SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy changes based on science, not hysteria or speculation

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holtmf's picture
holtmf
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SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy changes based on science, not hysteria or speculation

I just watched the crash course, and as someone with a thorough background in modern science, I was distressed by its presentation of some ideas.  Additionally, I recently found a verifiable mathematical proof that our economy is doomed with 100% certainty.  I have just sent to Chris Martenson the following letter elucidating my concerns.

--

You are obviously adept at economic and statistical analyses, but what is your agenda with misleading your audience about the potential impact of renewable energy?  As a student of biochemistry (it's irrelevant to this discussion but I am also a student of neurotoxicology, though primarily my interests are focused on psychopharmacology) I am very concerned with your treatment of some scientific data.  I very much hope you are as open to this letter as I surmised from your demeanor in the crash course videos.

Before I begin explaining my position (which isn't really mine--it is influenced by so many sources I don't care who gets credit for it) I would like to implore you to make this very important distinction.  Right now, economics as a discipline is based on belief, not fact.  No true formal proof exists of any so-called economic "law." Economics should be mathematically predictable more than any other discipline since it involves merely the exchange of numerical values.  The idea that human action is indeterminate and consequently that economics cannot be mathematically modelled is fallacious.  The motion of an individual gaseous atom in the atmosphere is indeterminate, but the total movement of heat and pressure fronts can be confidently predicted and in fact is the basis of modern meteorology.

My first concern is your video 17A about peak oil.  What purpose does it serve to exaggerate the difficulty of implementing a renewable energy infrastructure to replace oil?  That is a very destructive standpoint to popularize.  Do you even have an idea what the numerical ranges for potential output for these technologies are?  You would do well to find out.

You claim that it would take a 2000X increase in our renewable energy infrastructure to replace the oil imports we stand to lose.  While that may be true, you gloss over the fact that the United States has a deplorable renewable energy infrastructure and that 2000X is much less than it would seem.  We have almost no wind turbines installed and nothing in the sea, yet there is enough wind through the Midwest and tide in New England to power the entire country.  You in essence fudge these numbers after carefully pointing out the effect of a large GDP in a denominator of a deficit ratio.

Tidal and wind and solar energy do have enormous potential, but I am much more bewildered that you didn't even mention geothermal energy.  Geothermal power plants tap into by far the most abundant source of energy available to be harvested by mankind.  I urge you to look up primary sources that describe the scientific merit of geothermal energy.  The fact is that powerful fossil fuel interests suppress development or implementation of new technologies to some degree.  It seems from your complete omission and the public's general ignorance on the topic that they may suppress the news coverage as well.  Geothermal energy is so abundant that it alone could replace all current and future need for electricity worldwide with current technology.  There is no question in my mind that geothermal is going to be a big part of the answer.  The Earth's core contains thousands of times the energy we need to power the entire world for ages just waiting for us to apply our technology.  This isn't just something to brush aside as something you "happened to have missed" as you say in 17B.  Let me be clear:  oil IS NOT the most important energy source of the world.  That honor belongs unequivocally to geothermal.

How does this relate to the "flying around" that you treat with your intonation as if it were so axiomatic a human need that it seems a cornerstone of your argument for the necessity of oil in our lives?  Well, advanced battery technology exists that eliminates the need for fossil fuels to be burned in cars, which should be made from carbon polymers and not steel so long as we have the resources.  What is your obsession with liquid fuels in 17B?  Combustion is not the only way to propel a vehicle, and we should only burn away our oil when really necessary.  There is much more promise in further developing battery technologies, especially the ones that have been patented and not produced in order to hike oil-related profits.  Back to "flying around":  Airplanes are horribly inefficient.  Air resistance and the massive weights of airplanes demand far too much energy to be a sustainable means of transportation.

Just as the shift from mechanical work to electromagnetic work revolutionized technology from the grandfather clock and pocket watch to the computer and the mp3 player, such a shift is trying to revolutionize transportation, if we only would let it.  Electromagnetic trains in guiding rails suspended by magnetic fields would eliminate all friction aside from air resistance, and electromagnetic propulsion could be carefully controlled to minimize force upon the occupants of the train by keeping acceleration low (F=ma; you don't feel speed, only acceleration).  Current engineering for these trains has produced plans capable of travel at thousands of miles per hour at a tiny fraction of the energy needed to fly a plane.  This technology could eventually be applied to roadways, and I have no doubts that one day even cars will function by an electromagnetic system as opposed to mechanics.

It is true that oil is finite, and it seems likely that its production has peaked.  That being the case, it is of paramount importance that we use our remaining oil to build our renewable energy and cheap transportation infrastructure, while we still have the chance.  Your arguments gloss over real solutions at a moment when you have a unique opportunity to educate your audience on the reality of amazing recent advances in energy technology.  Let me again be clear:  current technology available to be applied right now could rid the world of its need for fossil fuels forever and set up a network of energy that as long as properly maintained would supply the world with all the electricity it would ever need.

Now on to my bigger concern (yes, a greater concern than that).  This next idea is the real reason I spent the time to write you.  Though your videos show skillful critical analysis throughout, you acknowledge that the system is "at its core out of tune with reality" without delving any further into the details or ramifications of this schism.  You are also right that "every single failed fiat currency regime has failed for the same reasons."  However, you are understandably mistaken in what those reasons are, because you identify proximal causes of the ultimate flaw.

You stress repeatedly the dangers of exponential functions, but what of the exponential function of compound interest and the ramifications of the fact that it cannot possibly be sustained against realistic growth?  It's not the population growth that we must worry about, and it is nothing intrinsic about oil that prohibits our exponential growth as a society.  No, nothing at all in the real world can maintain exponential growth indefinitely; that's why logistic equations exist.  The resources of the Earth are being extracted at an initially exponential rate (that drops off quickly as the resource is depleted) because we require an exponentially increasing supply of money to service our exponentially increasing debts.

It is no coincidence whatsoever that our debt skyrocketed while our savings disappeared.  The ultimate source of all new money in our financial system is loans.  Since all money is loaned into existence at interest, there is never enough money to pay the interest fees, because the principle itself was the original source of the currency.  As a result, another loan must be taken out to cover the cost of the interest, transferring finance charges into further debt in an exponential pattern.  This process proceeds until a critical proportion of the total circulation must be diverted to merely servicing the growing debt and commerce can no longer persist with the remaining funds, causing mass scale bankruptcies and a systemic depression.  

This is not merely a consequence of our fiat currency's lack of specie backing, but rather it is a process that necessarily takes place in any economic system subject to interest on its loans.  A mathematician named Mike Montagne proved this concept in 1979, but it is so subversive an idea that it still receives little attention some 30 years later.  Recall Mr. Schopenhauer's words about the stages of truth.  This is truth, and I already consider it self-evident.  I urge you to take your time in reviewing these links and to consider their implications carefully.  I am in no way affiliated with the website or with Mr. Montagne and only recently discovered these ideas myself.

http://www.perfecteconomy.com/pg-probability-of-worldwide-economic-colla... is a good place to start for economic analysis based on real unbiased math.  http://www.perfecteconomy.com/index.html gives more background to the idea and http://www.perfecteconomy.com/pg-parable-of-perfect-economy.html gives a historical example (from right here in America) of a similar system being implemented and facilitating prosperity.  Have you ever wondered why it was that there was widespread poverty somewhere where land was literally available for free?  Think about that for a minute.

Interest is justified by a risk that is nonexistent in responsible loaning practices and by the desire of financiers and investors to receive money for doing nothing other than moving money.  In a mathematically perfected economy like the type Montagne advocates and similar to the one that succeeded in Colonial America, currency would be issued by the producers of goods (likely with supervision from the government) and loan payments would be made at a rate equal to the depreciation or consumption of the goods.  In this system, the outstanding debt and the remaining value of the asset are always equal, so upon default the lender receives compensation exactly matching the remaining debt.

Mr. Montagne explains in more detail than I can right now what all the benefits of his theory-based economic system are. If undeniable simple calculations are enough to convince you of truth, which I suspect they are given your apparent respect for science, you might consider updating your crash course to include the fatal flaw of the system.  You say in the final film that we cannot be 100% sure of a financial collapse, but it's right here in the math; you only need to have a look for yourself.  There is no real uncertainty in this situation--only trepidation because the reality is so unsettling.

Considering your films' attempts to highlight truths of the system even when they are unpleasant, I feel it necessary to inform you that on the most fundamental issue of all (compound interest) you're still thinking inside the box, and that box is bought and paid for by the banking industry.  Hard specie slows the rate of wealth transfer to the financial sector because it forcefully imposes an upper limit on circulation, but it does nothing to correct the inherent flaw in the system that the money necessary to pay interest does not exist, and the resultant cycle of ever increasing loans can only continue unabated for a couple dozen periods before experiencing an inevitable collapse as sure as tomorrow's sunrise.

We came off the gold standard in 1971 when it was clear that there was not enough gold left to cover our certificate obligations.  World population and economy has ballooned so much since then that it's far too late to go back and reap any real benefit from the stability of specie.  Return to a gold standard now would merely result in the financial sector dispossessing the people of its gold as well as its property.  The only answer by now is the removal of the institution mathematically (which in this case also means scientifically, objectively, and undeniably) identified to be the culprit, and that is compound interest.

It may be hard to believe (just as it was hard for people to believe heliocentrism in the time of Galileo), but inflation and deflation are not natural or inevitable occurrences for currencies.  There is some evidence to suggest that they are, just as the sunrise and sunset suggest the Sun's orbit of the Earth.  However, without exponential compound interest and instead with loans adjusted to reflect the consumption or depreciation of the assets they are taken against, inflation and deflation would simply not exist.  Challenge the math; it is correct.  Leave the pseudoscience of modern economics and its quasi-logical reasoning behind and open your eyes to the truth.  Everything we know about financing is directly or obliquely related to the fact that everyone considers compound interest an annoying but necessary part of the system.  Knowing that this is false and even dangerous as an accepted belief, we have no choice but to restructure the entire system starting from the correction of its fatal flaw.

Please open your mind.  You have everything to lose from ignorance, and everything to gain from properly directed activism.  I do not claim credit for these ideas, as they would not have been possible without significant input from other sources.  All the same, I can vouch for their scientific and logical merit, and I entreat you to treat this information with the utmost respect.

I reap no pleasure from spreading this knowledge, but it is something that must be done.

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Faith in technology

I carefully constructed the Crash Course to challenge people's smallest beliefs ("faith in money") prior to challenging the larger ones ("faith in authority").

The one belief that I did not specifically target, although it deserves its very own chapter, is "faith in technology," which now surpasses religious faith for many in the west.  I judged this faith too deeply entrenched for casual treatment and so I left it out of the on-line Crash Course, somewhat to my regret.

Your post, well meaning as it is, is expressly based on a faith in technology that I do not hold.

TIME, SCALE, and COST.

Those are the three elements that are completely missing from your proposed "solutions" which, while admirable, propose technologies that are either not yet developed or represent fractional percentages of our installed energy base.

In order for me to respond to hopeful new technologies as realistic solutions, time, scale and cost have to be part of the proposal. Otherwise, regretfully, there's nothing at all to respond to from a logical standpoint leaving us only to enter a belief-based fencing match.

As to the rest of your comments I had trouble making it past your assertions that "It's not the population growth that we must worry about, and it is
nothing intrinsic about oil that prohibits our exponential growth as a
society.
" with which I vigorously disagree. 

But thanks for the links I will certainly check them out when I have time.

 

 

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ckessel
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...
holtmf wrote:

I just watched the crash course, and as someone with a thorough background in modern science, I was distressed by its presentation of some ideas.  Additionally, I recently found a verifiable mathematical proof that our economy is doomed with 100% certainty.  I have just sent to Chris Martenson the following letter elucidating my concerns.

--

You are obviously adept at economic and statistical analyses, but what is your agenda with misleading your audience about the potential impact of renewable energy?  As a student of biochemistry (it's irrelevant to this discussion but I am also a student of neurotoxicology, though primarily my interests are focused on psychopharmacology) I am very concerned with your treatment of some scientific data.  I very much hope you are as open to this letter as I surmised from your demeanor in the crash course videos.

Before I begin explaining my position (which isn't really mine--it is influenced by so many sources I don't care who gets credit for it) I would like to implore you to make this very important distinction.

holtmf,

Good job in getting through the courses. Check out the six stages of awareness. Moving through them is essential in getting to a point of effecting change.

Chris has presented HIS ideas and clearly invites opinions. It would be good to hear your own ideas rather than a distillation of a group think. Lastly, if you have done research and have data then please present it. I have been involved in alternative energy applications for over thiry years and am interested in your ideas. The scientific method does work but little can be done with generalities. Your mention of Geothermal is appropriate and needs further investgation as regards the ERoEI principle.

By the way, congrats on getting to the first stage!

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

@holtmf...Chris, et al.

 

The challenge is creating a PROCESS and environment for problem solving based on proved, sound management techniques and principles.   Were all limited in our views and capabilities.   Holtmf...belief driven views versus "facts" and understanding extend in almost every discipline and applications in life and threaten us all.  All Alternative Energy options are immature with incomplete understanding and assumptions that are not proven.  Because of these...Technology never comes on line as quickly as elegantly as projected. I gleaned this from decades my working on numerous cutting edge projects as a scientist.   I compare it to cutting through a virgin, thick jungle...your going to get surprised and lost by taking wrong turns...because were pioneering.   Your perspective on geothermal...though promising...is purely academic at this stage versus Solar, Wind, Ocean, QEM, others, etc as all are at various stages of development...your view is a belief...based on unproven assumptions...as we all do!   

 

My view.  Our standards of science many ways, has reached the lower levels, not higher.   Climate Change debate is filled with ignorance, emotion, lack of standards.  Have found applies in Quantum Physics...E-M...to name just a few other areas.   As one can review here at this site...I don't even bring up in the forum "Climate Change" comments anyymore because by most folks are too closed minded or don't want to take the time to further understand one way or another. Same applies in all major issues...including this one...part of human nature we must move beyond this through sound leadership and management principles and techniques.

 

What does concern me as I've alluded to several times, is EDUCATION as Chris is emphasizing is the right first step.  But we must move forward...major problems are not identified or solved quickly but EVOLVE.   Believe the 'Crash Course" should be viewed as dynamic...not static with room for growth and change.  No person has all the answers all the time. 

 

Finally...human nature is we all want quick answers...I encourage you holtmf to continue further dialog toward solutions as you clearly have considerable background and skills and we all win!   As I've mentioned in previous posts...my experience with leading edge alternative energies in short term shows mean and optimistic expectations will be disappointed.  But I do believe longer term we have solutions if we get past our DOGMA's that may surprise some.   My opinion...take it as you will.    I firmly believe our science is not nearly complete as most believe and offer my background and accomplishments I'll put up with anyone's in these areas.

 

In summary...share some of concerns by holtmf...but also view Crash Course on a broad scale adequately paints the big picture.   Further efforts can only make things better...Rome wasn't built in a day or by one person.

 

Nichoman  (Atmospheric Physicist)

 

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gyrogearloose
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...
holtmf wrote:

Current engineering for these trains has produced plans capable of travel at thousands of miles per hour at a tiny fraction of the energy needed to fly a plane. 


We came off the gold standard in 1971 when it was clear that there was not enough gold left to cover our certificate obligations. 

 

 

Ok maybe thousands of miles per hour could be done in an evacuated non conducting tunnel ( to avoid secondary Eddie current drag ) but the cost would be a bit high...

Either you made a typo, or you do not have a solid broad engineering base to realise all the implication behind that claim and so have a blind faith in technology.

 

And why was there not enough gold left....

The answer, Too many note had been printed by a dishonest government/fed....

 

Cheers Hamish

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Michael Höhne
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Just as the shift from mechanical work to electromagnetic work revolutionized technology from the grandfather clock and pocket watch to the computer and the mp3 player, such a shift is trying to revolutionize transportation, if we only would let it

I think that's an important point. I do believe that we can develop such technologies, but we're only talking about it. However, if you invest 700 billion to speed up their development, then we will see and use them much faster. If all we do is bailing out failed industries, then we're not changing anything.

The main purpose of the Crash Course - in my opinion - is creating awareness. If all people were aware that we have to change things now, then solutions would be presented much faster. I appreciate your statements about such solutions and would love to see them available today. But they are not and developing and deploying these technologies will take decades.

The call to action is starting today, not tomorrow, and this will only happen when enough people are aware of the current problems. The Crash Course is a great vehicle to raise awareness. It doesn't provide all answers, but I doubt it can.

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mred
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Those are some sweeping and categorical statements by holtmf. Very
categorical for coming from a scientist. But if discussion is allowed I
take issue with several points:

1. Indeed economics is a very ideological discipline. It deals with
human beings and society, thus it ought to be predominantly a social
discipline. Somehow, however, economics developed a certain
physics-envy, trying to achieve the same status of mathematical
certainty and predictability (and respectability) as the most
fundamental of the natural sciences. It is plain silly to compare the
predictability of actions of thinking humans with non-thinking entities
like molecules. Interaction of humans in society is an inherently
complex process, for which it is difficult/impossible to isolate
individual factors to assess their effects. The actions of a single
human being are not subject to simple laws, like a gas molecule is; for
this reason, the attempt to capture the behavior of an economy in a
couple of differential equations (as economists attempt) is such a
futile venture.   The attempt of modern economists to have a
deterministic discipline would be funny if it had not had such terrible
consequences for everyone. The comparison with the "predictability" of
atmospheric dynamics is false on the additional grounds that the
atmosphere is a chaotic system: the predictions of its behavior diverge
exponentially in time with respect to reality. That is why weather
forecasts are uncertain even in short-term predictions. So, even for
systems composed of simple-laws-obeying-entities, the prediction of
their collective behavior is essentially intractable except for broad
statements (like pressure, temperature, etc. in thermodynamics). The
statement that "Economics should be mathematically predictable more
than any other
discipline since it involves merely the exchange of numerical values"
is an expression of a wish, nothing more. Economics deals with many
more things than "numerical values". Not because something is described
in mathematical terms it is made true. Premises are everything. Garbage
in... garbage out, as everyone knows.

2. I'm all for renewables and energy efficiency. Having said that, it
is clear that renewables suffer from an element of variability; they
can't be dispatched on demand like the energy produced by other fuels.
For this reason alone, their level of penetration in an electrical grid
is very limited if grid stability is to be ensured. High grid
penetration of say, wind energy, has been achieved in countries like
Denmark for the exclusive reason that the country itself is connected
to a much larger grid that can absorb the dispatch fluctuations. This
problem can only be addressed by some means of energy storage. This
suffers from huge technological challenges given the mismatch between
amount of stored energy and instant deliverable power that exists in
battery systems. We are far from solving this problem. Power company
managers are as greedy as anyone else, the fact that renewables have
not taken over the power supply is something that happens for a reason.

3. The statements on geothermal energy have been pulled out of thin
air. The estimates for exploitable geothermal power are on the order of
100 GW with "enhanced technology" (Geothermal Energy Association).
China alone has a total (all sources) installed capacity of around
500GW. So much for powering the whole world with geothermal. Yet "there
is no question in your mind" regarding this topic?? "Unequivocally" the
most important source of energy in the world??

4. The rant on exponential growth of money is somewhat disorganized,
and it basically confirms what is said in the Crash Course that it is a
bad thing. Or did I miss something?

5. "Have you ever wondered why it was that there was widespread poverty
somewhere where land was literally available for free?" Ummmm.... I
don't know, maybe because if there are no ready means to make land
productive then poverty can't be alleviated? The original question is
posed as rhetorical, but it is really not clear what the "right" answer
is supposed to be.

6. The short term financing among producers of goods, with all debts
ultimately cancelled by the gold-paying consumer is an old practice as
the poster says. It is precisely what allows money elasticity under a
gold standard. The mechanism is known as "bill of exchange" or "real
bill". It has been known since before Adam Smith, even used as you say
in colonial America. Even the Fed had real bills in its balance sheet
at the beginning, before it started the real shenanigans in the 20's
and started to buy government debt.

7. The amount of gold and silver in the world is irrelevant, and there
is plenty around. There is always a price at which honest money can
emerge once again. The problem at this point is: who has the largest
hoards? If the Fed has control of the American gold instead of the Treasury,
we're pretty much screwed.

8. There is a lot of table-pounding on issues in which everyone agrees,
like inflation/deflation being a monetary phenomenon. No need to get
upset about it. All knowledge is tentative, no reason to get too
attached to it. I may have put my foot in my mouth in my statements above. If I did, let me know.

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Re: Faith in technology
cmartenson wrote:

Your post, well meaning as it is, is expressly based on a faith in technology that I do not hold.

TIME, SCALE, and COST.

Those are the three elements that are completely missing from your proposed "solutions" which, while admirable, propose technologies that are either not yet developed or represent fractional percentages of our installed energy base.

In order for me to respond to hopeful new technologies as realistic solutions, time, scale and cost have to be part of the proposal. Otherwise, regretfully, there's nothing at all to respond to from a logical standpoint leaving us only to enter a belief-based fencing match.

 

Agree.  Believe this subject though, should be further pursued to frame issues and options medium-long term (say beyond ~2015).  

 

Nichoman

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Ray Hewitt
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for NO policy

I was wondering why there are so many neo-Malthusians on this site until I finished Chris's Crash Course. That there is a similar theme in the Bible illustrates how deep and wide is the fear of the future. Every generation while realizing their predecessors were wrong, say this time it's different. And they were all wrong, otherwise we wouldn't be here today with a population of over six billion. Needless to say they took that as a negative.

What is their proof? The proof is in the mathematics in which Chris uses the exponential curve to such effect that his neo-Malthusian followers see the exponential curve everywhere. Well ladies and gentlemen, I submit that exponential curves are not all alike. They change at different rates. It is not an article of faith that social progress, as measured by rising standards of living, have improved at a faster rate than population growth; it is a fact born out by over 2,000 years of written history.

It is in the numbers that the neo-Malthusians put their faith. Well I submit that the numbers only tell us about the past, and even then not so accurately. Establishment economists fell into the trap of believing statistics and equations are the key to establishing the right amount of money to keep an economy thriving. We know now how badly they screwed up. That's only one example of why numbers cannot gage human behavior.

It is in the numbers that the neo-Malthusians think they need a plan, when yet again, central planning and social engineering have an equally terrible track record. Neo-Malthusians think restricting their lifestyle will have some effect, when they are outnumbered maybe a million to one by individuals hungry to improve their material wealth. If Christianity could not stop material growth, then what in heaven makes neo-Malthusians think they will have any better success? And what about living off the land independent of civilization? I dare them to try without a means of buying mass produced goods for certain basics.

Barring a meteor collision, there is no planned solution and there is no stopping the masses from improving their material wealth. The economist Hayek had a phrase to explain the phenomenon, "spontaneous order." You can't measure it but is is there in all of us - the will to improve our well being, everyone of us. It won't be technology alone; it will be the way entrepeneurs apply technology to produce highly valued goods. That is is what is missing in Chris's equations. Sadly, I think Chris and his followers have substituted their faith in numbers for faith in humanity, when the data prove the opposite.

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mainecooncat
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

I'm actually walking out the door right now, so I don't have the time to respond at length to hewittr's last post. But here's my condensed version.

As hewittr has proven time and time again to the increased exasperation of numerous regular posters on this site his positions always contain at least one of the following:

They're based on Strawmen. He turns others carefully constructed arguments into strawmen by pathologically misrepresenting them as some hyper-exaggerated or hyperbolic version of a cliched position.

Example, if you have even a scintilla of doubt about renewable energies then you're a "doomer." Or (in perhaps one of his moments of greatest ignorance yet) Chis Martenson is a "neo-Malthusian." (Ha! You are indeed annoying, hewittr, but at least you're amusing.)

They're hypocritical. (This could've been called logical dissonance as well.) Hewittr frequently relies on the same logic that's he's criticizing. Example, that technology and innovation also follow exponential growth patterns and, therefore, will offset other examples of exponential growth. Or that there's no way of predicting human behavior or history, which of course means that to predict anything is equally specious. Well, there's no shortage of predictions on his end. So it really comes down to whether he agrees with you or not.

They're dishonest. Because of the preceding, his arguments can only be considered as dishonest.

Hewittr's biggest canard however remains his "neo-Malthusian"one in which he paints everyone in the world as like him or a "neo-Malthusian."

It's one of the oldest tricks in the book to begin an argument by misrepresenting the views of those around you as extreme or overly polarized. One can than comfortably place oneself within such a context as the balanced and thoughtful one.

Essentially the point that hewittr cannot grasp is the idea that just because you think the next twenty years are going to be a lot different than the previous or that the world is entering a paradigm shift doesn't make one a "neo-Malthusian."

I haven't come across a single person on this site who thinks that Homo Sapiens are going to go extinct in the next few years because of the data contained in the Crash Course. Yet this is what hewittr wants you (the casual reader) to believe because he (maybe?) disagrees with Chris' message of change and activism because it could hurt his position in the markets or life. 

Hewittr constantly harps on the fact that the "neo-Malthusians" have always been wrong. But wrong in what sense? Again in his strawmen sense, that of the extinction of Homo Sapiens.  

So these two statements are equally true:

Homo Sapiens have not gone extinct in the past 2000 years.

The past 2000 years have been filled with great upheaval, transformation and human suffering that have been the result of unforseen (by the masses, by group think) consequences and random events (Black Swans if you will).

Once again, many people on this site argue that unprecedented change is upon us not that the extinction of Homo Sapiens is upon us.

These are not the same things, hewittr.

But you don't care because you're an agitator who relies on dishonest, strawmen arguments.

Until we meet again.

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ckessel
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for NO policy
hewittr wrote:

. It won't be technology alone; it will be the way entrepeneurs apply technology to produce highly valued goods. That is is what is missing in Chris's equations. Sadly, I think Chris and his followers have substituted their faith in numbers for faith in humanity, when the data prove the opposite.

 Hewittr,

Would you give me an example of a "way entrepeneurs apply technology to produce highly valued goods" and show how it would look on one of Chris's equations? Or at least explain how you think it would alter the equation/graph so we would not have "missing" data.

Second, please give me an example of  data that proves  Chris's "followers have substituted their faith in numbers for faith in humanity."   

And for the record,  we understand you are sad about the state of affairs but that does not mean we are.

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Ray Hewitt
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for NO policy ...

I haven't come across a single person on this site who thinks that Homo Sapiens are going to go extinct in the next few years because of the data contained in the Crash Course. Yet this is what hewittr wants you (the casual reader) to believe because he (maybe?) disagrees with Chris' message of change and activism because it could hurt his position in the markets or life. 

Even Malthus didn't predict extinction. He predicted population growth would outstrip the food supply. The neo-Malthusians apply the same logic to energy and resources.

Or that there's no way of predicting human behavior or history, which of course means that to predict anything is equally specious.

That's Cooncat's assertion, not mine. Many people, including me, saw this depression coming. My argument was against the weakness of using numbers to predict human behavior.

 you don't care because you're an agitator who relies on dishonest, strawmen arguments.

Well that certainly cuts off all debate without addressing the issues I raised.

Hewittr's biggest canard however remains his "neo-Malthusian"one in which he paints everyone in the world as like him or a "neo-Malthusian."

The whole world? Either or? Nothing in between? That's a sloppy case of misdirection. Neo-Malthusians are in a small  minority. The vast majority don't know or don't care what they think.

Once again, many people on this site argue that unprecedented change is upon us not that the extinction of Homo Sapiens is upon us.

That's strawman is full of hay. I never used or implied extinction even once at anytime. It is clear to me who is being dishonest.

I said my piece in hopes Chris would read it. At least to get him looking at other sides. That's it. It's not worth any more of my time to point out the false arguments, straw men, ad hominems and misdirection. The reaction I got was predictably ferocious.

 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

I have a question regarding a (so far) less-talked-about point made by holtmf:

Hard specie slows the rate of wealth transfer to the financial sector
because it forcefully imposes an upper limit on circulation, but it
does nothing to correct the inherent flaw in the system that the money
necessary to pay interest does not exist, and the resultant cycle of
ever increasing loans can only continue unabated for a couple dozen
periods before experiencing an inevitable collapse as sure as
tomorrow's sunrise.

I'm interested in the views of those more educated than I on this.  Does gold (hard specie?) simply slow down this process of driving off a cliff, but not actually solve the real issue, which holtmf claims to be charging interest in general?  At first this makes sense to me, but then I think,

"I see how you continue to create money through debt, and certainly everybody can't pay all the interest at the same time, even under a gold standard (or could they?).  But it seems that if the amount of money at any given time were somehow locked to an amount of gold (or other hard specie?), you just couldn't create more money than you had gold, and so somehow it WOULD be possible?"

I realize most of you on this thread are already beyond this level of understanding...but if you wouldn't mind, could you please disect holtmf's point as well as my thought process a little?

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Would you give me an example of a "way entrepeneurs apply technology to produce highly valued goods" and show how it would look on one of Chris's equations? Or at least explain how you think it would alter the equation/graph so we would not have "missing" data.

The growth of the computer industry over the past 30 years would be one example. Human action and human values cannot be be defined with numbers and equations. Nobody's data can predict the future. It fails every time it's tried. That is the essence of my argument. Read it more carefully.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for NO policy

Oh, I have been so blind.

I totally get hewittr now!  The free market takes care of everything forever, because an economist said so (and after all, he won a bet once, so he can never be wrong!)  This explains why unregulated societies like Easter Island have become the major world hubs of science and technology today, and how the majority of the world now lives in conditions that the average American 50 years ago would have envied!  This also explains why the third world, where the unregulated free market is actually practiced, has develloped so remarkably in the past 50 years. 

All things will keep accelerating forever, as our religion of Cornucopianism dictates!  Soon there will be a day where we wake up and a billion new technologies will exist that didnt before, and all of them will make our lives easier and better!  We can continue to turn 99% of the things we make into garbage 6 months later because we will never run out.  Things like resources, and data and facts dont come into the equation, at all, ever!  Just human innovation (because after all once humans evolved form apes they became infallable, just so long as they dont use awful words like government and environment).  Malthus is an idiot, because he wasn't right at one point in history (even though his prediction didn't have a specific date), therefore he cant ever be right!

After all, how could the earth support 6 billion people?!  It's almost as if human population stabalized at some point, and then a cheap and easily available energy source caused them to expand exponentially, and if that source ever depleted, they would be in a lot of troube - but of course that would contradict the ideology - and the ideology is always right. 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Hard specie slows the rate of wealth transfer to the financial sector because it forcefully imposes an upper limit on circulation, but it does nothing to correct the inherent flaw in the system that the money necessary to pay interest does not exist, and the resultant cycle of ever increasing loans can only continue unabated for a couple dozen periods before experiencing an inevitable collapse as sure as tomorrow's sunrise.

Production creates a surplus that allows consumers and corporations to save. When the money supply is stable, investment in production comes from savings and profits. Production increases the value of money and decreases the cost of goods.

There is no need for the money supply to expand when investment comes from savings. The problem occurs when investment comes from expanding the money supply through debt. That process is necessarily self-limiting. When by savings, there is no limit and no inflation. 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

The free market takes care of everything forever, because an economist said so (and after all, he won a bet once, so he can never be wrong!) 

Get off that bullshit. There was never a Garden of Eden. Life is always a struggle.

This explains why unregulated societies like Easter Island have become the major world hubs of science and technology today, and how the majority of the world now lives in conditions that the average American 50 years ago would have envied! 

Yeah sure. Put your trust in the people who brought us the next Great Depression. Easter Islanders had no property rights. Poor, primitive and violent societies have no property rights.

After all, how could the earth support 6 billion people?!  It's almost as if human population stabalized at some point, and then a cheap and easily available energy source caused them to expand exponentially, and if that source ever depleted, they would be in a lot of troube - but of course that would contradict the ideology - and the ideology is always right. 

2,000 years of written history show material progress continuing unabated. That's an ideology?

I have to go.

 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

First of all I need to clarify what the solution is.  Obviously our dependence on oil is going to end, either when we decide to make responsible advances or when we simply run out.  The move to renewable energies is not the solution I advocate, because it is inevitable in the long run.  The immediate solution to our problem is the eradication of interest in our financial system, effected as immediately as possible using whatever transitionary means necessary.

Chris, your equation of faith in technology to faith in religion is much more troublesome a comparison than mine of the atmosphere to masses of people.  Religious faith truly is faith, because it can have no rational or empirical basis.  My confidence in science is as strong as many people's faith in religion, but confidence is distinct from faith just as science is distinct from technology.

As for the EM train travelling thousands of miles an hour (which when I wrote I was guessing probably about 2,000 at most; plurality is plurality), I was indeed talking about an evacuated tube.  That I omitted the details does not belie the science, but it was probably irresponsible phrasing.

LaFanze was the first poster to directly reference the actual meat of my argument.  According to mred, "Economics deals with many
more things than 'numerical values.'"  I do not deny that, but it is vitally important to consider when the unpredictability of individuals actually jeoparizes the accuracy of mathematical projection and when it does not.

The entire point of my post was to spread the warning about compound interest, because it alone is the enemy to the system.  I allowed myself to become so distracted by my hopefulness for the future of renewable energy that the crux of my argument was largely overlooked.  The vast majority of economic barriers to fairness and progress are in some way linked back to the presence of interest.  However, since most of the world seems to believe that either interest is "the only way" or in some way justified, it is extremely difficult to convey this fact.

The complexities of modern finance are myriad, but they can be vastly simplified by looking at the economy as a whole.  After consideration of the entirety of circulation and how it is affected by exponential interest, some startling conclusions logically follow.

Quote:

"If all the money is loaned into circulation as debt, and the debts are
subject to interest, and if we cannot borrow more than the value of
whatever we are borrowing the money for, it is unclear first of all how
it is even possible to suffer what you define to be "inflation."

"In other words, if we can't borrow $50,000 to buy a $35,000 home or
$50 to buy a $20 tire, how can we possibly *ever* suffer 'inflation'?"

"But I don't understand then, even if it were possible to suffer
inflation, that an increase in circulation per goods and services would
engender increasing prices."

"In other words, I understand that *if*
we somehow *could* be subjected to a circulation greater than the value
of all the things for which we had borrowed the money into circulation,
*seemingly* that greater circulation which we do not even know can exist might only at first provide a capacity to *pay* higher prices; but as to why or how it would cause them, there is no connection whatsoever, for how does a factory say for instance first detect that one day the circulation we do not know can even increase in such a way has
somehow increased... are you saying that in these potentially
non-existent circumstances that nonetheless the factory simply raises
prices one day, to take greater profit from 'inflation'?"

"This doesn't seem plausible. I'll tell you why:"

"If money is introduced to circulation as debt subject to interest, then merely to maintain a vital circulation, we have to perpetually
re-borrow whatever we pay against principal and interest obligations.
Payments against the previous sum of principal thus are re-assumed as
new principal, equal to the old — making it impossible to pay down the
sum of debt. But as payments against interest obligations do not count
against the previous principal, our perpetual re-borrowing of interest
to replenish a circulation means therefore that the sum of debt will
perpetually increase so much as periodic interest on an ever greater
sum of debt. Not only would this mean that there is ever less of a given circulation to devote to prices, much less increasing
prices ostensibly tolerated by the non-existent "inflation," it would
mean that as a consequence of this multiplication of debt in proportion
to the circulation, that the system inherently, ultimately collapses
under a sum of debt it can no longer afford to service.
"

"So we have several things here — not just some purported 'inflation,' which we don't know even can exist:"

"We have an inherently, irreversibly multiplying sum of debt, which
ultimately engenders collapse, and which, all along the irreversible
path to that collapse, imposes ever greater costs of servicing ever
greater debt. While I can understand that *these costs* manifest in
ever greater prices as industry has to account for their erosion of
profit margins, it is also true that ever less of the circulation can
be devoted to commerce, as ever more of the circulation is inherently
devoted instead to servicing debt. Eventually, even *ALL* of the circulation is devoted to servicing debt."

"So it would not be an increase in circulation per goods and services which engenders perpetually increasing prices; it would be the nature of the money; it would be that all the money is subject to interest which inherently engenders perpetually increasing prices by imposing ever greater debt upon the people. And so in fact, while industry can survive this irreversible multiplication of debt, it would be the ever greater costs of servicing this inherently ever escalating multiplication of debt which actually even requires prices to inherently increase at an equivalent, ever greater rate."

Mr. Montagne has very poor taste in web design, but I do not think that is an adequate reflection of his ideas.  My experience is limited to science, not  economics or social engineering.  However, the idea of an economy whose debt structure requires no interest because it is structured to be paid at a rate that maintains the remaining asset value equal to the remaining debt is unique, because it is supported by mathematical proof of sustainability instead of (dis)comforting rhetoric.

At the very least such a system is superior to one in which periodic devaluation of currency, widespread expropriation of private property, and eventual total collapse are part of the deal.

To conclude I would like to clarify that I do not mean for my tone to be critical of the overall work of the crash course.  It is an extremely well done series that is simple enough to be understood without requiring difficult application of math or science, and it does not contain misinformation.  I have linked it to many people already.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

 

maincooncat -

Not sure how the diametric position got established between you and hewittr, but I didn't get the same tone from his comment here, that you may have.

hewittr -

I can appreciate your Austrian background, and bravo for that - the 20th century's darkest periods can claim gestation in way too much social engineering.   The premise that a group or government can make the correct "calculations" to manage a complete economy (whether energy is in scarce or abundant supply), is something that I believe not only impractical, but dangerous, and that is what I interpreted to be your concern with your comments RE "neo-Malthusians" (or such....)

As Ludwig (or Hayek) would say, it is only through the free action of each individual, that values are established and prices are set, and that rational allocation of capital goods to their most productive uses can only occur in a truly free market.

I think Chris has done a fabulous job of consolidating an analytical review of the current economic climate. 

That said, as is the nature of man, there can be no divorce of politics from economics, and it is in the political realm that visitors to Chris' site will differ. 

Divorced from the political context, many on this site might find justification in the Crash Course as presenting economics of a globe with finite resources, to create a political climate requiring "their definition" of the "solution".

Hopefully, as free-thinkers, Chris' readers and visitors are capable of a higher ground.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...
holtmf wrote:

However, the idea of an economy whose debt structure requires no interest because it is structured to be paid at a rate that maintains the remaining asset value equal to the remaining debt is unique, because it is supported by mathematical proof of sustainability instead of (dis)comforting rhetoric.

At the very least such a system is superior to one in which periodic devaluation of currency, widespread expropriation of private property, and eventual total collapse are part of the deal.

I think this is a fascinating concept. But it seems to me it would limit debt to only collateralized debt, is that right? Or am I misunderstanding the concept? Can you give an example of what this would look like, say, if a person needed to borrow money get medical treatment that would then improve his quality of life enough to be able to earn income to pay off the loan? How would student loans work under this system? Or family vacations (if you say that families shouldn't take out loans for intangibles like vacations I could accept that).

Would it look like this:

Person wants to purchase a car that would enable him to travel to employment.

Car costs $10,000 on the lot. As soon as it drives off the lot, its worth $8000.00. Therefore, the amount of the loan could only be a maximum of $8000, with the person having to provide a 2000.00 downpayment. And after that, the amount of the loan is paid off in keeping with the value of the car, right? So if after a year, the car is worth $7000, the balance on the loan would be $7000 or less. Is this right? If so, how does the loaner make money on the loan and why would the loaner want to make loans?

I don't know hardly anything about these financial concepts so my questions might be really dumb.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

holtmf wrote:  "My first concern is your video 17A about peak oil.  What purpose does
it serve to exaggerate the difficulty of implementing a renewable
energy infrastructure to replace oil?  That is a very destructive
standpoint to popularize.  Do you even have an idea what the numerical
ranges for potential output for these technologies are?  You would do
well to find out."

As many here already know, I am a qualified designer and installer of renewable energy systems.  I also live in a fully solar powered house I designed and built.  I too used to believe that we could save the world by switching to alternative technologies, that was why I retrained in the first instance.  But no more.....  Why?

As Chris says, TIME, SCALE, and COST.

I don't know anyone who really understands just how much energy we use....   The numbers are just as mind boggling as the trillions that are being pumped into the financial system.

The renewable sector has been growing at some 24 to 30 percent a year.  For ages now...  Yet, all the renewable energy installed last year was less than the growth in demand for electricity, which is "only" growing at 3%....  That should put the immense base of the conventional energy sector in some context.

I live in one of the less populated states  of Australia, ~ 3.5 million people.  To replace all the fossil fuel infrastructure currently in place here within 25 years would require the building of six coal fired power stations, just to manufacture the necessary solar power equipment (we are too close to the Equator for wind to be sufficiently useful).  This at a time we should be reducing GHG emissions?

Where will the money come from?  Already the State's budget is going into deficit for the first time in decades.  The cost would be astronomical.

We are also trying out pilot schemes with geo-thermal in South Australia.  They've been 'at it' for years, and still have nothing to show for it....  the gear keeps breaking, and now I'm prepared to bet the entire project folds up as the economy tanks.

It's really not a question of whether we want to switch to renewables or not, fact is we have hit the wal.  It's called Limits to Growth.  It was always going to happen, only not even the Club of Rome (you know, those 'neo-Malthusians!') predicted it would happen this fast... 

There is only one way to go, Powerdown.  You should read the book by this title from Richard Heinberg, and then also read his last book titled "Peak Everything".

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...
hewittr wrote:

The growth of the computer industry over the past 30 years would be one example. Human action and human values cannot be be defined with numbers and equations. Nobody's data can predict the future. It fails every time it's tried. That is the essence of my argument. Read it more carefully.

To build a single computer requires 500 pounds of fossil fuels.  Computers will one day go extinct. 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

hewittr,

Then how come you were able to see the current economic situation coming?  The economy is no more than human actions.  It sure sounds like the future has been predicted.  Or is foreseeing such an event not predicting the future?

This is one instance of you trying to have it both ways - Austrian theory can be used to foresee events, yet human action can not be defined with numbers and equations.

For all your insistance to the contrary, you are very good at picking and choosing what you argue about, leaving out the points that you can not comfortably contradict.  In your response to mainecooncat, you only picked up on certain points, particularly about neo-Malthusians.

hewittr wrote:

Even Malthus didn't predict extinction. He predicted population growth
would outstrip the food supply. The neo-Malthusians apply the same
logic to energy and resources.

Fair enough.

hewittr wrote:

Or that there's no way of predicting human behavior or history, which of course means that to predict anything is equally specious.

That's Cooncat's assertion, not mine. Many people, including me, saw
this depression coming. My argument was against the weakness of
using numbers to predict human behavior.

Here you go trying to have it both ways.

hewittr wrote:

Hewittr's biggest canard however remains his
"neo-Malthusian"one in which he paints everyone in the world as like
him or a "neo-Malthusian."

The whole world? Either or? Nothing in between? That's a sloppy case of
misdirection. Neo-Malthusians are in a small  minority. The vast
majority don't know or don't care what they think.

This may be true, but you do not make it clear in your other statements on the topic.  Your statements come across in a way that makes it sound like you think that everyone here on this site who disagrees with your view is a neo-Malthusian.  If this is not your intent, then you might want to be a little more careful in how you word your statements.

hewittr wrote:

Once again, many people on this site argue that unprecedented change is upon us not that the extinction of Homo Sapiens is upon us.

That's strawman is full of hay. I never used or implied extinction even
once at anytime. It is clear to me who is being dishonest.

I said my piece in hopes Chris would read it. At least to get him
looking at other sides. That's it. It's not worth any more of my time
to point out the false arguments, straw men, ad hominems and
misdirection. The reaction I got was predictably ferocious.

Yes, you have never said that extinction was upon us.  However, you have made it pretty plain that you do not believe that we are facing some major, if not unprecedented upheaval and change. As for pointing out the"false arguments, strawmen, ad hominems and misdirection", well, I see you engage in some of these yourself. 

By the way, if you are looking for something else to comment on, you might try finishing your answer to the following <a href="http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/ok-lets-take-vote/9706#comment-8066">post</a href> of mine.   I am still interested in your answer to the rest of my questions, which you seemingly ignored when you first replied to it.

All the best,

 

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

I can safely predict that Damnthematrix will go extinct before computers.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

holtmf,

    First of all, welcome to the forum.

    I think the primary reason that your main point has been "overlooked" in the debate going on here is that it is exactly the point that Chris makes - Compounding/money loaned into existance is the problem.  He may not have worded it as strongly as you, but from where I sit, you were preaching to the choir.  I am not meaning to criticize you by saying that either.  I think part of the difference in message is that you are proposing an overall solution, while Chris primarily points out the problem and tries to help people think about individual solutions.

All the best,

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Reuben Bailey
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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Does that make him wrong?

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

holtmf,

I do not wih to offend you but I think you miss a few points yourself:

Chris has got the basics through very very well IMO. He cannot post a completely objective criticism of the life of man here or he would not achieve the objective: Introduce people to the problem (appropriately titled a crash course). I also expect you mean well but I think you should remind yourself at times that the whole situation cannot be explained in one glorious expose of facts and figures or you cannot gain buy in from the majority, and I think that is who this course is aimed at. Here in UK I do believe we still still teach the traditional atom of central nucleus with orbitting electrons and that is to students of physics at college level ('A' level I think still).You should get my point.

 I think Chris is trying to instill a reasonable level of fear. Enough to make people think and yet not sufficient to make people panic.

Can I ask, how would you write the course? I guess you would be in danger of writing at the same level of readership as te links you point to. I can also guess that what you produce would be too high level: Most people won't get it :( This is a sad feature of the nature of humans, especially in the west (IMO).

With Chris' course I have pointed Joe Public to the site who are interested in the current problems and a large percentage have stopped after chapter 3 or 4: they have told me that they find it hard work!!!! Remember that 'most people' cannot use a web browser, they cannot understand that a rate of increase of 3% will lead to doubling in 20+ years Albert Bartlett gave lectures and stated that people in congress(? I'm in UK) did not understand this basic problem of resources.

http://www.populationmedia.org/2008/08/19/albert-bartlett-on-population-...

Geothermal may be the way to go but where will you get the investment when people in power have seen a 'solution' to the current problem [moneterisation of debt for example]. Already there are countless projects for renewable energies stalled because of the low price of oil. How long before these technologies are brought to the masses? Personally I love the advances in Nuclear energies (I think that can actually match your geothermal) pebble bed reactors are a phenomenal advance in science http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor. Now can I ask you: Given that Chris is trying to promote the fact that there is actually a problem would it be wise to mention these technologies to an intended readership of people that do not even know there is a problem and will struggle with basic concepts of doubling?

I think if this site is accused of creating a panic then check the blog roll such as theoildrum.com - they asess renewables and come to the same conclusion as Chris: TIME, SCALE, and COST. I would also add vested interest along with ignorance. The latter is what Chris is addressing.

Give the guy a break!!

Again, I apologise if this seems offensive. If you could provide a series of bullet points on how the course should have been arranged then I'm sure that people would welcome suggestions.

[Personally I think this site and all the advice of thousands of scientists will be ignored and we are heading for real trouble on a global scale. I would be optimistic if it weren't for the fact that the pessimist is more accurate, this isn't a self fulfilling prophecy of mine it is just an observation ;)

I would urge you to post more messages here, contribute and consider the difficulties of the task in hand for the sake of the next generation: I disagree with Ron Paul that the next generation are prepared to study etc etc . . .  they will be the next generation of advisors like yourself and Chris - crying like a fire in the Sun. The vast majority will be lead by TIME, SCALE, COST, VESTED INTEREST and IGNORANCE. Good luck!!]

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

Reuben

Then how come you were able to see the current economic situation coming?

Because I know Austrian Theory. It didn't take a crystal ball to see this nation consuming wealth faster than it was producing wealth. Peter Schiff is another Austrian - look at his past videos. So is Mish.

This is one instance of you trying to have it both ways - Austrian
theory can be used to foresee events, yet human action can not be
defined with numbers and equations.

Not at all. One cannot predict cycles with any exactness or very far into the future; we watch trends and use theory to put them in context. There is some intuitive skill involved. The Austrian pros are much better at it than me. It is the mathematical economists who didn't see it coming. They look at the statistics mechanically.

However, you have made it pretty plain that you do not believe that we
are facing some major, if not unprecedented upheaval and change.

Yes.Those changes are economic and political. They are not due to geological shortages in energy and natural resources. It is the economic and political problems that affect the energy and resource problems, not the other way around.

I answered your questions yesterday, but it was late and you may not have seen it. My clarity goes down at the end of the day as it is now. Be glad to do it again some other time.

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Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

I had a rather long post (I agree and disagree simultaneously with most statements), I deleted it.

I believe technology can make the transition easier, however we lack the political will to do so.  Think back 20 years ago; Could anyone have imagined how powerful contemporary computers are?  Technology changes, evolves, problems are addressed and progress is made.  That being said, it requires awareness and investment to utilize technology which is where we lack today.

Blaming free markets on the recent problems is the greatest travesty of the situation.  Most politicians don't know how to run an economy, that's why they're politicians and not economists.  Markets aren't perfect but they're more effective than a politician.  The subprime problem originated not from a lack of market regulation, but from fraud (among other things).  If you didn't know, fraud is already illegal.  If America was as market-based as people think, the banks who made terrible investments and misrepresented mortgage backed securities would have gone out of business.

The Auto bail out is another example.  A relative was watching Fox News the other day and I overhead them discussing the amoung of stock certain members of Congress had.  I found this amazing since they didn't bother to look at that statistic when the banks wanted their money.  The number ONE investment by Congress is "Finance, Banking and Real Estate". (http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/overview.php?type=S&year=2007)  No one was asking this question during the first bailout.  Not to mention the big banks that received all of the bailout money were the top contributors to BOTH the Obama and McCain campaigns.  Food for thought.

The summation of the above three paragraphs leads to one inherent problem: Political leadership.  We have the capabilities, yet lack the political will.

 

I leave you with one thought that I believe really summarizes and points to the critical issue among everyone's debates:

The only real ignorance is dogma. 

My name is Branden and you can quote that.  (I charge 1$ for every use of my new favorite phrase.  Just kidding.) 

brandenism's picture
brandenism
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 14 2008
Posts: 21
Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...
hewittr wrote:

Yes.Those changes are economic and political. They are not due to geological shortages in energy and natural resources. It is the economic and political problems that affect the energy and resource problems, not the other way around.

 I really think that hits the nail on the head.

r's picture
r
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 262
Re: SOLUTION: This is a time for responsible policy ...

First, I'd like to add my appreciation for this site and the work that went into it. The crash course is clear and direct and I agree we need an objective analysis of where we are today with energy and the economy to better understand where we may be in the near future.

I would like to see two things (if possible): 1. a cross-reference or bibliography so we can look at the source material. Are the sources for the crash course all listed on this site? 2. Some form of the crash course published in a journal on finance, energy or the economy so it may potentially reach influential people in this field? Are there experts in this area aware of this analysis and what do they think? Government officials?

Based on this site and others there does seem to be a gap between the resources and energy needed to continue to grow and the resouces which will be available. Innovation in areas of food production will help. But a lot of new technology requires more energy. For example, CPU's have more or less evolved according to Moore's law, but the computer today uses much more power than it did say 5 years ago. This is because of graphics cards for playing high-def games and watching videos, and larger monitors, etc.

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