thank you

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Rita Corona's picture
Rita Corona
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thank you

Chris, thank you for this amazing series, it has been very enlightening and useful and very well done. I hope that more people will watch it and understand how reality is distorted and how much people are controlled and misguided by our own governments. All in the name of what? Greed, selfishness, control and power. This might be the reasons why God didn't create human beings immortal after all.

anagama's picture
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I just spent way more time than intended watching your presentations. Excellent work -- I can hardly wait for the rest!
hal0428's picture
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AWESOME! A must read for everyone.
I have spent the last 6 months reading about Peak Oil and it's dire implications. Now, after having read these chapters, I am convinced we are speeding towards the abyss with no brakes. I appreciate the time and effort Chris spent putting this information together into clear and consise language. Unfortunately, I am still not sure what to do to prepare for the future, but I realize time is short and the clock is ticking.
George's picture
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My personal notes and gut feeling always pointed out that inflation is much higher and Chris, you proved it. Continuous growth was always against my grain. Pity that we had to have rosy picture only to produce catastrophic future. Alternative fuels for some reasons were not pursued while we had the window of opportunity. What would be a quick fix could be as little as virus to make flu pandemic to wipe out 30% or 40% of population, or even something better to get rid of 80%. 1 child policy should be mandatory around the world for several generations until perpetual energy balance is reached with reasonable surplus. Wars should be abandoned and all military expenditure channelled toward alternative fuels. (No chance for that any time soon) I strongly believe in surplus but to keep not to spend. Thank you Chris for all the hard work you put in to create this course. Pity that future will be so bad. I can almost see "Mad Max" scenes but in real life, who knows maybe even "Time machine" with Morloks will take place too, after all cannibalism is possible way to combat overpopulation. On the "positive" note in about 5 billion years our planet will be wiped out by expanding Sun before it collapses to become dark dwarf. So we have limited time either way we look, as mass exodus to find another place to live is not possible. We will not have enough energy and resources to do that.
clintmaling's picture
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Better than Limits to Growth
I remember reading 'Limits to Growth' in the 1970s and the update 'Beyond the Limits' in the 1990s. The authors (computer modelers) predicted a peak around 2012 and a gradual decline in living standards thereafter. Their model was simply based on resources and exponential growth. What you, Chris, have shown is that there will be nothing gradual about the decline, that only one resource needs to be considered and social complexity can pretty well be represented by Money. It's a breakthrough. It says that we need a social revolution or events will force one on us. And it also requires a dramatic reduction in population, which cannot be done quickly without great suffering.
artdeco42's picture
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Chapter 18
Wow - that was fantastic ! This is the most amazing set of videos I have ever watched, not to mention the most important. I've been telling everyone I know about them as they are the best explanation of the real issues we are facing today. Thanks for making them - I really think they will make a difference because of how clearly they explain these complex ideas and the connections between them.
maughan.m's picture
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Chapter 18
Good work Chris! I want to express my deep appreciation for the work you have done and your sense of purpose in making these issues known to the world.
wmarsden's picture
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Posts: 38
Thank you for putting this
Thank you for putting this together so very WELL. I was in Kentucky last summer and read an article in a local paper claiming that there might be 100 years' coal left in the ground (no one was claiming 250 at that point) but that only five years of it was obtainable at current prices/risks. That was a year ago. -- Wendy Marsden
xraymike79's picture
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Powerful Work

This is extremely powerful work. I have never seen this message, in either written essay or video, delivered in such a crystal clear and convincing form. It scares the hell out of me. As other visionary economists like Donella Meadows, Herman Daly, Hazel Henderson, and E.F. Schumacher have pointed out, the gaping hole in mainstream economic theory is scale. Continuous growth in a finite world will eventually and predictably hit a wall. Our economic model is blind to external limits of growth and does not operate within a sustainable scale. Our continuous-growth economic model, if followed unchanged, will ultimately lead to massive population die off (80-90%) and a pre-industrial standard of living. Fifty years ago, M. King Hubbert recognized the incompatibility of our monetary system in an era of declining net energy. Back in 1974 he appeared before Congress and laid out, in logical and scientific terms, the problems with our economic model of continuous growth. He also explained that a cultural shift or change would be required in order to survive. Look at what he said:

"...But it is physically and biologically impossible for any material or energy component to follow the exponential growth phase...for more than a few tens of doublings, and most of those possible doublings have occurred already...

Yet, during the last two centuries of unbroken industrial growth we have evolved what amounts to an exponential-growth culture. Our institutions, our legal system, our financial system, and our most cherished folkways and beliefs are all based upon the premise of continuing growth. Since physical and biological constraints make it impossible to continue such rates of growth indefinitely, it is inevitable that with the slowing down in the rates of physical growth cultural adjustments must be made. is understandable that extraordinary efforts will be made to avoid a cessation of growth. Inexorable, however, physical and biological constraints must eventually prevail and appropriate cultural adjustments will have to be made..."

Energy is the single most fundamental resource. It is the intrinsic currency of an economy. The ability of a society to harness and distribute energy determines its economic, social and military strength. All of our modern technological accomplishments over the last century were supported by the availability of easily accessible, concentrated forms of energy. Consider the following historic energy consumption per capita in England:
"In 1800, the total energy consumption in the UK amounted to about 20 GJ per person per year. By 1900 this figure had increased by more than a factor of five, and today we use 175 GJ. Since this is predominantly in the form of fossil fuels, one graphic way of restating this figure is that it amounts to the equivalent of more than 4 tonnes of oil per person per year."
As we outstrip our available finite resources we are being forced to constantly innovate. It is this constant cycle of innovation that increases a society's complexity which, in turn, requires ever more solutions to problems. But as Dr. Joseph Tainter has pointed out, even a society reinvigorated by cheap new energy sources and innovations will eventually face the problem of diminishing returns once more. A study reported last year on the way cities grow by Luis Bettencourt of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, supports the idea of the diminishing returns of increasingly complex societies.
A point of "maximum complexity" is reached when all the energy and resources available to a society are required just to maintain its existing level of complexity. Innovation itself might be subject to diminishing returns, or perhaps absolute limits. The limits of technology in solving our problems is evoked in the words of Barbara Ward and Rene Dubos (1972), the great microbiologist, humanist and Pulitzer-prize winning author:
"Civilizations commonly die from the excessive development of certain characteristics which had at first contributed to their success." he wrote. "Our form of industrial civilization suffers from having allowed experts to make growth and efficiency, rather than the quality of life, the main criterion of success. . . if things are in the saddle, it is because we have put them there... the demonic force in our life is not technology per se, but our propensity to consider means as ends."

odlanier's picture
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Joined: Sep 9 2008
Posts: 3
Downloadable Crash Course version?
Hello Chris. Thanks again for such fine package of key concepts and all those cleverly related ideas. I have learnt more about economy, the environment and energy in this three hours that I did in the entire 1 year Ecological Design Graduate Course. Would you consider the possibilities of providing this course in some downloadable file format? It would make it easier to further review and consult offline for many of us who have no access to fast broadband connection. You may reach me at reinaldo.martinez at for a reply. Thanks, and my best wishes for you in the coming gloomy future. We certainly need more sharp minds to jolt our numbed society.
quinny's picture
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Crash Course
Many thanks for an excellent summary of our current predicament. I'm recommending it to all I can. Can't wait for the final two chapters.
fedwatcher's picture
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I beleive there is a problem with placing comments on this site. That said, your course so far has been EXCELLENT and should be made a part of 12th grade education and a prerequisite to Econ 101 in colleges.
wizozz's picture
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Please continue
Hi, I loved your crash course, and I'm looking forward to see the last two chapters, and your suggestions about what to do. Thanks for the great job of simplifying those challenges we face, so that anyone can understand the challenge of times.

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