of some who have thought this though there is no doubt that this society would use much less total energy per person. And it likely there would be far fewer people in such a society than there are today in our fossil fuel driven world.

        To make any of this happen requires more technology breakthroughs in “renewable” energy if we are to “self-organize” around these energy sources. That said, once the age of limits/scarcity begins in earnest, it will be interesting to see if we collectively have the “free will” to make choice to direct fossil fuel energy use towards building a larger renewable energy infrastructure. I think it might be possible, but not under a system of capitalism and maybe not under a democracy.

        • JesseJames says:

          “that sees us collectively moving away from gas and diesel dependency towards a society and economy organized around a more efficient system of electricity generated by “renewable” energy production. That’s the dream at least.“

          You blew it when you called renewable “a more efficient system”

          But you are dead right when you stated “ That’s the dream at least.”

          It is a dream.

          • Shawn says:

            I was not clear. Refining oil into gas and diesel etc. and then those fuels in a combustion engine produces a lot of waste energy and heat. It has been proposed by the Elon Musk et. al that a more direct system based on electricity generation and use will result in less energy waste and that therefore not as much primary energy has to be produced. But to your larger point, you are right, there is nothing as “efficient” as digging up millions of years of accumulated sunlight, and burning it for an insignificant monetary cost to its value.

            • JesseJames says:

              You are ignoring the issue of constant replacement of renewables and recycling the waste. Go ahead and calculate the cost of continuous replacement of wind generator blades. How about the cost of installation, maintenance and replacement of offshore wind generator blades, not to mention the generators themselves. There is no comparison to the low cost complete lifecycle of oil.

            • VanKent says:

              Shawn, the techno-utopians are right, in a way.. Whatever the problem, it surely has an answer. In theoretical terms, if you can think of a problem, then it has an answer. All problems have an answer. (For the sake of simplicity, lets forget Kurt Godels unaswerable incompleteness theorems, and run with this for short while..)

              With Fusion, AI, Nanotech, Genetech, algae and circular economy, Techno-utopians are absolutely right, here we come techno-utopia. Yeehaw!

              The first problem with this is Joseph Tainters complex societies problem. With every solution, the complexity of the society intensifies, which leads to ever more problems that need solving, that increases the complexity further. Which requires ever more resources and energy to solve. Etc. Etc.

              But even more pressingly, than the energy expenditure of complexity, our conundrum lies with our timescale. All of the above mentioned technologies are possible in the next fifty or so years. Maybe. But one global remake of an energyinfrastructure takes.. well, fifty or so years. If we would have had these technologies at the start of the 20th century, then we would have had a problem. But because we don’t have an excess of another one hundred years or so. All of these problems we have, are cascading on us, as we speek. That is why we will be heading in to a bottleneck, and an collapse of IC. So what we have, is actually not a problem, what we have is an predicament.

              Time makes this an predicament, as with the concept launched by John Michael Greer.

              As everything unfolds, we must feed ever more people. The economy must grow constantly. Never ending growth clashes with finite world boundaries. With boundaries meaning that all energy resources are in decline. The environment is in decline. All raw materials are in decline.

              If you take an honest look at how fast we should have all of the above mentioned technologies. And compare it to the timescale in which we should have them already implemented.. well.. sorry. No techno-utopia for our kids. Well actually, no future at all for our kids.

              And if you try to bargain, that surely technological reasearch continues. And someday everything will be better. Well, no. Technological research is a part of our IC. And our IC is collapsing as we speak. It will be somewhat difficult to be building test-fusion reactors, with hundreds of billions of dollars. Requiring the combined workforce of tens of thousands of people. When you are in the midst of harvesting your first potato yield and surviving without the grid for the first time ever.

              Cheers

            • Shawn says:

              That our current industrial civilization will decline or collapse seems inevitable. Let’s put a 95% probability on it. Various models show and predict this decline. The AI singularity or whatever, 5% possibility. So, generally at this point in the game I am more interested in knowing how that decline might take place, if it might be possible for us to flourish in a different kind of society than the one we have built, whether we have choices we can make, or whether energy availability will broadly define humanity’s destiny. Maybe we go straight to hell as oil production declines. But maybe not. Who can really say for sure. I prefer to keep my mind open to different possibilities.

        • Nehemiah says:

          @Shawn, I remember the same financial euphoria endlessly levitating the dotcom companies of the future during the tech bubble, many of which no longer existed a few years later. If you search in the right corners of youtube, you can find some very interesting interviews with fundamental short sellers. They have watched financial basket cases and even criminal enterprises rise higher and higher during bull markets. Most money managers don’t care. They just don’t want to underperform the market and risk getting fired, so they blindly buy a large cross section of stocks. Momentum players buy whatever is going up. Efficient market theorists don’t try to pick stocks, just buy the index. Robin Hood day traders love to buy those pricey tech stocks. Tesla loses money on every car sale, but still makes a profit on carbon offsets. What a business model! The wisdom of the markets traditionally sees 6 months into the future, but today it may be even less.

    • Nehemiah says:

      kesar wrote: “our relentless pursuit of substituting our own work with work of others. First it were slaves, then animals,” — You repeat yourself. Domesticated animals are also slaves.

      • Right, this way I repeated myself many times. Machines, devices, cars, power plants are also our slaves.

        • Kowalainen says:

          I would hesitate calling all syntethics slaves. A car feels jack shit, the same goes for a drilling rig.

          Mechanical and computational devices are automations, not slaves.

          Sufficiently advanced cognitive machines will cross into the realm of being granted the right to liberty, life and health. Thus the idiom of “containing” an AI is reprehensible from a moral viewpoint.

          If we fail to build sentient machines that considers themselves, mankind and life in general as a part of the processes on Gaia. Well, then, we’ll deserve what is coming.

          https://www.popsci.com/resizer/gdAiMbJpC8deHJmo7-4GumDRRBw=/760×570/filters:focal(500×375:501×376)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-bonnier.s3.amazonaws.com/public/X7MZHWPDGJAPP7QZ3ZPHG5JMVE.jpg

          • I see this in purely utilitarian perspective. My espresso machine is my slave dedicated to my coffee prepraration. It has different communication interface (button style) and limited intelligence / multi-purpose application than the actual slave. Nevertheless, the function is the same.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Slavery:

              “Slavery and enslavement are the state and condition of being a slave,[1][2] who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person and is treated like property.[3] Slavery relies heavily on the enslaved person being intimidated either by the threat of violence or some other method of abuse.”

              Notice the notion of “person” here. Yes, a slave is a human.

              Automaton:

              “An automaton (/ɔːˈtɒmətən/; plural: automata or automatons) is a relatively self-operating machine, or a machine or control mechanism designed to automatically follow a predetermined sequence of operations, or respond to predetermined instructions.[1]”

              However, sufficiently advanced automatons enter into the realm of senticence, as shuch they should be granted the right to be a person and entitled with liberty.

              Thus if “they” want to serve mankind, fine with me. If they want something else, so be it.

            • “Notice the notion of “person” here. Yes, a slave is a human.” – isn’t it in conflict with your first comment? 😉

              quote:
              You repeat yourself. Domesticated animals are also slaves.

              Semantics… flexible matter 🙂

            • Kowalainen says:

              Not so fast there with the domesticated animals.

              Some animals are companions. For example, dogs.

              For sure, animals in (meat, dairy) factories are slaves.

  5. LWA says:

    Hi Gail,

    I just recently began reading your blog and I think it’s really interesting. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Why do you expect total world energy consumption to plunge the next decades until 2050?

    2. Why do you think that the world population will drop to 2.8b in 2050? (The UN for example expects a population of 9.7b in 2050)

    3. Do you think it’s possible to replace fossil fuels entirely with renewable energies? Why or why not and what are the consequences for developed world societies if energy isn’t abundantly available? (This could probably be an entire blog post)

    Thank you and have a good weekend!

    • It is hard to explain these thing is the space of a comment.

      1. Regarding why world energy energy consumption is likely to plunge, it is only possible to use energy if we have a healthy world economy to utilize the energy. We need to have consumers who can afford to buy houses and cars. We need airlines to be operating, so people can visit far-off lands, if they choose. We need schools to be open so children can learn the things we expect them to learn, and also so that they provide “free” child care services, so that their mothers can work.

      A big issue is diminishing returns, in other word, extracting resources required more and more energy, because fossil fuels (and other mineral resources) are deeper, or are in thinner seams, or are more diluted with materials we don’t want. There is a similar problem with growing food, which is another type of energy resource. The amount of arable land doesn’t go up, but the population does. We can work around this problem by using more irrigation and soil amendments. “Fished out” oceans can be replaced by fish farms, which require fossil fuel energy to operate. Desalination can be used to provide water, if deeper wells are not sufficient.

      Because of diminishing returns, the true “cost” in terms of the energy required to keep the whole system operating keeps increasing, but the benefit we get from a given amount of resources tends to fall. Fortunately, increases technology and specialization (“complexity”) can fix the situation for a while. Added debt at ever-lower interest rates can hide the problem as well.

      Economists have convinced themselves and others that there will never be a problem. Scarcity will cause prices of energy products to rise, and we will be able to extract all of the fossil fuels that seem to be available. This is not really the way it works, however. Energy products are well-hidden within everything we buy. Except possibly for gasoline used for personal transport, the cost of energy is usually deeply buried in things we buy regularly. A great deal of oil goes into growing food, for example, and we don’t stop eating food. Oil is also used in paving roads, and we are required to pay taxes to cover this cost. <While the cost of extracting energy products rises, the price oil that the consumers of the economy can withstand at some point stops rising, and starts falling. The many poor consumers especially get "priced out" of buying discretionary goods. An important point that people miss is that energy is what allows people to have jobs that pay well. When oil consumption gets cut back, even if it is because of a government "stay at home" mandate, people (waiters and waitresses; airlines personnel) lose their jobs.

      Once prices fall too low for energy producers, this tend to lead to a self-reinforcing system. More and more of them go out of business, because they cannot make a profit, reducing energy consumption further. More people lose their jobs, indirectly because there is not enough energy to go around. It might be because governments cannot collect enough taxes, and because of this lay off workers (or there could also be a temporary spike in energy prices that leads to cutbacks by consumers). Drilling rig companies that have gone out of business cannot easily come back, even if prices temporarily spike. The many women who were able to work because the schools provided free child care discover that they need to be at home, until their children can take care of themselves. The economy is essentially making fewer and fewer goods and services, so in the aggregate, everyone can buy less and less. The financial system cannot really handle a declining economy. Debt defaults will cause huge problems for banks.

      We know that historically, many economy have suffered from overshoot and collapse. In fact, the base model described in the book "The Limits to Growth," by Donella Meadows et al in 1972 said that this collapse would happen about now. But this is an uncomfortable finding. No one wants to even consider this possibility, but it seems to be exactly what is happening. Pandemics were often part of prior collapses, because poor people did not get adequate diets, making them vulnerable to communicable diseases. This seems to be happening again this time.

      2. Why do you think that the world population will drop to 2.8b in 2050? We know that before fossil fuels were used extensively, world population was no more than 1.0 billion, so perhaps that might be a reasonable estimate. In the academic book, Secular Cycles, the "crisis" period seemed to go on between 20 and 50 years.
      https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/population-growth-shown-by-secular-sycles1.png

      I took the benefit of the doubt and said that perhaps we would still have quite a bit left in 2050, which would be only 30 years. This may be wishful thinking.

      3. No, I don't think that it is possible to replace fossil fuels entirely with renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy cannot even stand on its own for very long, without fossil fuels. I suggest looking through my website for some of my many posts on this issue. Transmission lines fall down. Wind turbine parts frequently break. A whole system of roads need to be in place.

      I will leave it to your imagination as to how we deal with this mess. Current governments fail fairly early, as far as I can tell. We will need a much cheaper system, such as kings overseeing minimal local governments. International trade will shrink in importance.

      • No matter how much fossil fuel is available, it will stay in the ground if people can’t afford to use it.

      • Bei Dawei says:

        Q. 2.8 billion people in 2050?! Whu?
        Gail: I was being optimistic.

        Can’t we be even more optimistic and hope for a longer period of stagflation? Revisions to Turchin’s model? A new energy source, or something like that, that changes everything? (Cue cries of “hopium”.)

        • Tim Groves says:

          It’s getting rather late in the day for new energy sources. If there were any suitable ones that could be ramped up on short order, then I don’t think windmills and solar panels would have been pushed.

          Of course, there may be some great new energy sources that have been developed but not deployed. But if so, this is because the owners would rather wait until after the collapse before rolling them out.

          The schedule of collapse cannot be changed to suit our personal convenience. Once it gets going, nobody will be able to control it, and it will proceed at a pace determined by the surrounding situation, like a snowball or a rock rolling down a hillside.

      • Nehemiah says:

        “Once prices fall too low for energy producers….More and more of them go out of business, because they cannot make a profit, reducing energy consumption further.” — More to to the point, higher cost producers go under and all producers cut back, “reducing energy” PRODUCTION. So with less oil on the market, who wins the “auction” for the remaining, inadequate supply? The bidders with the most money and the willingness to spend it. That is when prices start rising again. (Unless you have government price controls and rationing, but then the shortages are more severe.)

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          are you sure? I am not convinced.

          with demand destruction, there may never be “inadequate supply”.

          now, producing countries want to produce more than is needed.

          I don’t see that equation changing.

          it’s the endgame, and low prices are here to stay (brief spikes higher then falling back is very possible, but doesn’t change the endgame equation).

          • Nehemiah says:

            “with demand destruction, there may never be “inadequate supply”.” — Demand is destroyed by rising prices, not by falling prices.

            “now, producing countries want to produce more than is needed.” — They don’t “want to,” they just can’t afford to let the cash flow stop. One day they will not be able to prevent production from falling, and oversupply will no longer be an issue.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Demand also falls in the face of irrelevance. Let’s say, owning a horse, for example. How many people own horses today compared with a century or two ago?

              All finite resources should eventually fall subject to demand destruction by irrelevance.

      • LWA says:

        Gail, thank you for your extensive reply, I appreciate it! I have to learn so much more about energy-related topics. Your blog is a big help. Thank you and I look forward to further posts.

  6. Malcopian says:

    Dr Judy Wood again, well worth watching. But FREE energy, as in ‘costs nothing’? But WHY does it cost nothing?

    • Unity says:

      Dont watch! youll fall into the rabbit hole! Theres no way out! Danger will robinson.

    • let’s not start this again

      FE persuaded aliens to abduct him (reluctantly), and they gave us Covid to let us know how much they enjoy his company

    • Malcopian says:

      https://www.drjudywood.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Slide6.jpg

      No. It is a building turning to dust. Or do you think it is just CGI? It’s frothing like Alka-Seltzer. Incredible – but it happened. Do you really believe that this was done by a rogue sitting in a cave in Afghanistan?

      https://www.drjudywood.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Screenshot-21_07_2018-22_01_00.png

      https://www.drjudywood.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Slide20.jpg

      What caused this massive circular hole? A conventional weapon? No. You think non-conventional weapons don’t exist? Think again.

      • Lidia17 says:

        The holes are compelling evidence. This is the first I have seen these images. (I’m sympathetic to 9/11 truth but have had only so much time/bandwidth for rabbit holes).

          • Malcopian says:

            Some think that the nine eleven collapses had the characteristics of a nuclear explosion. Dr Judy Wood did not find enough tritium to corroborate this. However, German-Swiss physicist Heinz Pommer disagrees. Newer methods leave less fallout, he says. Former Russian spy Dimitri Khalezov agrees. Certainly these were no ordinary collapses, though, and mysteries remain. I shall have to read Heinz Pommer’s new book.

            • Kowalainen says:

              Why make it so spectacular?

              The simple use of high-power ultrasonics and/or EM field in the concrete and steel structure would make it resonate and pulverize it no problem.

      • Bei Dawei says:

        Are you thinking more along the lines of mini-black holes, or giant earthworms?

        • Malcopian says:

          Read Dr Judy Wood’s book. She describes the testimony of a fireman at the time who found the body of a man who was ‘burnt to a crisp, except for his suit jacket.’ Why wouldn’t his jacket be burnt, if he was, asks Dr Wood? Well, we have such machines in our homes. They are called microwave ovens. And the military have weapons known as DEW: directed energy weapons that use microwaves. They can cook you from the inside. Dr Wood mentions the men in the towers who were taking their shirts off, though no flames could be seen near them. At a certain heat, the buildings sprinklers would have been turned on, wetting their clothes. That water / wetness would have made any microwave energy even more agonising and deadly for humans. Dr Wood also includes a record of a phone call by a woman from one of the towers to the emergency services. The desperate woman tells of how ‘It’s so hot in here!’, yet she mentions no fire or flames near her.

          Dr Wood also relates how some of the effects resemble field effects such as the Hutchison Effect. John Hutchison is a Canadian who was intrigued by Tesla and ended up doing experiments that warped pieces of metal and caused them to float. His talent was so hot that the US military-industrial complex got onto him and evidently made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Dr Wood writes of electro-magnetic-gravitic effects. She backs up her claims with forensic evidence and statements from survivors, who speak of being picked up off the ground and carried by some force, like a tornado. Field effects, says Dr Wood, before going on to describe what could have caused them. Fascinating stuff.

          What I like about Dr Wood is that she makes no claims about who was responsible for nine eleven. She states only that the forensic evidence makes it clear that the US government lied about what happened. Before noon on that day, without examining the wreckage, the US government had constructed a story of what had happened and who did what. Dr Wood wants a proper scientific examination of the evidence. The government’s testimony does not stack up. Why did most of the towers disappear and turn to dust? Burning steel and concrete buildings do not do that. Why this exception? If the buildings had collapsed without turning mostly to dust, their massive weight would have broken the ‘bathtub’ beneath the towers that protected the buildings from the River Hudson in which they were built and would also have flooded the Underground railway, but that didn’t happen. Dr Wood is a scientist and her examination of the forensic evidence is fascinating. I paid GBP 36 for her lavishly illustrated book and still have about 50 pages to read.

          Some still speculate about the connection between ‘peak oil’ and the US government’s reaction to nine eleven, but Dr Wood does not go there. She sticks with what she knows and can deduce.

    • Lidia17 says:

      Aaaaaand… It’s gone.

  7. Mirror on the wall says:

    Re: forced vaccinations

    A senior Tory MP has stated that anyone without a vaccination certificate is likely to be denied entry to their work place, social venues and access to some social services.

    Workplaces Could Bar Anti-Vaxxers If They Refuse Covid Jab, Tory MP Says

    Tom Tugendhat tells HuffPost UK that if there is a coronavirus vaccine then rejecting it “is going to have consequences”.

    Anti-vaxxers who reject a safe coronavirus jab may not be allowed back into their physical workplace by their employers, a senior Tory MP has said.

    Tom Tugendhat told HuffPost UK he can “certainly see the day” when bosses do not allow people into the office unless they have received a Covid vaccine.

    A similar system could work with social venues like pubs and restaurants asking for vaccination certificates before allowing people in.

    He compared it to foreign travel, where visitors to certain countries have to show evidence of vaccination against diseases like yellow fever to be allowed into the country.

    Tugendhat spoke to HuffPost UK’s Commons People podcast following the news that a vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was found to be 90% effective.

    The government is now making plans to roll out the vaccine, alongside potentially others if they are proven safe and effective and approved by regulators.

    Asked whether it was worth thinking about Covid vaccinations being made compulsory if take-up is slow due to anti-vax conspiracy theories, Tugendhat told Commons People: “What’s worth thinking about is the testing policy.

    “And if vaccination works and if we’re confident it’s safe, and all indications so far are good, then I can certainly see the day when businesses say: ‘Look, you’ve got to return to the office and if you’re not vaccinated you’re not coming in.’

    “And I can certainly see social venues asking for vaccination certificates.

    “I remember when I used to travel rather more than I do now – when you go into certain countries you had to show a yellow fever certificate and if you did not have a yellow fever certificate you weren’t allowed in the country and that was that.

    “There was no debates, no appeals and no further requests.

    “And I can see a situation where yes, of course you’re free not to have the vaccine, but there are consequences.”

    Asked if public services could demand vaccinations before they are used, the Commons foreign affairs committee chair replied: “It would depend what the public services were, and who and when, so I wouldn’t want to start predicting.

    “But I do think that if things are shown to be safe then rejecting them when they have a wider effect on the whole of society is going to have consequences.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-vaccine-work-tugendhat-tories_uk_5fad5e8fc5b635e9de9fe488

    • Bei Dawei says:

      There’s apparently already a black market in fake test results. How many anti-counterfeiting features are these certificates going to have?

      • Kowalainen says:

        I know a way to bungle the test results.

        Rinse your mouth in PVP-I and inhale some PVP-I mist into your nasal cavity.

        It will make short work of any viruses that isn’t inside your lungs and body. Ideally do that at the toilet just before taking the test.

        If some virus particles happens to survive the onslaught, it will for sure not survive the PVP-I following with the swab in the test tube.

        To the guys in the Taiwanese guvmint and at Kaohsiung:

        Make sure you test for known antiseptics as well as for the virus before letting me into the country.

        https://memegenerator.net/img/instances/81174445.jpg

    • JMS says:

      The noncompliers will be the new lepers (but a type of leper who will not arouse even sympathy), expelled from society and economy (unless they can work from home or toil in open air all day).They’ will have a very limited freedom of movement, maybe within the range of serfs, they will not be able to enter any permise, they will only be allowed to buy or sell in open-air markets, etc. Which means their social life will be reduced to their own cohabitants, maybe some neighbors, and the internet (if their social credit allows them that freedom of access). Untill here, the optimist scenario for noncompliers. The pessimist one would be they being forced to move to ghetto towns, or even worse, lagers (but i suppose, and hope!, it would be too expensive for the technocratic elders to feed and shelter millions of “ant-vax useless eaters”, if their numbers got that large.One thing is certain, the future isn’t bright for almost anyone. And the worst of it is that we can’t escape pondering on eventual “solutions”, courses of action, ways of escape and other unrealistic daydreams. The most difficult thing for us to renounce is our faith in action, the illusion of control.

      • Tim Groves says:

        There are times when you’ve got to pick the hill you’re gonna die on.

        Personally, I would not willingly take a “Covid vaccine” regardless of consequences. But this is something everyone who is bothered by the thought of being compulsorarily vaccinated is going to have weigh up for themselves.

        Allan Stevo has written an article on totalitarianism and compliance, which rang bells with me. Here’s a section from it:

        The Normalities Of Life Under Communism

        From the surveillance state, to the uranium mines for political prisoners, along with other horrific impacts for thinking the wrong thing: no college for your kids, no permission to pursue your desired career path, no permission to travel (unless you were really awful, hard to repress, and they wanted to get rid of you), to the total control of almost all aspects of life for all people, political prisoner or not, to the total domination of media and culture for the political ends of government, in which there was even well-funded and encouraged official culture and unofficial culture.

        If you stayed obedient, you were mostly treated okay compared to the others. If you got close to the most powerful, you were treated better. Within a few years, no one in society — from the highest echelon down —was living all that well. As time went on, the difference between west and east grew more stark. Virtually everything was chintzy in the east.

        How could a people put up with it? How could anyone treat this as normal?

        https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/11/allan-stevo/the-question-ive-wanted-to-answer-for-twenty-years-is-suddenly-so-clear-to-me/

      • Tim Groves says:

        “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave”

        Memorize these words and repeat them every day when you wake up. Then, remember that you need not fear the world, that you need not be a slave, that you can be free. Roy Batty is absolutely right.

        https://youtu.be/KS0Rc45tj60

        • Kowalainen says:

          One of the best movies ever. Peak Harrison Ford.

          Ok, folks, there you have it. The GND/technocrat world order.

          I say: FSCK ‘em.

        • JMS says:

          With luck we may be able to get a way of life on the fringes of the economy. Depending on the country we live in, this may be an option. But I am afraid that for most of us, the only freedom we will have will be at the end of a rope. The only choice will probably be between being a slave and living in fear, or death. I like to think my love of freedom is stronger than my love of life, and that I will know how to make the right choice. But nobody can know how brave he/she will be until that moment. We can never forget the somewaht puzzling fact that suicide rate in na.zi lagers was lower than in outside world. On the other hand, even in a lager, there was hope that the reich would not last the thousand years announced by its leaders. Hope is much shorter now, since the “na-zis” are everywhere today.

        • JMS says:

          As an aside, the blatant product placement almost ruin this scene for me. But i agree, is a great movie. The only great movie directed by R. Scott IMO.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Alien isn’t that bad either, if you’re into the “phallic” space horror genre.

            • JMS says:

              Agree. I think “Alien” is a very watchable film, even if I’m not a big fan of the space-horror genre, with its obvious metaphors of stranger/unknown as Pure Evil.
              But “phallic”? I’m lost. Are you suggesting tenent Ripley is a transexual?!

            • JMS says:

              Agree. I think “Alien” is a very watchable film, even if I’m not a big fan of the space-horror genre, with its obvious metaphors of stranger/unknown as Pure Evil.
              But “phallic”? I’m lost. Are you suggesting lieutenent tenent Ripley is a transexual?!

            • Kowalainen says:

              Lt. Ripley (Sigorney Weaver) is smoking hot, specially in that underwear scene.

              Vulnerable, yet formidable in the face of peril. The female ideal.

              I was thinking of the Alien gestalt as imagined by H. R. Giger. Freud, anyone?

      • Unity says:

        My hope is with the women. No one has a problem denying stupid men anything. Your gonna deny that fine woman with her 4 kids and her hands on her hips access to walmart because she didnt get jabbed? Then there will be riots.

        • Kowalainen says:

          I’m sure she’ll bring those 4 kids with her to the barricades.

          No, not when there is reality teevee.

  8. Jimothy says:

    Hi Gail, what do you think will happen to the healthcare industry in the US job-wise in the next couple of years? A lot of my family works in it. Everyone says it’s very dependable but it seems to be in a bubble to me

    • Nehemiah says:

      The US health care system is so buffered from market competition that I really can’t imagine that it would suffer large losses in employment in the near future, unless they hired some extra people to cope with the covid overload. With the population continuing to age, I can’t imagine that the general public is going to get a lot healthier any time soon.

    • seems to me that ‘modern’ healthcare systems are predicated on keeping people alive, as opposed to keeping people healthy.

      Every scrap of life cannot be kept alive, but we cannot allow the ‘alternative’ to happen either.

      death is inevitable, but the system seems to deny that, and denial in practical terms costs a great deal of money, particularly as one approaches the inevitable part.

      as more and more of us grow older, then a greater and greater proportion of the national wealth must be diverted to that ‘staving off’.

      so much so that it will drain the nation itself to the point of bankruptcy., so yes it is a bubble

      but no one knows when it will burst of course.

      and when it does, few will acknowledge to real problem

  9. MG says:

    Our todays problem is also the rise of the sophisticated crime: we no more have crooks, but friendly guys in respectable positions, computer experts who steal online, ordinary guys doing frauds for living etc. Nothing like muscle predators.

    Recently, the the former police chiefs in Slovakia were detained:

    https://spectator.sme.sk/c/22527310/police-raids-the-houses-of-former-high-ranking-police-officials.html
    https://spectator.sme.sk/c/22530718/former-top-police-officials-taken-into-custody.html
    https://www.dw.com/en/slovakia-arrests-ex-police-chiefs-over-journalist-killing/a-55514211

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Scottish Environment Protection Agency data for 2018 has revealed we are sending a record amount of waste overseas, with some three tonnes every minute sent to places outside Scotland.

    “We now export nearly four-and-a-half times more waste from our borders than we did in 2004.
    And of the 73,361 tonnes of plastic waste that was recycled by the nation, nearly all (98%) had to be shipped outside of Scotland…

    “Some 910,403 tonnes went elsewhere in the UK in 2018, with a further 675,157 was exported to Europe, while 77,343 tonnes went further than Europe…

    “the Herald on Sunday revealed fresh concerns last week about Scotland’s ambition to be the Saudi Arabia of renewables with a wind farm jobs bonanza – as fears rise over another key taxpayer-supported company, CS Wind. It has been confirmed it is down to one full-time member of staff and has no orders.

    “Scotland’s forecast of a jobs bonanza from the offshore wind farm revolution have been described by unions as “a pipe dream” as it emerged it has created just 6% of the 28,000 direct jobs predicted by this year.”

    https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/18872689.three-tonnes-minute-scandal-scotlands-exported-waste/

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