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  • Podcast

    Gail Tverberg: The Coming Energy Depression

    The math is straightforward, but cruel
    by Adam Taggart

    Sunday, January 7, 2018, 8:52 PM

As most PeakProsperity.com readers know, we fully agree with the statement: Energy is THE master resource.

Without it, nothing can get done.

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:

What we really live on is what we pull out of the ground each year, in terms of oil or coal or natural gas or whatever. So what we have is just what we pull out.

Now, you accurately point out that we're making too many claims on the future using debt. We're actually doing this via a couple of different ways, which are pretty much equivalent. One of them is by issuing equity. This has the equivalent effect as using debt because what you're saying is I'll pay you dividends, and you're going to get a higher price in the future. This is simply different kind of claim on the future. Another way to borrow from the future is through government promises. While debt is the one that most people focus on, shares of stock and government promises have the same effect. They all are promising more and more future stuff. So unless we truly have more stuff in the future, we won't be able to make good on these promises.

But oil prices higher than $20 per barrel are putting too much pressure on the economy. The cost of everything goes up at the same time. You use oil to get your metals out because you're using that in your extraction process. Also, the same things that cause oil prices to rise cause natural gas prices and coal prices to rise, too.

So what happens is everything has to go up in cost at the same time. Though people's wages are the one thing that don't. So what happens is they get squeezed. They get squeezed badly, and they start defaulting on their loans; auto loans and student loans first. We probably will soon see more business loans default, too. But it's also the individuals who are getting squeezed the worst. This will only worsen as oil prices rise and as other prices rise, too.

The crisis we're likely to face is going to look like the Great Depression. It's going to look like people being laid off from their obs. It's going to look like banks closing. And it's going to be that kind of crisis.

We simply don't have nearly enough affordable energy to support today's population. This should be very disturbing to every one of us. Apart from taking increasingly desperate short-term measures to put the crisis it off a little bit, it's hard to see a solution.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Gail Tverberg (63m:24s).

About the Guest
Gail Tverberg

Gail Tverberg is an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to inadequate supply.

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111 Comments

  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 2:03pm

    #1
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    The idea we are short of energy is crazy.

    The crisis we’re likely to face is going to look like the Great Depression…We simply don’t have nearly enough energy to support today’s population.

    The USA is absolutely awash in energy. How do we know? Price. Coal, nuclear, natural gas are all ridiculously cheap, and so much so that technologies like solar and wind are hardly worth pursuing right now. Americans drive and fly today for flat-out trivial reasons because, well, we can. We are energy rich. We don’t even attempt public transport for the same reasons.

    The Depression was indeed just like today, though: an oversupply of energy that drives down wages and makes good jobs hard to come by. That’s the real threat, not energy shortage. The US is awash in so many energy options now it’s just a matter of picking which ones to exploit.

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 2:21pm

    #2
    planfortomorrow

    planfortomorrow

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    Joined: Dec 28 2017

    Posts: 17

    MS.GT, you are the most

    MS.GT, you are the most important voice in the world today with regards to our Oil predicament. I was honored to have heard you speak again on the truth facing the world today. Isn’t it humbling to speak the truth yet be reviled for it? I admire and wish you only good health and happier times as you move forward into your life. 

    Respectfully Given

    Peace

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 4:16pm

    Reply to #1

    GerrySM

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    Joined: Jun 20 2017

    Posts: 16

    Tverberg is a low rent interviewee

    Why interview this old granny with her global warming denier views? Running out of energy? She’s nuts!

    BTW, those of you who do not understand why it’s very cold in the US despite global warming need to know that it’s cold BECAUSE of global warming!

    Jet streams, polar vortex (watch from 12m:30s)
    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3796205.htm
     

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 5:07pm

    #3

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    MKI

    “The USA is absolutely awash in energy. How do we know? Price.”

    Wow really, we should all believe we are awash in energy just because and only because of the “price”?  The word gullible jumps to mind.  What about contracts, finances, politics, traeaties, war and a whole bunch of other factors?  Who controls price and what’s their agenda?  Hmmm maybe price and availability and not necessarily as transparent or as clear cut as you suppose.

    Am interested in your data to backup your opinion.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 8:10pm

    #4

    dcm

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 14 2009

    Posts: 106

    Vincent Price over a barrel

    Like his cousin Vincent, the Energy Price story is one of horror, nightmares and special effects. Like most of Hollywood, our country’s energy “plays” are over budget, self centered and lacking serious substance. .

    If  America is awash in energy, why does it spend so much time in the “Killing Fields” of the Middle East?

    If the USA were to add The Never Ending Cost of The Never Ending Story of These  Never Ending Wars to our true cost of energy, what’s our real “Price” and would it scare us?  

    If our domestic sources are awash in excess, why do our energy companies’ balance sheets look like   Heaven’s Gate instead of Star Wars?

    In the end, even Dick Cheney,  our Darth Vader on medication, can’t Force his way out of this mess.       

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 8:11pm

    #5
    chipshot

    chipshot

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    Posts: 48

    An Irony of Life

    The last few minutes of this podcast got me thinking of a great irony in life:  Animals leave literal footprints all the time, but few ecological footprints.  Humans rarely leave literal footprints  (due to being on paved surface most of the time), while leaving a huge ecological imprint.

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 8:20pm

    #6

    jdsfrisco

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 10 2016

    Posts: 10

    Yes and No...

    Long debates about energy between techno cornicopians and doomers are silly. Mostly I’ve notice that memebrs of both groups live nearly identical lives. Same kinds of homes and apartments, same cars (an SUV and a Prius are more alike than they are different,) same flights, same food (Walmart vs. Whole Foods is a cosmetic variation,) same everything.

    Personally, I live a plain vanilla regular life too, but I’ve made some modifications. I carry no debt. Not even a mortgage. I’ve super insulated my home room by room over the years and installed a high quality metal roof that reflects heat. The place basiclly doesn’t need mechanical heat or air conditioning anymore. I own a car, but I live in a place where driving isn’t critically necessary and only put about 2,000 miles a year on it. It’s a small town that’s easy and pleasant to navigate on foot and by bicycle without feeling like a loser. And I’ve transformed the half acre yard into a highly productive food garden and preserve the bounty with home canning, etc. https://granolashotgun.com/2016/12/27/how-to-ride-the-slide-suburban-homesteading/

    I do these things because I enjoy this kind of life, and because I like knowing that I can ride out any number of serious difficulties if need be. If energy remains plentiful and cheap forever, great! If energy becomes scarce and expensive… shrug.

     

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 8:54pm

    #7

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    dcm

    How interesting that you mention Vincent.  One of his movies, Vincent Price that is, was The Fall of The House of Usher (1960). The house was a mansion, big and grand like the US.  But as the twin siblings disintegrate and die the house, which we are lead to believe is alive, disintegrates and dies too. There is perhaps a lesson in the story.  Oh the story was written by Edgar Allen Poe, 1839, in case anyone is interested.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 9:19pm

    Reply to #4
    MKI

    MKI

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    Posts: 69

    If America is awash in energy, why...?

    Colorful language…but what does it mean, if anything? I’m an engineer (petroleum) & only facts impress me on energy. America is indeed awash in energy by any country’s standards. This is a fact, a reality. Coal? The world’s largest reserves that sit untouched. Nuclear? We produce 33% of the world’s supply but politics prevent using it. Oil? A huge player by anyone’s view. Natural gas? Again lots of supply options; Alaska has so much they could build a pipeline and fuel our entire nation but NG is too cheap to build the pipeline. We have too much energy!

    Now, oil is the liquid fuel that is hard to replace for transportation. But if oil got to $200, we would indeed see coal and nuclear and electric cars. America is just so rich we waste tons of energy and import lots of oil just because we can. But we are NOT energy short. We are energy rich. Period.

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  • Sun, Jan 07, 2018 - 9:40pm

    #8

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    MKI

    Well it’s all a matter of perspective!  I was in Alaska before the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, during its construction and rejoiced, like everyone when the oil started flowing.  As a matter of fact I have been to Proudhoe Bay, to some of the pump stationed and to the Pipeline terminus.  It’s very impressive. The oil is no longer gushing, I have heard it referred to as a trickle.  It’s common knowledge up here that if and when that big oil field is targeted to be developed it will take years to get the oil out of the ground and into the pipeline.  So what are TPTB waiting for I have no idea.  The reality is, it doesn’t matter how much energy there is if you can’t access it, can’t afford it and it’s not developed.  It’s like being stranded in a raft on the ocean, there is plenty of water you are surrounded by it, but what to drink?

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 5:37am

    Reply to #4

    Snydeman

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    Posts: 481

    MKI wrote:Colorful

    MKI wrote:

    Colorful language…but what does it mean, if anything? I’m an engineer (petroleum) & only facts impress me on energy. America is indeed awash in energy by any country’s standards. This is a fact, a reality. Coal? The world’s largest reserves that sit untouched. Nuclear? We produce 33% of the world’s supply but politics prevent using it. Oil? A huge player by anyone’s view. Natural gas? Again lots of supply options; Alaska has so much they could build a pipeline and fuel our entire nation but NG is too cheap to build the pipeline. We have too much energy!

    Now, oil is the liquid fuel that is hard to replace for transportation. But if oil got to $200, we would indeed see coal and nuclear and electric cars. America is just so rich we waste tons of energy and import lots of oil just because we can. But we are NOT energy short. We are energy rich. Period.

     

    Back it up with data, numbers, and actual facts, or else it is a meme, a narrative, or an opinion. The people contributing to this site back up everything they say and post (in articles) with data to support it. If you don’t do so, no one here will take you seriously. Just letting you know.

     

    Ponder: What density is the coal you are quoting as our “massive reserves?” Is it anthracite? Lignite? How costly will it be to extract our supposedly huge liquid oil deposits? How large are those deposits? Why haven’t we drilled them before? WHY would we be fracking (at a loss) if there were wondrous easy oil plays to be had? You might want to read Chris’s recent articles on the oil problem and read his data, then go through and contest it point for point with your own data. That would gain some traction and validity.

     

    I also use logic. An organism will never expend more energy to get energy than it absolutely must – I call it the “lazy law” – because to expend more energy than is needed would be foolish and inefficient; nature is many things, but never inefficient. So if we’re fracking, and that fracking is way more costly than traditional “easy” oil plays would be, that tells me we are monkeys who are much higher up in the tree getting fruit…which tells me there is no more fruit lower down the tree. You, standing there at the bottom of the tree saying their is low-hanging fruit, but without providing any evidence thereof (or data to show you know what you are talking about, other than some easily-made claim of being a petroleum engineer), will not change that.

     

    -Snydeman

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 10:30am

    Reply to #4
    Helix

    Helix

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    Posts: 51

    Energy Rich. For Now.

    … for now

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 10:39am

    Reply to #4
    MKI

    MKI

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    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Back it up with data, numbers, and actual facts

    I backed up my position with numbers above. You didn’t, you just demanded answers and made accusations without any basis in fact. You sound foolish and biased. Myself, I have no personal opinion or projections I’m offering, I’m merely dealing with reality as it is.

    Fact: America is one of the wealthiest energy-rich nations on the planet. Look it up.

    A few more facts, this time about fossil fuels:

    1) Oil prices have recently collapsed from $150 to $60. Some shortage of energy! The sky is falling!

    2) NG prices have collapsed from 4.5 to 2.8; it has fallen 25% in the last year alone.

    CM had this guest on years ago, and I remember shaking my head then, just as crazy as now and has been proven 100% wrong. During that time, I’ve made lots of money taking the absolutely OPPOSITE position. Thank God I didn’t listen to her (or CM). Regarding CM and oil, he’s been so wrong the last few years there is simply nothing to say. The data speaks for itself. This isn’t debatable.

    Now, Art Berman, who also often interviewed on this site (and who is an actual registered petroleum engineer & quite knowledgeable about oil and energy) is excellent on the subject of energy. Makes sense; it’s what he does for a living, he has to stay connected to reality and not get all wrapped up in ideology and wordsmithing. And not suprisingly I’ve never read anything he’s said yet I disagree with. And he would never say something so stupid like the US is “running short of energy”. Simply laughable. But again, he actually works in the real world. And it’s sort of fun to watch Berman squirm when CM goes off the deep end on some crazy Malthusian position on energy in an interview, though…

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 1:01pm

    #9
    Helix

    Helix

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    Joined: Sep 20 2008

    Posts: 51

    I agree with some of the

    I agree with some of the basic premises that underpin the discussion here, but…

    First, much has been said about the correlation between energy consumption and economic activity, but this has somehow morphed into a causal relationship, which is not the same as correlation.  For example, we have lived in an environment of cheap energy for a century and a half now, and have lived in an economy one of whose main characteristics is fractional reserve lending for at least that long.  The unanswered questions are

    • Will more costly energy cause the correlation to change?
    • Will more (costly) debt cause the current financial arrangement to change?

    I hear what Chris and Gail are saying, but I can’t agree wholeheartedly with their conclusions.  First, let me just posit that the decline in oil use is likely to be somewhat of a mirror image of its rise.  If we take 1859 as the beginning of the oil era, that makes just under 160 years from then until now.  If we assume we’re somewhere near the peak now, that implies that the oil era will close out sometime around 2180 or or thereabouts.  Widespread oil consumption will ramp down somewhat sooner, of course, but certainly not tomorrow.

    Gail’s comments are based almost entirely on the premise that energy consumption patterns will stay pretty much what they are now.  This just isn’t going to happen.  Furthermore, considering only wind power and photovoltaics leaves out huge areas of energy usage that will almost certainly come into focus as energy resources become tighter and more expensive.  My guess is that passive solar heating of domestic living spaces and water will become the norm for new construction in temperate climates.  Housing insulation will dramatically improve.  In tropical and sub-tropical regions, now construction will focus on making use of convection to promote air flow through living spaces. 

    I also think that industrial-level energy storage across large time frames will prove to be infeasible and that industrial activity at any distance from hydroelectric power stations will have no choice but to adapt to intermittent energy regimes.  The old adage about making hay while the sun shines will once again become more than just an adage.  “Home economics” will regain some of its former meaning and dignity.  “Victory gardens” might once again dot the urban and suburban landscape.  Streetcars, walkable communities, and inland waterways will enjoy a revival.  Oh, and forget the internet.  This is going to be a case of very tough love, but it -will- in fact happen.

    As far as the current financial regime goes, I have no idea whether fractional reserve lending will survive the cheap-energy era or not.  My guess is that it will, but this is only a guess.  It’s pretty clear to me that a large portion of our current debt is going to be repudiated in one way or another, but just what that means for the future of the financial system remains to be seen.

    I’m quite sure that the future is not going to resemble the past.  I’m not as sure that the time frame is 20 years starting in 2008, as has often been stated.  I’m also sure that we’re going to have a robust economy going forward, although perhaps operating under a different financial and technological regime.

    Barring WWIII, and no new and practically limitless energy technology such as fusion of deuterium becomes technically and economically viable, of course.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 2:08pm

    #10

    themccarthyfarm

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    Posts: 24

    If we are awash in fuel how long will it last?

    Are we going to be able to double the amount of fuel the world puts out in the next 70 years?  To me that seems highly unlikely.  How many new people are we going to add in the next 70 years?  If we use the past to project forward we should have twice as many people in that time.

    The real crisis has already taken place.  We just haven’t realized it yet.  The world has added more then 4 billion people, well over twice, since 1960, just 58 years ago.  That was the cause of the crisis we are facing today.  

    The chance of doubling fuel production or population in the next 70 years is nearly zero.  But what is going to stop population from doubling?  As Chris and Gail said, it will be a lack of resources, all resources;  food, water, fuels, metal, wood, you name it.  So the death birth rate will at least equal out.  More likely it will swing sharply in the other direction and in a hundred years there will be a lot fewer people on earth.

    As Gail said there really isn’t a happy ending to this story as much as we all want there to be.  Some of us can feel smug because we saw it coming but what are we really going to do? 

    I think Chris and Adam are pretty close with their book “Prosper” , do what you can to make life comfortable in the near future, love your family and friends and enjoy what you have now/

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 2:31pm

    #11

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Dear MKI

    Dear MKI,

    I am taken aback, embarrassed.  I found your last post (13) to be insulting, disrespectful and contemptuous.  Dr. Martenson is the Host of the Podcast and Ms. Tverberg is his guest., they deserve our repect!  We each have the opportunity to listen and take away what we agree with and leave the rest.  Having already listened to a previous Podcast and disagreed with the presenters the respectful course of action would have been to skip this podcast rather than listen and then attack the presenters because you don’t agree with them.

    In your posts there are statements like “the data speaks for itself.  It isn’t debatable”.  or “We are energy rich. Period”  These statements shut down debate..  It’s as if there is an expectation that we should all agree with you, without question, hook, line, and sinker, no debate!  

    I come to this site to learn, and more often than not my thought is maybe, maybe not, I will have to ponder and read, search and learn more.  No one, let me repeat that no one has a corner on the truth or reality!  Each and every person that comes to this site has a unique perspective.  That is one reason I stick around because there are not a lot of silver haired Grandma’s here and just maybe I can offer a perspective, on occasion that others don’t have.  In order to learn and grow and create change we need polite and respectful debate and the only way to do that is to listen and respond with politeness and compassion.

    Stephen Covey’s 6th Habit of Highly Effective People is “Seek first to understand and then be understood”.

    I think you owe Dr. Martenson and Ms. Tverberg and apology..  

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 2:31pm

    #12

    themccarthyfarm

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    Joined: Dec 04 2014

    Posts: 24

    If we are awash in fuel how long will it last?

    Are we going to be able to double the amount of fuel the world puts out in the next 70 years?  To me that seems highly unlikely.  How many new people are we going to add in the next 70 years?  If we use the past to project forward we should have twice as many people in that time.

    The real crisis has already taken place.  We just haven’t realized it yet.  The world has added more then 4 billion people, well over twice, since 1960, just 58 years ago.  That was the cause of the crisis we are facing today.  

    The chance of doubling fuel production or population in the next 70 years is nearly zero.  But what is going to stop population from doubling?  As Chris and Gail said, it will be a lack of resources, all resources;  food, water, fuels, metal, wood, you name it.  So the death birth rate will at least equal out.  More likely it will swing sharply in the other direction and in a hundred years there will be a lot fewer people on earth.

    As Gail said there really isn’t a happy ending to this story as much as we all want there to be.  Some of us can feel smug because we saw it coming but what are we really going to do? 

    I think Chris and Adam are pretty close with their book “Prosper” , do what you can to make life comfortable in the near future, love your family and friends and enjoy what you have now.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 2:44pm

    #13
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 29 2009

    Posts: 200

    We're at Peak Population — mostly

    If the statistics and analysis on https://econimica.blogspot.com.au/2016/11/what-world-looks-like-x-africa… are correct, then the only part of the world where the population is growing is Central Africa.

    This not good for Africa:

    Sadly, the lack of growth in the rest of the world coupled with the ZIRP/NIRP driven overcapacity of nearly everything means there is no pathway for Africa to export themselves to prosperity.

    He continues:

    The global under 45yr/old population have essentially peaked, will flat-line for a decade, and then begin what appears to be a very long decline. THAT IS A BIG DEAL. With interest rates already at zero, debt and overcapacity rampant, and no population growth anywhere that matters (economically)…that means the current game premised on growth is over. The only question is what will the new game look like? Clearly the issues we face mean free-markets will not be allowed nor is a democracy seemingly capable of voting for long term solutions that mean significant short term pain. In truth, neither functioning markets nor functioning democracy’s appears to exist any longer.

    So, how are we going to feed Africa? Can we, even if at the moment the world grows more than enough food for everybody?

    By the way, in Australia the only thing keeping our population growing is an immigration ponzi scheme run by desperate governments of all political complexions.

    The whole thing looks to me rather like Jim Kunstler’s long descent, and it started a few years ago.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 3:00pm

    #14

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Habit #5

    Habit #5 not 6

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 3:23pm

    #15
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 29 2009

    Posts: 200

    Whack-a-Mole

    MKI and Helix remind us about the quality of evidence and analysis. In my experience both sides in a debate are usually able to adduce fine-looking data and interpretation to support their position.

    For example, on the Automatic Earth website there’s one lone commenter who appears firmly convinced that climate change is not taking place, and from time to time he produces statistics and/or graphs to support his position. Some of these appear quite authoritative and I need to verify them, set them in context, etc. For lack of time the best I can do is to file them away “for future analysis,” a future which never arrives.

    The situation degenerates into a game of whack-a-mole, with each side seeking to knock down the other’s claims. My personal policy is not to make claims in the comments stream without being able to show some form of evidence to back them up. Often a website URL suffices.

    This doesn’t mean I can’t make comments. This is a different category completely.

    At the moment I trust Chris’ research and analysis. He has the educational background, the aptitude and ability to find, collect, analyse and report on data from a wide variety of sources — his reports never strike me as wild or fanciful — and he does this full-time. I am particularly pleased with his policy that he reserves the right to change his mind, that if he finds better data then he will use that, and so on. He is no politician.

    As for me, I have other necessary things to do in my life and I must attend to these. For the most part, all I can do is I cross-check what I read on PP by reading other websites and literature, being careful to avoid the echo chamber syndrome.

    I find general agreement among them: the climate is getting hotter, the oil supply is at peak cheapness, the oceans are being stripped of fish and refilled with plastic, and so on.

    I am grateful to Chris (and many others) for helping open my eyes.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 3:39pm

    Reply to #11

    Pipyman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 24 2011

    Posts: 48

    Yes

    crazy Malthusian” was enough for me. I mean, “malthusian” as a pejorative is usually enough as a thought stopper, but that really was some heavy artillery. It’s as crazy as believing this Cabernet in my glass will eventually run out, and that it will then take more energy to go and get the bottle rather than reach for the glass. And then, when the bottle runs out, I’ll have to go to the merchant in my car, 3 bloody miles! And get dressed, find the keys, spend some money…… Well, i could swing free I suppose, nah, too cold

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 4:16pm

    Reply to #4

    Snydeman

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    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    You are an engineer?

    MKI wrote:

    I backed up my position with numbers above. You didn’t, you just demanded answers and made accusations without any basis in fact. You sound foolish and biased. Myself, I have no personal opinion or projections I’m offering, I’m merely dealing with reality as it is.

    Fact: America is one of the wealthiest energy-rich nations on the planet. Look it up.

    A few more facts, this time about fossil fuels:

    1) Oil prices have recently collapsed from $150 to $60. Some shortage of energy! The sky is falling!

    2) NG prices have collapsed from 4.5 to 2.8; it has fallen 25% in the last year alone.

     Actually, you didn’t back up anything with facts.You used grandiloquent words and assertion without offering any charts, any sources, or any hard data. Your argument was as self-fulfilling (I’m right, as evidenced by me being right, therefore I am right!) as it was absent any actual data points. Oh, and about those “facts;”

     

    1) “Recently?” Who does your data gathering, a five year old? Oil prices actually never quite hit $150, and they fell to close to $25 a barrel about eight years ago before recovering. Here’s a chart to show you. Look…data! Sourced, too! You should try it sometime. You sound like a corporate shiv, an idiot with an axe to grind, or both. There, now we’ve both name-called. Feel better? I don’t, because that’s not how things are done here. Argue with intellect and logic, not emotion and supposition.

     

    2) Damned good thing all our cars, planes, and transport vehicles run off of NG. Oh. Wait. You really think that conversion happens overnight? You are an engineer?

     

    Now, I challenge you to offer a point-to-point, data-driven, and well argued counter-argument to Chris’s most recent article, found here. I’ll even send you a copy of the second-half of the article (behind the pay wall) so you can chew on that a while too, because it’s chocked full of data, charts, sourced links, etc. Then, if you can, you are free to pick apart his data point by point using your own well-researched and sourced data.

    MKI wrote:

    Now, Art Berman, who also often interviewed on this site (and who is an actual registered petroleum engineer & quite knowledgeable about oil and energy) is excellent on the subject of energy. Makes sense; it’s what he does for a living, he has to stay connected to reality and not get all wrapped up in ideology and wordsmithing. And not suprisingly I’ve never read anything he’s said yet I disagree with. And he would never say something so stupid like the US is “running short of energy”. Simply laughable. But again, he actually works in the real world. And it’s sort of fun to watch Berman squirm when CM goes off the deep end on some crazy Malthusian position on energy in an interview, though…

     

    No one said we are running short on energy. What people on this site and others have been saying is we are running short on the cheap, easy, high EROEI (that’s energy return on energy invested, by the way) energy. Namely, the cost of exploration and exploitation is rising to the point where there is less and less net excess energy left over for society to use. Declining EROEI is the potential incoming hazard, not running completely out of energy. There have even been papers published on this very topic. The difference between running out of energy versus running out of cheap energy is a subtle distinction I’d expect a petroleum engineer to understand. Where do you work again?

     

    So, back it up with data and evidence, if you are capable thereof. You may disagree with Chris all you want – in fact it is encouraged here – but the rules of the road demand you do so respectfully and with actual data and facts.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 4:30pm

    Reply to #13

    themccarthyfarm

    Status Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 24

    I have no objections

    I think the turn from positive to negative on the population front maybe a little slower than you suggest but otherwise I agree with you.  Too many people and not enough recourses is the problem but it looks like an economic problem on it’s face.  How do you feed anyone when there is no economic system?

    I live on a small farm where we can grow lots of food, our house produces all it’s own energy and we have no debt.  But if the economy took a really bad nose dive we would be in trouble.  It would seem we would be somewhat better off than those with less preparation but what would I have to do to keep what I have?

    I repeat;

    As Gail said there really isn’t a happy ending to this story as much as we all want there to be.  

    There will be a lot less people on earth in a hundred years.

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 5:18pm

    Reply to #13

    Mots

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 18 2012

    Posts: 65

    double posting

    double posting seems to be associated with a refusal by captcha to accept a first posting, prompting a retry

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 5:52pm

    Reply to #13

    Mots

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 18 2012

    Posts: 65

    NOT Kunstler's long descent

    1949. thank you very much for bringing up these discussion worthy points.  Except for Africa the world population is definitely leveling off in a nice manner as you point out. 
    This is perfect timing for advanced technology to make most undesirable jobs obsolete. This is great for everyone except the banksters who are placing many “news” reports in their broadcast control media about the dire consequences to others when the banksters lose their free money stream from exponential growth fiat schemes.  . 

    Countries like Japan are greatly improving since they had too many people already, despite what the bankers tell you via the NYT and other banking run rags.  Contrary to the banker’s published rantings and lament that THEIR ponzi scheme is blowing up in Japan, Japan does not need more people, and old people in Japan WANT to work and are resigned to the need for a currency collapse (something the country has experienced at least 5-10 times already and can deal with very well).  Moreover, the banker-media-lamented population decrease provides abundant, very beautiful, productive, and inexpensive land to for anyone who can escape cell-phone virtual reality and leave the city for a better life based on physical reality.  

    This is NOT a long descent.  It just feels that way to a N American who is finally coming down to reality and no longer steals resources from the rest of the world and lives profligately based on old oil burning dreams.

    Kunstler and other doomers in N America do not represent or speak for humanity. 

    The normal (average, bulk of) people on this planet are enjoying a better existence just NOW and look forward to an even better future.  Forget the spoiled overindulged, narccisstic, underskilled under performing N American’s view of their crumbling world. The people who create wealth (and support the spoiled Americans by sending that wealth to them) greatly outnumber the Americans (and W Europeans) and are creating a sustainable world now. Moreover, they are very optimistic and look forward to the future.  Their opinions count because they do most of the real work on the planet and they are the big majority.  The US mass media and doomer media represent the views of a spoiled minority who are looking at the past. 

    The energy discussion in this thread suffers from this bias and has severe assumption flaws, which require a weekend seminar or the like, to sort out.

    As mentioned previously I was in a major Chinese city last Fall wherein more than half of street traffic was on electric vehicles that consume 10-50x less energy compared to that found in America (and were fun). The discussions in America are based on facts and comparisons drawn from the golden age of 3000 pound vehicles running around on giant highways as a focus (as one example).  Another example is that American “experts” with PhDs in “environment” are squirting out resume stuffing  articles on things like how phosphate mines will run out and we have to recycle poop and even that is not good enough for long term agriculture, and topsoil is disappearing etc.(lamenting an imagined long descent)  Meanwhile the Asians who support these dilettantes by working hard and sending wealth to them have been recyling THEIR waste for more than a thousand years and have steadily built up their soil for increasingly excellent agriculture, and are now reducing their populations.  I asked a few Japanese if they were worried about food sufficiency and they just laughed and reminded me that the population is decreasing.  Also I note that much land has gone fallow (including productive orchards) due to low prices.  If you want to see the future go to Asia and try to move past the rotting American empire and its antiquated suburban lifestyle.

    The amount of energy consumed in basic industrial processes and in living (including heat pumps, transportation, communication, etc) is drastically decreasing for those societies that are not mired in their past petroleum laced golden years such that the amount of renewables needed for a luxurious life is rapidly approaching the break even point. 

    How many people are using petroleum consumption American profligancy as a measuring stick for how much energy is required to avoid “the long descent!!!”. 

    How many people are familiar with the Edo period wherein 20-30 million people lived in an area the size of California for more than 200 years completely sustainable (no net energy use) and developed a polite and civilized culture and WITHOUT any off the technology we have now?  Maybe the real issue is the lack of spirit in a small minority of the world’s population that is too self absorbed to see what the leading countries are up to.
     

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  • Mon, Jan 08, 2018 - 8:14pm

    Reply to #13

    mememonkey

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 01 2009

    Posts: 99

    Hoping for Kunstler's long Descent

    Mots wrote:

    1949. thank you very much for bringing up these discussion worthy points.  Except for Africa the world population is definitely leveling off in a nice manner as you point out. 
    This is perfect timing for advanced technology to make most undesirable jobs obsolete. This is great for everyone except the banksters who are placing many “news” reports in their broadcast control media about the dire consequences to others when the banksters lose their free money stream from exponential growth fiat schemes.  . 

    Countries like Japan are greatly improving since they had too many people already, despite what the bankers tell you via the NYT and other banking run rags.  Contrary to the banker’s published rantings and lament that THEIR ponzi scheme is blowing up in Japan, Japan does not need more people, and old people in Japan WANT to work and are resigned to the need for a currency collapse (something the country has experienced at least 5-10 times already and can deal with very well).  Moreover, the banker-media-lamented population decrease provides abundant, very beautiful, productive, and inexpensive land to for anyone who can escape cell-phone virtual reality and leave the city for a better life based on physical reality.  

    This is NOT a long descent.  It just feels that way to a N American who is finally coming down to reality and no longer steals resources from the rest of the world and lives profligately based on old oil burning dreams.

    Kunstler and other doomers in N America do not represent or speak for humanity. 

    The normal (average, bulk of) people on this planet are enjoying a better existence just NOW and look forward to an even better future.  Forget the spoiled overindulged, narccisstic, underskilled under performing N American’s view of their crumbling world. The people who create wealth (and support the spoiled Americans by sending that wealth to them) greatly outnumber the Americans (and W Europeans) and are creating a sustainable world now. Moreover, they are very optimistic and look forward to the future.  Their opinions count because they do most of the real work on the planet and they are the big majority.  The US mass media and doomer media represent the views of a spoiled minority who are looking at the past. 

    The energy discussion in this thread suffers from this bias and has severe assumption flaws, which require a weekend seminar or the like, to sort out.

    As mentioned previously I was in a major Chinese city last Fall wherein more than half of street traffic was on electric vehicles that consume 10-50x less energy compared to that found in America (and were fun). The discussions in America are based on facts and comparisons drawn from the golden age of 3000 pound vehicles running around on giant highways as a focus (as one example).  Another example is that American “experts” with PhDs in “environment” are squirting out resume stuffing  articles on things like how phosphate mines will run out and we have to recycle poop and even that is not good enough for long term agriculture, and topsoil is disappearing etc.(lamenting an imagined long descent)  Meanwhile the Asians who support these dilettantes by working hard and sending wealth to them have been recyling THEIR waste for more than a thousand years and have steadily built up their soil for increasingly excellent agriculture, and are now reducing their populations.  I asked a few Japanese if they were worried about food sufficiency and they just laughed and reminded me that the population is decreasing.  Also I note that much land has gone fallow (including productive orchards) due to low prices.  If you want to see the future go to Asia and try to move past the rotting American empire and its antiquated suburban lifestyle.

    The amount of energy consumed in basic industrial processes and in living (including heat pumps, transportation, communication, etc) is drastically decreasing for those societies that are not mired in their past petroleum laced golden years such that the amount of renewables needed for a luxurious life is rapidly approaching the break even point. 

    How many people are using petroleum consumption American profligacy as a measuring stick for how much energy is required to avoid “the long descent!!!”. 

    How many people are familiar with the Edo period wherein 20-30 million people lived in an area the size of California for more than 200 years completely sustainable (no net energy use) and developed a polite and civilized culture and WITHOUT any off the technology we have now?  Maybe the real issue is the lack of spirit in a small minority of the world’s population that is too self absorbed to see what the leading countries are up to.
     

    Mots,

    I don’t disagree with what I believe is your underlying premise that sustainability or quality of life can and should be achieved and arguably improved on significantly less energy per capita. Or that North America is the poster child for profligate energy waste.  

    That said,  the notion that Asia somehow represents the vanguard of this back to the humanure tilled land movement with intentional population degrowth aided by drudgery reducing smart technology ignores the reality that on a percentage basis those ‘super efficient’ electric vehicles in that Major Chinese city were and currently are primarily powered by coal. or that China is now the largest market for Cars and it’s oil consumption is a close number 2 behind the US and closing the gap. With numbers 3 and 4 oil consumers being India and Japan.  Indeed  the bulk of Japan’s economy is predicated on consuming energy to produce industrial output tools, vehicles and machinery.     Asian countries are no less rapacious in their exploitation of natural resources around the planet than North Americans or any other Western countries for that matter.  In many cases they are worse  due to lack of regulatory interference.   Last time I checked every country in the world ‘s economic models and policies are still predicated on an assumption of growth.

    And it ignores the intractable nature of the predicament facing Industrial civilization i.e., that population overshoot is a function of this windfall of fossil fuel energy exploitation which is to say a symptom not a cause.  And the path down Hubbert’s curve is going to look very different than the happy times climbing up.   (FWIW the meaningful time scale here is about 80 years not 160 as another posted)  The sheer scale of necessary population reduction over this time period is stunning. Japan may indeed be reducing it’s population but it’s not intentional.  There is no way for everyone to ” go back to the land” or hunt and gather  without the fossil inputs there is no way to feed 7.5 – 9 billion people with the available natural resources

    Again I agree that is the right direction and appropriate ethos, but the idea that we can revert to a ‘no net energy’ social construct like Edo Japan without the displacement and catastrophic disruptions to world society is to my mind are far fetched and also ignores the damages we have done to global eco systems.

    Also, those advanced efficiency technologies that you speak of are a form of complexity that is part and parcel of the whole industrial system. You can’t take the ‘industrial’ out of civilization without huge doomer like repercussions.  You can’t mine for precious earths and minerals  with solar powered excavators.  Complexity is a function of and integral to the energy throughputs of a system.  Energy density of fossil fuels is responsible for those complex technologies and their production.

    I would say that the problem is with the intersection of human nature and industrialism itself not one region or another…the Monkeys with bulldozers’ dilemma if you will.   Even the bulk of the worlds populations living ‘better’ without North American excess that you refer are part of and dependent on industrial civilization.

     I hope we get Kunstler’s long descent, the longer the better for transition.  My concern is that instead we get a short descent, as the wheels come off fossil fuel powered industrial society and we crash and burn.

     

    Mememonkey

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 3:27am

    #16
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 859

    Kunstler once

    called it, long descent, the “remedievalization” of western culture.

    hope your mare is settled

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 3:35am

    Reply to #9

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4505

    22

    Helix wrote:

    I hear what Chris and Gail are saying, but I can’t agree wholeheartedly with their conclusions.  First, let me just posit that the decline in oil use is likely to be somewhat of a mirror image of its rise.  If we take 1859 as the beginning of the oil era, that makes just under 160 years from then until now.  If we assume we’re somewhere near the peak now, that implies that the oil era will close out sometime around 2180 or or thereabouts.  Widespread oil consumption will ramp down somewhat sooner, of course, but certainly not tomorrow.

    I’ll open this with the number 22.

    In the past 22 years half of all the oil burned throughout all of human history, has been burned.  The reason is that we’re burning a percent or two more each year than the last.  That means we’re using it in an exponentially driven fashion.

    Which means that taking a straight line approach to timing can be, actually is, wildly misleading.

    Second, the oil in the early years was the low hanging fruit referred to above.  With such fruit one can do all sorts of fun things, like waste it or build out an enormously complex economic system that supports the increasingly difficult and energetically expensive proposition of getting to the higher fruit (much of which is barely ripe, and not as sweet as the lower fruit was).

    Which means that assuming the upslope and the down slope of oil production will be similarly experienced is a false proposition.  The upslope is easy and fun, the down slope is dangerous and hard.  

    My prediction is that much of the most difficult oil will never be accessed, even though technically doable by today’s standards.  The necessary organization and complexity will simply not be there.  We’ll have to make other arrangements.

    22.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 4:11am

    Reply to #13

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4505

    The trends all agree with your conclusion

    themccarthyfarm wrote:

    I think the turn from positive to negative on the population front maybe a little slower than you suggest but otherwise I agree with you.  Too many people and not enough recourses is the problem but it looks like an economic problem on it’s face.  How do you feed anyone when there is no economic system?

    I live on a small farm where we can grow lots of food, our house produces all it’s own energy and we have no debt.  But if the economy took a really bad nose dive we would be in trouble.  It would seem we would be somewhat better off than those with less preparation but what would I have to do to keep what I have?

    I repeat;

    As Gail said there really isn’t a happy ending to this story as much as we all want there to be.  

    There will be a lot less people on earth in a hundred years.

    I’m trying to find a different conclusion than yours, but I am unable to.  I could find one if we humans immediately began doing things differently, but our belief systems are so entrenched, and people fight change so ferociously, that we’re going to “progress” ourselves right into a big disaster. 

    And because everything is interconnected, we have to look at it all in proper context.  For example, the economy where debts are accumulating exponentially and at twice the underlying rate of economic growth and at 4x the rate of energy expansion.  That’s unsustainable.  What happens when a global pile of debt so enormous collapses?  It’s hard to posit how that happens without war, or the loss of a vast swath of unnecessary financial institutions, weaker member states, and a huge class of left-behinds.

    We also have to look to the ecosystems where, frankly, the data is thoroughly depressing and alarming, or both.

    Nothing can be examined in a vacuum anymore.  We are out of the prior times where abundant absorption buffers existed to hide our external effects from us.  The externalities are now here.

    It’s starting to creep into the mainstream consciousness as this very recent Bloomberg article drives home:

    Ecosystems are Collapsing, Food Bowls Are Next

    Jan 8, 2018

    The world we grew up in is disappearing.

    From the tropics to the poles, the effects of climate change are transforming environments that humans have known since prehistory.

    Chances of saving the world’s coral reefs are disappearing because of mass bleaching, according to a paper by scientists on four continents published in the journal Science last week. Such events, caused by warmer-than-usual waters, had never been observed until the 1980s, but are now occurring once every six years. Many marine biologists now believe they’ll see the demise of coral reefs worldwide within their lifetimes.

    Similar trends are afoot in colder climes. The Arctic shows no signs of returning to the conditions of reliable ice cover that have persisted at least since data was first collected in the late 19th century, scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration wrote in an annual review last month. Permafrost temperatures hit record-high levels in 2016, and the region as a whole is warming at twice the global rate, they wrote.

    If you think that’s the worst thing the coming century of climate change has in store, check what’s happening to agricultural land.

    Production from the world’s farms needs to grow at a headlong pace over the coming decades. Rising populations and growing incomes that are already driving up consumption of land-intensive produce such as meat mean demand for farm products will rise between 70 percent and 110 percent between 2005 and 2050, according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization.

    Usable land, though, is expected to barely increase. Despite warmer climates opening up frigid stretches of Canada, Russia and China to agriculture, desertification and degradation elsewhere means the area of land considered moderately or highly suitable for agriculture will only rise from 33.2 million square kilometers to 34.1 million square kilometers toward the end of this century, according to one 2014 study.

    For decades now, humanity has mostly kept its edge in the race between farm productivity and starvation. In the future, we’ll be running faster just to keep up.

    And all of that is based on a “business as usual” assumption set.  There’s no latitude in there for massive climate disruption, or for a loss of fertilizer production, or for an outbreak of new pest or plant disease that might mirror the fungal parasites that are now eliminating both amphibians and reptiles across the globe.

    But perhaps some hormone mimetic will come along and utterly disrupt things before then.  You know, something so startlingly effective that it might cause human sperm counts to decline by 50% in just 40 years, or contribute to something even more alarming such as cause an oceanic turtle population to swing to a 99% female ratio.

    Changes such as these are so alarming individually, that it’s difficult to combine them and make any sense of them.  The only possible response seems impossible which is to immediately stop doing…what exactly?  Well, all of the things that are new in the past 40 years, I suppose. 

    As I said, that seems unthinkable.  But we have to keep trying to raise awareness, as cranky as that makes some people.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 6:01am

    #17
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 859

    It's easy

    To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival. Wendell Berry

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 6:07am

    #18
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 859

    To whoever is left,

    “Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest – the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways – and re-enter the woods. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world’s longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in – to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them – neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them – and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again.” Wendell Berry

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 6:52am

    Reply to #13

    thc0655

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1436

    Things that make you applaud

    Chris wrote:

    I’m trying to find a different conclusion than yours, but I am unable to.  I could find one if we humans immediately began doing things differently, but our belief systems are so entrenched, and people fight change so ferociously, that we’re going to “progress” ourselves right into a big disaster. 

    And because everything is interconnected, we have to look at it all in proper context.  For example, the economy where debts are accumulating exponentially and at twice the underlying rate of economic growth and at 4x the rate of energy expansion.  That’s unsustainable.  What happens when a global pile of debt so enormous collapses?  It’s hard to posit how that happens without war, or the loss of a vast swath of unnecessary financial institutions, weaker member states, and a huge class of left-behinds.

    We also have to look to the ecosystems where, frankly, the data is thoroughly depressing and alarming, or both.

    Nothing can be examined in a vacuum anymore.  We are out of the prior times where abundant absorption buffers existed to hide our external effects from us.  The externalities are now here.

    “A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from those who believe it’s just a joke.”

    Søren Kierkegaard

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 8:04am

    #19

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 278

    MKI

    MKI, you seem to be missing a critical point when you say that the US is awash in energy, which is absolutely correct. It’s the “petrodollar” and “trade deficit”. The US has to import from 1/3 to 2/3 of the oil it consumes, not sure what the figure is today. Why has the US done this if it has huge reserves of easy oil?

    The concern is what will happen when the petrodollar status is lost? This could occur over a span of weeks. 

    I would tend tend to agree that there may be some good remaining oil left in currently protected areas that could be opened up when needed. The point there is, all it will do is buy the US a few more years. It will also take time to get these new reserves opened up. 

    You say that Art Berman doesn’t share these concerns about oil? Really? Just the other week I was reading an article of his which was very concerning about peak oil. I can provide you the link in a couple days since I’m currently on the road using my crappy iPhone 4.        

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 8:34am

    Reply to #9
    MKI

    MKI

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    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Helix, I agree fully wit your position.

    Helix, your comment is very much on target. Well written.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 8:41am

    Reply to #10
    MKI

    MKI

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    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    The chance of doubling fuel production

    I don’t think we will need to so so. We merely use this much fuel because we can. Remember, 70% of the oil barrel is in transportation, and basically very little of it is needed at all. We just use it because we are rich. It would be easy to replace it with public transport or just living closer.

    Same thing with population. We have a burginging population because we can. If you don’t breed, somebody else will fill the space and utilize the resources. This is simple natural selection. You either play the game or get replaced until we fill our natural environment and fully utilized our environment. As of now, due to technology, we haven’t even got close to filling our environment. QED.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 8:50am

    #20

    suziegruber

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 03 2008

    Posts: 128

    It's All About EROI

    I appreciate the lively conversation on this topic and I refer you to a series of posts on The Oil Drum, where I first became acquainted with Gail’s awesome analysis. 

    Why EROI Matters

    Energy Returned On Energy Invested

    It’s pretty simple.

    I am grateful the Oil Drum archives remain available to us…..

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 9:04am

    Reply to #19
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    You say that Art Berman doesn't share these concerns about oil?

    First, I never claimed to know what Art thinks, I merely said I’ve never heard Art say anything I disagree with. And who said I was “unconcerned about oil”? I’m quite concerned. It’s my livelihood. I just bought a lot of EXX stock, so I’m concerned :-). But am I concerned about “running out” anytime soon? No. I wish! But if the price ever gets to say $200 for a long period of time, we should be getting near peak production worldwide. It will be a good time to be working in oil. I just don’t expect it very soon. Can only hope…

    Second, of course oil will peak sometime. I just am not foolish enough to claim to know when. Way too multilateral.

    Third, peak oil, or peak liquid fuel, is not an issue with “energy”. We only use (and waste) lots of oil because, well…we can! We’re rich and awash in nearly all types of energy (coal, oil, NG, nuclear, you name it) so and live like we are rich. Now if we were in Japan and had to import everything I might be more concerned. But just look at our massive housing SF footprint and how far we travel by car or plane just because we can. What a waste. It’s nice being rich, I guess. Just please don’t claim we are “energy poor”. We’re not.

    Fourth, I would love high oil prices for personal reasons. Would be much better for our culture in many ways IMO too. But unfortunately we are nowhere close right now. We are not even at $100/bbl yet.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 10:23am

    #21

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Perspective

     Just please don’t claim we are “energy poor”. We’re not

    Sorry I can’t resist offering a different perspective.  I have a friend driving the Alaska highway right now and she said they are taking “extra” fuel because they might not be able to get fuel thus time of year.  I imagine if they ran out of gas they would feel “energy poor”!  Just because people say we are awash with energy does not equate with heat in our homes or fuel in our vehicles or cheap anything.  One of my kids made the mistake of buying a home with electric heat and their bill was $700 last month.  They sure wouldn’t think we are an energy rich nation as a matter of fact they would adamantly say they are energy “poor”!

    When one steps down from the 500′ level and talks about PEOPLE the energy story isn’t rosy.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 10:34am

    Reply to #9
    Helix

    Helix

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    Posts: 51

    Hi Chris, and thanks for your

    Hi Chris, and thanks for your response.

    I’m not willing to hang my hat on the number 22.  This number falls in the category of “past performance”, and as we all should know by now, “past performance is no guarantee of future returns.”

    The logic is simple, and to my way of thinking, compelling.  As supplies tighten, prices rise relative to what people can afford.  This will cause demand to decline, which will tend to restrain the price rise.  So in my view, the long-term trend will be rising prices relative to incomes, but the rate of advance will be tempered.  As more and more people use oil more and more efficiently, or stop using it altogether for certain purposes, demand will continue to ramp downward.  As the process continues, the economics of production will be altered and oil usage will become focused on essential activities.  The bulk of society will redeploy around the new reality of oil (and energy generally) scarcity.  It is exactly the transition from abundant, cheap energy to scarce, expensive energy, and the altered supply vs demand paradigm that that implies, that will cause to downhill slide to extend for many decades.  So I’m thinking that the ramp down in usage will, in rough outline, mirror the ramp up.

    There’s no question that it will be a bumpy ride downhill.  Ideally the bumps will be manageable.

    I am aware that my analysis does not reach the same conclusion as that reached in the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth”.  I tread lightly when disagreeing with this study.  But the differences are more a matter of timing than of trend.  Perhaps someday I will find the time to develop my own model and put my basic logic to the test.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 11:06am

    #22

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4505

    Helix...here's my basic concern in one chart

    First, excellent conversation, we all get to check our assumptions and data.  Well, at least those willing to provide data.

    Here’s my most important chart of the future:

    You said:

    The bulk of society will redeploy around the new reality of oil (and energy generally) scarcity.

    While ‘society’ may reorganize itself, because of course it will have to, I sincerely doubt that an exponentially-based system of credit will be able to pull off such a feat.

    We are all fish in water….so “what is water”?  Hard to detect when you are the fish.

    Except our question is “how important has access to high net energy BTUs from fossil fuels been to everything we see around us”?

    About as important as water is to fish I would propose.

     

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 11:50am

    #23

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Love The Analgy

    Love the analogy Chris.  I was thinking of oil specifically as being the life blood of a person and that person as being septic.  A person can go for a while and not know they are septic but there comes a point that without immediate and intensive intervention that person will hit a tipping point and death follows.  I suspect that a hiccup in oil distribution for whatever reason will cause major disruptions and crisis for many.  I remember post 1964 Alaskan earthquake when bridges were out.  So how healthy is the patient?

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 12:21pm

    Reply to #13

    Pipyman

    Status Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 48

    Ha

    I always thought Chris was a closet clown…….. Could I borrow your shoes and your squirty bow tie Chris, I think it may help people on this side of the pond ignore me even more?

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 12:25pm

    #24
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 514

    Looking forward?

    Adam: Maybe you should extend an invitation to the Sebastopol seminar to Oprah. Awareness to the Crash approaching is one way to “face that probability! If Gail is right, maybe it is time to capture the American spirit with a “happy story”. If the U.S. isn’t a “storybook” world, I don’t know what is.Yes, Chris, if we don’t change the perception, the status quo will continue. The apocryphal tone which seems rampant, especially in the U.S., does nothing but allow us to stick our heads in the sand. The current political cynicism of TPTB only confirm that

    “we know the price of everything and the value of nothing” 

     

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 1:23pm

    Reply to #21
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 69

    Perspective

    AKGran (btw I’m in Anchorage how’s that for a coincidence?): Look, the reason I “stay at 500 ft” is because we Americans are so rich we can’t see reality up close. We can’t remember how normal people in the world still live and how we used to live.

    The US housing footprint is twice the SF it was in 1950, yet our families are 1/2 the size as then. Think: one bath used to be the norm for a large family. The reason people have a hard time heating their homes today? We live in huge SF in isolated small families like only rich people used to. Meanwhile, why not walk or bike (we’ve done this for years in a cold climate, it’s much healthier). With double-digit size family we can easily live in 1200 SF as well. Why don’t people just cut back and live within their means if times hare hard?

    If people just lived in extended families, got along better, stopping divorcing and arguing, walked and biked, stopped eating out, cooked heathy food at home, lived close to work…us oil producers would probably go out of business (yikes). So no, I’m not very sympathetic to a people consume resources like they are rich while going into debt to fund it all…then cry how resource short the US is. Crazy times these are. That’s just my perspective.

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 2:38pm

    Reply to #13

    Mots

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 18 2012

    Posts: 65

    Hoping for Kunstler's long Descent

    Meme, thanks for your thoughtful reply.  Very thoughtful but I think that your assumptions and facts are based on false facts from a bankerized media promoted GDP religion world view where racketeering activities form the majority of the GDP and total amount of oil/coal is an input necessary for human progress.  The “GDP” that CM keeps talking about is not a talisman of real world prosperity, progress or human happiness and the “news” is merely a dream state placed in front of sheeple to get them to believe things that facilitate their conversion into vassals of a neofeudal society owned and managed by those GDP experts.  Thus I disagree with your memes.  An objective view outside the US meme may be necessary to break the spell cast by the oligarchs and their financial analyst acolytes including those found on this site who promote the false religion of GDP.

    Japan (and now China) are rapidly moving past industrialization and going into a knowledge based economy.  Those very efficient vehicles in China are progressively being powered by solar energy.  Even in parts of the West you have electric vehicles being charged by parking lots with roofs made of solar panels. These products are sold now.  The conversion to a solar powered transportation is real and not a dream or conjecture.  To say that electric vehicles (which WILL replace fossil fuel burners) require coal energy is a misrepresentation at best and a hallucination at worst.  In fact already there is much more solar electric energy entering the grid than there is electric car removal of energy from that same grid.  Further, already solar electric is being used more directly (solar to car when parked) without going long distances in the grid.  The old coal story doesnt even fit the rear view mirrer perspective, much less the fast ongoing reality of  rapidly increasing renewables powering the grid.

    We moved from agrarian (99% farmers) to non agrarian (1% farmers) over a short period of not so many years from a historical perspective. The present reality of change to sustainable (mostly solar electric but also wind etc,) is just as fast, on the same time scale.  I dont see the point of looking in the mirror and talking about coal burning “but see….see…. there be coal burning!!” particularly when the majority population and technology (yes, China is advanced OVER the US in electric inventions and development change, I know this as a fact and I am developing my inventions there because they have so much more opportunity and more openness to change) are rapidly moving now  to power a non-fossil fuel future with renewables where those renewables even now are much more abundant than the “there be coal energy entering electric cars!” .  The Japanese rapidly moved away from smoke stack  industries and the Chinese are similarly moving away from coal to renewables and rapidly cleaning up their environment, just as the Americans did and the Japanese did.  Meme monkey, I was astonished to see that the meme presented by the oligarch’s meme machine is totally wrong about Asia. You can continue to believe the monkey’d dream meme of a GDP evaluated world memed out by the American “media” dream meme machine.

    The stuff you read in the American mass delusional news networks is very misleading.  I cant stop anyone from believing the hallucinations of the mass media or to follow the gospel of (the racketeers defined and measured) GDP and economic growth desirability and strategies.  By way of example, the BIGGEST cause of carbon burning by far (represented in that worshiped GDP) is the U.S. military.  The US military is the biggest source of carbon emissions on the planet and its continued growth is a big part of the “GDP.”  If the US stopped killing and bombing and etc. around the world, a large portion of US oil would NOT be burned and the GDP would drop. This is just an example of what the GDP boys refuse to talk about but want to facilitate instead as “prosperity.”

    Bankers and their financial analyzers (now funded by web sites on the internet with paid for access to advertisers) make money from the rest of us who believe that “religion.”  The GDP valuations are not even based on real wealth and do not  reflect  what people need. I predict that the racketeer’s GDP will fall and that many of us outside the  neofeudal-izing US will be much better off and consider that progress, particularly if the bombs stop falling, the drones  stop flying, and the rest of the world stops sending THEIR wealth to the American GDP meme masters in return for nothing tangible expect maybe a promise not to bomb them. 
    Maybe this is part my disagreement with financial analysts and their “I have a PhD in economics!!!” masters who include the insulting assumption that someone who makes twice as much money as another is twice as good as that  other, and that  someone who makes 1000 time as much as another  (such as found in America now) is 1000 times as good as another.  This is a bed  rock fundamental of that oligarch dream meme.  Meme monkey, I disagree with that meme and the meme that those racketeers’ creation of GDP based primarily from racketeering and more often than not counting $ as progress something that hurts the people somehow should be the basis of evaluation.  I am done with  that. We need cryptos to abolish the banks. We also need  a different measure of human progress to abolish the GDP along with the bogus evaluation of employment and other things that go with it, and to help the GDP acolytes (financial managers) direct their efforts toward real wealth and prosperity.  dont need these dreams of get rich quick that just takes time away from our real lives……  No more time for this keyboarding chit chat.  I dont have any more time to defend my statements.
    Best wishes
    Mots

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 3:14pm

    Reply to #22
    MKI

    MKI

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    Posts: 69

    Here's another important chart of the future...

    http://news.berkeley.edu/berkeley_blog/evidence-of-a-decline-in-electric

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 4:16pm

    #25

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    So no, I'm not very

    So no, I’m not very sympathetic to a people consume resources like they are rich while going into debt to fund it all…then cry how resource short the US is. Crazy times these are. That’s just my perspective.

    One advantage to growing older is being able to hold two emotions and thoughts at the same time.  I understand being frustrated with people but we have been lied to for so long people think cheap fuel will last forever and they don’t understand where and why the economic bus derailment happened.  So, you, and society blames Mr. & Mrs Middleclass and they blame themselves and there is a ripple effect, like family violence, drugs, crime, and the effects goes on and on.I think it was Chris Hedges who talks about the war against the weak.  I think its a war against the people.

    Secondly I don’t know that many rich people, monetarily speaking.  But I do know people who live without running water or indoor plumbing.  People that don’t have much but will share everything they do have with you if you are in need. People who pass things around and can squeeze a dime out of a nickel.

    You say why don’t people cut back and live within their means when times are hard?  You mean like paying 25% to 50% more in health insurance, paying off a catastrophic medical bill, or let’s see the increase in utilities, food, fuel, and just for frivolous kicks ever priced braces or had an emergency vet bill. Probably not. For petes sake walk in some-one else’s shoes.  I know I could introduce you to a friend that just lost a child to cancer, yep they should live within their means cause times hard.  How about the family who’s father just committed suicide I could go on but won’t.

    Well if you live in Anchorage go volunteer at Bean’s Cafe or Brother Frances Shelter or the Covenant house and come back and let’s talk again and we will see if it’s still easy to BLAME people.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 5:31pm

    Reply to #13

    mememonkey

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 01 2009

    Posts: 99

    Mots

    Mots,

    Thanks for your response.  I offer this rejoinder even though you indicate that you don’t have any more time to to defend your statements.

    First I can assure you that my arguments, facts and assumptions are not based on ” banker memes” that I absorbed in some sort of fugue state perched in front of a TV news show or worshiping at the alter of GDP as a totem of success. My arguments are rooted in the science of ecology and the physics of thermodynamics. My facts are measurable and observable in the real world.

    In your world the future is all about smart renewable electrical tech It is after all what you do and good for you! I approve and prefer that flavor of technology to conventional BAU.

    And while you might feel it is impolite to point to China’s Coal habit as the renewable future looks so promising to your eyes It is unfortunately current reality. 2017 saw a 3.5 percent increase in coal consumption in China and while yes that unpleasant fact gets reported in the corrupt  media but I can also see with my own eyes Mr. Buffett’s Coal Train with it’s miles of cars pass by me here on it’s way to Vancouver for transshipment to China.

    It is not an accident that China is economically colonizing Africa for access to it’s energy and mineral resources, talking with the Saudis about a Petro Yuan or building out it’s decidedly non solar powered Navy and Military to project power for the OBOR initiative. China, in fact all of Asia runs  fossil fuel powered industrial economies with rising material standards of living and growth as the de facto objective.

    Your statement that Japan and now China are rapidly moving past industrialization and going into a knowledge based economy is belied by the observable and measurable energy inputs into and material goods out of those economies. Moreover, to the extent that there is a shift in those modalities in a given country such as China, they are due more to externalizing those industrial processes to poorer nations for the benefit of wage arbitrage (like the USA did with Asia)

    To the extent that energy efficiencies are realized by technological advances in information processing or other technologies they appear to be obviated by Jevon’s paradox as growth at any cost is still the context in which they occur.

    While you talk about the rapid conversion to solar and renewable powered transportation, you ignore the necessary fossil fuel inputs to the system and grid that is responsible for that. The roads, mining, batteries, factories, plastics, electronics, maintenance etc. that are integral to the production and maintenance of those technologies.

    With regards to your comment:

    We moved from agrarian (99% farmers) to non agrarian (1% farmers) over a short period of not so many years from a historical perspective. The present reality of change to sustainable (mostly solar electric but also wind etc,) is just as fast, on the same time scale. 

    Is revealing as well. It turns out that both those paradigms shifts are a function of the same thing. I.E,

    Oil and related fossil fuel exploitation.

    I would argue that you appear to confuse the initial rapid rate of renewable adoption with the reality of it’s ultimate and inherent scalability given the resource constrained inputs to this build out you anticipate. At it’s core this argument is most readily understood in the context of the low EROI of these renewables when conventional inputs are accurately and recursively accounted for. This is ultimately a function of the diffuse nature of sunlight and wind as an energy source.

    Finally to end on an agreeable note I think that in many ways we are aligned on a philosophical basis with regards to the military carbon footprint and other exploitations of empire, banks, GDP as a measure of value, definition of work etc.  I even agree that China is where the better tech is increasingly arising.

    I don’t believe in the the religion of GDP as you put it but nor do I believe in the religion of progress technological or otherwise, either. I don’t see it saving us from what is coming or making a smooth transition a world wide industrial system to an enlightened techno agrarian one.  Which is not to say that a transition won’t happen. It just won’t be techno, smooth or enlightened. 

    I believe in the laws of Nature and think we are subject to them.  Industrial society as interesting and comfortable as many of it’s benefits are,  is a crime against nature and the punishment is coming due.

    thanks for the debate

    mememonkey

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 7:57pm

    Reply to #6
    NickAdams10

    NickAdams10

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    Joined: Feb 05 2015

    Posts: 30

    Granola Shotgun

    jdsfrisco wrote:

    Long debates about energy between techno cornicopians and doomers are silly. Mostly I’ve notice that memebrs of both groups live nearly identical lives. Same kinds of homes and apartments, same cars (an SUV and a Prius are more alike than they are different,) same flights, same food (Walmart vs. Whole Foods is a cosmetic variation,) same everything.

    Personally, I live a plain vanilla regular life too, but I’ve made some modifications. I carry no debt. Not even a mortgage. I’ve super insulated my home room by room over the years and installed a high quality metal roof that reflects heat. The place basiclly doesn’t need mechanical heat or air conditioning anymore. I own a car, but I live in a place where driving isn’t critically necessary and only put about 2,000 miles a year on it. It’s a small town that’s easy and pleasant to navigate on foot and by bicycle without feeling like a loser. And I’ve transformed the half acre yard into a highly productive food garden and preserve the bounty with home canning, etc. https://granolashotgun.com/2016/12/27/how-to-ride-the-slide-suburban-homesteading/

    I do these things because I enjoy this kind of life, and because I like knowing that I can ride out any number of serious difficulties if need be. If energy remains plentiful and cheap forever, great! If energy becomes scarce and expensive… shrug.

    If you’re not familiar with Johnny’s blog, I highly, highly recommend it. Johnny has tremendous insight and a terrific personality to accompany that. The post to which he linked is easily one of his best. I’d also recommend the following two:

    https://granolashotgun.com/2017/07/25/postcards-from-the-zombie-apocalypse/

    https://granolashotgun.com/2016/01/16/living-a-resilient-life/

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  • Tue, Jan 09, 2018 - 10:03pm

    #26

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3109

    mitigation

    MKI-

    I think an important consideration to “moving closer” and “having smaller homes” is the sheer amount of private fixed investment our society has sunk into “living far” and “having larger homes”.  Plus, construction of public transit projects takes both time and energy to put in place.

    Such a change as you describe could happen, but it would take a lot of time and investment to bring about – where investment means “spending energy to construct stuff”.  Once we get to a point where energy is more scarce, we’ll be in one of those catch-22s where we need to change our infrastructure in order to save energy, but we will be hard-pressed to find the energy to do so.

    The Hirsch report talked about the time and expense of mitigations, projecting that once things flipped, it would take 10-20 years to implement enough structural changes to deal with the issue.  (It was a while ago I read this – this is based on my memory).  And that during that 10-20 year period, things would be pretty unpleasant.

    It also suggested that if we started early, we could avoid the unpleasantness.

    While I agree completely with the amount of waste, and the potential for reduction, I think we aren’t “starting early”, and that when things start to get serious, we won’t have done anything to prepare for it (because of the ‘oil is really cheap’ viewpoint) and so it will be a 10-20 year period of no-fun-at-all that could have been avoided had we started preparing in advance of the problem.

    https://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/pdf/Oil_Peaking_NETL.pdf

    I’m also going to guess that when things get more serious, your private oil companies (and mine) will all be nationalized.  That, or a windfall profits tax will be imposed – like it was in the 70s – so our upside will most likely be capped by government action.  We’ll be in a position of having made the right call, but not being able to benefit from it while at the same time suffering the downsides along with everyone else.

    I’ve often wondered how to hedge against this.  A railcar full of oil in the backyard seems impractical.  Any suggestions – assuming government will act to cap “windfall profits” just like they did the last time?

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 6:06am

    #27

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    I would remind us...

    that as a teacher of history, I am aware of no examples of large, complex societies voluntarily or involuntarily devolving to a less complex society without either substantial change (as the Mayans walking away from their cities, or the Anasazi doing the same) or substantial disruption and violence (such as the collapses of the “Golden Age” civilizations). We’ve never seen human civilization operating at the scale and complexity we are operating at now, so I find any notion that we will simply “scale back” without massive disruption and/or violence not rooted in any examples I can point to.

     

    We also, psychologically speaking, are never as good at heading-off a crisis as we are as putting the pieces together once crisis hits. There are numerous examples I could highlight in both the modern and ancient worlds that show we are piss-poor long-term thinkers when in a group. The bigger the group, the worse we are at it too.

     

    This will not slowly devolve, because a) too many people have their bets placed on the current system, and they will not give up their creature comforts easily or without a fight, and b) too many people are willfully ignorant of the dashboard of red warning lights flashing at us.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 6:08am

    Reply to #26

    Chris Martenson

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 4505

    Don't forget about the concrete...

    davefairtex wrote:

     Once we get to a point where energy is more scarce, we’ll be in one of those catch-22s where we need to change our infrastructure in order to save energy, but we will be hard-pressed to find the energy to do so.

    Great points Dave, as usual…and I want to remind everyone that because of the short-sighted, profits-today-count-for-more-than-a-better-tomorrow mentality most of the world, but especially the US, is going to be having to replace ~100% of its existing concrete structures over the next 100 years.

    In every single reinforced concrete structure, silently behind the smooth exterior, the concrete is breaking itself apart due to the corroding steel inside.

    What all this means is that literally everything you see today that’s made of concrete will need to be replaced within a hundred years of its installation.  Every bridge, every building, every roadway…all of them.

    They’re just rotting away from the inside, silently and relentlessly.  When the rot progresses far enough, it leads to something called ‘spalling’, which is when the surface of the concrete crumbles away to reveal the rusted steel beneath.

    Once you notice this, you’ll see it everywhere: 

    So let’s travel forward just a few short years into the future. There we find hundreds of trillions of dollars more of global debt, even greater sums of unfunded liabilities, much more expensive fossil fuels (as explained in this recent podcast with Art Berman) — all competing with a crumbling concrete-built environment that will have to be torn down and replaced.

    Where the article above concludes that trillions of dollars will need to be be spent just in the US alone to replace its concrete infrastructure, that number will be at least an order of magnitude higher for the entire globe.

    And we don’t get much incremental benefit for the cost of replacing a crumbing piece of infrastructure. When you tear down a bridge and replace it you still have one bridge performing the services of one bridge. Sure, you occupy a number of people in the construction and manufacturing trades for a while, but you don’t get any added value beyond that. It’s not the same as putting in a new bridge at a new location to open up a new geographic area for greater economic activity.

    You just get your bridge replaced.  One for one: an economically neutral exchange that costs a lot of money.

    My larger question here is this: Can all the competing future demands even allow all of the current concrete infrastructure to simply be replaced, let alone expanded?

    What if there’s not enough energy for that task, plus the demands of feeding and sheltering and defending ourselves?

    It’s my strong belief that we’ll regret the short-term mentality that led us to trade durability for lower cost. Furthermore, I contend that competing future demands will prevent us from replacing all of our decaying infrastructure with similar copies.

    Either they won’t be replaced at all because we cannot afford to do so (see: Detroit) or we’ll have to bite the bullet and begin installing truly durable structures that won’t simply tear themselves apart from the inside in a few short decades. Which will likely be a lot more expensive to build.

    (Source)

    This was one of the more personally impactful articles I wrote in the last few years.  I learned something and it changed the way I see the world around me.  Now I notice spalling everywhere.  

    I see how much of our existing infrastructure is, essentially, disposable.  It’s built to be replaced, and soon even by human standards.  It rests upon the assumption that the energy will be there to do this.

    According to the EIA cement is the most energy intensive of all manufacturing industries (click on image to be taken to source) and it’s production is (of course) intimately linked to economic expansion:

    And of course that’s just the manufacture of the cement…not the mixing into concrete, transporting and pouring into a new structure.  Those cost extra.

    All of these new energy costs all begin to hit about the same time.  You know…in the twenty years between 2008 and 2028.

     We’re going to have to make other arrangements, and that especially includes the Chinese who may have a slightly greater focus on electric cars (sorry, but they are still only (45/24,200) = 0.2% of total yearly sales in 2017), but are entirely exposed to cement dynamics with their massive stack of apartment towers poured in place, often very badly.

    This all isn’t rocket science, just basic math.  Sadly, hard to get across because it runs afoul of treasured belief systems.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 6:26am

    #28

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    "Rome has grown since its

    “Rome has grown since its humble beginnings that it is now overwhelmed by its own greatness.”  –Titus Livius (Livy) 59 BC-17AD.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 6:31am

    Reply to #22
    Helix

    Helix

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    Joined: Sep 20 2008

    Posts: 51

    Hi Chris, and thanks again

    Hi Chris, and thanks again for your reply.  I’m in total agreement with you on our debt-based monetary regime.  There is absolutely no question in my mind that this regime will collapse, “first slowly, and then all at once” as some pundits have quipped about a related topic.  I also agree that it’s the impossibility of the chart you presented continuing that will be the root cause of the this collapse.

    Regarding your musing “how important has access to high net energy BTUs from fossil fuels been to everything we see around us?” Well, it’s essential, of course.  Civilizations are built on economic surplus, and the net energy supplied by fossil fuels has enabled us to generate surplus in abundance.  We’ve been fortunate indeed to live in era when such abundance has been available and has kept pace with growing economies and populations.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 7:43am

    Reply to #26
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Some more prespective

    Comment 1: Look at what Art Berman actually says:

    That is absolutely correct. For the shale plays, $50 is the cheapest — and really we need to be talking about $60-$65 kind of on average for the best of the plays in the core areas. Deepwater is higher. Oil sands can be sort of in that range for existing projects, probably $80 for new projects.

    This is chump change, not “moonshot” prices. Amazingly, $150 oil didn’t even seem to have extreme effect on driving cutbacks (look at mileage), so we seem to need over $200 oil $5 gas to really make much an impact in use…because we are rich! Remember, oil is 70% transport $ in the US and the US could eliminate half of driving relatively easy, most of that driving is just wasteful living. Because we can and life is so easy. Hardly a crisis.

    Sadly in the interview, Art then goes on to speculate on how oil will effect the overall economy, which is way outside his considerable petroleum engineering knowledge. He knows nothing more than you or I about how oil prices effects the general economy. My thoughts? Watch the price of oil for its economic indications. And it’s still very, very cheep right now, even at $150. Art got the economy part pretty wrong so far. A little humility would do Art (and all of us) good on economic matters. Since that interview, US companies have been making lots of $ (I’m talking real money, ROIC, not stock prices) and I’ve made a lot of money following along this growth. So Art got the economic part totally wrong, which is nothing against him, he should just know the limits of his expertise.

    Comment #2: It’s important to realize oil is merely the most convenient energy resource the US has and that’s why we use it. We could either cut back or replace it with ease. But by bother when it’s so cheap? This is why we use so much oil, because we can. But it would not hurt the economy to replace it with NG, coal, nuclear, or reduced usage. It would actually help!

    Comment #3: Infrastructure rebuild has no reason to damage the US economy, it will only provide a greater transfer of weatth from the rich to the average. This would be good because our economic productivity gains would then shift more to the common man from the rich. Remember, GDP has doubled since 1950 and we lived a pretty good life even back then. We simply don’t need as much energy anymore due to technology. We have new technologies in lighting, autos, communications that make life much easier and cheaper with no loss of function. Electricity usage and driving are both falling with no loss of quality of life even today when we are awash in cheap energy.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 9:02am

    #29
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 514

    Somebody did it right!

    Aqua Appia; 312 B.C. and still counting. Material engineering verses cheap and fast mechanical engineering is perhaps the new direction we should be taking. A consumer focus has led us to the situation we find ourselves in. Cost vs. value (or do I repeat myself)? Oh, did I mention, done by hand?

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 10:20am

    Reply to #26

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3109

    rebuilding infrastructure & national wealth

    Let’s use my favorite accounting statement – the balance sheet – to explain why rebuilding an existing bridge isn’t actually a positive thing for the economy.

    Imagine for a moment that “The Wealth of America” was contained on a massive balance sheet.  This included not only bridges and roads, but all the nonrenewable resources, like oil, coal, natural gas, and whatnot.

    So if you imagine the nation before we arrived; the balance sheet was full of natural resources, and very little fixed investment.  In the 400 years that followed, we “converted” natural nonrenewable wealth into bridges, houses, and what not.  Natural nonrenewable resource dropped, and “fixed investment” increased.  Let’s say the balance sheet stayed neutral – it was a transfer from the natural resource section over to the “fixed investment” section.

    Now let’s knock out a bridge because of rotting rebar, and then rebuild it.  What does that do to the “national wealth” balance sheet?

    It drops by the amount of nonrenewable natural resources used to tear down the old bridge, and then rebuild the new bridge.

    Same thing with hurricanes.  Destroy a bunch of cars, buy new ones – what is lost?  All the nonrenewables spent to construct them that we will never get back.

    That’s at a very basic level.  Now let’s add a level of complexity.  Normally, we swap non-renewables for stuff that ends up being more valuable, so our national wealth balance sheet grows every year, as we convert non-renewables into more-valuable fixed invesment.  But when we rebuild existing stuff: our balance sheet declines.  Bridge remains a bridge on the balance sheet, but the non-renewables used to replace it are consumed.  Total national wealth drops.

    Most people don’t put “non-renewables” on their idea of the national wealth balance sheet for the country.  That’s why they don’t understand its bad to have to rebuild things after hurricanes, or rebuild rotting bridges.

    [The real accountants out there will remind me that we should have applied a depreciation schedule to the bridge, so our national wealth balance sheet would reflect the decline in bridge value every single year, and presumably will be at $0 by the time we have to replace it.  But the consumption of the non-renewables when rebuilding the bridge that hits the national wealth balance sheet still remains valid.  And arguably, the poorly-built bridges means our national wealth invisibly declines every year, requiring constant infusions of non-renewables to keep them all operational – again subtracting from total national wealth.]

    Or to put it more simply, rotting bridges = bad.  🙂

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 10:25am

    Reply to #29
    DennisC

    DennisC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2011

    Posts: 101

    Oh, the Irony

    and “poetic justice” perhaps. As Chris mentioned in his post regarding concrete, wouldn’t it be a hoot if just as everything was falling apart within a short space of years, the costs (or ability) to repair, let alone rebuild became restrictive or too prohibitive (as in revenue, parts, energy inputs and so on).

    I was thinking a few more of these potential engineering professionals might help.

    https://engineeringrome.wikispaces.com/

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 10:57am

    Reply to #26

    Matt Holbert

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 03 2008

    Posts: 67

    Call me a Luddite...

    We have new technologies in lighting, autos, communications that make life much easier and cheaper with no loss of function.

    There are tradeoffs that are not on the radar of common (pejorative use) folks. With respect to lighting: 

    https://www.cnn.com/2016/06/21/health/led-streetlights-ama/index.html

    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/lost-led-revolution-light-pollution-increasing/

    This one is personal. I live near an intersection and the sodium streetlight was just replaced with an LED fixture. As a consequence, there is no more stargazing in the front yard.

    Autos: We don’t need them. From a sustainable — for those who are into future life on the planet — perspective, it is well known that hybrids, for example, are not any better than a well-tuned combustion engined auto. My wife and I live without one and it can be done — and result in a higher quality of life.

    Communications: With the increased use of cell phones we now have a nation of zombies with an addiction. Most of the young women that I see driving down the street are looking into their devices rather than at the road. I would call this a lack of function and that is being kind.

    With respect to “Luddites”: This is a group of artisans that were forced by “progress” to give up a life of liberty for one of “punching the clock” each day to do mindless tasks. Kirkpatrick Sale, among others, has written about the topic.

    Is life “cheaper” with this wonderful new technology? In a word, yes. Were there some technologies that improved life? Yes, but most of them were introduced over a 100 years ago and were done because it was the right thing to do and not to because it enabled one to build a McMansion.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 12:28pm

    Reply to #26
    MKI

    MKI

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    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Matt I generally agree

    Matt I generally agree. All our cheap energy isn’t adding much value to our lives. Cheap energy and cheap food are like drugs. A good energy crisis would be a healthy thing, force us to move back to town, walk, and get along with their neighbors. Sadly, it’s unlikely to happen because we are so energy rich. I live downtown among houses built pre-WWII and pre-common auto and all the homes are all tiny and walkable. Were they any less happy back then?

    So why not just change our lifestyles anyway? Walk or bike (our car batteries always die because we never drive), live in a small home (less to clean or heat!), cook from scratch and ditch processed food (yum), hunt and fish (yum), and garden (yum), and live as extended families with lots of kids (much more pleasant and social than a TV or media soaked home)? It’s a far better life, a much healthier life. I don’t call this being Luddite. I call it plain old common sense.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 2:43pm

    Reply to #26

    Grover

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 15 2011

    Posts: 691

    Cost VS Value

    MKI wrote:

    … Amazingly, $150 oil didn’t even seem to have extreme effect on driving cutbacks (look at mileage), so we seem to need over $200 oil $5 gas to really make much an impact in use…because we are rich! Remember, oil is 70% transport $ in the US and the US could eliminate half of driving relatively easy, most of that driving is just wasteful living. Because we can and life is so easy. Hardly a crisis.

    MKI,

    First off, I agree with many of your statements throughout this thread. The US is energy rich, oil at $150 is actually cheap, and we waste an enormous amount of energy because we can (and it is so cheap.) Whenever someone complains to me that gasoline is expensive, I ask them what their car’s gas mileage is. Then, I ask them if they would rather push their car that distance for the price of a gallon of gas? That usually shuts them up.

    I think that you are missing what I consider to be Gail’s main point: Once the price of fuel increases, economic activity slows down. The cost of energy (and the cost of renting money, ie interest rates) is embedded in every product. Businesses are forced to constrain costs in order to maintain profitability. That means that they won’t be offering pay increases to their non-elite workers. Meanwhile, costs go up for these workers. The more energy intensive a product is, the more the cost will go up. Workers either consume less or take on more debt to maintain their standard of living.

    The choice to add more debt is easier when oil prices first start increasing – especially if interest rates are low (or decreasing) and additional credit is available. What happens if oil prices increase for long enough that available credit dries up? What happens if interest rates are also increasing at the same time? Here’s a graph from http://www.artberman.com/saudi-arabias-oil-price-war-is-with-stupid-money/ showing inflation adjusted oil prices along with US Federal Funds interest rates over time. The added annotations are all from Art. It is from about 3 years ago, but still shows some interesting relationships.

    Federal Funds Interest Rates & CPI Oil Price 1955-2015

    One thing about this chart that catches my eye is that spikes in oil prices generally cause the interest rate to drop. Two notable exceptions was Volcker’s 1980s interest rate spike and the rise in ’04 – ’07 when Greenspan was trying to normalize interest rates. Volcker increased interest rates to sop up the money (inflation) from LBJ’s Unified Budget that released the pent up Social Security funds to fund his guns and butter policies a decade and a half earlier. Greenspan dropped rates as the stock market crashed and more in response to the 9/11 “terrorist” attacks. Rates lower than seen in a generation caused folks to “invest” in housing and caused the housing bubble. Home equity loans allowed folks to ameliorate the oil price increases. As a result, the economy continued to hum along in spite of high oil prices … until it didn’t. Then, both oil prices and interest rates dropped to aid the “recovery.”

    As Art noted, this last economic “recovery” has seen a combination of the lowest interest rates ever along with the longest period of high oil prices ever (at least through 2015.) Then, the fracking scare caused Saudi Arabia to increase production to starve the US frackers out of business. (That was the same tactic used by KSA to drop prices in the 1980s and starve the USSR out of business.) Now, oil prices are creeping up and the federal reserve is trying to normalize interest rates again. Meanwhile, China has announced that they won’t buy US bonds anymore while the federal reserve is cautiously starting their QT and Trump’s tax cut is to be funded by increased borrowing. Its the combination of higher priced money and energy combined with the ability/desire to take on more debt that impacts economic viability. What could possibly go wrong?

    It should be obvious that the earth isn’t generating fossil fuels as fast as we remove and consume those fuels. Based solely on that, fossil fuel prices that are strictly based on availability should constantly increase. Yet, we don’t see that. Art Berman’s chart shows how volatile the price has been over time. There must be something other than available quantity that determines the price. As such, it is faulty logic to use price as an indicator that we’re awash in energy.

    Deposits need to be found before being exploited. Discoveries peaked long ago. Lately, we’ve been extracting more oil than we’ve been finding. How much of the earth has been explored already? What are the chances of finding another Saudi Arabia worth of oil on this earth? Of course, there are ways to increase drilling/extraction efficiencies. The shale oil deposits were discovered long ago. Until fracking technology was developed, it wasn’t worth drilling. I’m not convinced that it is “worth” drilling for it at these prices. And yet, the frackers continue to frack.

    When considering break-even costs for drilling operations, shouldn’t all costs be attributed to the drilling? It isn’t just buying the equipment, hiring the manpower, and paying royalties and taxes. We assume that the taxes will cover damage to infrastructure, but running exceedingly heavy equipment over roads not designed/built for such heavy equipment causes lots of damage to occur. Some entity has to pay that cost – either to repair the roads or just live with reduced serviceability. Why shouldn’t that be factored into break-even costs?

    If a drilling operation isn’t drilling, they can’t meet payroll or pay off debt. Even if they are losing money by working, they won’t be losing it as fast as if they weren’t working. What would happen if a “white knight” with very deep pockets financed the operations? When profitability (or bankruptcy) isn’t a consideration, drilling operations can continue for a long time. Dave fairtex once posited that financing fracker operations would increase the amount of oil on the market and drive down the market price of petroleum. Since oil producing countries are addicted to oil’s revenue, they really can’t stop pumping without taking an economic hit. Losing a few $10s of billions wouldn’t impact them at all.

    Could the federal reserve cause this (or strongly suggest (behind closed doors) that banksters do this?) Jim Puplava stated that oil price was the new federal reserve interest rate. That’s a fair assessment since petroleum is the master resource and its cost impacts economic activity the same way as interest rates do. So, my question is how do you know this isn’t happening? How can you be so sure that oil’s price isn’t being manipulated? If a manipulated price doesn’t really reflect availability, how smart are we to rely on that indicator?

    Grover

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 5:54pm

    #30
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Cost VS Value

    Grover,

    I understand your argument. When I say “price” is a good measurement it’s because oil is simply too worldwide a resource for any one nation or currency to control it. And the 3 biggest suppliers (Russia/USA/Saudi) could never conspire for very long anyway. I look at oil versus gold when I say “price” since that’s the only fair way to bypass currency and get a true price. So I think the economic conspiracy meme (gold price, oil price manipulation, whatnot) I hear as of late is just sour grapes and not liking the data which shows we are doing quite well economically due to technology. Hell, even if “they” could manipulate oil and gold prices worldwide, so what? Everything is cheap and we are consuming massive everything. How long could this really happen if it was fake? Not this long.

    If and when we get short of oil supply (price maybe $200-$500?) we will merely start to cut back on our waste and start using other sources so will likely never see serious economic crisis due to energy. Maybe Japan or Europe at bit, but not the USA.

    For this reason I disagree with CM “oil” is the “master resource” meme. Oil is merely the easiest and cheapest energy resource and people can’t seem to grasp we can change rapidly. Why not just use nuclear and electric cars? Or NG cars? Or just cut back on driving? Man, are Americans greedy, but we could definitely use half our oil with probably twice the lifestyle. The linear graph of GDP and oil is merely “because we can” consume more oil with more GDP, not the other way around, oil causing GDP, like CM thinks. Look at Japan, a massive GDP with no oil at all.

    Truth be told, human innovation is the real “master resource”. The stone age didn’t end due to lack of stones, it ended by us finding other useful things to replace the stones with. Rock oil replaced whale oil for lighting, which was then replaced by coal and electric lights, with lighting price falling exponentially even until now. Same way, rock oil will go out of fashion once it gets scarce enough. We just don’t need it when we live smarter, not to mention we have too dang much coal, nuclear, NG, etc. when we finally deplete oil. Which isn’t happening very rapidly…I’m a PE and foolishly guessed peak oil by at least 2020…boy have I proven to be a fool since no way that’s happening. Why did I get fooled? Technology. It’s flat-out amazing how cheap fracking and drilling has become in my career (I remember being all proud when drilling a 27M ft well in the ’80s which set a North American record…which is today a pathetic joke, we drill those in our sleep). Technology advances, on all fronts, in drilling, production, and reduced consumption with more efficient consumption, it makes us all richer each day and needing less and less energy for the same quality of life.

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  • Wed, Jan 10, 2018 - 8:19pm

    Reply to #30

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    You're pretty dense.

    MKI wrote:

    For this reason I disagree with CM “oil” is the “master resource” meme. Oil is merely the easiest and cheapest energy resource and people can’t seem to grasp we can change rapidly. Why not just use nuclear and electric cars? Or NG cars? Or just cut back on driving?

    Then back it up with actual numbers. Real. Data.

     

    MKI wrote:

    Oil is merely the easiest and cheapest energy resource and people can’t seem to grasp we can change rapidly. Why not just use nuclear and electric cars? Or NG cars? Or just cut back on driving?

     

    I really want to know what kind of engineer you are, because I’ve NEVER heard an engineer talk about any project being easy and quick to accomplish. Probably because they understand that the process of going from idea to implementation takes a whole lot more than a hope, a dream, and a prayer. Keying over our entire travel infrastructure to accommodate anything other than oil is a massive and timely undertaking, and your apparent inability to grasp that indicates you either are not an actual petroleum engineer, or that you are a really, really bad one.

     

    And, nuclear cars? That tech isn’t exactly scalable to automobiles. Are you aware of how many nuclear plants it would take to meet even half worldwide demand for energy?

     

    Oh, and you didn’t get most of what Grover was saying. His was a subtle and nuanced series of points regarding the interplay of energy and the economy. Your response, on the other hand, was like a banner at the head of the technology cheerleader parade.

     

    -S

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 12:45am

    Reply to #30

    Grover

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 15 2011

    Posts: 691

    Price VS Value

    MKI wrote:

    I understand your argument. When I say “price” is a good measurement it’s because oil is simply too worldwide a resource for any one nation or currency to control it. And the 3 biggest suppliers (Russia/USA/Saudi) could never conspire for very long anyway. I look at oil versus gold when I say “price” since that’s the only fair way to bypass currency and get a true price. So I think the economic conspiracy meme (gold price, oil price manipulation, whatnot) I hear as of late is just sour grapes and not liking the data which shows we are doing quite well economically due to technology. Hell, even if “they” could manipulate oil and gold prices worldwide, so what? Everything is cheap and we are consuming massive everything. How long could this really happen if it was fake? Not this long.

    MKI,

    I’m not as confident as you that the manipulation of prices isn’t distorting your perception. I do agree that we are consuming massive everything. I see it more analogous to the way some incandescent lamps get really bright just before going out forever. I’m not arguing that the petroleum we’ve consumed wasn’t there. If the petroleum weren’t available, it couldn’t be consumed. The question becomes: How much is left and how long will it last?​ Please give these questions your best shot.

    I understand that the first answer depends on petroleum quality definitions and the second answer depends on technological abilities, but even if the earth were a hollow ball filled with petroleum, we’d pump it dry in less than 1,000 years given just 3.5% per annum compound growth rate. The earth contains lots of materials other than petroleum and petroleum is generally located in isolated pockets. Isolated pockets cost more energy per unit energy recovered to exploit than Ghawar oil giants. There aren’t any more Ghawars to find.

    MKI wrote:

    If and when we get short of oil supply (price maybe $200-$500?) we will merely start to cut back on our waste and start using other sources so will likely never see serious economic crisis due to energy. Maybe Japan or Europe at bit, but not the USA.

    I seriously doubt that oil will ever get to a stable cost of $200 per barrel. It may spike that high briefly, but the blockage in the economy would clog economic activity and prices would fall back to affordable levels. Of course, affordable levels would be much lower when all the non-elite workers who lost their jobs couldn’t afford to buy it at any price.

    Just to make it clear, I agree with you that we ‘murikans waste lots and lots of resources! Unfortunately, lots of your suggestions on this thread require massive retooling to accomplish. As a PE, you should understand that takes lots of time and resources. As an example, if you live in a mcmansion in an isolated community and currently drive a Hummer 30 miles to work each way each day, you have few options that are currently available. There won’t be public transportation because you’re isolated. There may be ride sharing available, but only if you can adjust schedules to meet the other participants’ needs. The other options is to sell your house and move closer to work or sell your Hummer and get something more fuel efficient. If the economy turns down due to oil being really expensive, the Hummer isn’t too attractive to anyone and would be worth very little. Also, the house would be seen as a white elephant for the same reason. You’d take a big financial bath to be more energy efficient.

    MKI wrote:

    For this reason I disagree with CM “oil” is the “master resource” meme. Oil is merely the easiest and cheapest energy resource and people can’t seem to grasp we can change rapidly. Why not just use nuclear and electric cars? Or NG cars? Or just cut back on driving? Man, are Americans greedy, but we could definitely use half our oil with probably twice the lifestyle. The linear graph of GDP and oil is merely “because we can” consume more oil with more GDP, not the other way around, oil causing GDP, like CM thinks. Look at Japan, a massive GDP with no oil at all.

    Again, I’m not arguing that ‘murikans couldn’t cut back on our wasteful habits. I also think it would potentially increase happiness. (It has for me!) As a population, we’ve made bad decisions in the past and we can’t just snap our fingers to correct those bad decisions. How long would it take to convert the current infernal combustion engine vehicles to any of the other sources? Would that be just another temporary solution that would require massive retooling once those resources reached their limits?

    Your point about Japan having a massive GDP without oil at all is ludicrous! Are you saying that Japan doesn’t import any oil at all from anywhere? Where would they be if they couldn’t import any oil or oil products from anywhere? Would they still have such a massive GDP?

    MKI wrote:

    Truth be told, human innovation is the real “master resource”. The stone age didn’t end due to lack of stones, it ended by us finding other useful things to replace the stones with. Rock oil replaced whale oil for lighting, which was then replaced by coal and electric lights, with lighting price falling exponentially even until now. Same way, rock oil will go out of fashion once it gets scarce enough. We just don’t need it when we live smarter, not to mention we have too dang much coal, nuclear, NG, etc. when we finally deplete oil. Which isn’t happening very rapidly…I’m a PE and foolishly guessed peak oil by at least 2020…boy have I proven to be a fool since no way that’s happening. Why did I get fooled? Technology. It’s flat-out amazing how cheap fracking and drilling has become in my career (I remember being all proud when drilling a 27M ft well in the ’80s which set a North American record…which is today a pathetic joke, we drill those in our sleep). Technology advances, on all fronts, in drilling, production, and reduced consumption with more efficient consumption, it makes us all richer each day and needing less and less energy for the same quality of life.

    You say that fracking and drilling is cheap today. You say that 27M ft well is a pathetic joke now. What would you consider a typical well length/depth today? Could you provide a rough quantity of various materials and approximate costs for such a well? How much of the material is recoverable and can be used as is in the next well? Otherwise, is there a rough percentage for salvage value recovery?

    It would be nice if you could rustle up a nice graph(s) showing oil recovery over time on a typical well. You know how many wells are out there (or have a good guess) and you know what the overall production is. You should be able to come up with something you consider reasonable that the rest of us would just be amazed at.

    Why do we focus on oil here? You are right that this country has lots of coal. I don’t have a single vehicle that has a coal tank. Almost all the vehicles I see on the road have the same problem. Coal would be easier to use than nuclear. It would be easier to convert to NG, but NG isn’t as commercially available or convenient as gas or diesel. Besides, the best time to convert is before it is needed.

    You say that you live in a small house in Anchorage. Do you bike/walk to work? What do you do with all your savings? (If you travel or have things delivered to your house, that has to be factored into your energy footprint.) If you just invest your money to grow it for whatever, shouldn’t you consider the companies you invest in to be part of your footprint as well? For these reasons, the best gage I’ve found for an energy footprint is the amount of money one earns. The less one earns, the less one can waste.

    Grover

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 2:54am

    Reply to #30

    mememonkey

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 01 2009

    Posts: 99

    Holy Incredulity Batman

    MKI,

    Not to pile on  put you really do seem oblivious to basic concepts underpinning peak oil theory and it’s impact on oil based economy ~  EROI, law of diminishing returns, Sunk costs and embodied energy of built infrastructure, Scalability of alternatives, role of debt,  and economic constraints.  How do we get to $200-500 price point when the economy breaks (demand destruction) closer to $100 oil?  How do we fund ever increasing costly oil development that yields lower and lower net energy. 

    Could we survive on half of our oil budget and triage its use?  Absolutely,  but it would make the Great Depression  look like a party. The notion that we will “never see economic crisis because of energy shortage” is magical thinking of the first order. 

     I would argue that we are in still in an unfolding economic crisis due to passing conventional oil peak circa 2005 and that the energy dynamics of peak cheap oil are integral to the whole house of cards debt economic bubble monstrosity that has been built and now teeters on the edge of collapse.

    You really seem to be approaching this from a preconceived ideological frame of reference, assuming pure free market price signaling and effortlessly perfect substitution that would make Milton Friedman blush.   Yet you  ignore the centralized price setting, loss leading market share /geopolitical gamesmanship that is happening in the real world and the debt ponzi financing of the “shale miracle” that is a provably time limited production supply spike aberration  and uneconomic at any price point that wouldn’t break the economy regardless.

    Your testify to a religious like faith in progress and technology which is understandable given that is your entire life’s and vocational  frame of reference, but which ignores laws of diminishing returns and history which shows that progress is not linear. 

    Finally you don’t seem to ever truly address the points you are given.  You employ a number of fallacies in your arguments, the primary one being arguments of personal incredulity, i.e.,  You can’t imagine why something can’t be done therefore it must be doable.   You respond to most counter arguments you are presented with by either ignoring them, applying techno worship platitudes, anecdotal non sequiturs or just flat out mindless misstatements of ‘fact’ such as:

    “Look at Japan, a massive GDP with no oil at all.”

    yeah, unless you count the approx 3.5 million BBL/day they import.

    I give you points for consistency though!

    Mememonkey

     

     

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 3:59am

    Reply to #30
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Typo above post

    Re-reading my post above I meant ’90s not ’80s for that 27M ft well. Sry.

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 5:02am

    Reply to #30
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Price VS Value

    Grover,

    I appreciate the conversation. You have a good handle on the energy issues unlike most folk not in the industry.

    But I would appreciate not turning this convo about me because my personal situation is not relevant. But for transparency sake: I’m recently-retired 20 years oil (currently do investment partnerships & technical writing, like CM I did very well in the 2008 crash & don’t need to work). But yes, walked/biked to work & don’t drive much except to hunt/fish. I also actually own a large house but only live in a small part of it. But again, my personal situation is not relevant.

    Regarding a transition out of oil once we hit peak production and costs finally get high? I agree it might be ugly at first (potential war). But I think a good analogy would be the 1920-30 dust bowl era, where while a lot of people got screwed and WWII followed. But a lot of people got rich also & GDP just kept marching up as we transitioned out of farming. Capitalism is always tough during economic transitions. But remember, we are very rich today in comparison to then. We eat, drive, and fly like kings…all due to technological advances. We could live with 1/10 our energy consumption and never notice a loss of GDP “quality of life”. Hell we would probably live better! We are on average what, 30# overweight? How many people are living in non-family situations with a huge housing footprint? This isn’t a high quality of life.

    A older book to read on my economic thinking is “Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations” (Warsh). Many people on this site seem to get trapped in the old “Land, labor, Capital” meme of wealth generation (modified to “Land, Energy, Resources” in a Malthusian flashback). In reality, real wealth is generated by “People, Ideas, and Things” (this was mathematically demonstrated by Roper and others and it really holds true over time. It’s why we won’t notice oil or cars when they go the way of the Dodo. How much energy do we really need for a good life anyway? Look at a chart of the cost of lighting falling exmponentially every year of human history. We’ve just broke the human genome. Life just keeps getting easier for the naked ape as we understand our natural world (if we can just keep from killing each other…). Remember, we are now using less electricity for the first time in our history because we’re getting so efficient and just don’t need the increase anymore. We will not run out of energy. We will run out of work as machines to everything. Look how few people it takes to drill an oil well today. Driverless cars. Solar, Engine efficiency using computers. Communication. Digital revolution. Our problem is what to do when all the machines do our work for us…

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 5:57am

    #31

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    Less is relative

    MKI,

    Your personal information is relevent if you reference your profession and leverage that to buttress your arguments absent actual data to back those arguments up. “I’ve worked as a petroleum engineer” is a statement designed to imply that you know more about the topic than anyone else here, and making such statements opens you up to people demanding to know more details about your supposed expertise. This is especially true when the statements you make run counter to what other experts (who have made the source of their expertise clear by being specific as to their careers, education, etc) are saying. You opened that can of worms. You also started off your comments initially by assaulting the data Chris and Gail discuss by using self-reinforcing fluffy statements rather than actual data. If you don’t back up your arguments with measurable, sourced, verifiable data, I don’t care if you have a red telephone hotline to God and a 175 IQ, and I think you’ll find most members of Peak Prosperity feel the same way. If you don’t back up your statements with actual sourced data, expect to be ignored.

     

    As to your most recent post…I’d love to know where you base the statement “we are now using less electricity for the first time in history” from? Because I’m not seeing that supported by any data I can find. Outside minor fluctuations year to year, electricity and energy consumption in the nation seems around the same, and across the globe seems to be inexorably increasing as a whole.

     

    Please, though, enlighten me. With data. Sourced.

     

    -S

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 9:09am

    Reply to #31
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Less is More

    Snydeman: …expect to be ignored.

    MKI: Please ignore me. I’ll return the favor. I’m confident you will find someone else to argue with.

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 9:43am

    Reply to #31

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 278

    MKI wrote:Snydeman:

    MKI wrote:

    Snydeman: …expect to be ignored.

    MKI: Please ignore me. I’ll return the favor. I’m confident you will find someone else to argue with.

    WHERE’S THE BEEF???

    SHOW US THE MONEY!!!!

    References please, to back up all of your statements, as others have already asked for 10 times.

    I made the wise choice to ignore you after my first post because it was clear you can’t formulate a coherent argument, but I am impressed with the quality of the responses and critique given by Grover, mememonkey  and Snydeman. Just wanted to say that. I didn’t want to put in the effort to explain it because I saw it going nowhere, but they did.

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 10:05am

    #32

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Crash Course Chapters 17a 17b 17c Peak Oil: - 2008 Version

    Hi MK1,

    I’m noticing the lack of something on this thread, and that’s The Crash Course series. It’s central to the tenets of Peak Prosperity – an exponential diagram built upon the physicals. Everybody you’re in conversation with, including a very patient Snydeman, Grover and Mememonkey etal, have digested its depths and studied hard to understand its dynamics.

    The original version is the glue that made this site possible back 10 years ago. I note you’ve been a member since January 2009. Could this be something you’ve missed, I wonder?

    Chapters 17a 17b and 17c : –

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 10:18am

    #33

    dcm

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 14 2009

    Posts: 106

    MKI

    MKI: “In reality, real wealth is generated by “People, Ideas, and Things”

    The abstract “idea” is sandwiched between two real items: “people” and “things”

    real items…  with real limits

    MKI: “Life just keeps getting easier for the naked ape”

    have you asked the ape? Then ask the other living things on this planet

    MKI: “Look how few people it takes to drill an oil well today”

    funny, it’s not getting cheaper.  There’s more than one way to measure the “human cost”…and this energy has a lot of complex human cost

     

     

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 10:24am

    Reply to #31

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    Yep

    Mark_BC wrote:
    MKI wrote:

    Snydeman: …expect to be ignored.

    MKI: Please ignore me. I’ll return the favor. I’m confident you will find someone else to argue with.

    WHERE’S THE BEEF???

    SHOW US THE MONEY!!!!

    References please, to back up all of your statements, as others have already asked for 10 times.

    I made the wise choice to ignore you after my first post because it was clear you can’t formulate a coherent argument, but I am impressed with the quality of the responses and critique given by Grover, mememonkey  and Snydeman. Just wanted to say that. I didn’t want to put in the effort to explain it because I saw it going nowhere, but they did.

    Mark_BC,

    You are a wiser man than I. I suppose I figured that it’s worth the effort here on PP, but I see that’s not always the case. Live, learn, and move on. 

     

    It’s fascinating that MK1 sees this as an argument, when most of us probably see it as trying to explain the complexity of the universe to an adolescent who sees things in only the most basic ways. 

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 5:46pm

    Reply to #30

    Grover

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 15 2011

    Posts: 691

    Hopium VS Reality

    MKI wrote:

    Grover,

    I appreciate the conversation. You have a good handle on the energy issues unlike most folk not in the industry.

    But I would appreciate not turning this convo about me because my personal situation is not relevant. But for transparency sake: I’m recently-retired 20 years oil (currently do investment partnerships & technical writing, like CM I did very well in the 2008 crash & don’t need to work). But yes, walked/biked to work & don’t drive much except to hunt/fish. I also actually own a large house but only live in a small part of it. But again, my personal situation is not relevant.

    MKI,

    I appreciate the compliment from you (and everyone else!) This conversation is a bit frustrating for me. I hope you understand that your position (that seamlessly transitioning out of oil) is a whole lot more appealing than my doom and gloom scenario. I’d really like to have a reason to adopt your view. Unfortunately, I’m only getting hopium from you. I’ve asked you many questions to give you a platform for launching a great oratory … but you choose to answer a throw-away question I posed that was intended to get you thinking about the situation of people like us and how it will impact us. I’d much rather that you counter Chris’ argument of oil being the master resource (which I’ve bought into) with good arguments supported by strong data. Your petroleum industry insight here would winnow the chaff for the rest of us. I sincerely hope this request makes sense to you.

    MKI wrote:

    Regarding a transition out of oil once we hit peak production and costs finally get high? I agree it might be ugly at first (potential war). But I think a good analogy would be the 1920-30 dust bowl era, where while a lot of people got screwed and WWII followed. But a lot of people got rich also & GDP just kept marching up as we transitioned out of farming. Capitalism is always tough during economic transitions. But remember, we are very rich today in comparison to then. We eat, drive, and fly like kings…all due to technological advances. We could live with 1/10 our energy consumption and never notice a loss of GDP “quality of life”. Hell we would probably live better! We are on average what, 30# overweight? How many people are living in non-family situations with a huge housing footprint? This isn’t a high quality of life.

    There was a lot going on in the 1920s, but the dust bowl wasn’t part of it. There may have been dry periods, but the “dust bowl” was mid 1930s-1940. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl. The 1920s were more characterized by optimism fueled by the federal reserve’s flexible money that was 40% backed by gold. That backing level allowed for 2.5 times as much money as there was gold to back it. There was lots of funny money to fund all the great ideas. When confidence was high, people preferred to keep their money in the bank and use foldable paper money. It’s when fear overcame the greed that people wanted their gold out of the bank. The 40% backing insured that there wasn’t enough gold to meet the demand. Imagine being in a long line at a bank to withdraw your money (gold) as promised … only to find out that all the gold is gone. Would that instill more fear or robust confidence?

    During the ’20s, lots of innovations and new technology flooded the market place. Tractors reduced the need for farm workers, so lots of the displaced farm workers moved to the city to find jobs. There was money to build factories and employ these people building things. Industrialists made a lot of money in the process. By today’s standards, they shared quite a bit with their workers. It was a magic combination of ideas, funding, available labor, optimism to organize it, and energy to run the equipment. Greed was good, flappers flapped, and the sky was the limit. What could possibly go wrong?

    Then, the depression hit. The ideas didn’t seem such a sure path to the gold paved streets. Funding vanished. Available labor skyrocketed. Optimism turned to pessimism. The energy to run the equipment was still there. It was a scary time. Would-be leaders saw the angst and fear and worked to organize those emotions to their benefit. FDR tapped into that angst. He instituted the beginnings of the socialism that is bankrupting us today. His policies lengthened and deepened the depression. WWII was really his only remaining option to get us out of the depression. (If he had insisted that his kin fight on the front lines, I’d have more (at least some) respect for him.)

    MKI wrote:

    A older book to read on my economic thinking is “Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations” (Warsh). Many people on this site seem to get trapped in the old “Land, labor, Capital” meme of wealth generation (modified to “Land, Energy, Resources” in a Malthusian flashback). In reality, real wealth is generated by “People, Ideas, and Things” (this was mathematically demonstrated by Roper and others and it really holds true over time. It’s why we won’t notice oil or cars when they go the way of the Dodo. How much energy do we really need for a good life anyway? Look at a chart of the cost of lighting falling exmponentially every year of human history. We’ve just broke the human genome. Life just keeps getting easier for the naked ape as we understand our natural world (if we can just keep from killing each other…). Remember, we are now using less electricity for the first time in our history because we’re getting so efficient and just don’t need the increase anymore. We will not run out of energy. We will run out of work as machines to everything. Look how few people it takes to drill an oil well today. Driverless cars. Solar, Engine efficiency using computers. Communication. Digital revolution. Our problem is what to do when all the machines do our work for us…

    Land, labor, and capital VS people, ideas, and things. I’m not really sure there is any distinction here. Capital can buy land, things, and rent people’s labor to transform ideas into products that generate more money. Isn’t our current situation somewhat rhyming the 1920s? Back then, radio was the new idea. Today, we have smart appliances. Soon, self driving cars will be reality. Robots and artificial intelligence are improving by leaps and bounds.

    When the depression hit, labor was in surplus. Every day, we hear of innovations that make human labor more efficient (by eliminating other human labor positions.) We’ll hit the zenith (our nadir) when machines can invent/build machines to replace the few tasks left for humans. Do we want to hope that artificial intelligence progresses to the point that humans become simply “worthless eaters”? (That certainly answers what we’ll do when the machines do all our work.) I don’t expect the definitive answer for that question for perhaps a decade or so.

    When the depression hit, new leaders emerged by channeling the people’s angst and fear for their own purposes. Will we have the same thing when this great GDP enhancing experiment topples? Who knows?

    One thing that is certain is that machines need energy to do work. So do we. Unless a machine is designed to accept different types of energy, the available energy source needs to be converted to a usable type. We’re no different. On average, we convert 10 calories of fossil fuels to make 1 calorie of food. That’s because we use all these machines in the process of growing/processing/transporting our food. Just like bacteria in a Petri dish, we’ve grown our population because of the extra food. When energy is cheap and available, it makes sense to leverage the advantage that fossil fuels offer. There’s a huge problem if sufficient energy isn’t available to fuel the machines that our very existence depends upon.

    From everything I’d read, seen, and heard, the earth has an essentially finite amount of fossil fuels in it. Of the fossil fuels, petroleum has properties that make it the most valuable to run our machinery. Most of it is uneconomical to extract given current technology. It is highly unlikely that technology will ever advance enough to make extracting every last drop feasible. (As such, I agree with you that we’ll never run out.) Meanwhile, we have many, many machines that do our bidding as long as the proper amount/type of fuel is provided. Retooling those machines to use a different type of fuel would be prohibitively expensive. We are unlikely to recognize the need for this massive retooling until it is too late to do so – fossil fuels will suddenly become too expensive/unavailable.

    You sit in a mental technological cornucopia, yet you won’t (or can’t) convince any of us that our fears are just that. It takes data and logic to do so. Your shared data (so far) is nonexistent and your logic isn’t even that good. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m frustrated. I’m afraid that I’ve plumbed the depths of your knowledge, skills, and abilities. If you can’t prove your points, I’m chalking my participation up to wasted energy. No use wasting any more on you. Please prove me wrong.

    Grover

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 6:48pm

    #34
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 514

    Is the math straight forward?

    I love technology, until it doesn’t work as good.There’s a hole 6 miles west of me that goes down 1800 meters, angles horizontally over 300 meters and continues another 900 meters laterally. Fracked? yes. Producing? yes.Making good money? Noticed the price of oil today?

    Atlantic #3).

    Does this graph suggest anything?

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 7:37pm

    Reply to #9
    karenf

    karenf

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 02 2010

    Posts: 23

    It pretty much has to be

    It pretty much has to be Seneca Cliff type graph because of the increase in population.  The number of people using fossil fuels is not the same at the top of the graph as it was at the beginning of the use in 1850.

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 7:54pm

    Reply to #4
    karenf

    karenf

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 02 2010

    Posts: 23

    Well is Art Berman is the

    Well is Art Berman is the only person you listen to then from everything you are saying you disagree with his point that  – Shale oil is a retirement party –

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  • Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - 8:05pm

    #35

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Online)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2525

    Just To Stir The Pot...

    We’ll be recording a podcast interview with Art Berman next week.

    Will be released a week from this Sunday.

    Figured we could spare folks from speculating on Art’s views and just hear from the man himself….

    🙂

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 6:08am

    Reply to #30

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    Kudos

    Grover wrote:

    You sit in a mental technological cornucopia, yet you won’t (or can’t) convince any of us that our fears are just that. It takes data and logic to do so. Your shared data (so far) is nonexistent and your logic isn’t even that good. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m frustrated. I’m afraid that I’ve plumbed the depths of your knowledge, skills, and abilities. If you can’t prove your points, I’m chalking my participation up to wasted energy. No use wasting any more on you. Please prove me wrong.

    Grover

    Grover,

    I don’t want to quote your entire post for the sake of space, but I wanted to say that your overall approach to MKI has been quite masterfully done, and I’ve learned a few things about how to approach this level of ignorant intractability in the future. If there was a “Peak Prosperity Emmy” given out every year, I’d sure as hell be nominating you for it this year. There have been simply a brilliant series of responses from multiple members on this thread, but yours shine among them. Mememonkey gets honorable mention for “best meme,” which is appropriate given his screen name.

     

    If ever we cross paths at one of these conferences held by PP, I’m buying you a beer, or the equivalent thereof.

     

    -Snydeman  

     

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 6:43am

    Reply to #30
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Hopium VS Reality

    Grover,

    You sit in a mental technological cornucopia, yet you won’t (or can’t) convince any of us that our fears are just that.

    Just to be clear, I don’t have any emotional attachment to the reality that real prices (resources, technology, energy) have been falling my entire life and Americans are now rich beyond anything we’ve seen in human history due to technological innovation. It’s just reality. I certainly don’t need or wish to “convince” anyone or think that I can predict the future. I’d rather just make money ignoring the Malthusian ways of thinking I see here. Why do I read PP and occasionally discuss with those who disagree? Because it’s very dangerous to get into a singular mode of thinking. I like to test my thinking with those who disagree and then try to follow the data without emotion or prejudice.

    One of the reasons I believe PP & CM tends to be confused on economic and energy issues (I say this without prejudice merely looking to the massive wealth gains over the last decade while CM and fellow thinkers missed out) is it’s hard to “see” our extreme wealth generation happening today due to technology because it’s so unequally distributed. As I mentioned above, it’s a lot like the Great Depression when farming went away and we had massive oversupply and no buyers. Things like oil depletion makes it even more confusing because it will be another of those “transitions” as the easy oil gets too expensive. But it won’t effect our long-term technological advances.

    Anyway, the reason I accept the “technical cornucopia” thesis is because it matches both the physical reality I live in and the economic reality I make money in. It also mathematically matches the economic models I mentioned above but granted those are too fuzzy for me to accept with any certainly (almost as bad as GW models) but I just accept them because they seem to check out (for now).

    I’m afraid that I’ve plumbed the depths of your knowledge, skills, and abilities. If you can’t prove your points, I’m chalking my participation up to wasted energy. No use wasting any more on you. Please prove me wrong.

    Chuckle. Over the last 30 years my way of thinking has done very well at both matching reality and making money compared to the Malthusian one. We were supposed to be groping in the dark, starving, or living the “long emergency” by now right? Look at all the prediction on PP since 2010 alone. Why would I wish to prove anything? Reality matches my interpretation of things. But it’s been a good convo and again I appreciate it.

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 6:57am

    Reply to #4
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Shale oil is a retirement party

    karenf – why do you say that? I fully agree with Berman on the “shale oil is a retirement party” meme and nothing I’ve said here contradicts that. I’ve thought that for years. Art is 100% correct here IMO. As I mentioned above, my peak oil prediction was 2020. I just don’t worship oil as some “master resource”. It’s just another excess energy resource we exploit because, well, being rich, we can. Remember when everyone said nuclear was “too cheap to meter”? A lot of truth to that when you take the politics out. Oil is just the easy path so we take it. NG, nuclear, renewables, and conservation would be a lot cleaner and better for everyone.

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 6:58am

    Reply to #35
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Just To Stir The Pot

    Look forward to it!

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 7:00am

    Reply to #35

    dcm

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 14 2009

    Posts: 106

    be careful stirring the pot

    there are no federal guarantees

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 9:35am

    #36

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    It Sucks To Be You

    The Parent Company, Walmart is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores nation wide.  Three are in Alaska, apparently transportation costs are too high.  WHAT, but we are awash in energy?  And doesn’t it cost the same to stock Walmsrt as it does Sam’s Club, are the transportation costs different? Yes, yes, I know it’s only three in Alaska, no big deal right.  Well it is for those who live in rural Alaska, limited access to goods became well even more limited.  But corporate profits are paramount and the motto for small Alaska villages is IMHO, “it sucks to be you”.  

    Most people in villages live in SMALL square footage homes. (Your generalizations MK1 are wrong) They, like you and I like to eat three times a day.  So, what did we learn here MK1 et-al, it’s all a matter of perspective.  For some people a Sam’s Club closing will be an economic collapse, For Them.  Being – Awash-In-Energy – is relative.  Remember it’s easy to debate the finer points of a topic when you live in a warm home, have food on the table and a steady income.  If not, well they don’t give a shit what you/I/we think the basics suddenly become paramount.

    Perspective is everything!

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 12:12pm

    Reply to #30

    mememonkey

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Nov 01 2009

    Posts: 99

    Appropriate Tech

    MKI wrote:

    One of the reasons I believe PP & CM tends to be confused on economic and energy issues (I say this without prejudice merely looking to the massive wealth gains over the last decade while CM and fellow thinkers missed out) is it’s hard to “see” our extreme wealth generation happening today due to technology because it’s so unequally distributed. As I mentioned above, it’s a lot like the Great Depression when farming went away and we had massive oversupply and no buyers. Things like oil depletion makes it even more confusing because it will be another of those “transitions” as the easy oil gets too expensive. But it won’t effect our long-term technological advances.

    “massive wealth gains over last decade…unequally distributed…..”

    Ok  I understand know,  You are confusing cause and effect.  i.e.  the technology of robotics, AI,  fracking etc with the  technology of Central Bank’s electronic printing press

    Good luck with that thesis moving forward in perpetuity.

    mememonkey

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 2:21pm

    #37

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 278

    Now that I'm back at my

    Now that I’m back at my computer, I have a couple comments on the discussion with Gail, including one disagreement. First comment:

    Well, I think of the situation being kind of like a bicycle. You have a front wheel and a back wheel, and actually you probably have the frame as well. And the debt is the front wheel. It’s what makes it – pulls it forward. It makes it go. And the frame is all of these technologies that allow you to use this energy. And the back wheel is the actual energy itself. And in order for the economy to keep rolling along, you need to have this whole bicycle operating properly. And once – if you don’t have enough debt pulling the bicycle forward, the bicycle tends to fall over just as your bicycle would fall over if you stopped – if you slowed it down too much.

    But it needs the real energy for the back wheel as well. And it needs additional technology. And of course, it needs the buyers for all of these goods and services, and they have to be – have enough money to be able to afford things. And usually the way you get that income down to the buyers is through debt. The businesses borrow some money, and they use that to hire workers. Our governments borrow money, and they use that to pay Social Security payments and such things. And it’s this debt that enables this whole process.

    I would agree that, the way the economy is currently structured, debt is the essential front wheel pulling the economy forward. However, I disagree that this is necessarily the way it needs to be. I’m not sure if Gail understands that another model for the economy could function much better, since it wasn’t really discussed.

    The reason we need debt to pull us forward, and the reason everyone believes this, is because we have become a world of debt slaves, for a very loooong time, and we know no different. It is a two-tiered system of the elites versus everyone else, primarily the middle class.

    The reason we need debt to do anything nowadays is because the average person doesn’t have a positive net worth with which to allocate their money on future enterprises, or a positive net worth on which to fall back on when jobs are lost (for example, a paid-for house). If we want to do something, we need to go into debt to the banks to do it, to get “money”, and the banks are owned by the elites.

    This also creates the need for a perpetually exponentially growing economy, because due to automation, the amount of jobs needed to keep the economy humming along at steady state without growth or contraction would result in a high unemployment rate over 50%. Since the average person is a debt serf with no net assets, these people would starve in the streets if these jobs were not provided by economic growth.

    However, fundamentally, there is no reason why the economy could not be structured entirely differently, in which the middle class, not the elites, owns the wealth, and as a result of this, would not have such a need to go out and work their eyeballs out at minimum wage, because the average person would own their house outright and would have no debt (mortgage) payment. Therefore, with less of a need for work, the 50% unemployment rate could easily be incorporated into the economy somehow without a social collapse.

    How do we get to this utopia? It starts with eliminating the elites, which I agree is never going to happen until things get so bad that a popular revolt occurs, which will by definition be too late. There are lots of other changes that would need to be made to the economy to achieve this, but this is not the place to discuss them. The point here is that the reason we require debt to move forward and avoid collapse, and the reason we need an exponentially growing economy (both of which tie directly into the energy / oil picture), is ultimately due to class inequality and debt surfdom of the majority. This needs to be more explicitly included in the discussions of this topic because we didn’t just arrive here all of a sudden for no reason. We have at least 100 years of plundering by the elites using their weapons, the banks, which have brought us to this place.

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 2:25pm

    #38

    Mark_BC

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 30 2010

    Posts: 278

    My second comment, the

    My second comment, the disagreement, concerns the assertion made that wind and solar are basically useless because they aren’t storable. I fully agree that at the present time, they aren’t storable. And I also must say that I agree that given our current trajectory, wind and solar are never going to take over the energy picture as the cornucopians dream about. However, on a purely technical basis, I have to disagree with the conclusion that they would never work, because they could, in a different economic environment, if we had made the changes decades ago, which we didn’t. But still, technically, I don’t see why they wouldn’t work.

    There is a potentially very large and ubiquitous energy storage device out there — electric cars. On a related note, I have heard numerous times in other discussions that it won’t be possible to power a complete conversion of the vehicle fleet to electric with the current infrastructure because doing so would require 25% more overall electricity demand. However, this is a false conclusion for two reasons: 1)  most people would charge overnight when electricity demand otherwise drops around 50%, easily absorbing all the demand from electric cars, 2) far from being elements making the electrical grid unmanageable, electric cars would do the opposite, simply by plugging into a “smart grid”, in which they charge when electricity is abundant and cheap (when the wind is blowing or sun is shining), and in the reverse case, they would feed back into the grid (making profit for their owners) when demand is high. This could offset maybe 20% fluctuations in electricity production from renewables. Basically all it would require is that people plug their cars in whenever they aren’t using them. They would do this because they would be making money by doing so.

    The valid argument could be made that electric cars currently represent a tiny proportion of the vehicle market so I’m just dreaming to think that they would ever reach a scale to be able to do this. Yes, I agree, but the same argument applies to wind and solar. They currently account for a small proportion of the overall market, but that doesn’t stop people from slamming them as being unscalable. Well, what if both electric cars and intermittent renewables rose up at the same time?

    As to the impracticality of batteries, well I’ve had my Nissan Leaf for about 6 years now and have probably seen about a 25% reduction in my range and I use it almost daily. It’s haad to say for sure how much it’s gone down because Nissan did a firmware update a couple years ago which hides a certain proportion of my charge to prevent people from running out of charge on the road. Maybe I have lost less than 25%.

    Will there be enough lithium available for the batteries? I don’t know, I’ve heard conflicting reports. But if there isn’t I’m sure with the right motivation, other battery technologies will emerge which they seem to be doing. There is no fundamental thermodynamic factor limiting battery technology so in the end, material science will win out.

    Also as to the assertion that fossil fuels are needed to build and erect wind turbines and presumably solar panels too, well I don’t see why electric powered machinery couldn’t be used to erect them. The biggest dump trucks in the world are electric drive. As to where the positive net energy comes from to get the raw materials to build the fiberglass etc., well that positive net energy could come from the wind turbines themselves which I have heard have a quite high EROEI even including all the erection costs. With some of this positive net energy in the form of electricity, you extract some otherwise negative EROEI tar sand and use that as a raw material to make the wind turbine. This “solution” wouldn’t last forever, but a very long time because there is a lot of otherwise uneconomic tar sand and other such things like coal which could be extracted in mining operations simply for their chemical use as feedstock, not as a source of energy.

    Now, I fully agree that the likelihood of us ever seeing such a transition to a smart grid with a bunch of electric cars balancing out intermittent supply from solar and wind is remote to none. However, on a purely technical basis there is no reason that this won’t work (which is why I must disagree with arguments stating that it won’t work, based on a technical reasons) and I think it is something we should be striving for.

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 3:23pm

    #39

    Pipyman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 24 2011

    Posts: 48

    MKI

    Regardless of all the well thought out retorts through the PP lense, I feel I should say a few words for myself rather than anyone else. MKI’s vision of the future should be appealing to us, shouldn’t it? Why do we “PPers” get so repelled by such viewpoints? I mean, aside from all the data leading us to our conclusions.

    Personally, I used to get angry because events weren’t confirming my beliefs. But today, I’m not so sure. I think now it’s more to do with the great sadness involved in such short sightedness. It’s not MKI’s viewpoint that I find difficult, it’s what it represents; business as usual. That’s what’s hidden in it. A presumption of more growth, species loss, consumption rather than connection, pollution and decay. It’s the continuing slow death many of us feel, and MKI has just handed me a shot of heroin to take the edge off a little longer. The cognitive dissonance in our daily lives is so extreme for those of us that don’t buy the maintream narrative, so that when we meet that narrative here it feels like a violation. It’s partly this dynamic I feel that Stephen Jenkinson was touching on “there are times in your life when you go on not being able to”. The sadness is so extreme I can barely breath some days. Not because I have nothing to be joyful about, but because I have a great deal to be joyful about. I’m beginning to understand what a terminally ill person must feel in the extra time they’ve been granted by palliative care, or the person looking at a beautiful flower whilst tied to a train track. Only, it’s not just my demise I’m dealing with, it’s the demise of everything I hold dear. This culture’s inability to be aggrieved by that which has already occurred is the reason it blindly stumbles on into the future it ordered. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss; I go on.

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 5:55pm

    Reply to #39

    westcoastjan

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 04 2012

    Posts: 177

    It is the business as usual that offends

    Good points Pipyman, you have captured some of what I have been thinking as I followed this thread. The problem I have with MKI’s assertions relate more to a perceived callousness/arrogance that fails to address the other predicaments we collectively are facing. I always struggle trying to relate to people who are too focused on money and/or making money, while never seeming to display any caring about all of the other things that are of significant importance, our biosphere and ability to survive – as well as future generations. The fact is I don’t care if we are energy rich now – what gives us the right to do the rape and pillage thing, draining every last drop to use and pad our paycheques? How gluttonous, and immoral, from the perspective of not caring about the future.

    Colour me more altruistic in my thinking. While there may be an illusion that we in this (greedy) first world are and remain energy rich, that is all it is, an illusion.  The energy illusion is propped up by the debt illusion. To borrow a slogan from one of the big Canadian banks, “you’re ricer than you think.” Ya right…. 

    There has been a lot of great commentary and rebuttal. Perhaps this is a debate of “is your glass half full or half empty?” Hate to say it but I am in the half empty camp because the data and 3E’s are pretty persuasive, while MKI’s ‘data’ is lacking. But then again, I don’t have a vested interest, as MKI appears to have. Perhaps there is data that shows a correlation between one’s beliefs and how those belief’s impact ones paycheque. Just wondering…

    Jan

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  • Fri, Jan 12, 2018 - 9:27pm

    #40
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 514

    Everything old is new, again!

    In defense of our buddy, MKI, perhaps instead of focusing on bickering about those things that divide, we could look through the clutter and embrace those things that have withstood the ages; the scythe, the anvil, harnesses, physical labour, wind and water power and apply them intelligently. A couple of simple applications:

     http://www.steffes.com/electric-thermal-storage/room-units/

    https://www.architonic.com/en/products/ceramic-stoves/0/3238841/1

    http://www.voltbike.ca/voltbike-yukon.html

    https://www.livescience.com/61389-alligators-snorkel.html  (Time to slow down?)

    Do we choose to look into the abyss or scale the high ground. (Disclaimer: I have no vested interest in any of these products – wish I did, however). Are we looking at a catastrophe or at a predicament? The “cutting edge” of technology occasionally needs to be honed.

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 10:14am

    Reply to #36
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Costco still strong

    We do all our shopping at Costco; Sam’s Club has never been competitive in our experience. I think that’s the more likely reason for the closure. Walmart and Fred Meyer are still doing well, too. Remember what it was like in the 1970s, how expensive food was? Life in AK is so much easier today.

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 10:44am

    #41

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Costco Still Strong? What

    Well MKI it’s all relative.  

    You say “life in Alaska is so much easier today”! Really, that’s a blatant GENERALIZATION.  Compared to what, were you here? I was.  If someone has trouble putting food on the table or generating income today, they don’t care what the price of milk was in 1970.  And for your information there are no COSTCO’s in Fairbanks which means a whole lot of people North of Anchorage have to shop retail or have stuff shipped, or flown or driven or snow-machined to their remote locations, and that’s expensive.  I have been told that the Sam’s Club in Fairbanks was the highest grossing in the nation.  Guess that didn’t matter.

    I find your lack of empathy and hubris sad.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 10:55am

    Reply to #39
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    MKI

    Pipyman,

    My primary thesis: we could easily cut our consumption of everything way back and still live a very rich and pleasant life. So why all the angst? I’ve lived without power or running water for years when younger, and it’s a good life. Imagine if we all had gardens in your front lawn? Lived in 1/10 the SF? Walked instead of drove? We could cut back literally 50% of our GDP and live quite well. No, better! We could completely replace oil and be better off for it.

    Regarding the reality of technology growth and economic growth? This is merely factual data and I have no allegiance to it, it’s just blunt reality that things just keep getting easier every year of my life due to technology. This has been a fact of my my nearly 50 years of life. It’s not some prediction where I think I’m so smart I can predict the FED does this or oil prices do that. Could this growth reverse? Sure, but growth has been this way since the 1750’s at least I doubt it will reverse in my pathetic lifetime, and I sure ain’t smart enough to predict if or when this will happen anyway even if it does.

    So why not just keep 10% of one’s net worth in gold and own one’s home as a hedge, walk to stay fit, and hunt/fish/garden better and healthier and cheaper food…and continue to participate in our GDP growth? And what steady ride it’s been; I remember in 20 years ago amazed as the DOW broke 10,000. Now it’s 25,000. And I’ve made at least 3% in stock dividends over that time as well by staying in the game. What’s not to like? If WWIII happens or we run dry of oil, just be living well and healthy is it’s own reward and own your home, have a well and garden/hunt/fish to hedge against a crisis. Life is good. 

    I’m open minded to anyone with a good argument against my thinking. I’ve yet to see it; so many seem so sure they understand and can predict the economics, the FED, the price manipulations, the oil situation. Good luck with all that. I’m not that smart, I just follow the data that has matched my reality for my entire life.

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 12:56pm

    Reply to #39

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Utopia

    MKI wrote:

    My primary thesis: we could easily cut our consumption of everything way back and still live a very rich and pleasant life. So why all the angst? I’ve lived without power or running water for years when younger, and it’s a good life. Imagine if we all had gardens in your front lawn? Lived in 1/10 the SF? Walked instead of drove? We could cut back literally 50% of our GDP and live quite well. No, better! We could completely replace oil and be better off for it.

    On the wish fulfillment front, why not make it happen? Get everyone on board. Why not become the person that changed an entire nations ideals – let alone it’d be like herding cats.

    You do know the outcome, I’m sure : –

    We’re not going to change much in this country. It isn’t the job of this website. Neither is it the intention. People here aren’t trying to build a utopia. That would be stupid. 

    “For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”

    Sir Thomas More – Utopia 1516

    Finn

     

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 1:17pm

    #42
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 03 2014

    Posts: 514

    And from the Washington post, no less!

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/in-one-key-meeting-trump-destroyed-his-critics-credibility/2018/01/12/13f3c1f4-f6f8-11e7-a9e3-ab18ce41436a_story.html?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_with_top_mostshared_1_na&utm_term=.72b6de1dda3c

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 1:55pm

    #43

    fionnbharr

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 27 2012

    Posts: 63

    Mark Theissen - MK1's Brother From Another Mother

    Hey Tom,

    You’ve just gotta love former Bush speech writer Mark Theissen for the promo work on Trump at the Washington Post. I mean, I recall him stating on live interview a few years back that waterboarding wasn’t torture. I bet the revenue in advertisement has been good for the paper of late?

    It’s 40 odd years since Bernstein and Woodward blew open Watergate. Nothing changes, yet some things stay the same …

    Finn

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 2:45pm

    Reply to #39

    Pipyman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 24 2011

    Posts: 48

    The Cult of me?

    I’m hearing an awful lot about you and yours MKI. And if I selfishly took the same perspective of my own current situation, from many directions, I could concur. But, I’m talking about the costs, you know, those externalities? The resource wars, the collapsing insect populations, the children doped up on tv, computer games and toxic cheap food (possibly from Costco if my understanding of the place is correct), the consumption/trash heap economy. Even if you can’t grasp where the current trends are heading in the near future, I can’t understand why you are so blind to the costs that are right in front of you. But, I guess “there are none so blind as those who refuse to see”. I’ll enjoy the privilege I have for a while longer just as you appear to be doing, but I sure as hell won’t allow myself to detach from the costs. I rightfully carry that weight, and I honour the living world as best I can.

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 5:26pm

    Reply to #41
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    Costco Still Strong? What

    AKG,

    Yes, I was here in 70 & have lived in nearly every type of community (Anch/Fbx/Kenai/Wasilla/bush). Remember the cost of food in the 1970’s? The terrible fruits/veg available? At outrageous costs? Not to mention the paved roads were at least 1/2 the quality/quality of today. And of course cars were maybe 1/3 as reliable…making driving much easier today & flying is cheaper today as well…& Amazon has made everything easier to access here, Kindle cuts down on shipping, the web automates much that took work back in the day. Technology improvements have made our life in AK way, way better over the last 50 years. This is just an objective reality to everyone I know and live with. We talk about it all the time, grateful.

    But I’m mystified how my observation about life is better today warrants an accusation I “lack empathy” & am engaging in “hubris”? I’m cheerful in this thread, I have nothing against those who disagree with me. Why all the angst?

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 6:48pm

    #44

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    Now Where Was That Ignore Button

    My Dear MKI, we live in different worlds and let me enlighten you why your posts give me angst and after this post I will be putting you on my ignore list.  

    You say, for instance “And of course cars were maybe 1/3 as reliable…making driving much easier today”  Ah no, we have a 1974 Truck that still runs.  I can sit for months and then start and purrs like tiger.  Easy to work on a real gem.  People often want to buy it as it’s so much more reliable than high tech vehicles today.. Get it, no computers it’s MORE reliable.   And, “Kindle cuts down on shipping”  I read and collect books no shipping.

    Technology improvements have made our life in AK way, way better over the last 50 years. This is just an objective reality to everyone I know and live with. We talk about it all the time, grateful”.  ‘

    Repeatedly in my posts I have pointed out that it’s not an objective reality that everyone is doing better.  There are many who are struggling.  Your posts seem to reflect that you do not read the posts of others in order to understand but only to respond.  Silly me for trying multiple times to get your to see the world isn’t just about you but many others who’s lives are difficult.  Much like arguing with a alcoholic it’s an effort in futility.  Hey, I get it, let me see if I can push Granny’s buttons.  Yep I care deeply and you did.  But there is an ignore button for a reason.

    End of story, Period!

    AKG

     

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 7:20pm

    Reply to #41

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 190

    Why people are frustrated by your demeanor in this thread

    MKI.  I’m going to take my best guess at the reason for the “lack of empathy” and “hubris” comments.  You have repeatedly written about how much easier life has gotten since about 1970.  I think they are frustrated by what seems to be your lack of awareness of the terrific costs to ecosystems, human culture and those who have been left out in increasing numbers from this fantastic life style.  To them (and me), all you can see is yourself and the people around you who have similar experiences. 

    You don’t see (or at least don’t mention):

    • our toxic agricultural system whose biggest export is topsoil into the worlds oceans
    • the huge reduction in insect, ocean fish, and large mammal populations.
    • a financial system that has increasingly been gamed to funnel wealth to the well connected which, as energy and other resources have gotten more expensive to extract (the pie has stopped growing or at least slowed it’s growth), has created a larger and larger underclass that is increasingly stressed, addicted, even dead from overdose, suicide, etc.
    • Climate change and soon ocean acidification are increasingly impacting us in bigger and bigger ways.
    • Our nation continues to prosecute declared and undeclared wars that have killed at least hundreds of thousands (probably millions) over that time frame and caused untold suffering for millions more.
    • Millions of people in dozens of countries have worked in horrid working conditions to produce the raw materials and cheap consumer goods our economy depends on.

    In short, there is untold suffering in this system that has made life so much easier for some of us and it is absolutely awful for others.  It is also absolutely unsustainable, probably on a time scale of a few decades or less.  You haven’t mentioned anything about the big picture, and what our easy lifestyles have caused for others, and the world or the unsustainability of it all.  How can a sober adult be so simplistic?  It’s frustrating.

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  • Mon, Jan 15, 2018 - 7:42pm

    Reply to #41

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 190

    Why people are frustrated by your demeanor in this thread

    Duplicate

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  • Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - 8:16am

    #45

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 450

    ThankYou

    Quercue bicolor

    Thank you for articulating the point I was trying to make.  As a high school graduate my ability to express in great detail thoughts and concepts is not a strength.  However, I know unfairness, apathy, nonsense and the difference between good and evil and I give my opinions a good effort. There are many, middle class folk like me out there and when people talk about how good everything is it’s an insult to each of us who are struggling.  The motto is “my life is good so it must just suck to be you”.  Chris does a good job about talking about fairness.

    Catherine Austin Fitts says we are in a spiritual war, which I believe. And so in this war it’s important to point out unfairness, to realize that even if our life is good and our neighbors isn’t, which includes our feathered, furry and insect neighbors, then our lives are diminished as well.  When we lose our love and empathy we lose our power in this war.

    My favorite prayer-

    King Aurthor – God grant me the wisdom to discover what’s right, the will to choose it, and the strength to endure it.  Doing what’s right is a lonely road to travel.  Unfairness is indeed frustrating.

    Anyway a hug to you from Granny

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  • Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - 1:51pm

    Reply to #41
    MKI

    MKI

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jan 12 2009

    Posts: 69

    empathy and hubris

    QB: what seems to be your lack of awareness of the terrific costs to ecosystems, human culture and those who have been left out in increasing numbers from this fantastic life style.

    First, I’m very aware, but we disagree, on the both facts and merits, regarding the “situation of our ecosystem”. But I really don’t want to turn this thread into that debate. Yes we disagree, but I don’t disparage your morals or intelligence (although you & AKG decry mine). OK, I get it. Please let it go.

    Second, Re undeclared wars! working conditions! environment! and whatever else: sheese. What’s next to pile on? I could think of a thousand areas of moral concerns I have but I sure don’t think I have a right to demand (you or anyone else) share them or you “lack empathy” and are racked by “hubris” or ignorance. Look, people have different experiences, values, eduction, and brainpower. They should have the freedom to formulate their own opinions and lifestyles and suffer the rewards and consequences of doing so. This  “you must think like me or you are a “_____” IMO prevents learning, growing, changing, and understanding. YMMV.

    Third: The “gang up with friends” technique of discussion is not generally effective at persuading people. Certainly not empirical types like me.

    Sure we disagree. That’s OK. I’m merely replying to be polite and let you know you have been read and heard. Yes I remain unconvinced of your positions. And yes I’m unperturbed that you (and others here) don’t agree with my POV.  I harbor no ill to those who disagree with me. Heck, I was having these same arguments way back in the 1980s; my position then was a fairly accurate prediction of today, and I believe it remains so. But only the future can tell; a good Black Swan or war could make mincemeat of anyone’s predictions. I can assure you my POV is not hubris. It’s caution and humility. Sadly, I don’t see much of that here.

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  • Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - 3:10pm

    #46

    westcoastjan

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 04 2012

    Posts: 177

    hahahahaha

    I can assure you my POV is not hubris. It’s caution and humility. 

    That is truly hysterical MKI, thanks for the great laugh of the day!!

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  • Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - 8:28pm

    Reply to #41

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 190

    No hard feelings.  I am just

    No hard feelings.  I am just trying to understand what leads you to think the way you do – partly because it might help my view point evolve, partly because it might help me to be more empathetic towards you and partly because it might help me understand how to better explain my point of view to you and others who think similarly.

    MKI wrote:

    QB: what seems to be your lack of awareness of the terrific costs to ecosystems, human culture and those who have been left out in increasing numbers from this fantastic life style.

    First, I’m very aware, but we disagree, on the both facts and merits, regarding the “situation of our ecosystem”. But I really don’t want to turn this thread into that debate. Yes we disagree, but I don’t disparage your morals or intelligence (although you & AKG decry mine). OK, I get it. Please let it go.

    There is quite a bit of hard data about things like topsoil depletion, reduction in ocean fish, insect and large (wild) mammal biomass, reduction in forest area, increasing wealth gap, increasing deaths from opioid overdoses, etc.  The environmental trends in particular are huge and point convincingly to a near term extinction crisis/ecosystem collapse.  Are you aware of these trends?  Can you explain them away?

    MKI wrote:

    Second, Re undeclared wars! working conditions! environment! and whatever else: sheese. What’s next to pile on? I could think of a thousand areas of moral concerns I have but I sure don’t think I have a right to demand (you or anyone else) share them or you “lack empathy” and are racked by “hubris” or ignorance. Look, people have different experiences, values, eduction, and brainpower. They should have the freedom to formulate their own opinions and lifestyles and suffer the rewards and consequences of doing so. This  “you must think like me or you are a “_____” IMO prevents learning, growing, changing, and understanding. YMMV.

    Forget moral concerns.  A few simple questions to ask 1) “Are these problems big enough that they are reasonably likely to cause a reversal in this trend towards easier lives in the near future?”  If so, then it’s wise to consider or them.   2) “The way I and a minority of wealthy people on the planet live today is unprecedented in human history even as recently as a few decades ago.  It is also unique even today when considering humanity as a whole.   But there are significant consequences to this lifestyle both ecologically and to people in other parts of the world (and in my own country).  After considering this, are the benefits of this life style it really worth it?” Or maybe you don’t buy the part about significant consequences.

    MKI wrote:

    Third: The “gang up with friends” technique of discussion is not generally effective at persuading people. Certainly not empirical types like me.

    I agree.  It’s unlikely to be effective.  Please forgive our venting our frustration with what we perceive to be naivete or hubris on your part.   Yes, there is value in being empirical.  Where do you stand on allowing emotions to inform the thinking process?  My take is that emotions developed over millions of years of evolution for a reason.  When used in conjunction with intellect, they can help us determine what is important.

    MKI wrote:

    Sure we disagree. That’s OK. I’m merely replying to be polite and let you know you have been read and heard. Yes I remain unconvinced of your positions. And yes I’m unperturbed that you (and others here) don’t agree with my POV.  I harbor no ill to those who disagree with me. Heck, I was having these same arguments way back in the 1980s; my position then was a fairly accurate prediction of today, and I believe it remains so. But only the future can tell; a good Black Swan or war could make mincemeat of anyone’s predictions. I can assure you my POV is not hubris. It’s caution and humility. Sadly, I don’t see much of that here.

    Yes, the future is unpredictable. 

    Perhaps your POV can be interpreted caution and humility if your goal is to best position yourself to maintain/increase ease and comfort in the near to mid-term.  What if your goal was assess the most significant risks to the ongoing project of civilization as well as the comfort or even survival of our offspring and then act in a way most likely to mitigate these risks?  I think that is the goal of many/most of us here at PP.  It leads to very different actions than the first goal.  Perhaps that is where the misunderstanding comes from.  

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  • Wed, Jan 17, 2018 - 1:45am

    Reply to #41

    Pipyman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 24 2011

    Posts: 48

    Thanks

    Yes, but for the record I’m not putting myself on a pedestal here, MKI and I likely are more similar than we are different. But, I ask on a daily basis, as Stephen Jenkinson so eloquently put it “to which planetary being can I turn to say, I’m sorry, I had no idea”. I suspect MKI’s reaction to such a question would be…

    Huh?

    An understanding of the question certainly isn’t evident in his comments…… And yes, I do detest the hubris inherent in MKI’s POV. Just as I detested my own hubris during the “fear” stage of waking up to our predicament, and I payed the price. And as for gratitude, I’d love to know where MKI’s gratitude comes from, I personally am deeply grateful for my privilege because I know the price to others; including the natural world.

    And on the technology issue, I’m certainly not going to put my faith in it as a saviour from OUR Hubris. For some reason, my first more lengthy response was eaten….. Seems to be something wrong with the Robot checker!!!!!!!  Lol, it gets better 🙂 It took 24 hrs to post….

    Mars here we come!!!!!

     

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  • Wed, Jan 17, 2018 - 5:32am

    Reply to #41

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    MKI wrote: QB: what seems to

    MKI wrote:

    QB: what seems to be your lack of awareness of the terrific costs to ecosystems, human culture and those 

    Third: The “gang up with friends” technique of discussion is not generally effective at persuading people. Certainly not empirical types like me.

    Empirical types would back up their assertions with actual empirical data, not superfluous (and often spurious) fluffy statements like you do. You, sir, are no engineer. You are a person behind the keyboard pretending to be one.

     

    If I am wrong, prove it. Post data, source that data, and negate the points Chris and others have posted one by one, empirically and scientifically, and maybe people here will actually take you seriously again. Until then, you are merely a charlatan conjuring unsubstantiated illusions, opinion, and fru-fru.

     

    -Snydeman

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  • Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - 9:52am

    #47

    Andy_in_Hawick

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2009

    Posts: 12

    de-coupling

    Is there decoupling of energy and economic growth? The data suggest that it IS possible:

    https://www.gapminder.org/tools/#_state_time_value=2014;&[email protected]_geo=gbr&trailStartTime=1960;&_geo=usa&trailStartTime=1960;&_geo=che&trailStartTime=1980;&_geo=sgp&trailStartTime=1971;&_geo=jpn&trailStartTime=1960;&_geo=lux&trailStartTime=1960;&_geo=nor&trailStartTime=1960;;&opacitySelectDim:0.45&axis/_x_which=energy/_use/_per/_person&domainMin:null&domainMax:null&zoomedMin:null&zoomedMax:null&scaleType=linear;&axis/_y_which=gdppercapita/_us/_inflation/_adjusted&domainMin:null&domainMax:null&zoomedMin:null&zoomedMax:null;;;&chart-type=bubbles

    Switzerland and Norway seem to have done particularly well in this regard whereas Iceland have gone in the opposite direction.

    BTW, Gapminder is a great resource for looking at data; they have done all of the hard work!

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  • Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - 7:19pm

    #48

    newsbuoy

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 10 2013

    Posts: 67

    interview with Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen

    Good supplimental interview with Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen about the latest in Trump administration energy policy

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  • Fri, Jan 26, 2018 - 11:27pm

    #49
    Mohammed Mast

    Mohammed Mast

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 17 2017

    Posts: 112

    Some data

    Having been reading this site off and on mostly off since the beginning I have found one thing to be absolutely rock hard solidly consistent. It is the propensity of the owners to frame interviews and conversations in certain ways.

    I remember a podcast with Jim Rogers , who I like a lot. He would have nothing to do with the frame that was presented to him. I found it quite refreshing.

    One other observation I have along with frame, is that the podcasts serve almost entirely as platforms to present the resident paradigm. I make no judgement whether the paradigm is correct or not, as we shall all see.

    I have read Gails work from back in her oil drum days and subscribe to her blog. I was looking forward to hearing what she had to say. Unfortunately the “interview ” was mostly Chris’s platform to present his perspective. he did this by not only framing the discussion but by also taking up most of the time. This is a regualr occurrence on these podcasts which is why I rarely listen (or rather read as my hearing is not so good). But she is a fave so I gave it a shot.

    Having measured the number of inches in the transcript I found that Chris occupied approx. 46.5 inches as opposed to 26.5 for Gail. certainly as the owner of the site that is his prerogative. I would probably do the same. However as a consumer I can get his perspective all over the site whereas Gail is only on for a short time. 

    The skill of interviewing I believe lies in being able to draw new and revealing information from the interviewee. There was nothing new here for me

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  • Sun, Jan 28, 2018 - 6:28pm

    Reply to #49

    Snydeman

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2013

    Posts: 481

    Mohammed Mast wrote:Having

    Mohammed Mast wrote:

    Having been reading this site off and on mostly off since the beginning I have found one thing to be absolutely rock hard solidly consistent. It is the propensity of the owners to frame interviews and conversations in certain ways.

    I remember a podcast with Jim Rogers , who I like a lot. He would have nothing to do with the frame that was presented to him. I found it quite refreshing.

    One other observation I have along with frame, is that the podcasts serve almost entirely as platforms to present the resident paradigm. I make no judgement whether the paradigm is correct or not, as we shall all see.

    I have read Gails work from back in her oil drum days and subscribe to her blog. I was looking forward to hearing what she had to say. Unfortunately the “interview ” was mostly Chris’s platform to present his perspective. he did this by not only framing the discussion but by also taking up most of the time. This is a regualr occurrence on these podcasts which is why I rarely listen (or rather read as my hearing is not so good). But she is a fave so I gave it a shot.

    Having measured the number of inches in the transcript I found that Chris occupied approx. 46.5 inches as opposed to 26.5 for Gail. certainly as the owner of the site that is his prerogative. I would probably do the same. However as a consumer I can get his perspective all over the site whereas Gail is only on for a short time. 

    The skill of interviewing I believe lies in being able to draw new and revealing information from the interviewee. There was nothing new here for me

     

    There is merit to your criticism to some degree, and I felt like Chris was covering for Gail’s lack of insight with his own words in places. Yet, I don’t this this is often nor always the case. Hear the latest podcast with Art Berman? Chris is on the mic maybe 20% by comparison to Art. It depends on the interview. Mish, fo instance, likes to talk a lot. Charles and Chris seem balanced in most ones they do; same with interviews with Axel.  

     

    That at being said, I can’t imagine that generating enough original content at the rate Chris and Adam do, and on a weekly basis at that, can be all that easy.  So, I’m wondering where you find constant “new”insights from on a weekly basis?

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