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.
This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Low global interest rates are here to stay:

    “…As global monetary easing is prolonged, it inevitably becomes a zero-sum game as the room for front-loading future demand diminishes. Further, since investment is undertaken according to the order of profitability, productive investment will decline over time.

    “The credit spread will be suppressed by aggressive monetary easing, which could lead to lower productivity growth resulting from hampering the allocative efficiency of credit markets. Lower potential growth coupled with bloated debt due to front-loading will increase the likelihood of a financial crisis.”

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Low-global-interest-rates-are-here-to-stay

    • It is impossible to raise interest rates now.

      • Adam says:

        Not arguing, but many commentators continue to say that it is “impossible” to keep them down!?

        It appears to me that the CBs do have control of the rate, and are able to keep it down indefinitely/very long time.

        • bubbav says:

          Both are true. The federal reserves policy defining treasury bonds as a desired collateral in fact the only accepted collateral for some types of loans has produced widespread demand for treasuries at any interest rate. Treasuries have a defacto negative interest rate considering inflation. The institutions purchasing them have been doing so to gain access to the credit that ownership allows them. Club membership deposit. Thus the policy set by the federal reserve created demand regardless of the interest rate. This takes the heavy lifting off the fed. Creating demand means they dont actually have to bring every treasury bond offered onto their books. Creating demand means every institution has some scin in the game via treasury bond ownership.

          Through this mechanism ZIRP continues indefinitely. Its conceivable that the risk perception of the club membership deposit could lessen demand. Could the fed buy them all? Yes. What would be lost is near universal participation of financial institutions treasury ownership. Whether value could be maintained at all with the fed the primary owner of treasuries is debatable. The fed certainly doesnt want bear that weight. They would prefer all of the heavy lifting be done by others. They certainly will step in and buy whatever treasuries neccesary to keep ZIRP in place. There simply is no alternative with where we are now. The amount that they have on the books now is a indicator of how dicey things are and exactly how much choice they have in the matter. None. Without created demand and direct fed ownership where would rates be? 10%? 12%? That simply is unthinkable. You dont pay people to be in the club. The Chinese bond offerings may be of interest (hah) to people who actually care about return that rarther than ownership as collateral but they are not direct competitors.

  2. MG says:

    The speaker of the Slovak parliament Boris Kollar, known for his polygamy, the plagiarism in his diploma thesis and the contacts with mafia, had a serious car accident while having a Slovak Miss in his car during the strict pandemic measures prohibiting social contacts and inicluding the curfew.

    https://www.facebook.com/HnutieSmeRodina/videos/1364335553909178/?t=0

    What a coincidence and “the warning of the god’s finger” here, one could say…

    • as long as it wasn’t Bill Clinton’s cigar

    • Bei Dawei says:

      So sort of a cross between Teddy Kennedy and Martin Luther King!

    • This guy seems as piece of work, 11 children admitted, joined Salvini’s EU opposition, supposedly ran small biz towards the end of socialism, then made it “big” in various schemes later.

      ps context: in (fractured) parliamentary systems even small parties 6-8% could gain a lot of leverage, basically making or braking coalition governments, getting lucrative side deals out of it etc.

    • I thought that Slovakia was only testing, and requiring those who tested positive to stay home. I didn’t realize that it had “strict pandemic measures prohibiting social contacts and including the curfew.”

      • The second wave in Europe during recent weeks had taken lot of step up measures, even curfews, incl. CEE realm.

        Lets discuss the Q1-Q2 2021 third and fifth waves,
        /sarc off

      • MG says:

        The testing allowed for the relief of the measures. Some further testing rounds before Christmas are proposed.

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        They have a ongoing national testing process–
        Let’s see how well it works.

  3. Yoshua says:

    Covid is a vascular disease. It destroys our blood vessels. Our organs collapse and we die.

    • Jarle says:

      Says who?

    • I would like to see your references, too.

      • D3G says:

        Something to that effect was being discussed a few months ago on a medically oriented YouTube channel called MedCram. The theory is that the virus is not specifically a respiratory disease, but rather uses the lungs to gain entry to the endothelial cells of our vascular system. You may find the linked video interesting:

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj2vB_VITXQ

        A series of videos exploring the vascular connection were made.

        • Jean Wilson says:

          What virus? No poof exists – no isolation or purification of the alleged virus. This is about control and the culling (ie bumping off) of older people. Haven’t you worked it out yet?

          • Tim Groves says:

            Yes, we have to keep coming back to this point. No proof exists that the virus SARS-CoV-2 exists, at least none that I’ve seen.

            Some folks are convinced that it’s the real deal, but then again, other folks are salesmen adept at moving past the sale. They will ignore the question of the lack of proof of the viruses existence and move straight on to all the nasty things it’s supposedly doing.

            A lot of folks are being bamboozled here and some folks are doing the bamboozling.

            As Carl Sagan spelled out: ““One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

          • Nehemiah says:

            @Jean @Tim, you all are totally wrong. Yes, it *has* been isolated and even its *genome* has been decoded. In fact, it was decoded at a very early date, and later decodings documented specific genetic changes as it mutated. SARS2 (what this is) is just as real as SARS1, but less lethal. Where the heck are you guys getting your “information?” There is zero chance that this is a hoax.

        • I listened to part of this, but I am afraid it is too detailed for me.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Low levels of vitamin C are associated with the processes that destroy our blood vessels including inflammation, and are also linked to increased severity of many diseases. Also, viral infections tend to use up and rapidly deplete the body’s store of vitamin C.

      Unless we eat like a hunter-gatherer or supplement with megadoses of vitamin C, almost any viral infection can end up destroying our blood vessels, causing us to die horribly.

      Says me.

  4. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Mister B.A.U. Hard to stop a good thing!
    WMO warned this had not curbed record concentrations of the greenhouse gases that are trapping heat in the atmosphere, raising temperatures, causing sea levels to rise and driving more extreme weather.

    “The lockdown-related fall in emissions is just a tiny blip on the long-term graph,” Taalas said.

    “We need a sustained flattening of the curve.”

    The WMO’s main annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said preliminary estimates pointed to daily carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions falling by as much as 17 percent globally during the most intense period of the shutdowns.

    The annual impact was expected to be a drop of between 4.2 and 7.5 percent, it said.

    But this will not cause concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere to go down, it said, warning the impact on concentrations was “no bigger than the normal year to year fluctuations.”
    https://www.yahoo.com/news/greenhouse-gas-levels-high-despite-102406742.html

    All we needs is the Paris Treaty and more windmills, Tesla’s and Solar Panels!…sarcasm

    • Actually, there are a lot more economic problems coming in 2021, even apart from the recent restrictions related to more COVID-19 cases. This relates partly to a huge number of buildings that are not worth much with inadequate usage. Of course, the lack of adequate building usage leads to more laid off workers, more debt defaults, and lower tax collections (again leading to more laid off workers). It is hard to see how the vaccines are going to fix all of the economic problems in 2021.

  5. Fred Chouille says:

    I find this very interesting, but I miss Jay Hanson. He had a truly holistic way of exposing his views, and he had more balls (sorry).

  6. Dennis L. says:

    david,

    “a barrel of oil contains roughly the same amount of energy as 4 years of human labour.”

    This is an oft repeated phrase but it seems it ignores the energy cost of say a tractor, implements to pull behind said tractor, maintenance of said tractor and ideally storage of said tractor to protect it from the elements. Now, add the energy cost of refining, transportation to the end user and equipment to move that oil to the end user. Machines depreciate and when not used have an indirect cost.

    Humans are self replicating.

    What the real ratio is can be problematical, my guess is it is less than 4 years, significant, but much less, with shale oil it could well be negative otherwise shale oil would make a profit – a guess.

    Dennis L.

    • during my breaks from self replicating, I could as a young fit man, have cultivated an acre or two/three by hand to produce enough basic feedstuff to support the results of my self replication.

      I must confess a liking for self replication, and a dislike of horticulture.

      however, had I preferred the latter, my physical strength would have lasted for about 20 years or so and I would probably have been dead at 50 something, leaving my offspring to argue over my acres

      tractors and fertilisers solve this problem

      • Dennis L. says:

        Smiling, laughing,

        “I must confess a liking for self replication, and a dislike of horticulture.”

        Dennis L.

      • Sorry, don’t want to come out as sounding mean, but you managed to self replicate into dozens of copies? Because otherwise it doesn’t compute, as fractional acre is enough to feed ~normal family, say 2 + 3 little people variety..

        So, perhaps the devil’s detail was in the organizational scheme of things as some forms of “horticulture” are simply too much (unnecessary ala deep tillage) workload for relatively little benefit vs other methods.

        • I was attempting to put a little humour into the subject, and in any case the missis wouldn’t countenance a harem, on the grounds of affordability and accommodation, so actual self replication was restricted on practical terms, particularly after I was taken to the vet to be seen to.

          however, there are certain demands that had to be met to continually test that such surgical intervention had been successful—just in case!!

          this naturally kept me from horticultural endeavours, and instead a mini wildlife park seems to have established itself without much help from me.

          which is rather nice.

          • Nehemiah says:

            In rural Africa, where ag is traditionally done with hoes rather than plows, the polygamist puts his harem to work producing most of the food, while he spends his hours hunting, fishing, or just hanging out with the guys. Polygamy is affordable when the wives do most of the work. However, ox or horse drawn ploughs, although more productive than hoe agriculture, needed a man’s upper body strength to handle.

            • well—I seem to fit that picture

              current gf seems to find my upper body strength useful for opening sauce jars

              I will discuss your other points when I feel the time is right

        • I think it depends a whole lot on the climate and the soil. In India, crops can be grown year around. In very cold areas, not so much.

          Also, do you leave ground fallow to improve productivity, or what? If you have the luxury of importing soil amendments of different kinds, you don’t need as much area to farm.

          Another issue, “Are you just feeding yourself, or do you need to grow some food to sell for other purposes: pay taxes, buy clothes, purchase fuel to keep your home warm, even pay for your home?” Most people don’t have the luxury of only growing food for their families. They need a lot to sell, if they are to be able to cover their other needs.

          • All true, but we have to start with the historically correct premise, that “agriculture” evolved (and solidified) mostly as jumping from not optimally cultivated plot of yesterday to fresh yet unspoiled new farming plot of today-tomorrow. That game could be played with increasing pop and one piece of Earth for a very limited time span, say few dozens – hundreds of human generations. The concentrated fossil fuels only launched the latest exponential phase of the habitat – ecoside.

            Obviously, at even “past primitive” times various feedback loops and adaptation kicked in, so optimizing the process to less destructive agricultural practices were / are applied.

            However, one can posit the first urge was always much stronger than the latter one, hence it’s always a protracted loosing game so to speak. Unless humanoid’s approach (in aggregate) to the whole thing changes. The knowledge is there already, the will to change ways not so much.

      • Nehemiah says:

        @Norm, Have you read any of Ruth Stout’s books? Or _The Good Life_ by Scott and Helen Nearing? Horticulture does not have to be a young man’s game. I also am aware of some examples in my own family.

  7. Dennis L. says:

    Norman,

    “Are you going to be the one issuing the orders that granny should be put to sleep now?

    because if you go into social engineering, which is what you are advocating, then someone has to run it.”

    I stated what had been done in the past by groups, I advocated nothing. I find your argument a bogus addition to the quote to prove your point of view.

    Reading West, “Scale” regarding length of life a point made is we have a metabolic input resulting in growth and maintenance. Growth and maintenance are different and are what limit our growing forever. As we age our maintenance requirements increase, if near the end of our life we are no longer producing more metabolic inputs than we use, we are a cost to the tribe and for the good of the whole it would appear the old are sacrificed.

    If the old take more than they produce it has to come from somewhere, say a mother nursing her child which is the future of the tribe.

    Again my post on the 2-3x increase in expense to median income of SS and the like transfer of payments – from the young to the old. College tuition is transfer of wealth from the young to the old.

    As I read the book and understand it, I shall make comments for discussion.

    The increase in end of life years is secondary to the industrial revolution, no industry, shorter lives. Now, sell that one politically.

    Another is the fact that chemical reactions increase exponentially in speed with increase in temperature which is the concern with global warming. Greta is right – that should get someone here going, FE was incorrect.

    My solution has been stated ad nauseum. Do away with industry, increase death of children, shorten life spans – that is nature, we invented economics, the results are very good and remarkable. We can’t do it here on earth, earth won’t let us, mother will become very angry.

    Dennis L.

    • Malcopian says:

      ‘We can’t do it here on earth, earth won’t let us, mother will become very angry.’

      Who will volunteer to send Mother to anger management classes?

    • Dennis

      the energy used/transferred by a mother nursing a child comes from the (hopefully) successful hunter-gatherer she chose as a partner

      ***********

      As with the writings of Margaret Atwood, if something has been done in the past, it is dormant in human nature and likely to happen in the future, given the right circumstances. Her writing is about enforced social engineering.

      You put stuff out as ‘my solution’ (your words) therefore you advocate it, or advocate that it is done. (same thing)

      On the other hand if you are not prepared to do things personally, then it remains wishful thinking.

      But be under no illusion. There are plenty prepared to do evil in the name of good. Check out a few of trumps wacko followers.

      Somebody has to give the orders. Trump wouldn’t do any dirty work but there are plenty who would.

      *************

      I have no idea when the term ‘industrial revolution, was coined, but it was at least 100 years after it happened.

      My meaning is that at the time, people just saw it as an improved way to make stuff and earn more more.

      The fact that they blew up the world didn’t enter into it

      • Dennis L. says:

        Nice, laughing quietly, one little problem.

        “The fact that they blew up the world didn’t enter into it.”

        Norman, I have no idea where things will go, it seems they will not continue on for long as they have, change is change.

        We do seem agree on one thing, bad boys seem to rule.

        “the energy used/transferred by a mother nursing a child comes from the (hopefully) successful hunter-gatherer she chose as a partner”

        A successful hunter gather is not a vegan and almost by definition has to take risks. If we go back to hunter gathers(I don’t think we will, maybe it is just denial), feminism will face a challenge, takes upper body strength to wrestle a bar per the Davie Crockett song.

        “Off through the woods he’s a marchin’ along
        Makin’ up yarns an’ a singin’ a song
        Itchin’ fer fightin’ an’ rightin’ a wrong
        He’s ringy as a be ‘are an’ twict as strong
        Davy, Davy Crockett, the buckskin buccaneer”

        A song from my grade school days, definitely not politically correct. Boys had different role models then and the really true believers had a coon skin cap with a tail on the back – got mine in the fourth grade, kissed my first girl that year too.

        Dennis L.

        • one of my ultimate lines of thought is that Biden, though well intentioned and a genuinely good man, will not be able to ‘rectify’ any real problems, because they are not political problems

          therefore by 2024 another, worse ‘Trump’ will arise and he will be voted into office

          after that the real unpleasantness will begin, in parallel with desperation for physical survival.. Link that to jesusmania and you don’t need me to fill in the details.

          nazi germany on steroids—at least for a while.

          thats when states will start to secede, and futile wars to stop them.

          • Dennis L. says:

            I am afraid you may be correct in that. .

            Dennis L.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Norman, I find your opinion that Biden is “well intentioned and a genuinely good man” while Trump is a composite of Hit**r, Atilla the Hun, Ghengis Khan and Al Capone to be incredibly naive.

            How do you manage to come up with these judgements? I’m curious. Do you just look into a guy’s eyes on TV or in a newspaper photo and grasp the essentials from that?

            I can well understand that someone would rather not have Trump in power and so Biden might seem the lesser of two evils, but I can’t comprehend why anyone who has studied the man’s record would believe Biden is well-intentioned or genuinely good.

            • Tim

              I try to make my comments non political. if possible. They may not read that way—I apologise. I try to examine circumstances that allow people to rise up.

              Which is how I was able to write in 2011 that ‘a Trump’ was inevitable by 2016, 2020 at the latest. One senses collective fear. Fear produces irrationality.

              without exception, every politician is swept along on the tide of world events.

              how he/she sinks or swims in that tide defines the person

              no one expects perfection, only a reasonable effort to do the right thing most of the time for most of the people.

              given the opportunity, Trump would assume the mantle of dictator, but that time has not yet come. Biden will not be able to stem that tide of energy depletion and crowd denial, and will drown in it. My personal guess is that he will ‘retire’ after 2 years, and hand over to Harris to do his drowning for him.

              Surplus energy economy is NOT coming back, and prayers are not going to change that..

              Yet millions are screaming that Jesus had made America a special case, immune to the laws of physics.
              Biden is at least trying to point out that is isn’t true. Yet this is the lunacy he is faced with, that Trump fostered for self-gain.

              As I’ve suggested many times, wars are now about denial of reality. Millions of Trump voters were voting for ‘MAGA”– as if voting can deliver that.

              it can’t.

              So by 2024 the rabble will be seriously annoyed at the Dems, and wil ‘elect’ someone who will inflict a dictatorship, full on. The Dems, (and others) caused it all. So lets fiinish them once and for all.
              People are seriously frightened right now. Justifiably so I think.

              So for a period of joyous delusion they will welcome dictatorship. Until they realise it is fraudulent and violent. As all dictatorships are.

              Whoever the dictator is will have no choice, and will do what Trump could not

            • believeeverthingyouread says:

              I do agree with you on one point Norman. Biden will step down, be removed or “get” the rona. Harris is who they wanted Biden just a means to a ends. Since Harris only had about 6% of the votes in the primary they had to do a side step around that silly vote thing. Selecting her as vice absolutely disregarded the will of the people as democratically expressed in the primary and noit by a .0000001% margin. Press , hmm lots of “historic” nothing about the fact that the VOTE didnt want her from within her own party.

              Im sure you feel quite noble a German warning yanks about the dangers of strong authority figures.
              Thats how I size it up. Your comments have everything to do with how you see your “role” and how it makes you feel nothing to do with the reality of the actual actions and behavior of those you judge.

              If you want wars in the mideast why dont you take your military and deploy? Here in the USA the people want peace in the world and we want leaders who do that with there actions not their brand name.

            • Lidia17 says:

              Norm, the bleach thing was invented by the media who, like you, irrationally hate Trump with the fire of 1000 suns. He did talk about “disinfectants” and if you look you will see that intravenous hydrogen peroxide, a common household DISINFECTANT is indeed used in reputable therapeutic settings.

            • Nehemiah says:

              @Lydia17, Right you are about the “bleach” thing! It was a total lie. Trump was advocating (very rationally) that we try out chlorine dioxide, a water disinfectant that has been used “off label” so to speak to treat malaria, which as some similarities to covid. Chlorine dioxide is NOT bleach! That is just crazy, literal fake news. Chlorine dioxide is the active ingredient in the commercial mouthwash preferred by my dentist (which I use), so I speak from experience when I say the MSM is flat out lying when they tell the public it is “bleach.”

              Then again, maybe they are just incredibly stupid, in spite of their college degrees, since they don’t seem to understand the difference between carbon and carbon dioxide, apparently believing them to be interchangeable terms. They probably think O2 and H2O are the same thing as well. I can’t wait for some journalist to try and prove it by inhaling H2O. “See? It’s the same as O2!”

            • while I realise this video was likely made by a Trump stunt double to promote the sales of disinfectant.

              just in case it was made by the man himself:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zicGxU5MfwE

              And shining UV light on the body—or, more interestingly “in some other way”. (don’t even think about it)
              Might equally have medicinal credibility.

              Fake news sure keeps everybody entertained

              I really must stop doing this

          • believeeverthingyouread says:

            The mark of a dictator is war. Trump has pulled our troops out of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Oh no hes a hitler. Will the USA be invading France or Belgium soon? Normon you have been sold a image a branding of Trump that was created to oust him. With a voting system that by design has no chain of evidence once the ballot is removed from the envelope I doubt we will ever have another republican president. By design for private voting coincidentally there is no evidence if ballot stuffing occurs. “Count every vote!” including the stuffed ones. Of course the system is based on the ultimates “scouts honor” questioning it is questioning democracy itself. Bollocks. Trust us or else say the press. Trust us or else say the rat fink politicians counting votes in the big cities. This is the real coup d grat. Your dictator many orders of magnitude greater than hitler rising before your eyes in the form of medical technocrats and all you can do is repeat tabloid propaganda.

            • interesting point of view—I enjoyed knowing it. One can learn so much from violent disagreement. Thanks

              a few points to cover. All derived from Trump’s own spoken words and actions.

              Hitler quote: Tell a lie often enough and it becomes truth. Trump’s documented lie count stands in the 20000+ area. ( if the press hadn’t repeated them, they wouldn’t count as lies I guess.)

              Hitler’s final act of war was to declare war on the German people. He ordered the razing of every artefact that could be of use to the advancing armies of the allies. No matter that the people needed them to survive what he had started.
              That was the final serving of his vanity and expression of his power.

              Trump has denied that covid virus exists or is dangerous he suggested curing it with bleach. he removed Obama’s department that was put in place for the purpose of dealing with just such a virus spread.
              Trump denied aid to states that didn’t vote for him.
              Climate change is a Chinese hoax. (his words)

              War takes many forms. It can be personal or national.

              Trump had to pay a 25$ m lawsuit before entering office. I understand there’s a slew of suits waiting as he leaves office, both commercial and personal (20+ of those I believe)
              Is this really the conduct one should expect in a President?

              This is the image brand he created for himself, through his own words.

              Locker room talk?–I’ve frequented locker rooms regularly for years. I’ve never heard anything like that. Ever.

              And at no democrat rallies, as far as I am aware, have we seen Biden (or Clinton for that matter, or anybody else) smirkingly conducting his crowds to choruses of ‘lock him/her up’ or promising to pay the legal fees of those engaged in crowd violence.

              Hitler encouraged it to the ultimate degree. We know where that led. Trump encourages the same hysteria and the same people who adhere to the god cults that he needs to vote for him.. Given the opportunity they would do his bidding to the ultimate. (god’s work you see)

              Trump wanted votes disallowed in areas where he was going to lose. On a voting system that has been well established for years.

              Every state by law, has independent observers from both parties within the counting halls.

              These are no doubt the ‘ratfinks’ that you charmingly describe. Lovely term.

              I’ve replied to your comment at length because I fear you as an individual sum up and represent. what is wrong there.

            • Ed says:

              Norman, I completely disagree with you. I voted for trump twice. Or rather, I voted against the horrible dem candidate twice.

              What i find most interesting and dangerous is two people can look at the same event and see exactly the opposite, white for black, black for white.

            • I respect your right to disagree with me

              but looking back through my comment,–twice— I’ve tried to find anything in it that was actually incorrect.

              I always accept being ‘wrong’, but which part of my comment is wrong?

              if you disagree with something, it is only courteous to point out the errors of the writer

              just saying ‘you’re wrong’ smacks of an emotional reaction, not a rational one.

            • believeeverythingyouread says:

              Norman I voted for obama the first time. I read the writing on the wall after he passed the NDAA another rob of civil liberties worst than Bushes Patriot act.

              Do these unconstitutional “acts” fit “war on the people” your phrase not mine.

              Trump has been hounded and attacked for four years. The media is not just biased they are COMPROMISED. Anyone with the tinyest bit of analytic skills understands this can not be a free and unbiased media. I dont believe snopes. I dont really believe trump eithor but i trust him more than the media. So your saying this or that about his character. Thats propaganda you have swallowed.

              Far from worshipping strong leaders I believe in liberty. You transpose your hitler equation on everthing. You shove it into the box YOU are obsessed with.

              You dont understand the USA. You dont understand anything about it. As you sit another continent transposing your beliefs, repeating tabloid propaganda, you are uninformed in the extreme.

              You say you fear me. You have nothing to fear from me. i really dont believe you fear me. Thats just part of the speil designed to put people exercising their first admendment right in the box. More BS.

              You find the term “ratfink” uncharitable? I find it quite charitable. It displays your complete lack of understanding of the character of the people you put on a pedestal. but how could you understand things about a country that you dont live in? That doesnt seem to stop you from expressing a opinion. On the other hand i was born in this country . Have lived all over it. have done dozens of different jobs in different industries in it. all working class. lived both rural and urban. I would go so far as to say i love it. By that I mean the people not the government.

              Yet you demean my expressing my opinion.

              Why were observers corraled 100s of feet away where they could not observe in Philadelphia?
              Are these the fine upstanding ladies and gentleman you find slandered by the “ratfink” nomenclature 100% worthy of our trust?

              NO CHAIN OF EVIDENCE

              https://www.phillymag.com/news/2020/02/04/philadelphia-corruption-kenyatta-johnson/

            • on my comments on this thread, I quote pretty much Trump’s own words.

              if those words are now ‘fake news’, I must withdraw from further exchange on this subject

            • Ed says:

              Norman, the vote was rigged. The math shows it clearly. Check http://www.rense.com

          • Nehemiah says:

            Biden has never been a “genuinely good man.” He is a documented sleaze ball, although the MSM rarely mentions his unseemly history. He also lost the election, as anyone can see who pays attention to something other than the network news and Democrat owned newspapers.

          • Nehemiah says:

            Norm wrote: ” ‘a Trump’ was inevitable by 2016, 2020 at the latest. One senses collective fear. Fear produces irrationality.”

            Balderdash. There were perfectly good reasons for voting Trump in 2016 (and today):

            1. Keep the corrupt Clinton machine from returning to the White House.

            2. Drain the swamp.

            3. Reverse the de-industrialization of America.

            4. Control our borders, enforce our already existing immigration laws, and stop the unarmed invasion.

            5. Stop playing global cop at Americans’ expense. Stop poking at Russia. Put stability over crusades for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Stop subsidizing a NATO that was created solely to protect Europe from a Soviet menace that no longer exists.

            Trump’s implementation may be far from perfect (although not entirely his fault), but the agenda is right. Some of these goals would even be supported by many grass roots Democrats if only they were being offered by a Democrat rather than a Republican.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Norman,

        “On the other hand if you are not prepared to do things personally, then it remains wishful thinking.”

        My father lay in a nursing home bed for some 18 months, dementia possibly secondary to general anesthesia, my mother visited him every day and over that time went to skin and bones, she was dying. One day I asked my mother if it was time for an end, she nodded, we went to the nurses station and said my father would only eat what he himself could eat, no assistance. My mother gave him water with a tongue blade wrapped with a gauze pad. He was gone in 30 days.

        Twice in my practice I had women with husbands in a similar situation. At one of their appointments I closed the door and told my story, their husbands too were gone in 30 days.

        When at my mother’s deathbed the hospice nurse gave me some morphine drops to place under her tongue and a recommended rate although I could increase that if I so desired, the rate was kept constant, not increased. Still, while it provided comfort to my mother, it hastened the process, the last agonal breathing never leaves one’s memory.

        We need some assurance that is all right to let go, it is not a sin to live, we live and we die. West’s book “Scale” addresses that,
        death is part of life and birth and death are perhaps the most important things any human does.

        Dennis L.

        • Lidia17 says:

          Dennis, thanks for sharing those compassionate and commonsensical experiences. If anyone has a family member with a terminal condition, I highly recommend the
          “Gone From My Sight” series, which are available at a modest cost: https://bkbooks.com/products/gone-from-my-sight-the-dying-experience?variant=35190472835228

        • Dennis

          I was married to a nurse, and my efforts at self replication produced 3 more. So I am fully aware of the workings of the medical community at every level.

          I assume (but didn’t know of course) that you are in the profession as well.

          Many doctors are prepared to carry out the ‘coup de grace’ as a final act of kindness, (only an idiot would take issue with that)

          But your initial comments on this thread were not at the level of the individual, but at the ‘population control’ level. Which is a different matter entirely. I am surprised that when questioned about that, you switch to ‘individual ‘ cases, which have no bearing whatsoever to the points under discussion.

          Whether population control by social intervention is a good or bad thing is impossible to say.
          But if we go down that route, then ‘control’ has to be exercised by ‘someone’ ‘somewhere’

          we possess the means to hold onto life indefinitely, which on economic terms is impossible

      • Nehemiah says:

        It was widely understood in 18th century England that machines and large factories were radically transforming their world, and that not all of the effects were positive (“dark, satanic mills”).

        • Robert Firth says:

          Nehemiah, William Blake’s “dark satanic mills” were not factories: it was, after all, only 1804. He was referring to our universities, which he thought taught heresy and contempt for religion.

        • such things might have been understood by the educated classes

          but I doubt if that was so by the mass of people. If someone sank a coal mine in what was previously a wheat field, it was just a different way of earning a wage, specifically that a wheat field only needed labour at sowing and harvesting, whereas a coal mine needed paid labour year round. and paid more of course.

          the energy from coal enabled factories, and factories worked on the same basis. My ancestors were personally involved here, but I doubt if any of them, from my own grandfather backwards, cared or were aware of much happening outside their immediate neighbourhood., in any event they were likely illiterate

          The Napoleonic wars ended in 1815, the local ironworks closed shortly afterwards. My gggg grandfather would have found himself unemployed. To me the link is clear. but I doubt very much if he concerned himself with world politics in the way I try to.—just that he was out of a job and likely to starve.

          luckily he didn’t, so he self replicated and I’m here to annoy people with current realities in ways he could never have imagined.

    • Lidia17 says:

      Funny that one would think of allowing people to die as “social engineering”; meanwhile, focusing lots of resources on preemies and severely-ill elderly is somehow *not* “social engineering”.

  8. Dennis L. says:

    Tim,

    “We are incredibly fortunate to have an infinite heat sink literally on our doorstep in the shape of outer space into which to radiate planetary heat, thereby preventing us from all being baked, broiled and barbecued to a crisp.”

    Radiation requires temperature, to increase radiation over a fixed area requires increase in temperature. It cannot be done, it leads to impossible surface temperatures and if G. West is correct, increases in chemical reaction speed(life) that are exponential. Global warming is not a linear phenomenon for life.

    Reduce industry, people die, live shorter lives – much of that comes from the end of life as well as the beginning. As Norman points out, this introduces some significant political problems. Covid is sacrificing those at the end of life, it may be only correlation and not causation, you choice, same result. Covid could be a political solution, we may not like it, but maybe we are not in charge.

    A huge problem recognized in “Limits to Growth” is the pollution issue – I see no way forward other than moving pollution off earth. Yes, “Hopium” but better than social chaos on earth. Earth will solve the problem if we do not. Count me with Greta now.

    Dennis L.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Dennis,

      Human industry will tend make the earth’s surface warmer. The question is, how much warmer? We could argue about that one until the cows come home and probably wouldn’t come close to agreeing.

      My standard response when someone warns about the potential for excessive warming is to point out that (a) a warmer planet will radiate more strongly, which will tend to limit the amount of warming that can build up. The idea of a runaway greenhouse effect is scary and impressive because of the scare factor, but it ignores some pretty basic physics. (b) The earth was warmer than now during the Medieval Warming Period a thousand years ago. It was warmer still during the Holocene Optimum six or eight thousand years ago. It was even warmer than that at the peak of the Eemian interglacial 130~120 thousand years ago, and it was much much warmer three million years ago before the Greenland ice cap formed. Nature did all that. (c) Even in the absence of human activity, the Earth’s temperature does not remain constant. There are some known reasons why the temperature varies and some unknown reasons. It would be far more productive to sit day after day in the lotus position in a quiet place and contemplate the koan “what makes the earth’s temperature rise and fall?” than it would to worry about excessive global warming. The latter will not get us to enlightenment, and will only lead to ulcers or the like.

      I’m not a fan of pollution, especially in my backyard, but in principle anywhere. Your idea to locate polluting industries to the Moon merely shifts the pollution to a new location. Just as the West and Japan cleaned up their act, partially by shifting the worst polluting industries to China, you advocate shifting them to the Moon. Has anyone asked the Moonies and the Moonbats what they think about having their backyard polluted? Don’t we have a moral imperative to keep the Moon tidy?

      Wouldn’t it be better to invent and develop ways of producing stuff that are zero polluting? In Edo Japan they recycled everything. We should be able to emulate that while still managing a much higher standard of living than they had. But I know, the devil is in the details and smartphones can’t be made from bamboo alone.

    • Artleads says:

      tHE MOON IS PART OF AN EARTH SYSTEM THAT creates the tides on the clear material side, and, besides, that has profound cultural and spiritual significance for earth’s species, significantly, animals. Transferring earth pollution there (at extreme cost) so humans can continue thoughtless living would not seem as good a prospect as learning to live with less.

    • Slow Paul says:

      Hard, go to space without industry, is.

      In some sense, we are already in space. On the perfect vessel that can house millions, if not billions of us. Where else in space shall we need to go?

  9. MG says:

    An interesting view.

  10. Dennis L. says:

    Many, most of you think space is hopium, landing the Space X booster on a barge is pretty impressive.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULxCW2j_nDs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tChKjGF4OTw

    The video second video claims the booster is being righted by solar power and Tesla batteries. Imagine going into space with the assistance of solar panels(yes, a stretch). Interesting the engines are covered to protect from the elements with the aid of a form of duct tape, well some wag could claim duct tape is more than 100 mph tape.

    For the skeptics I invite a solution to the earth pollution issue, the decreasing life span issue without fossil fuels, the political issues the whole world seems to be facing with a generational divide, global warming and the associate exponential increase in chemical reaction rates associated with life itself.

    Per G. West, p. 177, first paragraph, a 2 degree centigrade increase in temperature increases growth rates 20-30 percent change in growth and mortality rates, our biological systems cannot tolerate a 20-30% increase in ATP production rates, with a 10 degree rise ATP production rates double.

    Greta is very irritating, so is what we are facing. G. West is good from what I see, lots of meat in his book, “Scale.”

    This is going to get very messy and there may be very few chairs upon which to sit and eat popcorn while things collapse – collapse could be coming to a theater near you.

    Comments will be welcome, it is good to look at ideas from different viewpoints.

    Dennis L.

    • On the Muskianic note, actually these rocketry-aerospace people were brought to TSLA first, hence the leapfrogging gain in efficiency up to now as they are after a decade still ahead in %% beating old car manufs such as VW or the French, who had several prior limited runs with EVs over the decades, not mentioning GM with the best head start. So, the cycle closes, their fruits in motive propulsion tech were only later (today) reapplied back to the rocketry branch.

      On the general Covidenko scheme, someone posted at Dr. Tim’s that Qantas is probably the first major airline to demand vaccination records from passengers or no flyeee. If the goal is only to tame movement of people in terms of general slowdown of things, not sure about the angle at the oil – fuel refinery end of the equation – as to whether jet fuel mix precursors could be then all used for cooking other types of fuels etc.

    • I expect that the result of a rise in earth’s average temperature will contribute to an overall fall in world population. People who remain will migrate to more hospitable areas of the planet. Our big problem is mitigating too cold outside temperatures, right now. This problem might get better, not worse.

      Even if the outside temperature warms up, it doesn’t lead to the conclusion that people’s body temperatures will rise. I think it is easy for G. West to be wrong on this particular issue. The ecosystem is built to adapt to changes of many kinds, including warmer and colder temperatures. At least some humans (or pre-humans) lived through ice ages. I see no reason to believe that this will not be the case if the temperature of the earth rises.

      Also, remember that the models of the earth’s temperature rising by 2 degrees centigrade are based on the assumption that we can really burn far more fossil fuels than are really available. Our real problem is “overshoot and collapse.” It is only if a person believes the unrealistic climate models that our biggest problem is climate change.

Comments are closed.