This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

GMO Quarterly Letter: Grantham On The Coming "Peak Everything" Disaster

Tyler Durden's picture





 

It was just three short months ago that Jeremy Grantham was spewing Malthusian fire and brimstone. He did so, however, from a broadly generalist perspective. Today, the head of GMO has released his second follow up in the "peak everything" series which is sure to provoke yet another round of bickering and debate between the disciples and nemeses of the logarithmic function and its applications in the real world. Among the key topic dissected this time are ongoing resource depletion and soil erosion. To wit: "As the population continues to grow, we will be stressed by recurrent shortages of hydrocarbons, metals, water, and, especially, fertilizer. Our global agriculture, though, will clearly bear the greatest stresses. It may have the responsibility for feeding an extra two to three billion mouths, an increase of 30% to 40% in just 40 years. The availability of the highest quality land will almost certainly continue to shrink slowly, and the quality of typical arable soil will continue to slowly decline globally due to erosion despite increased efforts to prevent it. This puts a huge burden on increasing productivity...Here, the discussion is about the pain and time involved in getting to long-term sustainability as well as trying to separate the merely irritating from the real, often surreptitious, threats to the long-term viability of our current affluent but reckless society. The moral however, is clear. As Jim Rogers likes to say: be a farmer not a banker – the world needs good farmers!"

Below is Grantham's thesis summary:

Summary

  • We humans have the brains and the means to reach real planetary sustainability. The problem is with us and our focus on short-term growth and pro ts, which is likely to cause suffering on a vast scale. With foresight and thoughtful planning, this suffering is completely avoidable.
  • Although we will have energy problems with peak oil, this is probably an area where human ingenuity will indeed eventually triumph and in 50 years we will have muddled through well enough, despite price problems along the way.
  • Shortages of metals and fresh water will each cause severe problems, but in the end we will adjust our behavior enough to be merely irritated rather than threatened, although in the case of metals, the pressure from shortages and higher prices will slowly increase forever.
  • Running out completely of potassium (potash) and phosphorus (phosphates) and eroding our soils are the real long-term problems we face. Their total or nearly total depletion would make it impossible to feed the 10 billion people expected 50 years from now.
  • Potassium and phosphorus are necessary for all life; they can not be manufactured and cannot be substituted for. We depend on finite mined resources that are very unevenly scattered around the world.
  • Globally, soil is eroding at a rate that is several times that of the natural replacement rate. It is probable, although not certain, that the U.S. is still losing ground. The world as a whole certainly is.
  • In particular, a significant number of poor countries found mostly in Africa and Asia will almost certainly suffer from increasing malnutrition and starvation. The possibility of foreign assistance on the scale required seems remote.
  • The many stresses on agriculture will be exacerbated at least slightly by increasing temperatures, and severely by increased weather instability, especially more frequent and severe droughts and floods.
  • Capitalism, despite its magnificent virtues in the short term– above all, its ability to adjust to changing conditions – has several weaknesses that affect this issue.
    • It cannot deal with the tragedy of the commons, e.g., overfishing, collective soil erosion, and air contamination.
    • The finiteness of natural resources is simply ignored, and pricing is based entirely on short-term supply and demand.
    • More generally, because of the use of very high discount rates, modern capitalism attributes no material cost to damage that occurs far into the future. Our grandchildren and the problems they will face because of a warming planet with increasing weather instability and, particularly, with resource shortages, have, to the standard capitalist approach, no material present value.

And so on. Much more inside.

Grant Ham

 


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Fri, 07/22/2011 - 22:58 | Link to Comment NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

Peak Bitchez, Bitchez

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:05 | Link to Comment NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

The moral however, is clear. As Jim Rogers likes to say: be a farmer not a banker – the world needs good farmers!"

We just dug 2,000 more pounds of potates today......... Will trade carbs for silver and gold.  See you soon.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:07 | Link to Comment mt paul
mt paul's picture

one potato

one oz of silver

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:34 | Link to Comment RobD
RobD's picture

Feed those carbs to a pig and we may have a deal. Carbs are poison unless a beast processes them into protein and fat first.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:20 | Link to Comment Raymond Reason
Raymond Reason's picture

Roger that.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 19:17 | Link to Comment camoes
camoes's picture

Peak-a-boo!

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:00 | Link to Comment Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

Hey! There's room for both. A pork chop with a potato, ummmmm....

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:36 | Link to Comment Smiddywesson
Smiddywesson's picture

If carbs are poision, then why do we have flat teeth?  We are omnivores.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:26 | Link to Comment Hulk
Hulk's picture

Match carb intake to your level of activity and all is well. Otherwise, they are deadly...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:31 | Link to Comment Fedophile
Fedophile's picture

Haven't you heard we're iPadivores?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:05 | Link to Comment Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

The only problem with your argument is a brain that allows us to cut meat with tools we make.

That tool can be nothing more than a flake sharpened rock. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:40 | Link to Comment BigJim
BigJim's picture

Feed those carbs to a pig and we may have a deal. Carbs are poison unless a beast processes them into protein and fat first.

Vegetables are what food eats.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:32 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

...said the obese, heart-diseased corn-syrup addict.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:12 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

I guess lions and tigers are all obese, heart-diseased corn syrup addicts

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:19 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

This just in: you're not a lion, ape-boy. The next time you run down dinner and rip it open with your own teeth, make a video.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 18:31 | Link to Comment ping
ping's picture

Finally! I knew I was taping that stuff for a good reason. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:40 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Everything gives you cancer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oDAkmfoAgA

Joe Jackson said so.

On a long enough timeline we're all dead.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 17:19 | Link to Comment jdrose1985
jdrose1985's picture

Caused by the lack of effective toxin removal by the body.

Antiperspirant : breast cancer

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:34 | Link to Comment knavechild
knavechild's picture

The problem is that the government wants to deem farmers as terrorists and send FDA swat teams after you if you grow organic produce. We're literally living in a totalitarian nightmare that will only get worse.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:47 | Link to Comment Reptil
Reptil's picture

+1

In europe it's not there yet but the seeds of monoculutured exclusive agriculture are sprouting from the ground now.

And not many are aware that the US of A's revolution is upon us.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:47 | Link to Comment Silver Kiwi
Silver Kiwi's picture

don't blame the Govt, blame Monsanto.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:47 | Link to Comment Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

can't they be one and the same?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:53 | Link to Comment Smiddywesson
Smiddywesson's picture

don't blame the Govt, blame Monsanto

Blame facism.  Corporations exist to make money.  You SHOULD blame the government.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:17 | Link to Comment Reptil
Reptil's picture

Yes, that's the party that is responsible.

The Government (EU as well as USA) is tied at the hip to Monsanto, agreed.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:08 | Link to Comment Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

Even better is holding back water behind a dam and releasing it to flood and destroy thousands of acres of farm land rendering it useless for many years.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:45 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Even better is flooding fertile farmland with flood water, when there is a drought in Texas and the Southwest. A very good case could be made for building a diversionary channel from the upper or middle Mississippi River to the southwestern states, it would provide fresh water and jobs and add valuable infrastructure to our nation.

The lack of vision by our leaders and our populace borders on blindness.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:21 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

We can't waste money on useful public projects like that. We need to build bigger and better federal buildings. The old ones are at least 10 years old by now. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:57 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The lack of vision by our leaders and our populace borders on blindness.

 

How? The US is characterized by a strong inequality between US citizens.

Some people accumulate  to live without any kind of work (including getting the money to work) through five or six generations while others struggle to make the ends meet on a month basis.

With such inequality, it is not possible to form a cohesive social project.

Flooding right now arable land is a sound strategy for anyone in the US who falls in the first category, that is with an offspring destined to prosper for at the least the next six generations to come.

By flooding arable land, these people preserve them and put them out of reach of the greedy people living on a monthly basis who would like to consume them right now.

The first category of people have enough time ahead to know they will be still here when the land becomes once again farming friendly.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:46 | Link to Comment rajat_bhatia
rajat_bhatia's picture

You guys, the indian metals exchange opens up on saturday, what do you guys suggest i should do? i hold Copper Shorts as of now...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:19 | Link to Comment Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

rajat, copper shorts are really heavy, no?

Do you hold them up with iron belts or steel suspenders?

Just curious.

I personally prefer cotton. They chafe less.

Jai ho!

ORI

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:22 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

I suggest you have a beer and cool off in the swimming pool

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:21 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

Peak Bitchez, Bitchez

 

Au contraire....bitchez be quite renewable.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:04 | Link to Comment mt paul
mt paul's picture

peak peas

bytches....

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:12 | Link to Comment DaBernank
DaBernank's picture

Of course I take it with more than 1 grain of salt but it's an interesting thesis. There was a "study" done at Cornell University a few years back where a group of researchers crunched a whole bunch of data and determined that the earth could indefinitely support only 2 billion people.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:18 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

Peak death.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:06 | Link to Comment Cheesy Bastard
Cheesy Bastard's picture

Mt. Everest-Peak peak. 

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:09 | Link to Comment JohnG
JohnG's picture

Finally a thread not about politics!

Now reading article....

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:30 | Link to Comment lewy14
lewy14's picture

This is all about politics.

This is a sanctimonious New Englander explaining to his own dopamine receptors why he needs to abolish democracy and capitalism in favor of rule by him and his crew - you know, the smart, right thinking, forsighted Central Planners. For the kids. For the planet. For great justice!

His dopamine receptors need the explanation because <i>power rocks</i> is too crude for his self regard.

I grew up with sanctimounious New England culture and when I moved away I saw through their bullshit. It always ends up in the same place - the necessity of rule by smart, right thinking people.

Like themselves.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:48 | Link to Comment disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

Doesn't leave a lot of room for the native populations does it? If it's capitalism the money buys the excuse propagated by the media. If it's government there are no appeal rights. Of course it does beg the question "why did we have a founding document in the first place?" Apparently those were people who understood their mortality all too well. Not the current crop:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=RfeaNKcffMk

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:48 | Link to Comment Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman's picture

Lewy:  Amen, brother!  I know just what you mean.  

A New England "liberal" is the American fauna's version of a European fascist.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:12 | Link to Comment Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Forbes on CPI:

"It works like this: If steak gets too expensive and you start buying hamburger instead… well, your price of beef hasn’t really gone up and your cost of living is unchanged. This is one of the reasons official CPI is running 3.6%, but if it were still calculated the way it was before the Greenspan Commission went to work, it would be 11.1%."

"Under “chained CPI,” if your hamburger gets too expensive and you start buying beans instead… well, your price of protein hasn’t really gone up and your cost of living is unchanged."

http://blogs.forbes.com/greatspeculations/2011/07/20/gold-is-truth-uncha...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:35 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

The Times of the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today's issue contained a statement of the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly wrong. Winston's job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a "categorical pledge" were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grams to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April. (1.4.6)

Orwell, 1984

 

In our case, on the other hand, this new definition of inflation eliminates the need for a "memory hole" altogether.  Your standard of living has not changed . . . the numbers themselves prove it. 

Numbers do not lie.  Believe.

It reminds me of our steadily "increasing" GDP--progressively more and more inflated by the wonders of financial industry "productivity" --where Mr. Market has become the "all knowing, unbiased" substitute for Big Brother.

Of course, nobody who "matters" will care.  Those who are still getting their full chocolate ration will deny they are getting more than others and, to the extent that they acknowledge it at all, will dismiss complaints by the have nots as proof of ignorance and blind jealousy that are immune to reason. 

By the end, stark inequity per se will be de facto evidence of the corrosive effect of such personal perversities.  It is the complaints, in and of themselves, that will be considered the problem: They strain the social fabric and undermine confidence.  Are we not all in this together?

Mr. Market requires confidence to be happy. And if he's happy, we'll be happy.  

Belief is Happiness.  Disbelief is Destruction.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:45 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Believe in material abundance and sensual pleasure and ye shall be saved.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:48 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Can I get some slack, please?

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:02 | Link to Comment 11b40
11b40's picture

+10.......thanks, Bob.

Isn't it amazing how clearly Huxley & Orwell could see the distant future, yet today "nobody could have seen this coming" is the visionary standard we live by.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:07 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

"By the end, stark inequity per se will be de facto evidence of the corrosive effect of such personal perversities."

It's a really fine edge here...  As I go forward in time I'll be seen as having "more."  There won't be any reflection on the fact that this was due to previous frugality, frugality during times that others "party'd on."

Having others define what inequity is is sure way to ensure that They maintain their level of control (for the sake of those who have not- "doing God's work!").

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:37 | Link to Comment Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

This sounds like equivocation to me.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:24 | Link to Comment DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Yet another case of manipulating people via messing up the language they speak and think in.  In this particular case, it's simply a change from the Cost of Living (dubiously calculated anyway) to the Cost of Barely Staying Alive.  It would be better to change the name to more closely describe what's being measured.

CS Lewis wrote about this post WWII and it had already been going on long before.

Cost of living, at minimum, ought to be computed for various age classes.  When I was young, the things I had to buy were different by quite a bit.  No meds for one thing.  But I had to buy furniture and silverware, my first car, rent on an apartment.  Real "starting out in life" stuff ate all my money.

At the other end of my life, I own homes, a farm, will never manage to throw away enough of the junk I've collected, have to keep a couple computers upgraded, and now have the odd medical expense.  Most of the rest is taken care of for good -- or as long as I'm likely to live from here.

Now, with "hedonics" - if a computer costs the same, but is rated twice as fast, it's now calculated to cost half as much.  But I can't buy a half speed/half cost computer so easily....You could think Ipad, or just the fact that printers still cost about the same, power supplies and monitors and so on -- and cables.

But of course all that is missing the point - these numbers are cooked, and the people doing the cooking have a strong motive, as many of their expenses are tied to them, like say, COLA for SS, we darned old farts just live too long these days...Cooking the books seems to be the lazy, easy way out, where for example costing out how much the legal profession and laws add to medical expenses is harder -- and would make a lot more people a lot more angry.  My mother, a psychologist (who can't touch a patient, and can't even prescribe any drugs, just talk) paid more per HOUR for malpractice insurance than most people make in their regular jobs.  Does anyone else see a problem there?  Ditto costs of basic medical equipment, tests and so on -- all boosted by legal liability to ridiculous levels -- several times what they really should "cost" if the makers were only say, tripling their money.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 16:36 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

How much of the extra medical costs attributed to "defensive medicine" by doctors swearing it's the lawyers' fault (while tremendously profiting as a goup and as an industry controlled by doctors) are really the result of tort abuse is indeed difficult to quantify.  All we've got is their sworn pleas for relief.  They make 1000x more off this action than lawyers and clients, imo. 

As to your mom's predicament, I'm afraid somebody's word is not credible on that.  Unless your mother works less than 5-6 hours a week, she cannot possibly be paying "more per HOUR for malpractice insurance than most people make in their regular jobs."  Evan a minimum wage job worked full time yields $17k per year, while  APA Malpractice Insurance (always the most expensive carrier) was $3,000 per year last I knew.  No pyscholgist is paying $17k per year for malpractice insurance . . . unless their professional/claim history has labeled them as a poor risk. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 15:44 | Link to Comment 11b40
11b40's picture

+10.

There are many common sense solutions to problems, but we lack the collective will to put them in place, or the corruption is simply too overwhelming for changes to be implemented.

Just one small example - this morning on C-Span, there was a discussion on money in politics.  On and on they went, describing the problem and all the reasons we could really do anything about it.  I could not get in on the phone lines, but there is a great political solution that the public would rally around if someone had the courage and motivation to pick up the ball and run with it.  Change the law to say that only registered voters could make campaign contributions.  End of corporate money, union money, foreign money, PAC money....bye, bye special interest groups and Washington's lobby industry.  But, strangely, no one mentioned real solutions.

To your point above, far too many special interests have given bought themselves privileges....passes to loot the citizens, if you will.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 16:06 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

As you said, '--------many common sense solutions to problems----' and yours is a good one!

You have my vote 11b40.thanks            om

 

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 03:49 | Link to Comment Caggge
Caggge's picture

It would be a different world if politicians represented their constituents rather than the corporate world. Spock said it best. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:11 | Link to Comment Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Peak Peek.

Anyways I don't believe any of this Peak Anything is correct. I think if we lived in a free-trade society, limited supply resources would forbid their own exploitation through price action. That's it. In other words, in a free market, if Oil really is scarce, it would be trading higher, so it would become profitable to avoid using it. All resources are the same. The end.

Peek Poke

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:34 | Link to Comment Derpin USA
Derpin USA's picture

"The finiteness of natural resources is simply ignored, and pricing is based entirely on short-term supply and demand."

It only becomes too pricy when it's too late.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:20 | Link to Comment infiniti
infiniti's picture

You don't understand the supply and demand part.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:41 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

Chapter One, Verse One, right?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:56 | Link to Comment Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

nm


Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:30 | Link to Comment Mae Kadoodie
Mae Kadoodie's picture

and maybe people would stop having so many babies.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:57 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Is this sarcasm?

Resource depletion and sustainability is about CONSUMPTION levels, not just population numbers.  Dealing only with population numbers is two-dimensional thinking.  If folks in the US had a per-capita consumption level similar to that of the average Bangladeshi then the US's "population number" would be something like 3 BILLION!

But, yes, eventually the sheerness of population numbers turn out bad...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:10 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Great way to shred you own arguments, its like hooking a printers output to a paper shredders input. You could simply cut out all the middle part and state simply as in your closing statement:

"But, yes, eventually the sheerness of population numbers turn out bad.."

or in proper english,

"Eventually the immensity of population numbers alone, turns out badly for all involved."

We are splitting hairs, either we reduce our numbers voluntarily, or we reduce our numbers through catastrophic die off, which prior to occurring will mean an ever reduced standard of living.

Mankind is a funny old sod, we can see overpopulation and die offs in other species, but we hold ourselves unique and are unable for the most part to even see that we are animals, let alone subject to the same physical realities that all animals exist within.

 

It's that pretend gene we have, we pretend everything is okay, we pretend the world changes when it is the same, we create arbitrary pretend lines, like physical property boundaries or "laws" - behaviour that was proper one day is illegal the next simply because some group decided it was so, and so we pretend and play along. This pretend gene causes as much trouble as it does good, and one day we shall have to pretend we no longer have it, just to survive again.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 15:03 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

We are splitting hairs, either we reduce our numbers voluntarily, or we reduce our numbers through catastrophic die off, which prior to occurring will mean an ever reduced standard of living.

Mankind is a funny old sod, we can see overpopulation and die offs in other species, but we hold ourselves unique and are unable for the most part to even see that we are animals, let alone subject to the same physical realities that all animals exist within.

 

Splitting hair? No. Contrary to most animals, human beings do not have standardized needs. It ranges from 1 to 100+.

Who is that "we"? There is no "we" There are people who put extreme strain on the environment due to their consumption and others who put much less strain. No "we"

The irony is that US citizens would like to solve a consumption issue by curbing people who are out of the consumption process, freeing no resources in the process. Looking for a recoup in terms of resources also leads to mass slaughter systemics as one needs to kill a lot to generate a net profit.

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 04:23 | Link to Comment Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

We pretend that there are gods watching over us.  We pretend that our government cares about its citizens.  We pretend that an invisible hand guides the free market.  We pretend that in the end the good will triumph over evil.  We pretend that our preparations will be sufficient to ensure our survival when the shit hits the fan.

Eat drink and be merry, on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.  Believe whatever makes you happy.  In the end it doesn't matter anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czR2bHg_4c8

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:31 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Are you willing to live in a hut with no electricity and running water? The majority of people consume the least amount possible. It is not in their best interest to throw away food and waste gasoline. For every SUV I see, there are 10 medium to small cars. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 16:15 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

Let's see, now---does'nt that imply that ALL are crazed?

We don't need the oil or gas-----we choose carbo-hydrons. Everyone in the world understands this except 'we da peepl'-----no further comment because with careful thought we are in agreement

There is no obligation on our part to the Carbon Goddess

and living in a hut with no electricity and running water is what I did for 15 years and I wish that I could go back

thanks for the thoughts     sun 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:31 | Link to Comment Mad Marv
Mad Marv's picture

We don't experience free trade.  OPEC, subsidies, and too much government intervention masks what occurs. 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:36 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

I think if we lived in a free-trade society, limited supply resources would forbid their own exploitation through price action. 

 

Fairy tales are for children; there's no money to be had in the deceleration of depletion under any economic system.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:30 | Link to Comment DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

Best one-line put-down to a stupid religious statement ever!

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:34 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

If you had a functioning brain, you wouldn't think so!

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:34 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

How many people are using whale oil? how about wood-burning stoves?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:49 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

The trouble with whale oil is getting those derricks on the whale backs.

or

The trouble with whale oil is the wick keeps going out everytime they dive.

Can I get a rimshot here?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:53 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

rat-a-tat-tat

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:56 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

So you've got a replacement for petroleum up your sleeve that you're keeping under wraps for when the time is "just right"?

LOL

Creative destruction is nice...but you can't depend on it.

As the guy hustling for change at the end of the trolley said just the other day,

"I love your applause, it warms my heart...but I can't eat that shit."

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:18 | Link to Comment Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Go long soylent green.

Soylent green, not only good for you, its people food.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:18 | Link to Comment mr.glitch
mr.glitch's picture

It's pretty naive to think that we, as humans, could destroy the earth and pillage all resources/land in less than 150 years.

 

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:29 | Link to Comment Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

With our track record, just think what we'll be able to accomplish in another 150 years.

It boggles the mind.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:30 | Link to Comment Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

That is not the point; the point is that it is impossible to sustain a growing population of consuming humans without there being serious mass death.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:47 | Link to Comment Derpin USA
Derpin USA's picture

Not destroy, but make the growth of economies impossible.

For instance, the problem with oil is not running out. We will never run out because price will rise accordingly. We will, however, run out of inexpensive oil (if we haven't already), and that happens far before anything close to full depletion. It's actually before the halfway point.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:04 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Yes, BEFORE the halfway point!  The reasons being:

1) Awareness starts to pop its head up;

2) Reversal of economies of scale*.

* Reduction of production volumes results in increases in cost.  Less people being able to afford oil will mean that less will be refined, which means that the operation of existing refineries (and wells) will operate at decreasing levels of efficiency (not to mention the fact that they will do so via deterioration- reduced maintenance, reduced new capital expenditures etc.).

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:42 | Link to Comment Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

We've already fucked the place up pretty damn good.  And the problem with sustained attempts at exponental growth is that it leads to overshoot, and collapse.  The free market lags and can't price the commons appropriately.

It's 11:59. . . .

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:05 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

It's pretty naive to think that we, as humans, could destroy the earth and pillage all resources/land in less than 150 years.

 

150 years? Too long.

Over the last 50 years, the US world order has consumed as much or more than all the previous orders cumulated since the dawn of humanity.

More gold extracted during the last 50 years than for all the previous years of gold extraction etc...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:39 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You participated in that world order and continue to do so because you enjoy having clean, running water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, and modern transportation

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 15:05 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

How do you know that?

This said, no matter how hard people would like it, I did not make the US world order. I graciously leave that honour to US citizens. Their system, their show.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 15:20 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

I must have missed when they asked my permission to drill in the gulf, build shitty nuke reactors, and construct dams and your assumption that clean (LOL) water et al require the plastic crap, SUVS, and slave labor is an excluded middle fallacy of the worst kind.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 16:06 | Link to Comment sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You participated in that world order and continue to do so because you enjoy having clean, running water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, and modern transportation

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:31 | Link to Comment Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Not 15O years, 1O,OOO years. Look at the fate of Easter Island for an example. Life kept getting better and better until they cut down the last tree and the economy collapsed. Or look at Rome. By the time the empire collapsed they were imorting their ottery from the south of France. That is how far they had to go to find wood to fire the kilns, all the forests closer to Rome had been cut down and burned. It is well known how they were importing grain from as far away as Egypt and England.

After the system collapsed the population dwindled away to a few thousand.

If you drew a chart it would show an exponential climbing curve that suddenly broke off and dropped like a rock. This is tyical of systems that depend on growth until they run out of materials to exploit.

The same has been repeated by human societies over and over again for thousands of years.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:19 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Not 15O years, 1O,OOO years. Look at the fate of Easter Island for an example. Life kept getting better and better until they cut down the last tree and the economy collapsed.

 

This narrative is wrong. After depletion they went through, people had started to reorganize on a taboo based society and they were building up again. How far could this have gone? Nobody knows as it was the point they made first contact with Europeans and the associated diseases that killed them.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:17 | Link to Comment Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Give me a break.  By then they had exactly zero large trees on the island.  They depended on these large trees to make canoes and religious (cultural) structures.  They would have never returned to their days of glory, though they would have survived tenuously for a long time.  Eventually they would have evolved into a sustainable population, but it would have been a relatively miserable existence.

Saying they would have built up again is kind of like saying we would be able to build skyscrapers without concrete, iron, and oil.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:45 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Who knows? Your post is only speculation. I stated the fact that they inverted the trend from a decline to a recline. How far is left to speculation as their first contact with Europeans ended the story.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:29 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

*

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:36 | Link to Comment Mad Marv
Mad Marv's picture

That is an interesting thought.  Certain segments of European and American society have quit reproducing.  Is this because they (as the producers) sense what is occuring before the non-producers, and are trying to self correct? 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:15 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

"imorting their ottery" -  I think your missing a 'p' , unless it is silent like the 'p' in "swimming pool" ?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:31 | Link to Comment Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Not 15O years, 1O,OOO years.

Look at the fate of Easter Island for an example. Life kept getting better and better until they cut down the last tree and the economy collapsed.

Or look at Rome. By the time the empire collapsed they were imorting their ottery from the south of France. That is how far they had to go to find wood to fire the kilns, all the forests closer to Rome had been cut down and burned. It is well known how they were importing grain from as far away as Egypt and England.

After the system collapsed the population dwindled away to a few thousand.

If you drew a chart it would show an exponential climbing curve that suddenly broke off and dropped like a rock. This is tyical of systems that depend on growth until they run out of materials to exploit.

The same has been repeated by human societies over and over again for thousands of years.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:51 | Link to Comment Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

Don't be such a liberal. /sarcasm

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:31 | Link to Comment Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

So not a bell curve, but something that looks more like falling off the cliff? 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:35 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

 

From an ecologist point of view sustainability will never be reached with the population we already have. And it will never be reached without a NWO's police and military forces controlling everything done on the planet.

That is the GOOD News-----that no ecologist or scientist will state publicly. I do not know of one serious scientist or mathematician who thinks we will overcome our stupidity or that there is even a remote chance of a human solution; and that was before Fukushima, which no one has done a thing about, to date.

The Bad News I will leave for darker souls to write---

We are in trouble, folks, and it is not from what we are pecking about on a day-to-day basis here at ZH-----

My suspicion is that some of us will mutate and be able to live with all of the toxins and eat garbage long enough to plug in a couple of generations and outlive the 'green' death and death squads of your friends the bankers and survivalists.

No book or odds on this one---we will just have to wait a few years to see who survives

  The author is just trying to survive as best he can, so I don't blame him for telling a pretty story; besides, no one wants to hear this shit!

Especially,             this oldman

 

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 04:40 | Link to Comment Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

The Bad News I will leave for darker souls to write---

Tragedy of the commons on a global scale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

http://www.paulchefurka.ca/Population.html#Overshoot

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:20 | Link to Comment blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Hrm.  We can't actually run out of potassium or phosphorous.  I think we gradually drive the price high enough to starve out a significant percentage of the population.

I'm doing my part by skipping the reproduction thing.  I sleep better at night knowing my kids won't be troubled by this stuff.

The only "bet" I'm really comfortable making is that we'll eventually all be dead.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:12 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Civilization WILL run out of all these things, the planet won't.  The distinction is that civilization is a paradigm, a paradigm based on phyiscal resources that are assured to meet the growing needs of civilization.  As things stall and start to reverse it'll be starkly clear what "economies of scale" have meant: expect to see the exponetial impacts occur in reverse...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:02 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

DEER SEER!

Exactly!

The earth/universe is completely indifferent to man's fate. And, apparently, man is, too. I have been waiting a long time for us to get down to the real issue: how to be homo sapiens without thinking that the fact we are human has any meaning.

Intelligence is defined in some places as the capacity for a species to survive.   Cockroaches, viruses, sharks have been around a long time; humans have been around a short time, so now this intelligence question becomes very interesting, to me. I don't have a horse in the race either, but am just curious about how this will come out.

From a few serious students of the problem, I have heard not one venture a bet on our survival(in private, deniable conversations, of course); I find this interesting opposed to what people say and write for public consumption. We are not receiving the real story on this.

It is not a story anyone here will believe.

thanks for your post       om

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:20 | Link to Comment Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Peak Pique.

I keep waiting for it to pass but it never seems to arrive.  An endless supply.

 

(Whoa the CAPTCHA is 55 minus ___ equals zero!  I know that one)

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:23 | Link to Comment Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

When peak oxygen hits, then you'll know you're fucked.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:25 | Link to Comment NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

Peak captcha

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:23 | Link to Comment RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

How accurate have this guy's predictions been?

Did he forecast the world record run in REITs the last 2 1/2 years in face of the absolute worst commercial/industrial real estate market in 20 years?

Show me an analyst or market guru who predicted the most fantastic run in stocks during one of the worst recessions and I'll subscribe to him forever.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:33 | Link to Comment Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

More than one person has predicted nominal equity price gains along with inflation (Zimbabwe).  They are mostly Austrian economists so you'd never pay attention to them.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:35 | Link to Comment wisefool
wisefool's picture

+1. When tulip bulbs rot, they are very, very stinky. Best to move on.

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:49 | Link to Comment Reptil
Reptil's picture

Everybody has their moments.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:48 | Link to Comment Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Marc Faber?

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:32 | Link to Comment Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Also, peak uncontrolled sewage blowout into the Hudson following four alarm fire at waste treatment facility.

Wall Street drowning in its own filth?

http://news.yahoo.com/caution-urged-sewage-leaks-hudson-river-200048244.html

DEP and city health officials were taking samples in the harbor and at area beaches, which remain open.

Consuming any fish caught in the affected waters also was not recommended for the time being. Officials urged anglers to release any fish they catch back into the water.

The North River Wastewater Treatment Plant was taken offline Wednesday following a four-alarm fire in the engine room. Untreated wastewater began flowing into the river beginning at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday and has continued since. The plant has been in operation since 1976 and treats on average 120 million gallons of wastewater a day.

The Westchester County Health Department notified its residents to avoid direct contact with the Hudson River along Westchester County through the weekend.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:15 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Those morons, don't they realize that if they'd only pushed for MORE growth that this wouldn't be happening?  Build BIGGER treatment plants! (which can then process MORE sewage, which can then.... oh, never mind!) </sarc>

Fri, 07/22/2011 - 23:52 | Link to Comment rajat_bhatia
rajat_bhatia's picture

You guys, the indian metals exchange opens up on saturday, what do you guys suggest i should do? i hold Copper Shorts as of now...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:15 | Link to Comment JohnG
JohnG's picture

OK.  Wait a sec.

Have not heard of this before.

Please give me links to more information.

I already know that metals are traded on MSCDX? (not sure of the exchange acronym).

I don't trade copper so I can't tell you, but you should never listen to a stranger anyway......

More information please, specifically, is there a gold market?

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:15 | Link to Comment iNull
iNull's picture

You already asked that question on another thread and people were being polite by ignoring you. Now I will be rude. Anyone seeking investment advice from a discussion group has no business investing in the first place.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:16 | Link to Comment Going Loco
Going Loco's picture

+++

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:24 | Link to Comment Needosh
Needosh's picture

You have me at a loss, what do we discuss if not a sharing of DD, obviously check for yourself the facts then act, it is like having a hundred eyes, people can have good information worthy of discussion....

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 09:57 | Link to Comment mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Hey! You! Rajat! Drop those Policeman's shorts RIGHT NOW!!!!

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:11 | Link to Comment iNull
iNull's picture

"We humans have the brains and the means to reach real planetary sustainability."

Yes, we can run a sustainable planet. But not with dead plants and dead marine organisms, and not with 7B people, let alone 10B people.

Energy bitchez. Solve the problem of nuclear fusion and all bets are off. Then we can explore the galaxy and grow to 70B or 700B (sorry inferior life forms), but until that happens this planet can sustainably support 1B people, 2B tops in a post-oil world. Thems the facts.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:37 | Link to Comment Hapte
Hapte's picture

Facts are my fav.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:35 | Link to Comment Wolf-Avatar
Wolf-Avatar's picture

Unlimited Energy = Unlimited Expansion.

Unfortunately we live in a world of finite energy and resources.

Glad there's someone else who can grasp that basic.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:52 | Link to Comment msamour
msamour's picture

Our planet has limited supply of resources, but not energy. Once all the new technology patents are released from the grips of the oil industry, and they stop assassinating people that actually contribute to development of science, then we will be able to extract resources from our solar system.

The real problem is with the 300 people or so at the top that are quite successful at making you believe we are running out of everything. In 10 years from now, we'll be told we are running out of oxygen, and most sheeple will probably believe that too. Our entire galaxy is made up of endless amount of energy and resources.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:07 | Link to Comment francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

The rabbit hole is probably even deeper than that if you follow your own premise...

If '300 people or so at the top' (as you suggest) pretty much control everything lock stock & barrel... Then who's to say that it is the specific goal of these people to bring about extinction on a mass level at some point in time?

Why do it now, while they basically have 5,999,999,600 slaves running around...

- digging PM's & industrial metals out of the ground & refining them into ingots

- cultivating land & mining fertilizers

- building shit

- digging wells

- & coming up with medicines

The nexus point will be when a sufficient amount of these raw goods have been dug out of the earth & are basically sitting on pallettes in warehouses (controlled by the 300) to start anew... At that point, fuck all the slaves... KILL EM OFF... Thanks for playing our sick little game...

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:11 | Link to Comment chemystical
chemystical's picture

On what do you base your facts?   1BN?  2BN Tops??  Wonderful to permit yourself the luxury of a 100% margin of error.

 

Here's a fact.  We saw 1BN reached somewhere around the year 1790-1800.  No big demand for oil during that period and the Industrial Revolution was a tiny flicker of what it would soon be (and again in the absence of a huge demand for oil).  We're a wee bit more capable and knowledgable than we were then, and our ability to communicate/coordinate/distribute is orders of magnitude higher.  So your 1BN figure can be summarily dismissed. 

 

2BN was reached between 1920 and 1930.  Booming years in some countries, but per global per capita oil consumption was still teensy compared to today.  We're also far more energy efficient now than we were then.

 

Sustainability is in the eye of the beholder.  If crude oil suddenly disappeared whatever would we do?   Natural gas?  Plenty of that available.  Coal?  We began using that to power steam engines in 1801, and we still use it to power most of our grid.  Somehow I think we'll manage.  Solar panels?  You can fabricate your own without needing a factory, and they'll power your iPads nicely. 

 

The latter day Mathusians are latter day Chicken Little's.  The entire population of the world could be placed into the State of Texas, and the population density would be 26,000 per sq mi.   New York City has a population density of 26,200 people per sq mi and somehow they manage to get by.  THEM'S the facts.

 

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:24 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

In this US driven world, it is hard for US citizens to understand they are the issue.

Suddenly, equality is introduced and people are numbered on an equal basis in terms of consumption.

Are considered equal people who are excluded from consumption (starving people) and people who are up into the brow into the mass consumption paradigm.

Therefore the idea that the elimination of non consumers will free resources for heavy consumers to consume.

The reality is that the US way of life (which concerns roughly one billion people) is non sustainable at present times. Discussing over the six other billions is moot, they do not count in the scheme of things.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:41 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

The key is the reduction of 'over-consumption' to zero without reducing the population; or a reduction of over-consumers---the developed world; or a combination of the two plus ???

Living in a simple structure, eating a sustainable diet, and working at doing-nothing meets human survival needs. No one says it has to be forever, perhaps two generations or so-----until the population reduces itself to the size of other planetary large animal species at the top of the various food chains. Without wild habitat, water, healthy soil, etc, where does this leave homo sapiens-----how many?

None of our thoughts and feelings on this are as important as these questions being raised until balance is returned to-----------nice thread of thought.

thanks                    om

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 05:56 | Link to Comment Bwahaha WAGFDSMB
Bwahaha WAGFDSMB's picture

Consumption follows the Pareto distribution.  Remove the US from the head of the curve and a new head will emerge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle#In_economics

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:43 | Link to Comment hound dog vigilante
hound dog vigilante's picture

Idiotic post.

10 people can fit in one sq. meter, so just extrapolate from there, right?  Nice logic.

Go back and read the article - over half the world's population lives on margin - a margin afforded by petroleum-derived fertilizers that enrich otherwise dead soil. When petroleum becomes too scarce and/or too expensive to spread on our inert soil, the gig is up for more than half of the world's population (many of whom believe all food is processed by Kraft and magically arrives in supermarkets).

But feel free to remain in denial, chemystic... when things get ugly you can move to NYC because it's all so very sustainable. Idiot.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:05 | Link to Comment tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

minor quibble:  "a margin afforded by petroleum-derived fertilizers that enrich otherwise dead soil."   

the SOIL is not being enriched by petrol ferts whatsoever.    the petrol ferts are feeding the plants, not the soil, which is the complete opposite of how a 'sustainable' (man, i've grown to hate that word) agriculture should operate -- feed the soil, not the plants.   the soil's been depleted through monoculture farming and made into a toxic zombie through the fertilizers.

think of an industrial farm as an ICU where plants are hooked up to a giant life support system.   or like that scene in the Matrix.  the dirt's only there to hold the roots at this point.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:35 | Link to Comment francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

+1

I've got a great idea... Let's move 6 billion people into 'chemystic's' crib & he can feed them all with his rain barrel & two 'topsy turvy' tomato plants...

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:07 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

What was the average standard of living in the 19th century (not in America...in the world)?

If we're more energy efficient now, why has our aggregate consumption been rising exponentially again?

Nat gas does not have the energy density of oil and even coal wouldn't last more than a few hundred years in the most ideal scenario.

I like solar (it's actually renewable, unlike every other suggestion you've made), but it has many disadvantages too.

You can put 6B in Texas, but you can't feed, clothe, educate, and sustain them. New York "gets by" with massive energy consumption. Fact.

Is it really that difficult for you to understand the underlying partial differential equation? Consumption: exponential: Resources: linear, if not fixed.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:28 | Link to Comment Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

New York gets by with massive imports of energy food and everything else from around the world. To support the population density of New York we would need a few extra planets to exploit.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:51 | Link to Comment snowball777
snowball777's picture

www.myfootprint.org

Answer questions, get an answer for "how many earths" you would need for 6B to live as you do.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:20 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Chicken Littles... I'm figuring that you were saying the same about the folks warning about the housing bubble...

"Natural gas?  Plenty of that available."

Oh, I see, "plenty" is sufficient?  What the fuck kind of metric/qualification is "plenty?" Do you really think that the "plenty" will last long if we all jump on it?  Rates of consumption -growth- if you can't handle quantifiable shit then get the fuck out of the way and keep your head up your ass.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:23 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Physical space versus actual needs to sustain life are two very different concepts, which I'm surprised you don't understand.

Sure you could fit the entire population of the world into the state of Texas, but tell me how much fresh water is available in Texas, and how many gallons per day would that world population need?

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:32 | Link to Comment Mr. Lucky
Mr. Lucky's picture

We are not alone.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:41 | Link to Comment DCFusor
DCFusor's picture

See my avatar and handle.  It's what I'm working on, self funded, and making better progress at than most government projects are -- able to turn on a dime, no committees and so on turns out to be a large advantage -- as well as having no "deadwood sinecure" types on the team.

However, this doesn't mean we're close to the solution.  Just closer than almost all others, there's still a large gap between here and "we've solve energy" to be honest -- and since I'm not begging for money, I can afford the luxury of honesty here.  There are some new approaches, not yet considered by mainstream science that my small group is in the process of exploring and things look good, but not all of "good, fast, cheap" as most engineers are known to say.

Anyone who cares can check us out at www.coultersmithing.com  Check the forums for current progress, ideas and results.  If you want to join, it's even harder than here - you have to find my email address someplace there and ask nicely -- prove you're a human and have something interesting to say on topic.

 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:28 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Energy is how we process the things that keep us alive.  Bzzt! two-dimensional thinking!

Abundant energy with no physical resources is ths stuff of heady mystical thinking/existinance, great for mental masturbation, but horrible for real world life...

Always, ALWAYS, ask where in nature anything that one is contemplating exists.  Nature seeks balance, and if it doesn't exist it's highly probably that it couldn't be sustainable: kind of like all those folks looking for the organisms to break down lignin- after millions of years nature has yet to produce one of these (that mimics what humans would like); that'll be a fun genie to let out of the bottle, just wait until all our forests get infected with this organism ("got a stiffy, got wood?" will take on a whole new meaning)!

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:17 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

Thanks, Seer
I do not have to do a thing today; you are doing a great job on this!
Keep going, man.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 00:18 | Link to Comment infiniti
infiniti's picture

.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:14 | Link to Comment Going Loco
Going Loco's picture

Robot: "Show me an analyst or market guru who predicted the most fantastic run in stocks during one of the worst recessions and I'll subscribe to him forever."

Nadeem Walayat. 100% correct at every stage. Wish I'd believed him.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 07:44 | Link to Comment Hubbs
Hubbs's picture

It's like Easter Island. Trees cut down to use as rollers for transport of the monoliths-soon, no more trees- and then no more boats boats to leave the island or to go fishing- leading to starvation and possibly even cannabalism.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:16 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Same song, as always.

What is at stake here? The US world order has the resources to end starvation but it has not. The US world order has instrumentalized hunger to ease transfer to and concentration of wealth on the US territory.

The world is about to move from a world where starvation and death of it are a daily fact to a world where starvation and death of is are a daily fact.

So why a stress for change? Because of the US citizen duplicity. The world is moving from a world where starvation could be ended to a world where starvation will no longer be likely to be ended. And this is a business breaker as the US has instrumentalized hunger.

It changes all as claiming to commit oneself to end starvation while the resources are available is a totally different beast from claiming to end starvation when the resources are no longer available. One story sells, the other does not.

Hence the call for curbing world population. Selling the story in a 10 billion human beings wont work. Selling the story in a reduced to 4 billion people will.

Starvation will not be ended as starvation is key in this US world order. No, it is not the goal of the US culture of death. The goal is to maintain a credible environment to instrumentalize hunger.

 

US propaganda.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:17 | Link to Comment Smiddywesson
Smiddywesson's picture

We humans have the brains and the means to reach real planetary sustainability. The problem is with us and our focus on short-term growth and pro ts, which is likely to cause suffering on a vast scale. With foresight and thoughtful planning, this suffering is completely avoidable.

Sorry, can't agree with that.  With a historical record of build up and collapse, it should be apparent to everyone that build up and collapse is our inner nature.  Our simian brains don't care about sustainability.  You cannot escape your inner nature.

threats to the long-term viability of our current affluent but reckless society

Jeremy needs to understand that we long ago passed the point of sustainability.  All of the problems that torment the people who spend their time reading and learning, overpopulation, peak oil, peak food, soil erosion, radiation, and TPTB/New World Order, they will all be swept away when what always happens, happens.  This time is not different, just the scale is different, which makes the inevitable even more certain.  Too many people struggling for too few resources?  Not for long.


Sat, 07/23/2011 - 08:51 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Too many people struggling for too few resources?  Not for long.

 

In a greed based system as the US has imposed on the world, there is always too many people and too few resources.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Bob
Bob's picture

And, per TPTB, coming full circle:  "We're broke." 

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:17 | Link to Comment 11b40
11b40's picture

Do you have any examples of a system that is not, ultimately, greed based?

Self preservation leads to greed instinctively.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 11:40 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

When greed is painted as self preservation as the US citizens are much inclined to (you've just confirmed it), it is very likely that no human system exclude greed as it is unlikely that these systems exclude self preservation.

Now, when greed is taken for what it is and that is not self preservation, well, that is another story.

So, example taken from the American continent history, which is most relevant for US citizens.

Indians had a big flaw when it came to trading with Europeans.

When game was abundant, they hunted short hours, reserving time for their other social activities. When game was scarce, they hunted long hours in order to make the ends meet.

Hence a reputation of being lazy. And hence dissatisfaction with them as Europeans traders wanted to extract the most from their environment. Hence Indians being removed by European hunters who would hunt long hours no matter the environment to satisfy the european demand.

(By the way, another example of how hard work depends on the environment capacity to support a high level of activity)

Has self preservation led to greed when it comes to the Indians? No, it had not. The rationale was about balancing their needs and the sustainability of the direct environment they lived off. Taking much more when the game was abundant was a path to depletion, jeopardizing survival chances. It was self preservation that excluded greed from that system. So that is the very contrary of the US bold claim that self preservation leads to greed instinctively.

In the west, a narrative emerged that while other people were constrained by their environment, westerners would overcome it.

It is nothing new. It makes me laugh when people come with questions like yours, it's been the struggle of several millenia between two opposite conceptions: expansion and self control.

Expansionists are victorious by far. No doubt about it. And indeed, in a US way, one could say that once you have destroyed all the other options, the only options left are the option you promoted and the options you could not destroy. So maybe, in this regard, no system that is not based on greed as greed based solutions was the solution promoted by the US and co.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:18 | Link to Comment 11b40
11b40's picture

Well, I'm glad to have provided you with a laugh this morning.

Unfortunately, I find your arguments in support of your thesis a little weak.

The yin & yang between expansion & self control do not even come close to trumping the primary self-preservation instinct.

As we evolved, we progressed from self to family to tribe, etc.  So, using your tribal Indian example, in good times, generosity may become the norm.  Certainly within the tribe, but in varying degrees outside the tribe.  Tribal wars are still going on today.  It comes from basic human instinct.  Expansion = increased power, which = the perception of increased security. 

Greed is a manifestation of insecurity, and we all have this inclination buried deep within our brains.  It is just a matter of degree how close that insecurity is to the surface between individual humans and collective systems of humans.

The 'greed is good' mantra from the '80's is true if self-preservation is the issue.  Maybe not so much from a 'save the earth' perspective.  ;--))

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:40 | Link to Comment Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Another example would be Europe between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, also known as the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. In this period the Christian religion held sway. The Christians believed in a static world order dictated by God. Hard work was seen as a punishment and success was seen as worldly and sinful. Their ideal world held a place for everyone and everyone in his place, until the end of time when Christ would return.

They did maintain the status quo with little progress for centuries. Also slow population growth often cut back by wars, famines and plagues.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:28 | Link to Comment TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

But interestinly, that self same church that held the european world in its arms, acquired bountiful amounts of gold and silver with which it decorated its churches and leaders. Steal from the poor and give to the rich, I seem to see a pattern here.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 13:58 | Link to Comment Seer
Seer's picture

Great reply and summation.  Sadly, people confuse the facts/message with the messenger, thinking that it's what the messenger wants... I get accused of this quite frequently.

There is, however, an element of cooperation, though, I suspect, it still boils down to pure self-preservation (heck, if we had ZERO self-preservation then we wouldn't be here!), and this is well written about inPeter Kropotkin's "Mutual Aid" (very interesting read).

Dying for a "Country" (or some "god") isn't something that I have any interest in doing.  Dying for a loved one is entirely different...  All is not just composed of black and white.

Sat, 07/23/2011 - 14:43 | Link to Comment oldman
oldman's picture

the need system of the anarchists!

I you like today, Seer----you're being very rational

thanks again,     om

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!