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The Inevitability Of DeGrowth

Our current debt & energy orgy can't last much longer
Friday, July 7, 2017, 10:45 PM

Even though we don't know precisely how the future will unfold, we know a few things about it:

  1. Of the 7.5 billion humans on the planet, virtually every individual wants to enjoy a high-energy consumption “middle-class” lifestyle. As a generous estimate, 1.5 billion people enjoy a high-energy consumption lifestyle today; the remaining six billion are aspirants hungry for all the goodies enjoyed by the 1.5 billion—all goodies based on affordable, abundant energy.
  2. Our dependence on debt to fuel growth—more extraction of resources, more energy, more manufacturing, more consumption and more earned income to pay for all this expansion of debt and consumption—has built-in limits: debt accrues interest and principal payments, which reduce the remaining income available to spend on consumption.  Our dependence on fast-rising debt just to maintain low rates of growth eventually limits our ability to pay for more consumption/growth. When most income is devoted to servicing debt, there isn’t enough left to buy more stuff or support additional debt.
  3. The debt needed to move the growth needle is expanding at a much higher rate than the growth it generates. While growth is stagnant, debt is expanding by leaps and bounds to unprecedented levels. (Global Debt Hits A New Record High Of $217 Trillion; 327% Of GDP)
  4. Wages are stagnating for the bottom 90% of the workforce. We can quibble about the causes, but there is no plausible evidence to support a belief that this trend will magically reverse.
  5. The cost of the most valuable energy--high-density, easy to transport—will slowly but surely become more expensive as the cheap, easy-to-extract energy sources are depleted, notwithstanding the temporary boost provided by the fast-depleting wells of the fracking “miracle.”
  6. There are limits on our exploitation of resources such as fresh water and wild fisheries. Humans can print currency (money) but we can’t print fresh water, energy, wild fisheries, etc. If one unit of currency currently buys one liter of petrol, printing 10 more units of money doesn’t create 10 more liters of fuel.  
  7. Creating currency out of thin air isn’t free in our system: all new currency is loaned into existence and accrues interest. As a result, all currency is a claim on future earnings. If we borrow enough from the future, and earnings remain flat or decline, eventually there’s not enough income left to support the debt service and the expanding consumption the status quo needs to keep itself glued together.

What’s the result if we add these up?

Simply put, debt-dependent consumption in a world in which wages stagnate for the bottom 90% and energy costs increase as demand outstrips supply is a system with only one possible end-point: collapse.

The Energy-Debt-Growth Connection

If we accept that energy will get increasingly scarce and costly, and real earned income for the vast majority of households is in structural decline, that means the global economy is in terminal trouble. As this chart shows, energy consumption per capita and GDP (gross domestic product, a measure of growth) are in near-perfect correlation: rising energy consumption per person is the foundation of economic expansion:

If energy consumption per person declines, so does GDP. If GDP/ economic expansion stalls, the global financial system--dependent as it is on the permanent expansion of debt and income to service that debt--has a problem.

In other words, energy, growth and debt are intrinsically linked. Analysts Gail Tverberg and Chris Martenson, among others, have been discussing the causal connections between energy, debt and the financial system for years. Here are recent examples of their work:

- The Looming Energy Shock (PeakProsperity.com)

- The Next Financial Crisis Is Not Far Away (OurFiniteWorld.com)

Simply put, the extraction of fossil fuel energy and the development of alt energy on a vast scale both require an equally vast expansion of interest-accruing debt, both to fund the actual extraction, processing and transport of energy and the consumers’ purchases of all the energy-intensive goods and services that keep the economy expanding.

Right now, oil and natural gas are relatively inexpensive compared to historical peaks, especially when prices are adjusted for inflation. Broadly speaking, the fracking “miracle” (based on expanding debt) has pushed supply temporarily higher than demand. (By temporary I refer to a timeline of a few years.)

The resulting collapse in energy prices, while welcome to consumers, negatively impacts energy companies' ability to seek new reserves (exploration and production), tap existing reserves that cost a lot to extract or build new alternative energy facilities on a large enough scale to matter.

As we witnessed in the 2008 spike in oil prices to $140 per barrel, soaring energy prices crush consumer spending, triggering stagflation and recession.

The solution is a Goldilocks price structure—energy prices that are not too high (for consumers), and not too low (for producers). The problem is that as energy costs ratchet higher while wages stagnate or decline, the financial capability of households and businesses to pay higher energy and debt-service costs and expand their consumption vanishes.

Something has to give: either consumption declines (triggering structural, permanent recession) or the energy sector goes bankrupt as its production costs cannot be covered by the price of energy consumers can afford to pay.

Meanwhile, the skyrocketing debt required to keep the entire status quo glued together is sapping income, reducing the every participants’ ability to pay for future growth.

These realities leave three possible futures:

  1. Energy prices move beyond what’s affordable, and the system breaks.
     
  2. Debt service costs rise above what’s affordable, and the system breaks.
     
  3. Both energy and debt service costs rise in tandem, and the system breaks. 

Magic Technology and Wishful Thinking to the Rescue

The consensus solutions to increasingly unaffordable energy are technological: new technologies are going to make energy abundant and so cheap it’s practically free.

While it’s true that there are many alternative energy technologies in development, the reality is few make financial sense and few have the potential to scale up rapidly enough to replace oil/coal/natural gas.

Take liquid fluoride thorium reactors. The consensus is that this form of nuclear energy is reliable and safe. Yet not a single working thorium reactor is in operation. (An update on the potential of LFTR power - PeakProsperity.com)

How about all those solar power technologies that are going to make electricity abundant and cheap everywhere? Magical thinking is appealing, but the reality is wind and solar make up roughly 2% of all energy consumed globally. These could double, triple, quadruple and then double again, and they wouldn't even begin to replace fossil fuels.

Even if wind/solar became dirt-cheap to manufacture, install and maintain (in the real world, we have to measure total life-cycle costs, not just the initial purchase price), these alt energy sources are intermittent, and that's a big problem for two reasons:

1. Batteries are not “free” and current technologies rely on scarce resources (lithium, etc.)

2. Utilities need to maintain significant power generation capacity to replace these sources during night, cloudy days, when the wind decreases, etc.

This means the entire infrastructure of fossil-fuel generated electricity must be maintained--a very costly requirement.

The other problem with the “electricity and storage will be nearly free” line of magical thinking is much of our transport system can't be switched to electricity--aircraft, container ships, etc.

Virtually every optimistic vision of a cheap, abundant energy future overlooks these problems, or assumes each will effortlessly be solved with some new whiz-bang technology that just so happens to be dirt-cheap.

But not all technologies that work on in lab are affordable and not all technologies scale from the lab to production on a global scale.

Maybe some lab will invent a battery based on a cheap, abundant resource like silicon, but the process of manufacture may still be horrendously expensive, i.e. require a lot of energy and costly machinery. Even if batteries can be manufactured at a low cost, they’re only serving the 2% of total energy being generated by intermittent sources.

Technological solutions are always the "answer," but the actual costs of scaling up new technologies to offset the decline in conventional oil is ignored or glossed over.

If scaling up a new energy source bankrupts consumers and producers alike, is it a solution?

Magical Thinking: Debt Doesn’t Matter

The other line of magical thinking is that debt doesn’t matter, because future growth will always provide us with enough income to service debt.  As noted above, the structural stagnation of earned income means this assumption is no longer valid.

The next line of defense is that super-low interest rates will make debt practically weightless.  But back in the real world, we find even interest rates near zero eventually burden governments and economies. Consider Japan, which has been running a 25+ year experiment in “debt doesn’t matter.” In 2015, the cost of servicing its astronomical debt was the largest single item in the government’s budget:

If this is the result of near-zero .1% interest rates, imagine the eventual impact of 1% or (gasp) 2% interest rates—never mind 4% or higher.

Let’s also consider the central bank balance sheet and policy that undergirds this hyper-expansion of debt.  This is a chart of the Bank of Japan’s balance sheet. If this looks sustainable to you, hmm, you might want to dial back your happy-meds:

And what good came of this unprecedented expansion of central bank “monetary easing”? The net result is a near-zero growth stagnant economy burdened with exploding debt remained glued together, arguably rescued not by the central bank but by the collapse of energy prices and the one-off expansion of China’s economy.

These realities force fact-based observers into pondering a future that consumes less energy per person and generates less income and debt per person--a DeGrowth economy.

The status quo—highly centralized, dominated by self-serving elites gorging on a highly unequal distribution of wealth and income--cannot survive a structural decline in earned income and the resulting collapse of debt, or a reduction in energy consumption per capita.  But humanity could do just fine.

In Part 2: A Blueprint For DeGrowth, we provide the blueprint for a DeGrowth economy that’s more sustainable than the status quo, and that leaves magical thinking at the door.

The economic/political paradigm of rising energy consumption and debt required to keep the whole status quo glued together is going away.  We can’t retain the existing socio-political-financial structures of this paradigm and expect to get different results; that’s a pretty good definition of insanity.

We need new models; not just for energy consumption and distribution, but for the creation and distribution of currency and political power. The good news is: they're out there.

Click here to read the report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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52 Comments

richcabot's picture
richcabot
Status: Bronze Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 5 2011
Posts: 97
Using energy as electricity

Most things that use fossil fuel such as engines and boilers are built out of steel (iron).  It's plentiful and relatively cheap.  

Shifting to an electrically based energy infrastructure will require motors using copper (or perhaps aluminum) which is comparatively scarce and relatively expensive.  This ignores the secondary requirements for magnets or storage devices using cobalt, nickel, lithium or other exotic materials.  

Converting any significant fraction of the iron based infrastructure to copper/aluminum/nickel/lithium will rapidly hit the limits of those elements availability.  This is further complicated by the energy costs of mining these materials as they become progressively more scarce.

Grover's picture
Grover
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Posts: 738
Low Ceiling / High Floor

I've used the analogy of a room to describe commerce. The producer sets floor prices and the consumer sets ceiling prices. As long as the ceiling is above the floor, there is room to live. Try living in a room where the ceiling is below the floor.

Producers set the floor price. If the price falls below the floor, the producer can't profitably operate. Eventually, (without external financial support) they will have to throw in the towel (ie. claim bankruptcy.)

Consumers won't buy a product if it is too expensive. Of course, a consumer may have different price points for different activities. I may feel that gasoline at current prices is worth buying to transport myself to and from work. I may not feel that it is cheap enough to drive cross country to see the other ocean. When gasoline prices go up further, I may try to ride share or use public transportation to get to and from work. It mostly depends on my available expendable income (after paying for all the commitments - housing, food, vehicles, minimum payments, charbuck's, etc.) and how desirable the result of consuming appears. The consumer "ceiling" price isn't as fixed as the producer's floor price. I wouldn't balk at $50 per gallon fuel to run my chainsaw (although, I wouldn't buy much) - I've used manual "misery whip" cross cut saws before.

So, what happens when the producer floor is above the consumers' ceiling? There isn't any room for commerce to live. Consumers forego the benefits of consumption and producers lack the income from selling a product. Both are poorer as a result. If the cost exceeds the perceived benefits for enough folks, we have a recession. If it persists long enough, we have degrowth.

We may have enough "cheap" energy to avoid the finale this round, but eventually, the wells will run dry enough and we will reset to a new temporary set point. Avoid the last minute rush and prepare for the low energy day that is coming.

Grover

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
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A new source of raw materials?

Until we stop squandering what we have, perhaps we'll look to new sources of raw materials. E-waste is the first thing that comes to mind, amongst others:

ejhr's picture
ejhr
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Posts: 33
Point 7

Point 7 above is completely wrong. Monetary sovereign nations can create money to buy debt. They do NOT lend it into existence. [Commercial banks create credit and that lending creates a liability which needs to be repaid so that it eventually cancels out]. Sovereign currency is directly injected into the economy as a permanent resource. It is not repaid. Too much money is regulated through taxation.

Buying the debt in this way cancels all claims on future liabilities. This is why saying our debts will be a burden on our children is also false. Our children will have their own debts in their own time.

Private debts are a problem. However when the SHTF moment comes along they will all be zeroed out by government fiat. The government may or may not choose to reimburse the banks. Time will tell on that choice. Steve Keen says the banks will be compensated, and so will people who are not mortgage burdened. They will get a matching bonus.

This will do wonders for the economy.

It's highly likely financial considerations will not cause the economy to crash. It will be resources scarcity etc.

jtwalsh's picture
jtwalsh
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Anecdotal Thoughts

Charles Hugh Smith’s articles usually take me to a mental place where his explanations of the big picture make me to look at my surroundings to see anecdotal situations in my own life that tie into the larger reality.   The “degrowth” economy is already occurring if we stop to look for examples.

 The malls and big box stores of the past forty years are emptying and falling into disuse.  The luxury of having buildings full of stock, in the hope that someone will purchase, is dissolving in the face of just in time delivery on the consumer level.  Merchants can no longer afford to have a multi thousand square foot store, full of goods, in every neighborhood. “Amazon” type delivery systems do away with the need for such stockpiles in so many places.  Consumers save time and fuel not having to drive to the “mall” to search through bins and racks in the hope of finding what they want or need. My expectations have to narrow as I can no longer run to the store to buy a new shirt or tie for tonight.  I have to plan ahead (even the overnight delivery is still a day away.).

Grocery chains are in hot competition for market share and to preserve their narrow profit margins.  In New England, the German food chain, Aldi’s, is rapidly gaining popularity. Their stores primarily have only their house brand goods, whatever fruits and vegetables are in season and certain popular cuts of fresh meat. We have found the quality of Aldi’s house brands to be equal to or better than many “advertised brand name” products. The stores are one third the size of the giant, multi-service, chain stores and are bare of any frills.  (In true German fashion, the ones I frequent are so clean you could eat off the floor and are organized such that by the third visit you know where to find anything and those locations do not change.)  Without trying, my grocery costs are cut by a third when I shop there.  The trade for lower costs is that I may not always get everything I had on my list.  I have to lower expectations of supply, learn to buy certain things when they are present, and to arrange my weekly menu to what I find as opposed to what I feel like right now. I also have to accept that my food shopping stop will not let me refill my prescriptions, put gas in my car, rent a movie for the weekend, purchase a ready-made birthday cake, or a bouquet of flowers, have a butcher cut meat to order, or let me sit in the coffee shop drinking a latte. All of that supposed convenience does seem to pale in attraction when I see the total for my grocery bill.

Fast food chains are having trouble keeping market share.  The costs of real estate, energy, supplies and labor have reached the point that fast food and chain restaurant prices are no longer “cheep” (unless you buy only the “special deals” which I would bet are loss leaders). In the face of expensive “fast/manufactured food” a whole industry of farm to market restaurants and local breweries are appearing. They fill a perceived need for good, healthy food and beverages not produced by mass farming/brewing that has to be industrially processed and then shipped thousands of miles. Again, if you frequent a farm to market restaurant, or a local brewery, you will not always find what you are looking for at the moment.  You must adjust to the flow of the seasons as the supply of ingredients change.

Colleges have reached the point of forcing would be students to seriously examine the cost to benefit ratio of attending.  For the first time in forty or fifty years people are seriously questioning the value of a college education.  I am an instructor at a two-year community college. We are certainly not at a loss for students, often very smart, capable, students who could gain admittance at any number of four-year colleges.  When I ask such students why they are with us, the most common answer is that they appreciate the ability to get college credit and be able to pay for the same by working part time.  Most will cite examples of friends and siblings who came out of school with over six figures in debt and either cannot find a position in their field, or who discover that entry level positions pay little and most of their income goes to service their student loan debt.

The number of young adults living with their parents into their thirties is higher than at any time in my life.  The cost of housing has risen so fast, and at a rate that greatly outpaces any rise income, that many young people have little choice but to remain in the family household.  This has tremendous “degrowth” ramifications for the future.  When households are not being formed there is less need for new home construction, for appliances, for furniture, for trades people (carpenters, plumbers, electricians.)

I look at all these “trends” and see that a shift from the ever expanding, credit driven economy of the past fifty years is beginning to occur. This is partly the result of unplanned market forces and, I believe, partly a conscious, or semi-conscious decision on the part of the consuming public.  The author of an article I was reading about the decline of “malls” raised the point that changing delivery systems and maxed out credit limits may not be the only reason for the retail collapse.  He posited that perhaps the days of “shopping as entertainment” are over for much of the population.  Going out to eat, going to the gym, watching Netflix, spending time with family and friends, playing sports, are perhaps becoming more desirable ways for people to spend their time than to be traipsing from store to store at the mall.

Watching this evolution, I sometimes think that we may be able to gradually move to a situation of “degrowth” and reach a point of sustainability without turmoil or chaos. Unfortunately, this is in all likelihood wishful thinking on my part.  The more probable reality is that we will only accept sustainability when the same has been forced upon us violently by circumstance.

Thank you Charles for another thought provoking article.

JT

Pipyman's picture
Pipyman
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Ummm

Confused! Nations, including my own, have to pay interest on their debts. If what you say is correct, why would that be? Wouldn't they just use their magic wand? That being said, we are already seeing that we are heading toward negative rates, what happens then? Clearly, it is possible for nations to acquire "free" currency, but surely there will be consequences.....? If a negative rate is introduced, can we just use our new "income" to pay back earlier debt burdens. In theory, that seems reasonable, in practice? My confetti is on £$

Pipyman's picture
Pipyman
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Ummm

Confused! Nations, including my own, have to pay interest on their debts. If what you say is correct, why would that be? Wouldn't they just use their magic wand? That being said, we are already seeing that we are heading toward negative rates, what happens then? Clearly, it is possible for nations to acquire "free" currency, but surely there will be consequences.....? If a negative rate is introduced, can we just use our new "income" to pay back earlier debt burdens. In theory, that seems reasonable, in practice? My confetti is on £$

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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Posts: 704
Limits
richcabot wrote:

Converting any significant fraction of the iron based infrastructure to copper/aluminum/nickel/lithium will rapidly hit the limits of those elements availability.  This is further complicated by the energy costs of mining these materials as they become progressively more scarce.

Remember the book "Limits to Growth?"  Everywhere you go, these days, you see evidence that we are slamming into limits.

We spend the winter in South Central Arizona.  

On our trip from Wisconsin to Arizona, we have two practical travel options.  We can either drive though the heart of the Permian Basin fracking operation in West Texas, or alternatively, we can drive through the smaller Western Oklahoma fracking operation, followed by the cattle feed lots surrounding Amarillo, Texas.  It's hard to describe the ugliness of what is happening in those areas.

Both routes are peppered with giant windmills.  Do you remember 10 or so years ago, when windmills were kind of an interesting novelty.  Now, they are a growing eyesore, despite the fact that they produce less than 6% of US electricity.  Can you imagine what the landscape will look like when wind produces 25% of US electricity?!

Arizona accounts for 60% of US copper production.

My recollection from a Bisbee, AZ museum visit a few years ago, is as follows.  In the very early 1900s, shaft mining was following veigns of copper with content in the 25-30% range.  When the mines were worked out, the tailings from the mine shafts were back filled into the shafts and the mines were closed down.  Later, I believe in the late 60s or early 70s, when mining resumed, the best ore available was the tailings that were back filled into the mines.  The tailings contained, I believe, somewhere around 3% copper.  Today, mines are working ore that contains as low as 0.35% copper.

Here are arial views of the copper mines just outside of Green Valley Arizona.  There are townhouses literally withing 1/2 mile of the copper sedimentation tanks.  The tanks are dams made out of mine tailings, where the waste watetr from the mining operation is pumped.  The water evaporates and additional minerals are extracted from the sediment.  You can see several sedimentation tanks in the satellite image below.

Consider, for a minute, the amount of petroleum based energy that was used to dig the surface mines, in the image below and create the tailing dams.  

Agriculture and mining account for over 60% of the water consumption in Arizona, where water is a precious commodity indeed.

charleshughsmith's picture
charleshughsmith
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stealth DeGrowth and negative interest rates

JTWalsh, your report really brings home the reality that we're experiencing "stealth DeGrowth" in many sectors of the economy, sectors that are stagnating, shrinking or being hollowed out beneath the surface happy news about ever-higher GDP and credit expansion.

Heart-rending first-hand reports of homelessness and near homelessness (people living in vehicles that weren't designed to be fulltime living quarters, to take but one example) are proliferating in social media.

I have long thought our healthcare system may not freeze up in a system-wide failure--it may just stop working in all sorts of little ways: care, meds, etc. will no longer be available without long waits or cash on the barrelhead, etc.

This is a sort of unmanaged DeGrowth, and unfortunately it tends to be what I called a Darwinian Distribution in my latest podcast with Chris-- which Chris pointed out was not quite accurate, as it implied the worthiest will survive, when in point of fact it is the "haves" with the advantages of money and power that will likely avoid the consequences awaiting the have-nots.

As I noted in my comments on that podcast, being "poor" (low income) doesn't mean misery is necessarily guaranteed. Health, security, stability, community, paid work, local food and energy sources--this is what counts. Globally, many low-income communities manage to generate and maintain these qualities.

Pipyman, you raise an interesting point. What happens if we're all "paid" with negative rate loans to borrow more? This is certainly one possibility, but who will absorb the losses incurred by paying tens of millions of households to borrow more? The central banks can purchase all the negative-interest loans, and then "print" money to pay us all to borrow more.

This is similar to the central banks buying and retiring all outstanding debt, or to "printing" $12.5 trillion and giving all 125 million US households $100,000 each.

All of these schemes are variations of one action: central bank creates money out of thin air and distributes it to households. This is "helicopter money" and many people expect it as the last-ditch policy "save".

But if the central bank creates $10 trillion (or heck, make it $100 trillion!) and distributes it into households without generating an equivalent sum of goods and services, the net result will either be inflation of real-world goods or another extension of the current asset bubbles that are threatening to reveal the global financial systems' intrinsic fragility.

High inflation and asset bubbles are self-destruction mechanisms. The central banks will have to buy every asset and every debt to keep the illusion of solvency alive. But unless they can also set private interest rates and prices, and force households to borrow more, the system will still implode.

blackeagle's picture
blackeagle
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Oil's omnipresence

Not so long ago, I was in a Wal-Mart store. I realized that this store is the perfect example of how omnipresent oil is (or its multitude of derivatives). Look at every aisle, every shelf. What you see are oil products.

Imagine now how a post-oil Wal-Mart will look (assuming they are still there).

The difference between these two views, could be what help you gracefully degrow before everyone as you will consciously eliminate the useless and the superfluous from your life.

Voluntary degrowth is a welcome simplification, not a pain.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Kelsey stood

for the stallion, Eyke Sovreign, for 2.5 days. A preg check will announce, my mare is settled.

Nate's picture
Nate
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hmm


LesPhelps wrote:

On our trip from Wisconsin to Arizona, we have two practical travel options.  We can either drive though the heart of the PermianBasin fracking operation in West Texas, or alternatively, we can drive through the smaller Western Oklahoma fracking operation, followed by the cattle feed lots surrounding Amarillo, Texas.  It's hard to describe the ugliness of what is happening in those areas.

Both routes are peppered with giant windmills.  Do you remember 10 or so years ago, when windmills were kind of an interesting novelty.  Now, they are a growing eyesore, despite the fact that they produce less than 6% of US electricity.  Can you imagine what the landscape will look like when wind produces 25% of US electricity?!

Les - your bitching about traveling through US oil production while consuming oil.  Did you stop along and use any electric?  How can we fix the problem if we are part of the problem?

Let's dig deeper.  Aren't you a retired GE engineer? 

 

chipshot's picture
chipshot
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Unearned Income as % of GDP

I'd be curious to see such a graph from 1960 to the present.  Expect it would be uphill, thanks to trickle down economics.  The majority of wealth of the 1% is from unearned income, coming at the expense of earned income for the 99%.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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Really?
Nate wrote:

Les - your bitching about traveling through US oil production while consuming oil.  Did you stop along and use any electric?  How can we fix the problem if we are part of the problem?

Let's dig deeper.  Aren't you a retired GE engineer? 

Bitching, really?  Take the drives I mentioned.  See if you describe what you see any differently.

Sure, I use a car, when it's the only alternative, as it is when relocate for the winter.  In order to keep my energy consumption at a level I am comfortable with, I take no other long vacations or trips.  I don't use the airlines.

When a car is not necessary, I use a bicycle or a scooter.  When a car is necesary, one of mine is a hybrid that averages 42 mpg.

Looking around me, I can comfortably say I've cut back far more than my neighbors, either in Wisconsin or Arizona.

Despite all of that, when it comes to energy consumption, I still don't compare favorably with people from other countries.

I have no idea where the retired GE Engineer idea came from.  I'm a retired financial manager from a food manufacturing company.

Since you brought it up, why don't you share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

Nate's picture
Nate
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LesPhelps wrote: Since you
LesPhelps wrote:

Since you brought it up, why don't you share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

About 6 years ago we consumed ~2 KWh of electric per hour (100% electric).  Over the next 4 years we installed an insert, energy efficient washer and drier, freezer and refrigerator.  Our local area is firewood rich, so our winter heating bills are extremey low.  Our electric consumption dropped to less than 1 KWh per hour.  I have been part of a work van pool for over 20 years.  Stuffing 10 riders in  one vehicle is more efficient than one individual/vehicle.  Food - we are the over the top in this area.  Grow much of our own food 12 months a year.  Share lots with friends, and receive eggs and almonds/walnuts in return.

Please share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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Done

Only one response per offensive post.

Nate's picture
Nate
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LesPhelps wrote: Only one
LesPhelps wrote:

Only one response per offensive post.

Please share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

mntnhousepermi's picture
mntnhousepermi
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energy reducing

I would love to have a thread in resilient life abut energy consumption what people use now, ideas of how to reduce. But, it seems like this group isnt into that much ? Or, maybe more people are but dont want to talk about it ?

mntnhousepermi's picture
mntnhousepermi
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seems a funny way to measure it....
Nate wrote:
LesPhelps wrote:

Since you brought it up, why don't you share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

About 6 years ago we consumed ~2 KWh of electric per hour (100% electric).  Over the next 4 years we installed an insert, energy efficient washer and drier, freezer and refrigerator.  Our local area is firewood rich, so our winter heating bills are extremey low.  Our electric consumption dropped to less than 1 KWh per hour.  I have been part of a work van pool for over 20 years.  Stuffing 10 riders in  one vehicle is more efficient than one individual/vehicle.  Food - we are the over the top in this area.  Grow much of our own food 12 months a year.  Share lots with friends, and receive eggs and almonds/walnuts in return.

Please share how you have reduced your energy consumption.

 

Usually we talk about how many Kwh a day or a month, so you are using 24kWh a day, correct ?  How many people in your household ?

Good job on cutting it in half, are there more gains to be made ?

For most of us, transportation is killer, so van pool is a great savings

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Nate
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mntnhousepermi wrote: Usually
mntnhousepermi wrote:

Usually we talk about how many Kwh a day or a month, so you are using 24kWh a day, correct ?  How many people in your household ?

Good job on cutting it in half, are there more gains to be made ?

For most of us, transportation is killer, so van pool is a great savings

24KWh/day is correct.  Two people in our household.  LED lights have pushed this number lower.  My best guess is that we will get to 20 KWh/day as a low in energy consumption.  FWIW, we are in a rural area and pump all of our water. 

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Stones and guilt

We should all put the stones down for we all share guilt.

Recollecting memories from early in our awareness, Angie and I would envy those who had experienced little or no guilt. They could enjoy multiple homes, boats, race vehicles etc.We drove little had no vacations (still don't) accumulated land, home schooled children, farmed and gardened. I still get wonder lust for folk who either deny responsibility, or use the "Jones'" metric

stones are for building with each other not casting at...

Kelsey is settled again, and I felt guilt at having her hauled 2hrs. to meet a draft stallion. In a long emergency her and her team mate would be hitched to a wagon and we would drive, camp and relate with the other draft folk. Doesn't sound to bad from here.

 

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mntnhousepermi
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I am also rural
Nate wrote:
mntnhousepermi wrote:

Usually we talk about how many Kwh a day or a month, so you are using 24kWh a day, correct ?  How many people in your household ?

Good job on cutting it in half, are there more gains to be made ?

For most of us, transportation is killer, so van pool is a great savings

24KWh/day is correct.  Two people in our household.  LED lights have pushed this number lower.  My best guess is that we will get to 20 KWh/day as a low in energy consumption.  FWIW, we are in a rural area and pump all of our water. 

 

My household is also rural, all electric, and pump my own water, 2 pumps, one up from the well and the other from the tank to the house.  We use alot less electricity than you do. We use in a year what you do in a month, so I wonder what the differences are ?

It can be valuable to investigate what is using the most power. Some people use a Watt meter. I noticed high usage a few years ago ( took me a few months to notice ! ) and could not figure it out, so I turned off circuit breakers and turned them on one at a time. What I found out was that my well pump was on and trying to pump when the well was dry (needed to recharge). So, I made adjustments and fixed the issue. Your issues are likely different, but investigating could turn up waste. I also changed the well pump to a lower horsepower one years ago, why have  3/4, or 1 HP when 1/2 or 1/3 is more than enough ? Something to keep in mind for when it next needs replacement.

Heating is the worst energy use of electric, so to minimize that we never use the house electric space heating and only heat with the wood stove. ( I live in an area with high fire risk and too much winter down wood, so this is a no brainer even for neighbors who do not think of energy savings)

We added solar hot water heating, although this presently needs repair and is not connected ( 30 year old panel needs to be fixed). Even so, the use here is kept low, we put a timer on the electric hot water heater ( very inexpensive), take short showers, wash clothes in cold water, etc....

When we moved in, we took out 3 window airconditioners. We added 3 upstairs operable skylights to let out hot air at night, planted a grape arbor over the south facing deck, close curtains in the day, etc....

What do you think is your biggest use of all that electricity ?

 

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energy will be available to those with "money"

Good discussion of guilt, nicely said RR about casting stones--referencing the biblical story of "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."  We have to be careful about equating energy or any other consumption with guilt. Chris and I discussed this briefly in our latest podcast. We agreed that getting thru the wormhole was not something to feel guilty about, as only those who survive can contribute to the world we;re trying to shape after the current arrangement falls apart.

I pointed out that energy will be available to those with "money", whatever functions as a means of exchange and store of value on the other side of the wormhole. I will first stipulate that my carbon footprint is currently huge due to maintaining two households far from each other. Weirdly, this is not that costly (yet).  If you look at the energy costs of fueling a big pick-up truck to carry one human (and a dog, weed-wacker, or other light load typical of most truck trips I witness) , it's actually still extremely affordable due to the absurdly low price of energy.  Nothing will change until the cost of energy requires some serious trade-offs and sacrifices in other desirables.

But one dynamic we should mention here isn't just a price increase in energy--it's a reduction in the availability of "money" to buy energy,  Historically, nation-states debauch their currency (devalue it) as a means of papering over their insolvency.  They also increase taxes substantially, effectively impoverishing most of their citizenry with this one-two punch.  When it's easier to go on Bread and Circuses welfare than work and pay taxes, guess what--the populace receiving Bread and Circuses swells enormously, putting additional pressure on the state to raise taxes even higher.

This is a classic self-reinforcing feedback loop with no good resolution.

PP.com readers know all the arguments in favor of owning precious metals as the historically supported means of retaining purchasing power as the state pursues its self-destructive policies. But the state (by which I mean the central bank as well as the elected government and the unelected Deep State) will very likely pursue any and all "wealth" that can be expropriated without triggering a revolution.

Thus we can anticipate a "wealth tax"on everyone "hoarding" gold and silver, everyone with an IRA or 401K worth more than (say) $50,000, everyone who owns a property worth more than X, and so on.

Outlawing cash will push all "money" through state-monitored and controlled gateways where the appropriate expropriation can be exacted.  Illinois seems to be showing how the death-by-a-hundred tax increases works: what's the value of a home when property taxes are $20,000 annually and the people with the means to buy homes are leaving the state in droves?

The state doesn't have to take the house in one "legal" action: it can expropriate the value over the course of a decade or two via ever-higher property and income taxes that bleeds the state of productive taxpayers who have the freedom to leave and increases the number of dependents on the state.

The super-wealthy have already secreted much of their wealth offshore or in tax-avoidance schemes such as family trusts, LLCs in no-income-tax states, etc., so its the populace with no access to these havens who are most at risk, i.e. the rest of us.

I don't have an answer, as we don't yet know the exact means of expropriation the state will select first (the rules will change overnight as needed, we do know this) , but we should be alive to the need for flexibility and perhaps new strategies. I have yet to have someone explain why my idea of mailing bitcoin on a thumb drive to a locale where BTC is still legal (or unmonitored) is unworkable. I mail books overseas all the time, via USPS and FedEx, and all they do is ask what's inside. Can they scan every package for USB drives, open every package with a USB drive, overcome the encryption on the drive and locate the bitcoin? This isn't plausible unless you are willing to shut down all commerce, trade and postal services.

Anyway, retaining some "money" with which to buy energy seems like a good idea.

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calling Davefairtex...

calling Davefairtex...  any data series available on unearned income?

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coolest table ever

calling Davefairtex...  any data series available on unearned income?

Here's a link to the current BEA table for personal income (table 2.6):

https://bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?ReqID=9#reqid=9&step=3&isuri=1&903=76

Unfortunately, this table does not include the NIPA codes - I found the codes on another table which has the same items, but the data is out-of-date.

Tell me the code you want to see, I'll post a chart.



Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition Monthly .   Monthly (igrp=78) 
(tbl 240) BILLIONS OF DOLLARS; MONTHS SEASONALLY ADJUSTED AT ANNUAL RATES 
  BEA published 2013-December-5.   For pre 1969 data 2010-June-25.   This file written 12/10/2013 10:58:09 PM. 
  FULL DATA HERE (csv) -> csv2.gifnipa_2__6____m.csv   Data from 1959 Jan to 2013 Oct. LOC 40 variables.

  Monthly     Quarterly     Yearly  
  ivar-gang code   Monthly range 
all data (csv) csv2.gif
2013.10 2013.09 2013.08 2013.07 2013.06 2013.05 2013.04 2013.03 2013.02 2013.01 2012.12 Var
1 907 9/15   A065RC1 Equals: Personal income 1959-2013 Oct 14290.1 14300.9 14236.6 14162.3 14138.4 14088.3 14031.9 14016.8 13969.3 13791.7 14420.2 Equals: Personal income
2 1255 5/11   W209RC1 ...Compensation of employees 1959-2013 Oct 8935.0 8923.9 8894.5 8848.8 8872.9 8830.4 8803.2 8776.4 8762.6 8705.8 8910.3 ...Compensation of employees
3 1256 9/19   A576RC1 .....Wages and salaries 1959-2013 Oct 7203.2 7194.2 7168.6 7127.5 7151.4 7112.9 7088.6 7065.9 7053.7 7001.5 7200.8 .....Wages and salaries
4 1257 9/18   A132RC1 .......Private industries 1959-2013 Oct 6005.9 5997.0 5979.9 5941.4 5958.3 5918.2 5894.2 5872.5 5857.5 5803.5 6000.1 .......Private industries
5 1258 9/18   B202RC1 .......Government 1959-2013 Oct 1197.4 1197.2 1188.7 1186.2 1193.1 1194.6 1194.4 1193.3 1196.1 1198.0 1200.7 .......Government
6 992 13/18   A038RC1 .....Supplements to wages and salaries 1959-2013 Oct 1731.7 1729.6 1725.8 1721.3 1721.4 1717.5 1714.5 1710.6 1708.9 1704.3 1709.5 .....Supplements to wages and salaries
7 1032 9/14   B040RC1 .......Employer contributions for 
.......employee pension and insurance funds1
1969-2013 Oct 1197.2 1195.3 1193.1 1190.8 1189.2 1187.6 1185.9 1183.4 1182.2 1180.8 1177.4 .......Employer contributions for employee pension and insurance funds
8 1033 9/15   B039RC1 .......Employer contributions for 
.......government social insurance
1969-2013 Oct 534.6 534.3 532.8 530.4 532.2 529.9 528.6 527.2 526.7 523.5 532.2 .......Employer contributions for government social insurance
9 998 21/28   A041RC1 ...Proprietors' income with inventory 
...valuation and capital consumption 
...adjustments
1959-2013 Oct 1357.2 1376.9 1354.8 1339.2 1325.8 1342.9 1355.7 1370.6 1339.4 1293.9 1256.9 ...Proprietors' income with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments
10 1034 17/23   B042RC1 .....Farm 1959-2013 Oct 125.0 147.4 127.9 118.4 109.0 129.0 148.9 168.9 137.0 105.2 73.4 .....Farm
11 1035 13/16   A045RC1 .....Nonfarm 1959-2013 Oct 1232.2 1229.5 1226.9 1220.7 1216.8 1213.9 1206.8 1201.7 1202.3 1188.7 1183.5 .....Nonfarm
12 999 19/27   A048RC1 ...Rental income of persons with 
...capital consumption adjustment
1959-2013 Oct 608.4 606.0 599.7 594.6 590.2 587.7 585.1 584.2 574.9 565.6 556.9 ...Rental income of persons with capital consumption adjustment
13 905 9/13   W210RC1 ...Plus: Personal income receipts on 
...assets
1959-2013 Oct 2027.5 2031.6 2028.3 2030.8 2015.2 1995.2 1971.5 1951.5 1960.0 1895.9 2269.0 ...Plus: Personal income receipts on assets
14 1259 5/12   A064RC1 .....Personal interest income 1959-2013 Oct 1234.6 1233.4 1234.4 1235.3 1236.3 1225.6 1214.9 1204.1 1215.8 1227.4 1239.1 .....Personal interest income
15 1260 5/11   B703RC1 .....Personal dividend income 1959-2013 Oct 792.9 798.2 793.9 795.5 779.0 769.6 756.6 747.4 744.2 668.5 1029.9 .....Personal dividend income
16 906 9/14   A577RC1 ...Plus: Personal current transfer 
...receipts
1959-2013 Oct 2476.3 2475.7 2469.0 2453.4 2441.8 2434.9 2416.1 2430.9 2427.8 2419.4 2408.8 ...Plus: Personal current transfer receipts
17 1261 5/15   A063RC1 .....Government social benefits to 
.....persons
1959-2013 Oct 2431.1 2430.7 2424.1 2408.7 2397.2 2390.4 2371.9 2386.7 2383.9 2375.5 2368.8 .....Government social benefits to persons
18 1262 5/6   W823RC1 .......Social security2 1969-2013 Oct 803.4 804.1 803.9 799.1 801.4 797.3 785.8 795.4 789.0 785.0 781.1 .......Social security
19 1263 5/6   W824RC1 .......Medicare3 1969-2013 Oct 598.4 599.8 596.6 593.0 589.4 586.0 583.4 590.1 591.1 586.8 582.2 .......Medicare
20 1264 5/6   W729RC1 .......Medicaid 1969-2013 Oct 452.7 450.4 448.6 439.6 426.9 427.7 423.7 424.0 423.6 423.5 426.6 .......Medicaid
21 1265 5/5   W825RC1 .......Unemployment insurance 1969-2013 Oct 59.7 59.6 62.4 64.7 66.6 68.5 70.4 72.3 73.8 75.6 78.3 .......Unemployment insurance
22 1266 5/5   W826RC1 .......Veterans' benefits 1969-2013 Oct 83.6 83.4 81.1 80.5 81.6 80.3 78.0 76.1 78.2 76.1 73.9 .......Veterans' benefits
23 1267 5/5   W827RC1 .......Other 1969-2013 Oct 433.3 433.4 431.5 431.8 431.3 430.7 430.5 429.0 428.1 428.6 426.6 .......Other
24 1039 11/17   B931RC1 .....To persons (net) 1959-2013 Oct 45.2 45.0 44.9 44.7 44.5 44.4 44.3 44.1 44.0 43.8 40.0 .....To persons (net)
25 901 9/16   A061RC1 ...Contributions for government social 
...insurance domestic
1959-2013 Oct 1114.2 1113.1 1109.7 1104.5 1107.5 1102.6 1099.7 1096.8 1095.4 1088.9 981.6 ...Contributions for government social insurance domestic
26 1268 5/17   W055RC1 Less: Personal current taxes 1959-2013 Oct 1678.9 1666.1 1663.8 1663.8 1681.4 1668.9 1656.2 1641.5 1632.6 1612.9 1591.0 Less: Personal current taxes
27 1169 7/12   A067RC1 Disposable personal income 1959-2013 Oct 12611.3 12634.9 12572.8 12498.5 12457.0 12419.4 12375.7 12375.2 12336.7 12178.7 12829.2 Disposable personal income
28 1269 5/10   A068RC1 Less: Personal outlays 1959-2013 Oct 12006.3 11974.2 11943.3 11901.4 11881.6 11822.9 11806.4 11837.5 11812.8 11734.4 11709.3 Less: Personal outlays
29 102 17/30   DPCERC1 ..Personal consumption expenditures 1959-2013 Oct 11582.9 11550.2 11526.4 11491.7 11476.0 11413.0 11392.4 11419.0 11397.1 11321.4 11300.6 ..Personal consumption expenditures
30 1270 5/12   B069RC1 ..Personal interest payments4 1959-2013 Oct 259.6 260.5 253.6 246.7 239.8 244.3 248.7 253.1 250.4 247.8 245.1 ..Personal interest payments
31 1271 5/9   W211RC1 ..Personal current transfer payments 1959-2013 Oct 163.8 163.6 163.3 163.0 165.8 165.6 165.4 165.4 165.3 165.2 163.5 ..Personal current transfer payments
32 1272 5/14   W062RC1 ....To government 1969-2013 Oct 91.3 91.0 90.7 90.4 90.1 89.9 89.7 89.5 89.4 89.3 89.2 ....To government
33 1273 5/12   B070RC1 ....To the rest of the world (net) 1969-2013 Oct 72.6 72.6 72.6 72.6 75.7 75.7 75.7 75.9 75.9 75.9 74.4 ....To the rest of the world (net)
34 1274 5/15   A071RC1 Equals: Personal saving 1959-2013 Oct 604.9 660.7 629.5 597.1 575.4 596.5 569.2 537.7 523.9 444.4 1119.9 Equals: Personal saving
35 1275 5/9   A072RC1 ..Personal saving as a percentage of 
..disposable personal income
1959-2013 Oct 4.8 5.2 5.0 4.8 4.6 4.8 4.6 4.3 4.2 3.6 8.7 ..Personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income
      Addenda:                         Addenda:
36 1276 5/8   W875RX1 ..Personal income excluding current 
..transfer receipts billions of chained 
..(2009) dollars5
1959-2013 Oct 10990.9 10998.3 10956.9 10913.8 10913.6 10914.5 10888.1 10830.2 10778.3 10662.0 11269.4 ..Personal income excluding current transfer receipts billions of chained (2009) dollars
      Disposable personal income:                         Disposable personal income:
37 1170 7/10   A067RX1 ....Disposable personal income5 1959-2013 Oct 11732.8 11751.3 11706.6 11649.7 11623.0 11631.9 11600.4 11568.0 11520.9 11418.1 12036.5 ....Disposable personal income
      Per capita:                         Per capita:
38 1277 5/12   A229RC0 ......Current dollars 1959-2013 Oct 39755 39855 39686 39477 39372 39277 39161 39182 39081 38601 40683 ......Current dollars
39 1278 5/12   A229RX0 ......Chained (2009) dollars 1959-2013 Oct 36985 37068 36952 36796 36736 36786 36708 36626 36497 36190 38170 ......Chained (2009) dollars

 

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charleshughsmith
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I think the question here was

I think the question here was the growth rate of unearned income, which in this BEA table includes rents, interest, dividends and what they call "personal income receipts on assets" which I presume is unearned income from assets that isn't rent or interest/dividends.

But we can't make sense of unearned income unless we also chart total personal income and earned income. If we are becoming a "rentier economy" then unearned income should have expanded at a higher rates than total income and earned income. If all 3 are more or less in parallel then that would tell us unearned income hasn't changed much as a % of total income.

Please, only work on this if it's of interest to you...but I think the results would be of wide interest, as it would illuminate the state of the "rentier" (unearned income) economy.

There are quibbles, of course--the BEA doesn't break out interest earned by the bottom 90% and the top 1%, so we have to take all unearned income, even the income flowing to the bottom 90%. Based on evidence of wealth ownership, roughly 2/3 to 3/4 of all financial wealth is held by the top 5%, so we could apply that to interest and dividends as a guesstimate of "rentier" income.

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Kuntsler hits this nail square on the head

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/good-people-really/

This is why we can't/won't address these issues of energy (amongs many others that are killing us).

The disgrace of America’s putative intellectual class is nearly complete as it shoves the polity further into dysfunction and toward collapse. These are the people Nassim Taleb refers to as “intellectuals-yet-idiots.” Big questions loom over this dynamic: How did the thinking class of America sink into this slough of thoughtlessness? And why – what is motivating them?

One path to understanding it can be found in this sober essay by Neal Devers, The Overton Bubble, published two years ago on TheFuturePrimaeval.net — a friend turned me on to it the other day (dunno how I missed it). The title is a reference to the phenomenon known as the Overton Window. Wikipedia summarizes it:

The Overton Window, also known as the window of discourse, is the range of ideas the public will accept…. The term is derived from its originator, Joseph P. Overton (1960–2003), a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy….

Devers refines the definition:

The Overton Window is a concept in political sociology referring to the range of acceptable opinions that can be held by respectable people. “Respectable” of course means that the subject can be integrated with polite society. Respectability is a strong precondition on the ability to have open influence in the mainstream.

This raises another question: who exactly is in this corps of “respectable people” who set the parameters of acceptable thought? Primarily, the mainstream media — The New York TimesThe WashPo, CNN, etc. — plus the bureaucratic functionaries of the permanent government bureaucracy, a.k.a. the Deep State, who make and execute policy, along with the universities which educate the “respectable people” (the thinking class) into the prevailing dogmas and shibboleths of the day, and finally the think tanks and foundations that pay professional “experts” to retail their ideas.

 

The Overton Window can be viewed as a mechanism of political control, demonizing anyone who departs from the consensus of respectable thought, and especially if they express their heresies in public speech. This has consequences...

We’re now living under that condition of “intellectual martial law.” The consequent degradation of thinking means that the polity can’t construct a coherent consensus about what is happening to it (or devise a plan for what to do about it). This is exactly the point where the Overton Window turns into an Overton Bubble, as described by Devers. The bubble comprises ideas that are assumed to be self-evident (though they actually aren’t) and notions that are potentially destructive of society, even suicidally so. Here is a partial list of the current dogmas and shibboleths inside today’s Overton Bubble:

  • Russia hacked the election of 2016 (no evidence required).
  • Russia (Vladimir Putin in particular) is bent on destroying the USA.
  • All immigrants, legal or illegal, have equal status before the law.
  • National borders are inconvenient, cruel, and obsolete.
  • Western Civilization is a malign force in human history.
  • Islam is “the religion of peace,” no matter how many massacres of “infidels” are carried out in its name.
  • Men are a negative force in society.
  • White men are especially negative.
  • Brownie points given for behaviors under the rubric LBGTQ.
  • All discussion about race problems and conflicts is necessarily racist.
  • The hijab (head covering worn in public by some Muslim women) is a device of liberation for women.
  • There should be a law against using the wrong personal pronoun for people who consider themselves neither men nor women (recently passed by the Canadian parliament).
  • A unifying common culture is unnecessary in national life (anything goes).
  • Colonizing Mars is a great solution to problems on Earth.

That list defines the general preoccupations of the thinking classes today — to the exclusion of other issues. Here is an alternative list of matters they are not generally concerned about or interested in:

  • The energy quandary at the heart of our economic malaise.
  • The enormous debt racked up to run society in the absence of affordable energy inputs.
  • The dangerous interventions and manipulation in markets by unelected officials of the Federal Reserve.
  • The extraordinary dysfunction of manipulated financial markets.
  • The fragility of a banking system based on accounting fraud.
  • The dysfunction and fragility of the American suburban living arrangement.
  • The consequences of a catastrophic breakdown in the economy due to the above.
  • The destruction of planetary ecology, threatening the continuation of the human race, and potentially all life.

Now, the question of motive. Why does the thinking class in America embrace ideas that are not necessarily, and surely not self-evidently, truthful, and even self-destructive? Because this class is dangerously insecure and perversely needs to insist on being right about its guiding dogmas and shibboleths at all costs. That is why so much of the behavior emanating from the thinking class amounts to virtue signaling — we are the good people on the side of what’s right, really we are! Of course, virtue signaling is just the new term for self-righteousness. There is also the issue of careerism. So many individuals are making a living at trafficking in, supporting, or executing policy based on these dogmas and shibboleths that they don’t dare depart from the Overton Bubble of permissible, received thought lest they sacrifice their status and incomes.

 
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AKGrannyWGrit
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Great Post thc0655

I was at a get-together this weekend and a neighbor shared that she home-schooled her children for most of their school years but the kids did end up attending public school for their last couple of years of high-school.  She shared that She and her Husband were called in for a conference with the teacher as their child was being disruptive.  The teacher explained she presents information that the kids need to learn and take a test in and then move to the next lesson.  The child kept asking questions, wanting to know why and learn more about the subject which was disruptive and was therefore they were considered a problem.  Teaching seems to have become less about free thinking and more about learning what you are told to,..................      Silently!

AKGrannyWGrit

 

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AKGrannyWGrit
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PS -What's LGBTQ?

Oh never mind I asked Siri and she or is it - "it" told me.  

Guess I could have asked my grand-children, no doubt they would know.  It's probably taught in school.frown

AKGrannyWGrit

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Please Do

mntnhousepermi,

Please feel free to start one, or at least list the improvements that you've made and how you would prioritise them (e.g. what gave you the most gains, what was easiest to install, what you'd avoid/do differently). As a man with a young family (i.e. very young) I'd be interested in making the transition as painless as possible.

Cheers,

Luke

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T4T

The conversation between Nate, LesPhelps, and mntnhousepermi reminds me of a prediction made in "The Fourth Turning" by Strauss and Howe about Boomers during the fourth turning. For those unfamiliar with the book, Boomers were encouraged to explore during their youth (50s&60s.) Then, they raised that exploration to new levels during their young adulthood (60s&70s.) In the '80s, they went from Yippies to yuppies (from consciousness to consumerism.) Many are still stuck in consumerism today.

S&H predicted that Boomers would stay in the prior turning mindset much longer than they collectively should. When it becomes obvious that it is time to move to the next phase of life, Boomers will abandon the trappings of the last phase and make the new phase their own. The new phase will be about as opposite of consumerism as it gets; however, it won't be adopted until absolutely necessary. In other words, Boomers will end up destroying the government's social networks (social security, medicare, etc.) before moving on.

In the next phase, the abundance that we're so accustomed to ... won't be here. Boomers will regain the values of the '60s and delve into self sacrifice. Because Boomers are Boomers, they'll brag about how little they need to survive. Nate and LesPhelps are just early adopters of this mindset. (I get the sense that mntnhousepermi is too young to be a Boomer, but I could be wrong.)

The "Age of Less" gets closer every day. We can either practice to live as if it were here already or we can enjoy the fruits of abundance as long as possible. Either way, almost all of us will have to ratchet our lifestyles downward.

Grover

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I think the list is on the other thread ?

because I just did a list, but it was a list of things anyone could do anywhere, in no particular order, the Steve St. A..... thread, look at the end of the comments  ? This was in response to a comment implying that I must have done exceptional things allowed because of where I live and that others couldnt possibly.... all of which couldnt be further from the truth. I just decided to d these things

I will start a thread when I have time tomorrow in the "prepare" area, but peoples lists of what to do first are often different, so  would think it more at first of strategy, what to look at first, as the most wasteful areas can be similar.

 

There is an area titled Frugal Living there, but no one goes there and says anything

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Reality Bats Last, A Clueless Article

 

This article by Charles Hugh Smith, an excellent ecologically literate author,  appears to not include facts we now know about history.

Colonialism equals industrialization leading directly to AI (artificial intelligence), made possible by alien tech distributed by Col. Phillip Corso. The author’s excellent projections are irrelevant because, in fact, there is a plan already deployed to sterilize, retard and depopulate humans and much other life. Chemtrails and glyphosate are real. It is happening right now, and the roll out of 5G is part of it.

Prosperity is certainly not in the cards, but neither is poverty.  Something machine like is already here and will compress life into an abstraction if we don’t stop it. At closing statement Smith says other models are out there, but this is not true. There are no other models for 7.5 billion people, except resource decline and die back. Who or what will survive?

Knowing this, the elite Club of Rome issued book Limits to Growth in 1968, to seed the idea that intentional depopulation was, in the long term, humane. It is not.  Smith doesn’t appear to know about Roswell and where our tech came from. He doesn’t know who Ben Franklin (electricity) was.  He doesn’t know the history of the central bankers and who is really running Google, Facebook, the IMF, BRICS, both political parties, all network news and Hollywood. This long standing force is even running the values and attitudes of the reader.

Mr. Smith does not question how his observation might have come about: “…the remaining six billion are aspirants hungry for all the goodies… “

Who organized consumerism?  This is the subject of the series, Lipstick and War Crimes.  Read the center of home page here to get the plot.  Charles Smith’s article  is one of the best articles I’ve seen about realistic ecological thinking vs green new age thinking. However, he now needs to study the intent of the machine rigorously, because it is not insane stupidity that is our enemy, it is a very devious, cold and calculated genius that threatens life as we know it.

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overton window

I vaguely recall hearing the concept before, but somehow this particular presentation really made a lot of sense.

I think such a window can be applied to mainstream economists also; if you want to remain within the economics Overton Window, you will ignore banks, debt and money in your study of the economy.

People like Steve Keen who try and get those inside the window to listen ("hey guys, your techniques aren't so useful for predicting recession...maybe you should look at this over here...") are exiled to Siberia.  Those who remain within the window get Nobel prizes, work for the Fed, become advisors to Presidents, get paid big bucks by banks, and so on.

Once the Overton Window becomes solidified, the Backfire Effect comes into play with any attempt to disturb the status quo.

Well, its good to know what we're up against anyway. 

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MaMa!

"Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do."  Wendell Berry

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Grover wrote: The "Age of
Grover wrote:

The "Age of Less" gets closer every day. We can either practice to live as if it were here already or we can enjoy the fruits of abundance as long as possible. Either way, almost all of us will have to ratchet our lifestyles downward.

Grover

I wouldnt wait on Boomers suddenly starting to use less -- most likely most will be dead before we are forced to.

 

But, it seems like in this last part of what you wrote you are implying that it doesnt matter how we live now. If it doesnt matter, then why wouldnt we "enjoy the fruits of abundance as long as possible" ? In other words, ignore it and go out in an orgy of consumption ? Which is counter to all advice I have ever heard from the crash course and others from this site, to writers like Dimitri Orlov, JM Greer, Kunstler, etc.....

But maybe that was an unintentional implication ?

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Choices

mntnhousepermi,

I'm not waiting for Boomers to suddenly start using less - until they absolutely have to do so. The Boomer mindset is one that lingers in the last phase until that phase is rotting around their feet. Then, they jump to the new phase and make it their own. Working too much to earn the money to pay the creditors and to buy the things that aren't need to impress people who don't matter ... consumes time and clouds vision. It normally takes a life changing event (death of a loved one, divorce, losing a job, health crisis, etc.) to wake us up. Do we really need this latest bauble?

I've seen the crisis driven change hit a few friends over the years. At first, they were devastated that they couldn't keep up with the Joneses. Eventually, it hits home that meaningless consumption is just meaningless. It is more important to be than to have. Other generations won't understand it because they grew up under different circumstances. Because of their upbringing, they have different motives than Boomers do.

It doesn't matter what you or I personally do. The sun will still rise in the east, the tides will come and go, and most of the economically extractable fossil fuels will still get consumed. If you can show me how to conserve a limited resource (like oil) by just cutting average daily consumption by a value significantly less than 100%, I'll change my tune. Since it took many tens of millions of years to deposit and we're using it in a few hundred years, we'd need to cut consumption by much more than 99% to make it sustainable. That won't happen voluntarily.

So, you have a choice of whether to jump on the consumption wagon or to try to do enough with less. Until it becomes a necessity, only a small percentage of the population will try to live responsibly. The rest will consume their share and the share you conserved. Of course, by living a more sustainable lifestyle now, you are climbing the learning curve at a much gentler pace. Those engaged in the consumption orgy will have to learn everything when the learning curve looks like Hoover Dam viewed from a rickety raft in the Colorado River. Either way, consequences lead to life or death. Most won't make it past the first stumble. Ironically, they'll be the lucky ones.

Grover

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Yes, yes, yes!
Grover wrote:

I've seen the crisis driven change hit a few friends over the years. At first, they were devastated that they couldn't keep up with the Joneses. Eventually, it hits home that meaningless consumption is just meaningless. It is more important to be than to have.

Other generations won't understand it because they grew up under different circumstances. Because of their upbringing, they have different motives than Boomers do.

Yes, yes, yes!

More on the importance of being:  Part one

And part two:  How To Be

Either we humans grow "into ourselves" or we become one more evolutionary cul-de-sac that couldn't figure out the parameters of our container.  

As I put it in the second link:

The Ego

Humans are indeed set apart from the other sentient species on the planet such as dogs, elephants, whales, and dolphins. But what makes us 'special’ is not the use of language or tools. Plenty of other animals make use of both.  Humans seem to be unique in having an ego. 

The ego is the part of the mind we interact with (almost) entirely each day. It mediates between the conscious and unconscious parts of ourselves, and is how we interact with the world. It forms our sense of personal identity.  For most people it's a fair statement to say they are their ego.  They identify with it fully, just as I did with mine until not that long ago.

The ego thinks, assumes, that it is everything about you

One feature of the ego is that it is always, and forever, in a state of wanting.  It needs more and more and MORE all the time.  The ego sets goals and attains them, but is rarely if ever satisfied by reaching a goal.  If it obtains one, it immediately sets a new one. Therefore it remains in a perpetual state of wanting as it strives towards each new goal.

Our egos want more recognition. More money. A bigger house. Our life partners to be 'better'.

I’ve personally met billionaires who are fixated on becoming multi-billionaires.  Millionaires who need to be multi-millionaires.  People with ten rare cars who only have their sights on the next ten. 

The ego is never satisfied.  It wants and wants more, and so it lives in a perpetual state of wanting.  Boy, does it get it, too. The wanting, that is.  If you want to want, you’ll always be surrounded by plenty of wanting.  But not very much by joy or satisfaction.

Because the ego has half of itself buried in the shadows of our unconscious minds, it's also eminently controllable by marketers, opinion shapers and propagandists.

While we're always tempted to think of ourselves as having free will and control of our own thoughts, a simple and honest self-assessment will prove this to be largely false for most people.  Our emotional centers make our decisions, not cold hard logic from the cortex.  It's usually only after we make a decision that our brains go looking for a rationalization to make sense of it, or even to make it appear moral and righteous in our minds.

 

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Egos, culture, and potlach

I was thinking of this issue just as I saw these posts - greed, ego, and the will for acquisition, and then I remembered discussions on Potlatches from an anthropology class many years ago.  I think the key is for developing rituals, practices, and norms that both enable continued ego-feeding while at the same time bringing us to a lower collective level of material resource use.  Our culture feeds egos in part by acquisition and accumulation.  A quick look at a Wikipedia entry corroborated my memory of the Potlatch as a wealth distribution system, where egos and status are fed/enhanced through wealth distribution rather than accumulation.   Potlatches are a good example of a cultural practice/ritual that has very different outcome (resource distribution), but is based on the same psychological human behavioral drivers that shapes acquisitiveness in our culture.

I'm all for spiritual practices that are designed to penetrate our individual brands of ego-delusion - I've done one such practice for almost 20 years.  I would heartily recommend engaging in them to anyone. But collective realization, individual by individual, on the scale needed to make people in our culture less acquisitive and less ego driven is simply not going to happen.  Even after many years of practice, I feel like I'm still mired in my own stuff, only that I can see it much more clearly.  I'm not materially acquisitive, but my ego still comes out in different ways.

I have not a clue on how to instigate radical cultural change, but I think this is where any hope that remains lies.  Or maybe cultural change originates from people who have done some really deep spiritual work???   I have no idea - its an issue way bigger than I am.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potlatch

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BTW

Very humorous - reading further down the Wikipedia entry I came across  information regarding the outlawing of Potlatches:

"Potlatching was made illegal in Canada in 1884 in an amendment to the Indian Act,[20] largely at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered it "a worse than useless custom" that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to 'civilized values' of accumulation.[21] "

Bingo.

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Heh - nailed it!
PaulJam wrote:

... and contrary to 'civilized values' of accumulation. "

Bingo.

Well, I can't imagine putting our predicament any more clearly than that.

All hail the ego and it's desire for more!  :)

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Alternatively....

...I'll just leave this here for the more spiritually minded.

:)

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Rediscovering what is important

Hmm, a lot of this sounds like the 10 burning man principals.  While burning man is in many ways a display of energy gluttony,  it's also an interesting week in experimentation of how different society can be.

 

From: https://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/

  • Radical Inclusion - Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
  • Gifting - Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
  • Decommodification - In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
  • Radical Self-reliance - Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
  • Radical Self-expression - Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
  • Communal Effort - Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
  • Civic Responsibility - We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  • Leaving No Trace - Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
  • Participation - Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
  • Immediacy - Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
I suspect that are many example of cultures/groups with some of the same ideals.  It just seems we have to keep rediscovering them over and over.
 

 

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Boomers

Grover I guess I am one.  Stereotypes are just that, a label and not indicative of anything of substance.  I have been trying to become more self sufficient and use less of an energy footprint every year for a very very long time.  The little I have saved will not be spent on my old age. It will be handed down to my millenial generation step sons. Also my mechanical, carpentry, pipe fitting, welding, tile setting, electrical and agricultural knowledge is all available for them to pick up on if they choose so. I have tried to teach them in subtle ways so that they didn't know they were learning something.  It appears to have worked to some extent.  My youngest son bought a townhouse and with a little explanation changed out all the electrical outlets and wall switches, installed new overhead lights, a dishwasher and quite a bit more.  There are quite a few of us born during the boomer years that don't own a Harley, an RV, a place in Florida or plan on having the state pick up  the tab on our last days. The people of the boomer generation who got all the attention and the write ups are all that you say.  Point is, they don't represent all of us.

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Giving hardwired?
rhare wrote:

I suspect that are many example of cultures/groups with some of the same ideals.  It just seems we have to keep rediscovering them over and over.

Just came across this article:

 Happiness From Being Generous Has a Neural Basis Within the Brain

 
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De population

If you compare use of resources, it will be directly proportional to population growth.

I am not saying we should liquidate people but our planet/and its resources are finite and if we continue to increase our population, there is no way we can survive.

Or course it is hard to sell this. i.e.stop having more children than you needed to replace the parents.

And we also have certain a certain religion which sees it as a duty to have lots of children in order spread its beliefs and crowd out the other main religions.

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Dwight Carlson wrote: If you
Dwight Carlson wrote:

If you compare use of resources, it will be directly proportional to population growth.

I am not saying we should liquidate people but our planet/and its resources are finite and if we continue to increase our population, there is no way we can survive.

Or course it is hard to sell this. i.e.stop having more children than you needed to replace the parents.

And we also have certain a certain religion which sees it as a duty to have lots of children in order spread its beliefs and crowd out the other main religions.

 

The problem is, the only ones decreasing their birthrates are predominately countries that have the resources ( natural resources or just skills that other countries want/need) and that understand this population problem.

The countries having too many children are over crowded already, India, Pakistan; do not have a way to feed themselves, middle east etc.... So telling people in the US or Europe, for example, to have less children does nothing to curtail the population in these other countries, and creates a vacume of sorts, space without people, that the overcrowded countries people flee to. So, reducing birthrates here has not helped the planet at all

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Futility or Opportunity
mntnhousepermi wrote:

The countries having too many children are over crowded already, India, Pakistan; do not have a way to feed themselves, middle east etc.... So telling people in the US or Europe, for example, to have less children does nothing to curtail the population in these other countries, and creates a vacume of sorts, space without people, that the overcrowded countries people flee to. So, reducing birthrates here has not helped the planet at all

mntnhousepermi,

You just showed a good reason why reducing our collective footprint will not save humanity. Others will perceive and fill the void. A petri dish filled with mindless bacteria will behave the same way. Just like humans, bacteria eat and reproduce until all the available resources have been consumed.

Humans are theoretically more intelligent than bacteria; however, I'm yet to be completely convinced. ;-) In this light, it only makes sense to conserve based on a personal goal for personal needs. No matter how we try to save humanity, the Age of Less will reduce each locality's human footprint to its innate sustainable level. Without externally available resources, Las Vegas will see at least 99% population reduction. A small Midwestern town may not see any reduction of population and may actually increase population due to migration from crowded cities.

I believe it is prudent to follow standard airline instructions in an emergency: Affix your own emergency oxygen mask before attempting to aid others. You'll run out of oxygen (and perish) if you try to save the whole plane load. Choose your collapse strategy before collapse forces your hand.

Grover

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This Might Help...

but not necessarily as humanely as some population planners would like.  It's all timing of course (and we seem to be doing "our best" regardless of getting help from a cataclysmic event).  In the timeframe of millions of years, who knows if this could be tomorrow, 500 years from now, or never.  Re: Yellowstone Supervolcano

Hot volcanic ash, rock and dust would rain down on those cities literally for weeks. In the end, it would be extremely difficult for anyone living in those communities to survive. In fact, it has been estimated that 90 percent of all people living within 600 miles of Yellowstone would be killed.

Experts project that such an eruption would dump a layer of volcanic ash that is at least 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away, and approximately two-thirds of the United States would suddenly become uninhabitable. The volcanic ash would severely contaminate most of our water supplies, and growing food in the middle of the country would become next to impossible.

In other words, it would be the end of our country as we know it today.

The rest of the planet, and this would especially be true for the northern hemisphere, would experience what is known as a “nuclear winter”. An extreme period of “global cooling” would take place, and temperatures around the world would fall by up to 20 degrees. Crops would fail all over the planet, and severe famine would sweep the globe.

In the end, billions could die.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-19/there-have-been-296-earthquakes...

Then of course, there are always those pesky asteroids lurking about.  Go NASA.

 

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Limits to Growth

If the global population growth was immediately brought down to zero tomorrow almost everything on this planet would still be doomed.  Climate change is now self-perpetuating and the resources would still be consumed at a terminal, though constant, rate.  Fly over the Midwest and you see nothing but wall-to-wall farms.  Some critics of the original 1972 Limits to Growth study from MIT claimed that a population of a trillion could be supported.  Skyscraper farms would be a Haliburton wet dream.  A 2014 update of the original study shows that its business-as-usual scenario tracks what is really happening today quite accurately:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

Extrapolating that scenario out a few decades results in a very ugly scene.  Have a nice day. smiley

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