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Why The Coming Oil Crunch Will Shock The World

And why we need a new energy strategy -- fast
Friday, July 6, 2018, 7:42 PM

A responsible global society should have a credible and very publicly-stated energy strategy providing a road map for weaning itself from fossil fuels before they become prohibitively expensive/scarce.

But since we don't have one, the alternative path we're taking is to sleepwalk into the future with no plan for feeding 9 billion people or re-building a crumbled global infrastructure -- let alone facing the additional challenges of running out of critical minerals, dealing with destroyed ecosystems, and being unable to field the necessary fuel and economic complexity to install a brand-new energy infrastructure measuring in the hundreds of quadrillions of BTUs.

This business-as-usual path will be marked by the three D’s: despair, demoralization, and death. » Read more

Blog

The End of Growth

Either it ends, or we do
Friday, June 22, 2018, 7:57 PM

More and more, I hear that folks are feeling frustrated and betrayed, combined with a sense of loss and despair. I feel this way, too.

At a deep level, what ails us is not a host of unrelated, intractable problems, but the fact that our model of pursuing eternal economic growth simply isn't working anymore. It doesn’t work for the planet’s increasingly strained ecosystems, nor does it work for the bottom 99% of folks in society (i.e., the non-elites). The various health epidemics society suffers from today are merely symptoms of a larger acute spiritual crisis.

But viewed at a certain angle, this may be a good sign.

Why? Because in order to shift from one model to another, the old one first has to become unbearable. » Read more

Podcast

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John Butman: New World, Inc.

From its start, resources have driven America's fortunes
Sunday, March 25, 2018, 7:23 PM

We all learned in grade school that the Pilgrims sailed to North America to escape religious persecution.

That's wasn't necessarily the case, explains author John Butman. At least, it certainly isn't the whole story.

In fact, the Pilgrim's voyage to the New World was a seventeenth-century entrepreneurial start-up. » Read more

Podcast

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Gail Tverberg: The Coming Energy Depression

The math is straightforward, but cruel
Sunday, January 7, 2018, 4:52 PM

Energy analyst and professional actuary Gail Tverberg returns to the podcast this week to revisit the global energy outlook. And fair warning, Gail warns it's quite grim.

To her, it's a simple math problem. We have too many people placing too much demand on the world's depleting energy resources. The cost of energy is rising, which we are compensating for in the short term by using financial gimmicks to make "affordable" -- when all we're really doing is creating future promises that cannot possibly be repaid.

The increasing cost of energy is manifesting in higher prices (for everything, not just fuels) and lower real wages, a divergence she sees only worsening from here. This path leads to another Great Depression-style crisis from which she does not see a clear path out of. » Read more

Podcast

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Lewis Dartnell: How To Rebuild The World From Scratch

If society collapsed overnight, how would we re-create it?
Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 3:24 PM

If our technological society collapsed tomorrow, what crucial knowledge would we need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible?

Ask yourself this: If you had to go back to absolute basics like some sort of post-cataclysmic Robinson Caruso, would you know how to recreate an internal combustion engine? Put together a microscope? Get metals out of rock? Or produce food for yourself? » Read more

Blog

change.org

Running Out Of Room

No energy = no goods and services = no economy
Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 8:02 PM

The idea of an 'industrial economy' is an extremely recent human invention. And we’ve staked quite a lot on its continuation.

But it faces a massive predicament: It’s running out of resources.

When talking about the “economy”, we're really referring to the flow of goods and services --- which are themselves entirely dependent on energy. No energy = no goods and services = no economy. It’s really that simple.

So to track where we are in this story, put on your ‘energy goggles’. If you do, you can discover quite a lot. » Read more

Insider

change.org

Running Out Of Room

No energy = no goods and services = no economy
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 10:58 AM

The idea of an 'industrial economy' is an extremely recent human invention. And we’ve staked quite a lot on its continuation.

But it faces a massive predicament: It’s running out of resources.

When talking about the “economy”, we're really referring to the flow of goods and services --- which are themselves entirely dependent on energy. No energy = no goods and services = no economy. It’s really that simple.

So to track where we are in this story, put on your ‘energy goggles’. If you do, you can discover quite a lot. » Read more

Podcast

lifeasahuman.com

Tim Jackson: The High Price Of Growth

A finite planet cannot sustain infinite economic growth
Monday, October 16, 2017, 3:31 PM

Modern society is addicted to and engineered for perpetual economic growth.

Now, a fourth-grader can tell you that nothing can grow forever, especially if you have finite resources. But that simple realization is eluding today's central planners, despite multiplying evidence that growth is becoming harder and harder to come by.

This week's podcast guest is Professor Tim Jackson, sustainability advisor for the UK government, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey and Director of CUSP. Tim is also a full member of the Club of Rome.

He explains why the exponential growth rates of today's economies, and their associated rates of resource extraction/consumption, will not be able to continue for much longer -- and why a pursuit of "prosperity" (defined much more broadly than simple consumerism) is a much healthier goal for humanity.

 

 

Blog

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.

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. » Read more

Podcast

Archeoguidaroma

Joseph Tainter: The Collapse Of Complex Societies

What history predicts about our future prospects
Sunday, June 25, 2017, 11:20 PM

By popular demand, we welcome Joseph Tainter, USU professor and author of The Collapse Of Complex Societies (free book download here).

Dr. Tainter sees many of the same unsustainable risks the PeakProsperity.com audience focuses on -- an overleveraged economy, declining net energy per capita, and depleting key resources. 

He argues that the sustainability or collapse of a society follows from the success or failure of its problem-solving institutions. His work shows that societies collapse when their investments in social complexity and their energy subsidies reach a point of diminishing marginal returns. That is what we are going to be talking about today, especially in regards to where our culture is today, the risks it faces, and whether or not we might already be past the tipping point towards collapse but just don’t know it yet. » Read more