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Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 3:54 PM

One day, a fruit and vegetable seller was arrested in Tunisia, sparking social unrest, and a few weeks later the government of Egypt was set to topple. 

Such is the nature of complex, chaotic, and unpredictable systems. The stresses build for years and years, and nothing really seems to be happening, but then everything suddenly changes. Egypt is therefore emblematic of what we might expect in any complex system in which pressures are building, such as the US Treasury market.  

Can events in complex systems ever be predicted? No...and yes. No, because the precise timing and details can never be predicted. Yes, because we can be certain that anything that is unsustainable will someday cease to continue and things that are horribly imbalanced will someday topple. We can also be certain that the change, when it comes, will be rather sudden and abrupt, rather than gentle and linear.

That is, we can easily predict that a complex system will shift, and that it will probably do so rapidly, but not exactly when or by how much.

How unbalanced was Egypt? Very.

Here are a few quite relevant statistics about Egypt (hat tip to an email from reader Mark O., with credit to Dr. John Coulter) to which I have added a few items:

The relentless math:

Population 1960:  27.8 million

Population 2008:  81.7 million

Current population growth rate: 2% per annum (a 35-year doubling rate)

Population in 2046 after another doubling:  164 million

Rainfall average over whole country:  ~ 2 inches per year

Highest rainfall region:  Alexandria, 7.9 inches per year

Arable land (almost entirely in the Nile Valley):  3%

Arable land per capita:  0.04 Ha (400 m2)

Arable land per capita in 2043: 0.02 Ha

Food imports: 40% of requirements

Grain imports: 60% of requirements

Net oil exports: Began falling in 1997, went negative in 2007

Oil production peaked in 1996

Cost of oil rising steeply

Cost of oil and food tightly linked

The future of Egypt will be shaped by these few biophysical facts -- a relentless form of math that is hardly unique to Egypt, by the way -- and it matters very little who is in power. Given the choice, I would not want to live there, nor in any other country that has fostered or permitted such reckless population growth beyond what the country itself can sustain. 

The interesting part is that these facts have been in plain view for decades, building into economic and social pressures that were suddenly unleashed in a wave of social and political unrest. How was it that such obvious things escaped notice for so long before they suddenly reared up into plain view? Instead of being a surprising exception to the rule, we should instead brace ourselves against the idea that this is just the way things tend to work. 

Back to the main story. Without persistent (and rising) food imports, Egypt cannot feed itself. It has managed to cover up the shortfall by having enough oil to export, but, like every country, their oil reserves are finite and eventually they'll face a day of reckoning.  

The oil situation in Egypt has only very recently become an enormous and unavoidable issue.

The monthly peak occurred in December 1996 (the yearly peak was also 1996), and oil production is now down some 30 percent since then. 

While it's good to have plenty of production, what really matters to a nation that imports so much of its basic living items are exports

Of course, there are two things that typically chew on a nation's oil exports: falling production and rising internal consumption. With both of these dynamics in play, Egypt's exports have been getting mauled, not by one, but by two exponential functions: 

(Source - EIA) 

The green circle marks the date when Egypt hit its peak of petroleum production in 1996, and the blue circle and arrow marks when exports had fallen by 50%, just six years after peak production. 

The gap between those two events, six years, is a very short amount of time to adjust to the new reality -- too short, as it turns out. Such is the nature of a double exponential working against you. 

[Note:  For the energy purists, this chart from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) misrepresents things somewhat. Egypt's domestic oil consumption and production are virtually identical right now, but Egypt has the largest oil refining sector in Africa, which skews their petroleum imports to the negative side. But whether Egypt became a new petroleum importer this year or in 2007 is essentially a historical blink, and the story told by the trajectory of the chart is little changed by small matters of timing.]

Any country that has to import both oil and food is living on borrowed time. It was only a matter of time before something gave way, and apparently that time is now.

Hillary Clinton actually spoke something approximating the truth about this fact recently, although she was referring to the entire region, but nonetheless, it was an unusual moment of clarity for the US political structure:

Hillary Clinton: Middle East facing 'perfect storm'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the Middle East is facing a "perfect storm" of unrest and nations must embrace democratic change.

Speaking in Munich, Mrs Clinton said the status quo in the region was "simply not sustainable". "The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends.

"This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable."

She said that with water shortages and oil running out, governments may be able to hold back the tide of change for a short while but not for long.

Water shortages and oil running out? I'd decode those ideas for you, but they speak for themselves. Food and fuel are running out. The irony here is that she may as well have been speaking about the United States, Japan, or any number of countries across the globe, but any admission of biophysical limits is a good start, I suppose.

Editorially, it's not at all clear to me how the poorly defined concept of 'democratic change' will really change the equation much, as limits are immune to which 'ism' you happen to be running, but I am sure there are some in Washington DC who think ideology can trump reality. Regardless, I am somewhat surprised to see such obvious truths about water and oil being spoken by a senior US representative; it was unclear to me that anyone at that level had any awareness of these subjects at all.

My intent here is not to point out the future difficulties that Egypt faces, no matter who is charge, but to use the change that happened there as emblematic of what we might expect elsewhere, especially in the financial markets.

Egypt simply reminds us that anything that is unsustainable will someday change. It is an emblem for the world.

With abundant energy and food, we are treated to expansive and stable economies in which everyone stands a chance of gaining. Not that everyone will, mind you, but the possibility is there  In an energy-constrained world, what was formerly possible is no longer do-able, things don't work right, and there seem to be persistent shortages of everything from growth, to money, to food, to goodwill. What used to work doesn't. It is at these points that the prior stresses and imbalances are most likely to snap and suddenly change the world. 

These are the very sorts of changes that are coming to the rest of the world. Perhaps to a country or financial market near you. Are you ready?

In Part II of this report, our just-released Guide to Navigating the Coming Crisis, we analyze how the same systemic breakages in Egypt will likely manifest in the United States (and other countries). Also, for the first time ever, we have summarized the entire 'method' by which we make sense of the world. This method has allowed us to both grow our wealth and sleep better at night. Yes, there are troubling events afoot in the world, but an accurate diagnosis goes a very long way towards relieving the stresses that can cloud good decision-making and narrow one's field of view. We not only give you the information you need; we give you our best tools so that you can fashion them into the right actions that make sense for you.

Click here to read the Guide to Navigating the Coming Crisis (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).

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49 Comments

PastTense's picture
PastTense
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

"Any country that has to import both oil and food is living on borrowed time."

This is nonsense. Instead the rule is that if a country has to import both oil and food, it has to export something the rest of the world wants. Consider China and Japan, two other countries which fail both these tests. So while I (and most of you) have high technology products from Japan  and a lot of low technology stuff from China in my house, off hand I can't think of anything Egyptian I have ever owned. That is Egypt's problem--its failure to produce other stuff the rest of the world wants.

cmartenson's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

It's not nonsense, it is science, logic, and reason.  Yes, Japan is living on borrowed time.  So is China unless it can change the dynamic.  So is the entire globe's worth of humanity.  Living within a naturally defined energy budget is just, well, unassailably true for all organisms.

But to limit this to nation-states, I guess I suppose it all depends on your time-frame.  The time-frame is shorter if a nation doesn't produce anything else of export value, slightly longer if they do. But ultimately the energy-food balance will win out.

These past 200 years have been so unusual in human history, with excessive surplus energy flows spanning several generations,  that it has eroded the perspective for most.  

To presuppose that a very recent imbalance can continue in perpetuity is not a bet I would be willing to take, or make.  Or rather, I suppose I would, but I'd be taking the 'under' side of that bet.

FireJack's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I think any country that has to import it's food is in big trouble. Very soon (as oil production declines) I suspect exporting  countries will only able to supply themselves.

What I think is happening in the US is a slow crash turning into a fast crash. When they can no longer just print more money to hide their problems suddenly everywhere we will see violent protests.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

PastTense downside on you being wrong is pretty bad, downside on CM being wrong is minimal. Make your bets and live with the consequences.  

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

PastTense;

You are missing the larger point....if other countries face food or oil shortages themselves, what Egypt or anyone else exports is irrelevant in that context. The one exception might be food for oil.

And this is the point Chris is trying to make, EVERY country has experienced exponential population growth built on cheap energy. When cheap energy (and by proxy) cheap food ends, you are going to have excesses of hungry and angry people. And that's not factoring climate "change" impacts to food production. I believe it was Machiavelli who once observed that "all history is the interplay of men and land, as land is the means of wealth production". On such basis, wars are fought over resources.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Makes perfect sense to me. The idea of enough food and energy being necessary ingrediants to a stable political environment is right on. It took both of these conditions (the lacking thereof) to foment the current gatherings in Egypt, but in this spoiled rich country (USA) (of whiners), it will only take a shortage of one of them to get 'er going.

Nice article.

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Well,

I coughed up the red pill.....

Then, I heard about Tunisia and now Egypt....

IEA admits to peak oil....

The Fed prints money with Zimbabwe type presses...

I no longer need the red pill - I can see plainly that the emperor has no clothes.

Lets get busy!

Rector's picture
Rector
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

If you haven't enrolled, today's the day.  The second part of this report is worth a lot more than it will cost you. If you are still surfing around financial websites trying to piece this thing together you can stop. . .

Rector 

joemanc's picture
joemanc
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I may have seen the future this winter, though I hope not. It definitely reminds me of Egypt. We have had an incredibly snowy winter. It's caught everyone off guard. One of the consequences has been roof collapses due to the amount and weight of the snow. There was a mad rush for roof rakes. Stores couldn't get them fast enough before selling out. People were scalping them. The hardware stores were selling out of snow blowers, snow shovels, calcium chloride, you name it. As soon as it came in, out they went. If that is the future, I want no part of it.

I'm in full preparation mode. If you haven't heeded the warnings by now to prepare, now is a good time to start. Better late than never.

Nate's picture
Nate
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Peak Oil = Peak Food = Peak People

How many people will a post fossil fuel world support?

ckessel's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Nate wrote:

Peak Oil = Peak Food = Peak People

How many people will a post fossil fuel world support?

Nate,

You obviously ask the correct question!!!!!!  My answer is " somewhat less than what the pre fossil fuel world supported due to resource depletion, especially of our soils and water supplies. The transition could very easily contain an overshoot is the direction of population reduction.

Our only option to a different outcome lies in developing a prepared and resilient community that is aware of the truth of our predicament. And that does not provide a guarantee. All of course is only my .02 cents worth!

Coop

earthwise's picture
earthwise
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Re: They will change the rules....

Doug Casey's piece on a soft default and how it might be done by changing the rules:

The U.S. imposes withholding at a rate of 30% on dividends and other types of investment income paid to non-U.S. investors. But there is a very broad exemption for interest payments. So under current rules, foreigners can invest in most types of bonds issued in the U.S. without losing anything to withholding.

A simple way to stick foreigners with the pain of a default would be to extend the withholding system to cover corporate bonds but not Treasury bonds. Non-U.S. investors would then have a compelling motive to replace their holdings of U.S. corporate bonds with Treasury bonds. T-bonds would flow out of the U.S. and corporate bonds would flow in. Most of the portfolio adjusting would be done within a year or so. Then the government would change the rules again. Withholding would be extended to Treasury bonds, at 30%, or at some higher rate, say 40%.

 

(bold added)

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

In the future, more than half of the work force will be FARMERS. period, end of story. trying to find some cool "new technology" job is a pipe dream. I really believe that "new technology" is a RELIGION here in America.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

MRW,

Welcome(first post) I agree, most will be involved in their day to day well being. Isn't that what we've been up to most of our existence?

robie, Husband,Father,Farmer,optometrist 

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

One of the issues not addressed in the article that is prevelant throughout the Middle East and othe regions is the large percentage of the population under 30 and the high unemployment rates.  They may have rioted over food and fuel, but I believe these were trigger points with the root cause centered around the Egyptian government and it's failure to address the problems facing so many young people living in a hopeless situation....

idoctor's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

 Pimco CEO Mohamed El-Erian shared his commentary on Egypt and the challenges that country faces restarting its economy as its future remains uncertain.

mohamed el-erian
CNBC.com

El-Erian laid out these factors:

"Three factors stand out in a process that is critical for the longer-term well-being of the country, including the millions of Egyptians that are protesting for greater freedoms.

First, Egypt’s banking system must resume normal operations in an orderly fashion. A very good start was made on Sunday to bring part of the system back on line, and important challenges remain.

The central bank has no choice but to flood the financial system with both domestic and dollar liquidity. And both the central bank and the commercial banks must continue to avoid the temptation to overly curtail deposit withdrawals lest that, in itself, fuel a deposit run.

Second, the Finance Ministry must deal properly with the unanticipated collapse in tax revenues. It must make sure that this temporary interruption in government receipts does not lead to even more destabilizing spending disruptions. Salaries must be paid promptly, and all supplier bills must be met.

Third, particular emphasis must be placed on targeted social spending, particularly when it comes to health, food subsidies, and shelter. Remember, Egypt’s poor are extremely vulnerable to the current economic and financial dislocations."

MarkM's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

joemanc wrote:

I may have seen the future this winter, though I hope not. It definitely reminds me of Egypt. We have had an incredibly snowy winter. It's caught everyone off guard. One of the consequences has been roof collapses due to the amount and weight of the snow. There was a mad rush for roof rakes. Stores couldn't get them fast enough before selling out. People were scalping them. The hardware stores were selling out of snow blowers, snow shovels, calcium chloride, you name it. As soon as it came in, out they went. If that is the future, I want no part of it.

I'm in full preparation mode. If you haven't heeded the warnings by now to prepare, now is a good time to start. Better late than never.

Joe,

I believe the future for us is EXACTLY as you have experienced. When? Who knows. In what specific manner? Again, who knows. However, your lesson in herd mentality of this culture when "they" can't get what they want when they want it will apply.

We are so accustomed to having everything and more at our fingertips that any hardship of unavailability results in chaos.

Are we listening? We better be.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Hello Chris...

We have similar outlooks.  I personally feel like our politicians are in for a rude awakening if they don't come into "ownership" of our situation.  I don't see anything like Egypt, since we are way to well fed, and I believe we have the means to coordinate quickly even if supply lines dried up (due to whatever chaotic thing comes our way...  ex.  oil embargo) 

Unfortunately, their will be bad eggs, and those in control will learn what "accountability" means quickly through major disruptions. 

Here's my piece from Zero Hedge.  (you'll have to excuse my grammar then/than, as a reader pointed out...)

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-can%E2%80%99t-see-forest-trees

All the best, RH

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Chris,

Thank you for this wonderful article as well as the comments about China & Japan living on borrowed time. I am in full agreement with it. Having spent 5 months in China last year, I could clearly see the writing on the wall.

On this subject, there is one wonderful book that all of you should try to read (Not available in most libraries). It's a book called A prosperous Way Down by Howard Odum. (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Prosperous-Way-Down-pbk/dp/0870819089/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1297353619&sr=8-1 )

Howard Odum was a renowned Ecologist who saw this coming in the 80's and created the first draft of the book. The publishers felt that it was too unpleasant a topic. He updated the draft just before his death in 2002. The book was finally published in 2008. He draws out on the commonalities of the current economic system and other ecological / different systems from beginning to collapse. He has provided very good recommendation on future paths to adopt.

Content of the book : Crash course(Most of it) + Way forward (With excellent definitions of primary, secondary & teritiary wealth)  

Farmer Brown's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?
Nate wrote:

Peak Oil = Peak Food = Peak People

How many people will a post fossil fuel world support?

Nate,

You win the award for Most Succinct Summation of our Predicament!

Really, everything else to be said on the subject is just a footnote to this statement, isn't it?

Cheers,

FB

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?
  • Egyptian Army Takes Charge of Country; Mubarak to Address Country Shortly: Report (Story Developing)
Bytesmiths's picture
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the Middle East is facing a "perfect storm" of unrest and nations must embrace democratic change."

Ha ha! Screw the people during 50 years of oil-export prosperity, and then turn the bankrupt husk of a country over to them after it's been looted!

"Democracy" in State Department newspeak means "free markets," a la Strauss, Friedman, and the Chicago School.

These poor Egyptian protesters; they think that getting rid of Mubarek is going to solve anything. What's going to happen (no matter who is in power) is that things will come crashing down, and whomever is in power will get the blame. Then the IMF and World Bank will come swooping in and demand "free market concessions" in exchange for dumping money into the pockets of whomever is in charge at the time... or whomever they think they can control who has a chance of holding power.

It will be the old definition of foreign aid all over again: take money from poor people in rich countries and give it to rich people in poor countries. It's as though Egypt is writing a new chapter for Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine."

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

My first thought when reading the original article, is that Egypt almost needs to have a war.  It either needs to take resources from a neighbor, or to have its population dramatically reduced.  Developing a manufacturing economy that produces smart phones and other high values items would also work, but political instability, corruption, uneducated work force, and other problems make this unlikely.  A war driven by Islamic extremism and economic need sounds likely.   Resources in Saudi or Sudan would let the country survive for a while.  You also have to consider that the military currently runs Egypt.  The only other industry is tourism and that will drop off dramatically until political stability returns.  Wow this is really bad!

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I guess I should offer my congrat to the Egyptian people; earlier on today I feared a civil war if the military split.  I hope they don't spiral down under the weight of expectation, afterall, their basic predicament has not changed at all.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

CompassionateFascist wrote:

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

Normally, I would just let a statement like the one above just dissolve into the pages of obscurity, however...

I hope and pray that you are being tongue-in-cheek...

... if not, which 6 billion would you choose?

A cancer on the face of the "biosphere"? If we were standing at a cocktail party having this conversation, I would look you in the eye and say, "Are you nuts?" Then turn and walk away... this is me turning and walking away...

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robie robinson
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

My first thought is,for what is compassionatefascist waiting.

Mama nature will take care of it in spite of our grandest efforts, she has,after all, about a 12billion year headstart of maximizing efficiency.

poor typist,robie

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ao
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Miss America wrote:

Hello Chris...

We have similar outlooks.  I personally feel like our politicians are in for a rude awakening if they don't come into "ownership" of our situation.  I don't see anything like Egypt, since we are way to well fed, and I believe we have the means to coordinate quickly even if supply lines dried up (due to whatever chaotic thing comes our way...  ex.  oil embargo) 

Unfortunately, their will be bad eggs, and those in control will learn what "accountability" means quickly through major disruptions. 

Here's my piece from Zero Hedge.  (you'll have to excuse my grammar then/than, as a reader pointed out...)

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-can%E2%80%99t-see-forest-trees

All the best, RH

Miss America,

Welcome.  Enjoyed reading your piece.  FYI, it's "too" rather than "to" and "there" rather than "their".  Many people feel that grammar isn't important but if precision in language is lacking, it makes the reader wonder if precision in other information is lacking.  Sorry to be nitpicky but better grammar will add to the effectiveness of your message. 

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

dogdue wrote:

One of the issues not addressed in the article that is prevelant throughout the Middle East and othe regions is the large percentage of the population under 30 and the high unemployment rates. 

DD,

I agree that this is an important factor.  People who have nothing to lose because they broke and unemployed are much more likely to demonstrate or riot than working people trying to keep their jobs.  Working people, I believe, are also much less likely to loot or hurt there fellow citizens.  Young people are also much more likely to take radical stances, and action on their stances than older more mature people.

The long term unemployed and under employed in the US will soon begin to grow tired of their lot in life.

DRHolden

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

RNcarl wrote:

CompassionateFascist wrote:

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

Normally, I would just let a statement like the one above just dissolve into the pages of obscurity, however...

I hope and pray that you are being tongue-in-cheek...

... if not, which 6 billion would you choose?

A cancer on the face of the "biosphere"? If we were standing at a cocktail party having this conversation, I would look you in the eye and say, "Are you nuts?" Then turn and walk away... this is me turning and walking away...

Negotiating with with reality will determine how things go.  If the population before the fossil fuel era was ca 1 billion, it seems to make sense that in a post carbon world, the human race will find itself re-equilibrating around that level at some point in the future. 
 
I agree, the comment on the surface is so distasteful because of the consequences it presents, but as a scientist, I struggle to argue against the under lying premise.  So many historians, economists etc have dismissed Malthus’ postulations; time will tell..................
 
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I think I have to agree with Chris on this one, I.M.H.O.   China may export cheap manufactured goods for a while, but in the long run, and no one knows what the exact time frame is: they are trying to sustain a huge population  6 or 7 times the size of the USA, with dwindling arable land, serious and increasing water shortages,  and massive increases in energy consumtion, none of which are sustainable.  

The trade imbalances as well, are not sustainable. 

No matter what else happens, if a country can not feed itself, and water. oil, and arable farmland are the main factors that determine if a society can feed themselves, then no matter what else they do, their system is unsustainable.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

RNcarl wrote:

CompassionateFascist wrote:

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

Normally, I would just let a statement like the one above just dissolve into the pages of obscurity, however...

I hope and pray that you are being tongue-in-cheek...

... if not, which 6 billion would you choose?

A cancer on the face of the "biosphere"? If we were standing at a cocktail party having this conversation, I would look you in the eye and say, "Are you nuts?" Then turn and walk away... this is me turning and walking away...

We won't do the choosing Carl....  NATURE will.  I fully expect that by 2100 the world population will be under 2 billion.  Maybe even under 1 billion.  I'm just glad I won't be around to do the census....

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ao
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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

reddgreen wrote:

No matter what else happens, if a country can not feed itself, and water. oil, and arable farmland are the main factors that determine if a society can feed themselves, then no matter what else they do, their system is unsustainable.

Actually, it's not unsustainable at all.  When a society reaches this point, aquisition of the additional needed resources by force (i.e. a war) usually takes place.  The society obtains the resources it needs and also "thins" the population requiring those resources, killing two birds with one stone.  Do you think the Chinese military build-up is occurring by accident?

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Damnthematrix wrote:

RNcarl wrote:

CompassionateFascist wrote:

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

Normally, I would just let a statement like the one above just dissolve into the pages of obscurity, however...

I hope and pray that you are being tongue-in-cheek...

... if not, which 6 billion would you choose?

A cancer on the face of the "biosphere"? If we were standing at a cocktail party having this conversation, I would look you in the eye and say, "Are you nuts?" Then turn and walk away... this is me turning and walking away...

We won't do the choosing Carl....  NATURE will.  I fully expect that by 2100 the world population will be under 2 billion.  Maybe even under 1 billion.  I'm just glad I won't be around to do the census....

Well,

If it is nature returning the yin/yang then so be it. I seriously doubt any man knows the true carrying capacity of the earth. Or, what our destiny is to be.

The earth is our spaceship. We are not a parasite on it. Perhaps, when one looses their humanity, they can only see humans as excess flesh.

C.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

CompassionateFascist wrote:

Right now, Egypt aside, there about 6 billion too many of us on the planet. We are a cancer on the face of the biosphere. One way or the other, and fairly soon, the gross tonnage of human flesh is going to be drastically reduced. 

The repulsiveness of this statement isn't due to the possibility of a decline of the population, but to the value judgement  inherent in the opinion that "we are a cancer on the face of the biosphere" and the animosity toward one's fellow man.

Nothing compassionate about this fascist.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

ao wrote:

reddgreen wrote:

No matter what else happens, if a country can not feed itself, and water. oil, and arable farmland are the main factors that determine if a society can feed themselves, then no matter what else they do, their system is unsustainable.

Actually, it's not unsustainable at all.  When a society reaches this point, aquisition of the additional needed resources by force (i.e. a war) usually takes place.  The society obtains the resources it needs and also "thins" the population requiring those resources, killing two birds with one stone.  Do you think the Chinese military build-up is occurring by accident?

Wars in reality kill very few people, relatively speaking.  WWII killed under 100 million people when world population was almost 2000 million.... or 5%.

The black plague killed 30 to 50% of the population.  Diseases and famines will take care of overshoot, wars will have a minor effect because people will be too hungry and sick to fight.

And if you can't see we ARE like a cancer on the planet..... you just don't get it.

Mike.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Damnthematrix wrote:

<snip>

And if you can't see we ARE like a cancer on the planet..... you just don't get it.

Mike.

So... I guess I don't get it.

A cancer kills its host. The host is a being that has intrinsic value in and of itself. I didn't know the earth was a conscious "being". Further, if that is true, then the fish, fowl and every living creature ON the earth is a parasite - a cancer. No?

The earth is our spaceship. Our life-support system. We need to take care of it. If we break it, yes, we will die. It is only because we have come close to the capacity of the ship that we now see her beginning to creak and groan under the weight.

I knew I should have just rolled my eyes and walked away...

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Damnthematrix wrote:

[Wars in reality kill very few people, relatively speaking.  WWII killed under 100 million people when world population was almost 2000 million.... or 5%.

The black plague killed 30 to 50% of the population.  Diseases and famines will take care of overshoot, wars will have a minor effect because people will be too hungry and sick to fight.

And if you can't see we ARE like a cancer on the planet..... you just don't get it.

Mike.

Uh, Mike ... I think you're getting a bit detached from reality here ... especially if you think 100 million people is relatively few.  You also seem to forget that famine and disease almost always accompany war.  You also forget that the bubonic plague had its primary effect in Europe, not globally.  You also forget that we now have nuclear, biological (including genetic), chemical, nanotech, and robotic weaponry capable of annihilating 100% of the global population.

And perhaps YOU think we're a cancer on the planet.  I don't.  What a dark view of humanity!  You seem to forget that we're the only species on this planet that can also act with compassion towards ourselves and all the rest of the species.  See how much your friendly local bacteria, fungus, grass, tree, fish, bird, or mammal cares whether you liive or die.  Whether you're aware of it or not, there is also a tremendous amount of good that goes on on this planet.  When you steep yourself in darkness and gloom, that's what you get.  When you look for light and goodness and act accordingly, you'll get more of that.  It's all up to us.

I get it.  The question is, do you?  Living on this planet is not about ecology, it's about a spiritual learning and growth experience.  

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I'm with RN, nature is over anthropomorphized by us,the parasites? She,nature,has no "value" system,polar bears eat seals and barber pole worms eat my sheep. I fight the worm/parasite because its a competitor for the sheep i want to eat.

robie

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Excellent report!  One thing many don't realize is the sky rocketing birth rate!  Most countries are at less than 2.0 births per families but Muslims world wide average 7.8 births per family.  while here in the us we might not notice to much but other countries especially Muslim countries are noticing in a very big way!  Pakistan is not only having a food crisis but much of their country has no reliable water source!  countries like Great Britian and France are noticing with most their citizens only averaging 1.3 births per family but their Muslim families averaging 7.8 is making a big dent in problem in those countries!  Our world is changing!  Will we be ready for all that is about to hit?  So much is in play right now.  I would say your best investment right now would be in food and water.  Better stay on your toes and know whats happening around the world!  Most US citizens are pretty clueless on what is happening or why it's happening.  It is going to effect us one way or another very soon!

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

RNcarl wrote:

Damnthematrix wrote:

<snip>

And if you can't see we ARE like a cancer on the planet..... you just don't get it.

Mike.

So... I guess I don't get it.

A cancer kills its host. The host is a being that has intrinsic value in and of itself. I didn't know the earth was a conscious "being". Further, if that is true, then the fish, fowl and every living creature ON the earth is a parasite - a cancer. No?

The earth is our spaceship. Our life-support system. We need to take care of it. If we break it, yes, we will die. It is only because we have come close to the capacity of the ship that we now see her beginning to creak and groan under the weight.

I knew I should have just rolled my eyes and walked away...

I felt a need to add my 2 cents.  Cancer (any malignant growth or tumor caused by abnormal and uncontrolled cell division) seems to describe our growth doesn't it?  We are growing at an exponential (abnormal) rate and damaging the planet around us.  It doesn't matter that we are the smartest  animal on the planet or that we have compassion, we can't seem to control ourselves. 

BTW, this planet, at least the parts that really matter, are very much alive.  We are not riding around in a big dead spaceship.  The soil that supports our crops is teeming with life.  There are millions and millions of micro organisms per acre.  When we fertilize as we do without respect for what is living in the soil, it dies and we can’t grow crops without more and more fertilizer.  We still have no clue how much damage the Gulf oil spill caused to the life there and within hundreds of miles.

Basically we are smart people living irresponsibly and uncontrolled, as if there was no tomorrow.  If that’s not a cancer, what is?  On the other hand, If we’re so smart and compassionate, why do we continue to do dumb things for dumb reasons every day?

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

DRHolden,

We're expecting rational responsible behavior from society. Its not likely and the source of my modern malaise is just that. Lucidity is a uniquely individual accomplishment.

robie

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Exponential Growth

Present day Exponential Global Malnutrition Statistics - World Food Program

Every year, authors, journalists, teachers, researchers, schoolchildren and students ask us for statistics about hunger and malnutrition. To help answer these questions, we've compiled a database of useful facts and figures on world hunger.

GLOBAL HUNGER

  • 925 million people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of USA, Canada and the European Union;
    (Source: FAO news release, 14 September 2010)
  • 98 percent of the world's hungry live in developing countries;
    (Source: FAO news release, 2010)
  • Asia and the Pacific region is home to over half the world’s population and nearly two thirds of the world’s hungry people;

    (Source: FAO news release, 2010)
Women make up a little over half of the world's population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry.
(Source:  Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger..., ECOSOC, 2007) 65 percent  of the world's hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia. 
(Source: FAO news release, 2010)

CHILD HUNGER

  • More than 70 percent of the world's 146 million underweight children under age five years live in just 10 countries, with more than 50 per cent located in South Asia alone;
    (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
  • 10.9 million children under five die in developing countries each year. Malnutrition and hunger-related diseases cause 60 percent of the deaths;
    (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • The cost of undernutrition to national economic development is estimated at US$20-30 billion per annum;
    (Source: Progress for Children: A Report Card on Nutrition, UNICEF, 2006)
  • One out of four children - roughly 146 million - in developing countries are underweight;
    (Source: The State of the World's Children, UNICEF, 2007)
  • Every year WFP feeds more than 20 million children in school feeding programmes in some 70 countries. In 2008, WFP fed a record 23 million children.
    (Source: WFP School Feeding Unit)

MALNUTRITION

  • It is estimated that 684,000 child deaths worldwide could be prevented by increasing access to vitamin A and zinc
    (Source: WFP Annual Report 2007)
  • Undernutrition contributes to 53 percent of the 9.7 million deaths of children under five each year in developing countries.
    (Source: Under five deaths by cause, UNICEF, 2006)
  • Lack of Vitamin A kills a million infants a year
    (Source: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency, A Global Progress Report, UNICEF)
  • Iron deficiency is the most prevalent form of malnutrition worldwide, affecting an estimated 2 billion people.6 Eradicating iron deficiency can improve national productivity levels by as much as 20 percent.
    (Source:  World Health Organization, WHO Global Database on Anaemia)
  • Iron deficiency is impairing the mental development of 40-60 percent children in developing countries
    (Source: Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency, A Global Progress Report, p2, UNICEF)

~ VF ~

 

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Damnthematrix wrote:

[Wars in reality kill very few people, relatively speaking.  WWII killed under 100 million people when world population was almost 2000 million.... or 5%.

The black plague killed 30 to 50% of the population.  Diseases and famines will take care of overshoot, wars will have a minor effect because people will be too hungry and sick to fight.

And if you can't see we ARE like a cancer on the planet..... you just don't get it.

Mike.

If Adolph and 'Uncle Joe' Stalin could have foretold of your longing for a pandemic of epic proportions maybe they would have been a little more ambitious than just the paltry 100 million slain.

However, your continuation of drawing of breath casts doubt that you believe your own drivel. Feel free to remove all doubt, lest you be thought a hypocrite.

Think globally, act locally.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Earthwise,

Look above at my previous post. Along with exponential growth, the more countries that can no longer export their own oil with diminishing (currently 6.7% globally) levels requiring all of their own (Egypt, with Mexico shortly) for internal use, escalating food costs and a collapsing pegged currency (the United States Dollar), can you not see the current number of people suffering from malnutrition (925 million) doubling and more in less than a decade?

There are currently well over 40 million people on food stamps in the United States, and a further 4+ million people due to reach 99 weeks unemployed in 2011, that add to a near equal number in 2010, who will all told have no means to support themselves, and no major preparation to meet the future ...

This isn't about how much you agree, it is more about what you think is factual enough to act on your own need for safety, security and sustainability.

I am fully sick of petty gripes and fallouts on this forum, on issues that are plainly explained in the Crash Course series in spades ...

~ VF ~

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Vanityfox451 wrote:

Earthwise,

Look above at my previous post. Along with exponential growth, the more countries that can no longer export their own oil with diminishing (currently 6.7% globally) levels requiring all of their own (Egypt, with Mexico shortly) for internal use, escalating food costs and a collapsing pegged currency (the United States Dollar), can you not see the current number of people suffering from malnutrition (925 million) doubling and more in less than a decade?

There are currently well over 40 million people on food stamps in the United States, and a further 4+ million people due to reach 99 weeks unemployed in 2011, that add to a near equal number in 2010, who will all told have no means to support themselves, and no major preparation to meet the future ...

This isn't about how much you agree, it is more about what you think is factual enough to act on your own need for safety, security and sustainability.

I am fully sick of petty gripes and fallouts on this forum, on issues that are plainly explained in the Crash Course series in spades ...

~ VF ~

You miss the point. I didn't dispute the data; in fact, I never even addressed that issue. But, it’s one thing to observe that there will be a population decline in the future, and another to gleefully cheerlead for such an outcome, and still another  to conclude that it’s desirability stems from the notion that man is a cancer on the biosphere. Moreover, it's arrogant and condescending to claim that those who may hold a different opinion "just don't get it"

You may be sick of petty gripes, but I'm sick of the callous disregard for the potential of the suffering and misery of our fellow man. Which is the more offensive of the two?

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

.

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

Remember the speech by John Hayles, a former mayor of New York, speaking at a rally in Chicago. The speech was reprinted in the New York Times "on March 27, 1927. Read it and know what happens. Greetings from the next Egypt (Spain)

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Re: Egypt's Warning: Are You Listening?

I started a thread on this a couple of weeks ago.  Am I that far ahead of the curve? :^)

I will reiterate.  Egypt is the world's largest importer of wheat.  If something goes in, something else must go out in return.  If it's not oil, what is it?  Mummies?

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