The world’s self-organizing economy can be expected to act strangely, as energy supplies deplete

It is my view that when energy supply falls, it falls not because reserves “run out.” It falls because economies around the world cannot afford to purchase goods and services made with energy products and using energy products in their operation. It is really a price problem. Prices cannot be simultaneously high enough for oil producers (such as Russia and Saudi Arabia) to ramp up production and remain low enough for consumers around the world to buy the goods and services that they are accustomed to buying.

Figure 1. Chart showing average annual Brent-equivalent oil prices in 2021$ based on data from BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy, together with bars showing periods when prices seemed to be favorable to producers.

We are now in a period of price conflict. Oil and other energy prices have remained too low for producers since at least mid-2014. At the same time, depletion of fossil fuels has led to higher costs of extraction. Often, the tax needs of governments of oil exporting countries are higher as well, leading to even higher required prices for producers if they are to continue to produce oil and raise their production. Thus, producers truly require higher prices.

Governments of countries affected by this inflation in price are quite disturbed: Higher prices for energy products mean higher prices for all goods and services. This makes citizens very unhappy because wages do not rise to compensate for this inflation. Prices today are high enough to cause significant inflation (about $107 per barrel for Brent oil (Europe) and $97 for WTI (US)), but still not high enough to satisfy the high-price needs of energy producers.

It is my expectation that these and other issues will lead to a very strangely behaving world economy in the months and years ahead. The world economy we know today is, in fact, a self-organizing system operating under the laws of physics. With less energy, it will start “coming apart.” World trade will increasingly falter. Fossil fuel prices will be volatile, but not necessarily very high. In this post, I will try to explain some of the issues I see.

[1] The issue causing the price conflict can be described as reduced productivity of the economy. The ultimate outcome of reduced productivity of the economy is fewer total goods and services produced by the economy.

Figure 2 shows that, historically, there is an extremely high correlation between world energy consumption and the total quantity of goods and services produced by the world economy. In my analysis, I use Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) GDP because it is not distorted by the rise and fall of the US dollar relative to other currencies.

Figure 2. Correlation between world GDP measured in “Purchasing Power Parity” (PPP) 2017 International $ and world energy consumption, including both fossil fuels and renewables. GDP is as reported by the World Bank for 1990 through 2021 as of July 26, 2022; total energy consumption is as reported by BP in its 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The reason such a high correlation exists is because it takes energy to perform each activity that contributes to GDP, such as lighting a room or transporting goods. Energy consumption which is cheap to produce and growing rapidly in quantity is ideal for increasing energy productivity, since it allows factories to be built cheaply and raw materials and finished goods to be transported at low cost.

Humans are part of the economy. Food is the energy product that humans require. Reducing food supply by 20% or 40% or 50% cannot be expected to work well. The economy suffers the same difficulty.

In recent years, depletion has been making the extraction of fossil fuel resources increasingly expensive. One issue is that the resources that were easiest to extract and closest to where they were needed were extracted first, leaving the highest cost resources for extraction later. Another issue is that with a growing population, the governments of oil exporting countries require higher tax revenue to support the overall needs of their countries.

Intermittent wind and solar are not substitutes for fossil fuels because they are not available when they are needed. If several months’ worth of storage could be added, the total cost would be so high that these energy sources would have no chance of being competitive. I recently wrote about some of the issues with renewables in Limits to Green Energy Are Becoming Much Clearer.

Rising population is a second problem leading to falling efficiency. In order to feed, clothe and house a rising population, a growing quantity of food must be produced from essentially the same amount of arable land. More water for the rising population is required for the rising population, often obtained by deeper wells or desalination. Clearly, the need to use increased materials and labor to work around problems caused by rising world population adds another layer of inefficiency.

If we also add the cost of attempting to work around pollution issues, this further adds another layer of inefficiency in the use of energy supplies.

More technology is not a solution, either, because adding any type of complexity requires energy to implement. For example, adding machines to replace current workers requires the use of energy products to make and operate the machines. Moving production to cheaper locations overseas (another form of complexity) requires energy for the transport of goods from where they are transported to where they are used.

Figure 2 shows that the world economy still requires more energy to produce increasing GDP, even with the gains achieved in technology and efficiency.

Because of energy limits, the world economy is trying to change from a “growth mode” to a “shrinkage mode.” This is something very much like the collapse of many ancient civilizations, including the fall of Rome in 165 to 197 CE. Historically, such collapses have unfolded over a period of years or decades.

[2] In the past, the growth rate of GDP has exceeded that of energy consumption. As the economy changes from growth to shrinkage, we should expect this situation to reverse: The rate of shrinkage of GDP will be greater than the rate of shrinkage of energy consumption.

Figure 3 shows that, historically, world economic growth has been slightly higher than the growth in energy consumption. This growth in energy consumption is based on total consumption of fossil fuels and renewables, as calculated by BP.

Figure 3. Annual growth in world PPP GDP compared to annual growth in consumption of energy supplies. World PPP GDP is data provided by the World Bank; world energy consumption is based on data of BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

In fact, based on the discussion in Section [1], this is precisely the situation we should expect: GDP growth should exceed energy consumption growth when the economy is growing. Unfortunately, Section [1] also suggests that we can expect this favorable relationship to disappear as energy supply begins to shrink because of growing inefficiencies in the system. In such a case, GDP is likely to shrink even more quickly than energy supply shrinks. One reason this happens is because complexity of many types cannot be maintained as energy supply shrinks. For example, international supply lines are likely to break if energy supplies fall too low.

[3] Interest rates play an important role in encouraging the development of energy resources. Generally falling interest rates are very beneficial; rising interest rates are quite detrimental. As the economy shifts toward shrinkage, the pattern we can expect is higher interest rates, rather than lower. As the limits of energy extraction are hit, these higher rates will tend to make the economy shrink even faster than it would otherwise shrink.

Part of what has allowed growing energy consumption in the period shown in Figures 2 and 3 is rising debt levels at generally lower interest rates. Falling interest rates together with debt availability make investment in factories and mines more affordable. They also help citizens seeking to buy a new car or home because the lower monthly payments make these items more affordable. Demand for energy products tends to rise, allowing the prices of commodities to rise higher than they would otherwise rise, thus making their production more profitable. This encourages more fossil fuel extraction and more development of renewables.

Once the economy starts to shrink, debt levels seem likely to shrink because of defaults and because of reluctance of lenders to lend, for fear of defaults. Interest rates will tend to rise, partly because of the higher inflation rates and partly because of the higher level of expected defaults. This debt pattern in turn will reinforce the tendency toward lower GDP growth compared to energy consumption growth. This is a major reason that raising interest rates now is likely to push the economy downward.

[4] With fewer goods and services produced by the economy, the world economy must eventually shrink. We should not be surprised if this shrinkage in some ways echoes the shrinkage that took place in the 2008-2009 recession and the 2020 shutdowns.

The GDP of the world economy is the goods and services produced by the world economy. If the economy starts to shrink, total world GDP will necessarily fall.

What happens in the future may echo what has happened in the past.

Figure 4. World energy consumption per capita, based on information published in BP’s 2022 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Central bank officials felt it was important to stop inflation in oil prices (and indirectly in food prices) back in the 2004 to 2006 period. This indirectly led to the 2008-2009 recession as parts of the world debt bubble started to collapse and many jobs were lost. We should not be surprised if a much worse version of this happens in the future.

The 2020 shutdowns were characterized in most news media as a response to Covid-19. Viewed on an overall system basis, however, they really were a response to many simultaneous problems:

  • Covid-19
  • A hidden shortage of fossil fuels that was not reflected as high enough prices for producers to ramp up production
  • Hidden financial problems that threatened a new version of the 2008 financial collapse
  • Factories in many parts of the world that were operating at far less than capacity
  • Workers demonstrating in the streets with respect to low wages and low pensions
  • Airlines with financial problems
  • Citizens frustrated by long commutes
  • Very many old, sick people in care homes of various types, passing around illnesses
  • An outsized medical system that still desired to increase profits
  • Politicians who wanted a way to better control their populations–perhaps rationing of output would work around an inadequate total supply of goods and services

Shutting down non-essential activities for a while would temporarily reduce demand for oil and other energy products, making it easier for the rest of the system to appear profitable. It would give an excuse to increase borrowing (and money printing) to hide the financial problems for a while longer. It would keep people at home, reducing the need for oil and other energy products, hiding the fossil fuel shortage for a while longer. It would force the medical system to reorganize, offering more telephone visits and laying off non-essential workers. Many individual citizens could reduce time lost to commuting, thanks to new work-from-home rules and internet connections. The homebuilding and home remodeling industries were stimulated, offering work to those who had been laid off.

The impacts of the shutdowns were greatest on poor people in poor countries, such as those in Central and South America. For example, many people in the vacation and travel industries were laid off in poor countries. People making fancy clothing for people going to conferences and weddings were laid off, as were people raising flowers for fancy events. These people had trouble finding new employment. They are at increased risk of dying, either from Covid-19 or inadequate nutrition, making them susceptible to other illnesses.

We should not be surprised if some near-term problems echo what has happened in the past. Debt defaults and falling home prices are very real possibilities, for example. Also, making a new crisis a huge focal point and scaring the population into staying at home has proven to be a huge success in temporarily reducing energy consumption without actual rationing. Some people believe that monkeypox or a climate change crisis will be the next area of focus in an attempt to reduce energy consumption, and thus lower oil prices.

[5] There is likely to be more conflict in a world with not enough goods and services to go around.

With a shrinking amount of finished goods and services, we should not be surprised if we see more conflict in the world. Many wars are resource wars. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with other countries indirectly involved, certainly could be considered a resource war. Russia wants higher prices for its exports of many kinds, including energy exports. I wrote about the conflict issue in a post I wrote in April 2022: The world has a major crude oil problem; expect conflict ahead.

World War I and World War II were almost certainly about energy resources. Peak coal in the UK seems to be closely related to World War I. Inadequate coal in Germany and lack of oil in Japan (and elsewhere) seem to be related to World War II.

[6] We seem to be facing a new set of problems in addition to the problems that gave rise to the Covid-19 shutdowns. These are likely to shape how any new crisis plays out.

Some recently added problems include the following:

  • Debt has risen to a high level, relative to 2008. This debt will be harder to repay with higher interest rates.
  • The US dollar is very high relative to other currencies. The high level of the US dollar causes problems for borrowers from outside the US in repaying their loans. It also makes energy prices very high outside the US.
  • Oil, coal and natural gas are all in short supply world-wide, leading to falling productivity of the overall system Item 1. If extraction is to continue, prices need to be much higher.
  • Difficulties with broken supply lines make it hard to ramp up production of manufactured goods of many kinds.
  • Inadequate labor supply is an increasing problem. Baby boomers are now retiring; not enough young people are available to take their place. Increased illness, associated with Covid-19 and its vaccines, is also an issue.

These issues point to a situation where rising interest rates seem likely to send the world economy downward because of debt defaults and failing businesses of many kinds.

The high dollar relative to other currencies leads to the potential for the system to break apart under stress. Alternatively, the US dollar may play a smaller role in international trade than in the past.

[7] Many parts of the economy are likely to find that the promised payments to be made to them cannot really take place.

We have been taught that money is a store of value. We have also been taught that government promises, such as pensions, unemployment insurance and health insurance can be counted on. If there are fewer goods and services available in total, the whole system must change to reflect the fact that there are no longer enough goods and services to go around. There may not even be enough food to go around.

As the world economy hits limits, we cannot assume that the money we have in the bank will really be able to purchase the goods we want in the future. The goods may not be available to purchase, or the government may put a restriction (such as $200 per week) on how much we can withdraw from our account each week, or inflation may make goods we currently buy unaffordable.

If we think about the situation, the world will be producing fewer goods and services each year, regardless of what promises that have been made in the past might say. For example, the number of bushels of wheat available worldwide will start falling, as will the number of new cars and the number of computers. Somehow, the goods and services people expected to be available will start disappearing. If the problem is inflation, the affordable quantity will start to fall.

We don’t know precisely what will happen, but these are some ideas, especially as higher interest rates become a problem:

  • Many businesses will fail. They will default on their debt; the value of their stock will go to zero. They will lay off their employees.
  • Employees and governments will also default on debts. Banks will have difficulty remaining solvent.
  • Pension plans will have nowhere nearly enough money to pay promised pensions. Either they will default or prices will rise so high that the pensions do not really purchase the goods that recipients hoped for.
  • The international system of trade is likely to start withering away. Eventually, most goods will be locally produced with whatever resources are available.
  • Many government agencies will become inadequately funded and fail. Intergovernmental agencies, such as the European Union and the United Nations, are especially vulnerable.
  • Governments are likely to reduce services provided because tax revenues are too low. Even if more money is printed, it cannot buy goods that are not there.
  • Citizens may become so unhappy with their governments that they overthrow them. Simpler, cheaper governmental systems, offering fewer services, may follow.

[8] It is likely that, in inflation-adjusted dollars, energy prices will not rise very high, for very long.

We are likely dealing with an economy that is basically falling apart. Factories will produce less because they cannot obtain financing. Purchasers of finished goods and services will have difficulty finding jobs that pay well and loans based on this employment. These effects will tend to keep commodity prices too low for producers. While there may be temporary spurts of higher prices, finished goods made with high-cost energy products will be too expensive for most citizens to afford. This will tend to push prices back down again.

[9] Conclusion.

We are dealing with a situation that economists, politicians and central banks are ill-equipped to handle. Raising interest rates may squeeze out a huge share of the economy. The economy was already “at the edge.” We can’t know for certain.

Virtually no one looks at the economy from a physics point of view. For one thing, the result is too distressing to explain to citizens. For another, it is fashionable for scientists of all types to produce papers and have them peer reviewed by others within their own ivory towers. Economists, politicians and central bankers don’t care about the physics of the situation. Even those basing their analysis on Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) tend to focus on only a narrow portion of what I explained in Section [1]. Once researchers have invested a huge amount of time and effort in one direction, they cannot consider the possibility that their approach may be seriously incomplete.

Unfortunately, the physics-based approach I am using indicates that the world’s economy is likely to change dramatically for the worse in the months and years ahead. Economies, in general, cannot last forever. Populations outgrow their resource bases; resources become too depleted. In physics terms, economies are dissipative structures, not unlike ecosystems, plants and animals. They can only exist for a limited time before they die or end their operation. They tend to be replaced by new, similar dissipative structures.

While the current world economy cannot last indefinitely, humans have continued to exist through many bottlenecks in the past, including ice ages. It is likely that some humans, perhaps in mutated form, will make it through the current bottleneck. These humans will likely create a new economy that is better adapted to the Earth as it changes.

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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4,063 Responses to The world’s self-organizing economy can be expected to act strangely, as energy supplies deplete

  1. Fast Eddy says:

    The current argument about mRNA vaccines; they are not supposed to change the recipients DNA. However, evidence is supporting that they do, creating a Human 2.0 DNA. Are you comfortable with that? When we start messing with human DNA in billions of people, we are conducting the biggest and highest risk experiment in the history of mankind. That is NOT an overstatement. So let’s agree, whether or not you are for or against the mRNA vaccines, that they are still highly experimental. That distinction is very important.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the Nuremberg Code, it came about during the Nazi International Military Tribunal following World War II. The Nazis committed horrific experiments on POWs, mostly Jewish POWs in concentration camps. Shortly after the International Military Tribunal, the US held its own tribunal for a variety of Nazis, including doctors who violently defied the Hippocratic Oath.

  2. Be fruitful and multiply…Oy!

    You think your family reunions are big? Meet the Miami Cubans behind an 850-person bash BY GRETHEL AGUILA UPDATED AUGUST 12, 2022 4:05 PM

    “As a kid, I just thought that was part of being Cuban,” said Beaubien, 49, who lives in Coral Gables. “That everybody had a million cousins.

    Beaubien’s latest family reunion was no small affair: 850 relatives descended on the Biltmore in Coral Gables to catch up. They filled one another in on their lives, but everyone had one thing in common. They’re all descendants of Don Antonio Gonzalez de Mendoza and Doña Maria de la Mercedes Pedroso, a prominent Havana family in colonial Cuba. The families that spilled into the hotel courtyards and ballrooms for a weekend of Cuban music and arroz con pollo are just a fraction of the couple’s 2,836 progeny.
    The marriage of Don Antonio, who lived from 1828 to 1906, and Doña Maria, who lived from 1835 to 1895, brought forth 12 children. But the more than 2,000 descendants today trace their lineage to one of seven groups, which were started by the couple’s children who married.
    Mendoza’s father, who died 13 years ago, once told him the story of when he left Cuba. On the plane, his sister told him to admire the view because they will never return. He responded: We’ll be back within a year. The revolution isn’t going to last. But it did, and it’s a story that rings true for many Miami Cubans. Yet the Mendozas tried to stick together. “The family values stay with the person, not with the land,” Mendoza said. A FAMILY RECONNECTING IN EXILE The family had their first reunion in 1902 in Havana and infrequently met before leaving the island, Valdes-Fauli said. They had their first reunion in Miami in 1976. In 2002, reunions became a tradition every five years. A photo of the first Mendoza family reunion outside Cuba at the Big Five Club in Miami in 1976. Gonzalez de Mendoza The reunions are an opportunity for the family to connect, meet and expose their children to Cuban culture and history. The family usually keeps in contact through Facebook, Instagram, email and — like many immigrant families — a WhatsApp group chat, Valdes-Fauli said.

    Yep, we sure do have successful outcomes even with turbulence..

    • kulmthestatusquo
      kulmthestatusquo says:

      They all have rights to the land they left in Cuba and if they can they will return there , kick out anyone who is living there, and re-establish their slave plantation.

  3. kulmthestatusquo
    kulmthestatusquo says:

    Everything will concentrate into the hands of today’s winners, leaving nothing to the rest.

    It is no consolation if the have nots all perish before they had a chance for revenge. Gatsby’s story is forgotten, only remembered by the writer Nick Carraway who will die unmarried and would die with him, while the descendants of the Buchanans will be highly connected enough to ride the spaceship to the future.

    It is fate that those who have a stake in the Civilization will monopolize everything, leaving nothing to the rest. Idiots like Joe Gallieni and Chucky Fitzclarence gave the poor and the Third World a chance, but time have run out for those who don’t have a stake in today’s Civ.

  4. kulmthestatusquo
    kulmthestatusquo says:

    I wrote two pieces but they are gone.

    I will be blunt, since this post is ending today.

    Everything will concentrate into those who have a stake in the Civilization. Nothing to the rest.

    It will be justified for those who have a stake in the civilization to take everything owned by those who don’t.

    When resources run down, mercy runs out. The raw power will manifest itself.

    • wow, “they” are going to have “everything”.

      good for them.

      having “everything” is better than the Singularity.

      when they have everything, they can do stuff.


      it is so great to be able to do stuff.

      even better to be able to do stuff forever.

      I think I’m a little bit jealous.

      imagine doing stuff forever.

      it really must be great.

      of course…

      I think you were yakkking about this a year ago.

      I bet you still will be a year from now.

      “they” better hurry and take everything.

      so they can do stuff.

      it will be so great for them.

      I’m jealous.

  5. Yoshua says:

    Mr Pool

    11 888

    November 8th US election

    2 * 888 = 1776 revolution

  6. Yoshua says:×900

    The drought in Europe has caused the water level in rivers to fall to levels where hunger stones that predict famines are now visible

    “If you can see me…cry”

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      Depending on natural flows didn’t work hundreds of years ago. It still doesn’t.

      • Dennis L. says:


        Silly question, if one can’t depend on natural flows what does one depend upon?

        SW US has tried dams, that idea is currently in the testing phase but the Four Corners cliff dwellers are not encouraging for the local climate.

        Dennis L.

        • 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.
          Gail Tverberg says:

          If a person depends on natural flows, there have to be huge buffers. You have to store food from when it is grown until it is needed, for example. Either that, or you have to move on a regular basis to places where the flows are favorable. The hunter-gatherers followed this approach.

          This has been the pattern forever, I am afraid.

          We have told ourselves that the pattern can be different, but it really is not. Our ability to store for the future is very limited.

          • NomadicBeer says:

            There is another option that is the one most civilizations take – I wonder why you don’t mention it?

            If you look at any old civilization (e.g. China) you will see the cycles of prosperity and growing population followed by famine, crises and huge population drops.

            We are just like any other animal and yet even Gail assumes as a matter of course that everyone should live happily ever after. Sorry, that’s not how things work.

            Also, if there is a subgroup that will follow your advice (limit reproduction, provide great buffers or moving around) they will quickly be overwhelmed by the people that don’t worry about tomorrow, but multiply today.

            That is why so few people anywhere have the instinct to prepare for bad times – their ancestors never did and they are still around.

  7. 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.
    Gail Tverberg says:

    I thought this was a good article on Zerohedge.

    A fellow named Michael Lebowitz from Real Investment Advice has put together a model of how he expects the S&P 500 to behave in the next few months, based solely on liquidity considerations.

    Lebowitz says:

    Liquidity and Stock Prices
    With an understanding of the three key factors driving banking system liquidity, we can create a Fed liquidity model. The size of the Fed’s assets less the sum of the TGA and RRP equals the amount of Fed-generated liquidity in the system. Recent changes in net liquidity shed light on how the S&P 500 trends.

    The two graphs below compare the liquidity measure and the S&P 500. The first graph shows how the S&P 500 rose in line with liquidity through 2021, and both reversed simultaneously to start 2022. The dotted lines are quarterly moving averages to help smooth out the data. The moving averages track each other almost perfectly this year. The green dashed line forecasts liquidity based solely on the Fed’s plan to reduce its balance sheet by $95 billion a month. The S&P 500 could be close to 3500 by year-end if they follow through with their QT plans and the correlation holds up.

    • woodchuck says:

      If this happens it would be another 15% drop in the S&P which is already down 5% since last year. How long can pension plans remain solvent and keep paying full benefits to retirees with this kind of a drop in the market? The pension fund my wife inherited sends out an annual report which shows that with assumed returns the plan is solvent. But with actual returns the plan has a deficit. And that was in a rising market.

      All hell will break loose when all these retirees stop receiving their full pension benefits.

    • banned says:

      The fed has to cave sooner or later. It will become apparent that the causes of this inflation are far more macro than interests rates. They could go to 20% interest rates like a bankrupt corporation offering a 20% dividend and inflation would remain high. Everyone already knows this but to admit that interest rates are not a universal tool that can place inflation where they want is contrary to modern economist shamanism.

      That particular piece of lore was dependent on infinite resources. Infinite resources is easily proved false but we have paradigms particularly in economics that assume that infinite resources are a reality. Will the stock market go back up when the fed flips? Maybe but IMO relative to the things we are used to consuming at very low cost all financial instruments including money go down. The name of the game is where is the least loss from here on out. Unfortunately as Gail has so kindly outlined for us over the years our system is not designed to cope with all things financial losing simultaneously. Collapse is the big risk. Losing half of our buying power is not pleasant but that would be a happy ending IMO if it occurs without collapse.

      The fed will flip and inflation will remain high. They have no reason not to flip and every reason to not continue tightening.

      One of the things I note is that people get angry and refuse to admit a finite world when they encounter losses of buying power. This focuses on the idea of “earning” and “owned”. That anger and the actions it might drive is of concern to me. The elite may well be closing off the tap some. That doesnt mean the cistern is not close to empty.

      If a finite world was acknowledged we might be able to make some appropriate decisions. How can people deny a finite world? Yet a finite world goes completely against many of our beliefs and this is very uncomfortable. Even for me. Even if a leader was to come forth acknowledging a finite world I would not trust them at this point. If there is one thing that seems omost as impossible as infinite resources at this point it is humanity uniting to make appropriate decisions. This argument would seem to support transhumanism. I would prefer collapse over transhumanism. Transhumanism -extending our lives as somthing other than what natural evolution creates- seems to me to be the most flawed human plan of all. Collapse as horrifying as the possibility is a natural event. Do I want it? Of course not. Do I want a tornado another natural event? Of course not. That doesnt mean you accept something that you know to be wrong in your heart.

      Nature is cruel. Our perception is it is an adversary. Yet we fight ourselves when we make it a enemy. Paradox reveals human flaws.

      • Dennis L. says:

        A guess:

        It might not work and deflation comes rather than inflation.

        In the real world of stuff that is useful, if no one can make a meaningful contribution to the use of that stuff, it is basically a cost secondary to insurance, taxes, etc.

        Sort of brings to mind bureaucracies; if they destroy the underlying wealth and they are unable to make it work and all the policy papers in the world will not change that. They may be last on the chain of events, but the chain is relentless and may cascade – i.e. crash.

        Dennis L.

        • could be inflation of essentials and deflation of non-essentials.

          “crash” or Great Depression 2.0 or just a deep recession, any of these could “cure” high inflation.

          the Fed rate doesn’t seem like it will make a direct difference in the supply side/energy side inflation that we have now.

          but the Fed won’t flip if they think hyperinflation is a possible consequence of flipping too soon.

          up, down, it’s all good.

      • Xabier says:

        Collapse, at worst, is nothing more than death.

        And we should learn to reconcile ourselves to our death, as we have an unmissable appointment with it……

  8. Fast Eddy says:

    Reading this

    And Nietzsche apparently considered most people ‘common barnyard animals’….

    I wonder if he also thought the more capable ones should be called circus animals…

    And if he considered all of them MOREONS.

    • HL Mencken’s is an excellent introduction. It is the starting point that I would recommend. It was the first book on FN published in the English language, and way better than more recent stuff.

      The pdf is on the internet archive site for free too.

      • 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.
        Gail Tverberg says:

        This is from the introduction to Mencken’s book. I think it explains why religions and belief systems are always changing, based on changes to external conditions. Even when religions seem to be based on the same written documents, they become quite different to match current conditions. Perhaps Nietzsche thought religions were more permanent than they really are. We now have “religions” created by politicians, devoted to ideas of how the world can move ahead with limited resources.
        Reduced to elementals, Nietzsche’s philosophy consists
        of the following propositions :

        1. That the ever-dominant and only inherent impulse in all living beings, including man, is the will to remain alive the will, that is, to attain power over those forces which make life difficult or impossible.

        2. That all schemes of morality are nothing more than efforts to put into permanent codes the expedients found useful by some given race in the course of its successful endeavors to remain alive.

        3. That, despite the universal tendency to give these codes authority by crediting them to some god, they are essentially man-made and mutable, and so change, or should change, as the conditions of human existence in the world are modified.

        4. That the human race should endeavor to make its mastery over its environment more and more certain, and that it is its destiny, therefore, to widen more and more the gap which now separates it from the lower races of animals.

        5. That any code of morality which retains its permanence and authority after the conditions of existence which gave rise to it have changed, works against this upward progress of mankind toward greater and greater efficiency.

        • You would to have read on to see how Mencken develops and presumably modifies the listed ‘points’. It is years since I read him, and I have no intention of going back to him.

          ‘1.’ Nietzsche certainly does not reduce the will to power to the will to life as the primary instinct as Schopenhauer does. That is one of the points that he sets out to question. Great bursts of power, often the ‘telos’ for him, are often very destructive. The tendency of organic life is not merely subsistence but the expansion of domination over the environment. The basic tendency in play goes beyond the organic, to the cosmos, the ever greater concentration of power (see Eric Chaisson). That is a process of becoming, rather than ‘being’, which Nietzsche often emphasises, so the tendency is more about self-overcoming, becoming what one is not, than mere survival as the primary instinct.

          But I am picking; Mencken is a good introduction but there is no substitute for reading Nietzsche himself. I would say, read Mencken and then put commentaries behind one for good and dive right in, and make your own sense of it. Likely you would want to depart from Mencken’s pamphlet on various points. Likely Mencken is riffing his own manifesto on the back of Nietzsche.

          The only commentary on Nietzsche that I would really recommend would be the one that I would write lol.

          On religion, it is also flux for him, but it can stagnate; Mencken does make that point.

          • Kowalainen says:

            “Likely Mencken is riffing his own manifesto on the back of Nietzsche”

            I haven’t read him but I reckon he’s shoving his own BS up Nietzsches rear end for the obvious copium and hopium induced insincerities and insecurities.

        • Another point that I would make is that Nietzsche’s approach to ideology, including religion, is that the optic is conditioned by the organism and the organism is conditioned over time by the necessities imposed by the social and physical environment. Nevertheless human societies are naturally caste structured, and different castes have different optics that are organically, physiologically, conditioned over time by the social position; it is just how human societies are naturally structured and that provides different optics.

          Religions can express the optics of one or the other castes, and NT Christianity has a specifically ‘chandala’ (outcaste) optic, that values poverty and weakness and that has egalitarian tendencies to slander power and vitality and to overthrow caste society. It is essentially subversive. Early Hinduism, with the Laws of Manu, represents an ‘Aryan’ or high caste optic and its laws uphold caste stratification, which is a natural ideal for Nietzsche.

          However, ‘Christianity’ is not a stable thing. Mencken emphasises how European societies have functioned regardless of NT Christianity, especially in recent centuries; Nietzsche strikes a more concerned note, and he sees the NT as liable to take down civilisation. But he was heavily into the Borgia popes and the vitality and manliness of the Renaissance; ‘Christianity’ could have become something better, stronger, but the Reformation intervened against the ‘corruption’ of Rome.

          So, he is absolutely not totally against religion, and indeed he says that ‘you can accomplish anything with a religion’. I dare say that he would have been a lot more comfortable with your own ‘Christianity’ than with the NT. And in fact, ‘Christianity’ in the Middle Ages did uphold caste society with the dominant concept of the ‘great chain of being’, which Nietzsche never addresses as far as I have seen. For most of its history, ‘Christianity’ had an aristocratic optic.

          In terms of ideology, including religion, reflecting the dissipative structure, Marx, with his base-superstructure, has a more focused approach to how economic society conditions ideology. With Nietzsche, he never really developed an economic perspective. But he never completed his work, his work ended young. A bit like Jesus, his later years were his real ‘mission’, and it did not last long. There are threads in his notes, compiled as The Will To Power, that suggest a more complete, holistic perspective that he never got around to fully working out in detail and publishing.

          • You are an especially spiteful chandala with no ‘purpose’ but to depress everything around you? You probably just need to be got rid of for the good of all.

          • Kowalainen says:

            Like a breath of cold fresh air in the insincerities and insecurities of the effortless egotistical fantasies. No?

            Yeah; shoot the messenger.

            [Insert quote by Plato here]

    • Kowalainen says:

      Nietzsche is the archetypal coping Tryhard attaboy.

      I.e. a circus animal with useful and curious insights about the spectacle which he seek to escape by encouraging its own self-destructive nature.

      Nietzsche’s cope with the “joyful” ‘eternal recurrence’ is a mere reflection of a species being stuck in the suck as it spins in the wheel of folly incarnating into the same endless repetitions forever and ever and ever and ever.

      Extinction isn’t so bad after all.
      Let it sink in and revel in it.
      Failed species.
      It is what it is.

  9. Kim says:

    Epoch Times piece on Argentina’s current economic woes. (Archived)

    Export taces of 33%.

    Farmers in Argentina Fight Back Against Crippling Export Taxes

    Refusing to sell soy, corn, and wheat overseas leading to shortages and rising world prices

    • Xabier says:

      Interesting: Argentina doesn’t have much to sell abroad except basic agricultural produce, some rather nice wine, etc.

      A clumsy attempt to keep foodstuffs in the country?

      I wonder what crime levels are like now? My stepmother and a few friends left there in the 90’s due to horrendous violence against women: Argentinian men are, notoriously in the Hispanic world, for some reason obsessed with sodomy, and rape is very common. Richer friends stayed, as they had better security, guards, etc.

    • 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.
      Gail Tverberg says:

      I am sure that the plan is to save more grains for citizens of Argentina, but the current export taxes probably make grain prices too low for producers, discouraging production.

  10. Kim says:

    Well, that’s certainly odd. But is he allowed to say this?

    In the first graph one can see a decrease in fertility the more a country vaccinates, with 3 countries clear outliers, Israel, Mongolia, and Seychelles:

    In the second graph, the data are corrected according to the wealth of the countries (poorer countries have higher fertility). After the correction, Seychelles and Mongolia return to the norm, and only Israel continues to enjoy relatively high fertility despite the high percentage of vaccinated women:

    Although Dr. Seligmann does not explain the reason for the Israeli anomaly, Nakim Organization Director Haim Yativ says the abnormality in Israel can be explained by the fact that Israel is Pfizer’s laboratory state, and that it must have been given a high percentage of placebo recipients to test the vaccine results against them as a control group.

  11. Pingback: The world’s self-organizing economy can be expected to act strangely, as energy supplies deplete - david green bank

  12. Fast Eddy says:

    Plans for a high-wage, high-growth economy lie in ruins as Britain’s Conservative prime minister struggles to answer a cost-of-living crisis, compounded by rising worker unrest.

    It is December 1973 and the finance minister has privately warned the cabinet of Edward Heath that the country faces its gravest economic crisis since World War Two, according to classified records that are now publicly available.

    The papers shed light on the debate at the heart of government during a crisis that bears similarities to that facing current Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

    Like almost 50 years ago, Britain today faces double-digit inflation driven by soaring energy costs that will financially cripple the most vulnerable households.

    Unlike then, Johnson is in caretaker mode after being forced from power over a string of scandals, leaving the parliamentary party to divide into warring factions over how best to respond.

    On both occasions there were few good options, with media reports on the current government’s private “worst case” planning documents outlining a return to the energy rationing that marked Heath’s tenure.

    North Sea oil won’t save them this time…

    • Kim says:

      There is only one solution to this problem. More inward bound flights from Accra, Abuja and Brazzaville.

    • Jon F says:

      Tim Watkins often mentions that UK oil production peaked in 1999 at 3.5m b/d…..Peak Oil Barrel a few months back showed UK production at around 0.85m b/d for March 2022…..production in 2019 actually hit a peak close to 1.15m b/d…

      Either way….North Sea output has fallen off a cliff….and yet the population has been rising relentlessly…..ahhhh…..the future is bright!

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