The End Of An Era

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Dr. Tim Morgan, Tullet Prebon,

The economy as we know it is facing a lethal confluence of four critical factors – the fall-out from the biggest debt bubble in history; a disastrous experiment with globalisation; the massaging of data to the point where economic trends are obscured; and, most important of all, the approach of an energy-returns cliff-edge.

Through technology, through culture and through economic and political change, society is more short-term in nature now than at any time in recorded history. Financial market participants can carry out transactions in milliseconds. With 24-hour news coverage, the media focus has shifted inexorably from the analytical to the immediate. The basis of politicians’ calculations has shortened to the point where it can seem that all that matters is the next sound-bite, the next headline and the next snapshot of public opinion. The corporate focus has moved all too often from strategic planning to immediate profitability as represented by the next quarter’s earnings.

This report explains that this acceleration towards ever-greater immediacy has blinded society to a series of fundamental economic trends which, if not anticipated and tackled well in advance, could have devastating effects. The relentless shortening of media, social and political horizons has resulted in the establishment of self-destructive economic patterns which now threaten to undermine economic viability. We date the acceleration in short-termism to the early 1980s.

Since then, there has been a relentless shift to immediate consumption as part of something that has been called a “cult of self-worship”. The pursuit of instant gratification has resulted in the accumulation of debt on an unprecedented scale. The financial crisis, which began in 2008 and has since segued into the deepest and most protracted economic slump for at least eighty years, did not result entirely from a short period of malfeasance by a tiny minority, comforting though this illusion may be. Rather, what began in 2008 was the denouement of a broadly-based process which had lasted for thirty years, and is described here as “the great credit super-cycle”.


The credit super-cycle process is exemplified by the relationship between GDP and aggregate credit market debt in the United States (see fig. 1.1). In 1945, and despite the huge costs involved in winning the Second World War, the aggregate indebtedness of American businesses, individuals and government equated to 159% of GDP. More than three decades later, in 1981, this ratio was little changed, at 168%. In real terms, total debt had increased by 214% since 1945, but the economy had grown by 197%, keeping the debt ratio remarkably static over an extended period which, incidentally, was far from shock-free (since it included two major oil crises).


From the early 1980s, as figs. 1.1 and 1.2 show, an unmistakeable and seemingly relentless upwards trend in indebtedness became established. Between 1981 and 2009, debt grew by 390% in real terms, far out-pacing the growth (of 120%) in the American economy. By 2009, the debt ratio had reached 381%, a level unprecedented in history. Even in 1930, when GDP collapsed, the ratio barely topped 300%, and thereafter declined very rapidly indeed.

This report is not, primarily, about debt, and neither does it suggest that the problems identified here are unique to the United States. Rather, the massive escalation in American indebtedness is one amongst a host of indicators of a state of mind which has elevated immediate consumption over prudence throughout much of the world.

This report explains that we need only look beyond the predominant short-termism of contemporary thinking to perceive that we are at the confluence of four extremely dangerous developments which, individually or collectively, have already started to throw more than two centuries of economic expansion into reverse.

Before the financial crisis of 2008, this analysis might have seemed purely theoretical, but the banking catastrophe, and the ensuing slump, should demonstrate that the dangerous confluence described here is already underway. Indeed, more than two centuries of near-perpetual growth probably went into reverse as much as ten years ago.

Lacking longer-term insights, today’s policymakers seem bewildered about many issues. Why, for instance, has there been little or no recovery from the post-2008 economic slump? Why have traditional, tried-and-tested fiscal and monetary tools ceased to function? Why have both austerity and stimulus failed us?

The missing piece of the economic equation is an appreciation of four underlying trends, each of which renders many of the lessons of the past irrelevant.

trend #1 – the madness of crowds

The first of the four highly dangerous trends identified here is the creation, over three decades, of the worst financial bubble in history. In his 1841 work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay (1814-89) identified a common thread of individual and collective idiocy running through such follies of the past as alchemy, witchhunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, magnetizers, phrenology, poisoning, the admiration of thieves, duels, the imputation of mystic powers to relics, haunted houses, crusades – and financial bubbles.

A clear implication of Mackay’s work was that all of these follies had been consigned to the past by intelligence, experience and enlightenment. For the most part, he has been right. Intelligent people today do not put faith in alchemy, fortune-telling, witchcraft or haunting, and – with the arguable exception of the invasion of Iraq – crusades have faded into the history books.

But one folly remains alive and well. Far from confining financial bubbles to historical tales of Dutch tulips and British South Sea stock, the last three decades have witnessed the creation and the bursting of the biggest bubble in financial history.

Described here as ‘the credit supercycle’, this bubble confirmed that one aspect, at least, of the idiocy identified by Mackay continues to wreak havoc. Insane though historic obsessions with tulip bulbs and south seas riches may appear, they are dwarfed by the latterday, ‘money for nothing’ lunacy that, through the credit super-cycle, has mired much of the world in debts from which no escape (save perhaps hyperinflation) exists.

Perhaps the most truly remarkable feature of the super-cycle was that it endured for so long in defiance of all logic or common sense. Individuals in their millions believed that property prices could only ever increase, such that either borrowing against equity (by taking on invariably-expensive credit) or spending it (through equity release) was a safe, rational and even normal way to behave.

Regulators, meanwhile, believed that there was nothing wrong with loosening banking reserve criteria (both by risk-weighting assets in ways that masked leverage, and by broadening definitions of bank capital to the point where even some forms of debt counted as shock-absorbing equity).

Former Federal Reserve boss Alan Greenspan has been ridiculed for believing that banks would always act in the best interests of their shareholders, and that the market would sort everything out in a benign way. But regulators more generally bent over backwards to ignore the most obvious warning signs, such as escalating property price-to-incomes ratios, soaring levels of debt-to-GDP, and such obviously-abusive practices as sub-prime mortgages, NINJA loans and the proliferation of unsafe financial instruments.

Where idiocy and naïveté were concerned, however, regulators and the general public were trumped by policymakers and their advisors. Gordon Brown, for example, proclaimed an end to “boom and bust” and gloried in Britain’s “growth” despite the way in which debt escalation was making it self-evident that the apparent expansion in the economy was neither more nor less than the simple spending of borrowed money.


Between 2001-02 and 2009-10, Britain added £5.40 of private and public debt for each £1 of ‘growth’ in GDP (fig. 1.3). Between 1998 and 2012, real GDP increased by just £338bn (30%) whilst debt soared by £1,133bn (95%) (fig. 1.4).


Asset managers have a very simple term to describe what happened to Britain under Brown – it was a collapse in returns on capital employed.

No other major economy got it quite as wrong as Britain under Brown, but much the same was happening across the Western world, most notably in those countries which followed the disastrous Anglo-American philosophy of “light-touch” financial regulation.

trend #2 – the globalisation disaster

The compounding mistake, where the Western countries were concerned, was a wide-eyed belief that ‘globalisation’ would make everyone richer, when the reality was that the out-sourcing of production to emerging economies was a self-inflicted disaster with few parallels in economic history. One would have to look back to a Spanish empire awash with bullion from the New World to find a combination of economic idiocy and minority self-interest equal to the folly of globalization.

The big problem with globalisation was that Western countries reduced their production without making corresponding reductions in their consumption. Corporations’ outsourcing of production to emerging economies boosted their earnings (and, consequently, the incomes of the minority at the very top) whilst hollowing out their domestic economies through the export of skilled jobs.

This report uses a measure called ‘globally-marketable output’ (GMO) as a metric for domestic production, a measure which combines manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining with net exports of services. By definition, activities falling outside this category consist of services provided to each other.

At constant (2011) values, consumption by Americans increased by $6,500bn between 1981 and 2011, whilst consumption on their behalf by the government rose by a further $1,700bn, but the combined output of the manufacturing, construction, agricultural and extractive industries grew by barely $600bn. At less than $200bn in 2011, net exports of services did almost nothing to bridge the chasm between consumption and production.

This left two residuals – domestically consumed services, and debt – with debt the clincher. Between 1981 and 2011, and again expressed at constant values, American indebtedness soared from $11 trillion to almost $54 trillion.

Fundamentally, what had happened here was that skilled, well-paid jobs had been exported, consumption had increased, and ever-greater quantities of debt had been used to fill the gap. This was, by any definition, unsustainable. Talk of Western economies modernising themselves by moving from production into services contained far more waffle than logic – Western consumers sold each other ever greater numbers of hair-cuts, ever greater quantities of fast food and ever more zero-sum financial services whilst depending more and more on imported goods and, critically, on the debts used to buy them. Corporate executives prospered, as did the gateholders of the debt economy, whilst the vast majority saw their real wages decline and their indebtedness spiral. For our purposes, what matters here is that reducing production, increasing consumption and taking on escalating debt to fill the gap was never a remotely sustainable course of action. What this in turn means is that no return to the pre-2008 world is either possible or desirable.

trend #3 – an exercise in self-delusion

One explanation for widespread public (and policymaker) ignorance of the truly parlous state of the Western economies lies in the delusory nature of economic and fiscal statistics, many of which have been massaged out of all relation to reality.

There seems to have been no ‘grand conspiracy’ here, but the overall effect of accretive changes has been much the same. In America, for example, the benchmark measure of inflation (CPI-U) has been modified by ‘substitution’, ‘hedonics’ and ‘geometric weighting’ to the point where reported numbers seem to be at least six percentage points lower than they would have been under the ‘pre-tinkering’ basis of calculation used until the early 1980s. US unemployment, reported at 7.8%, excludes so many categories of people (such as “discouraged workers”) that it hides very much higher levels of inactivity.

The critical distortion here is clearly inflation, which feeds through into computations showing “growth” even when it is intuitively apparent (and evident on many other benchmarks) that, for a decade or more, the economy has, at best, stagnated, not just in the United States but across much of the Western world. Distorted inflation also tells wage-earners that they have become better off even though such statistics do not accord with their own perceptions. It is arguable, too, that real (inflation-free) interest rates were negative from as long ago as the mid-1990s, a trend which undoubtedly exacerbated an escalating tendency to live on debt.

Fiscal figures, too, are heavily distorted, most noticeably in the way in which quasi-debt obligations are kept off the official balance sheet. As we explain in this report, the official public debts of countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom exclude truly enormous commitments such as pensions.

trend #4 – the growth dynamo winds down

One of the problems with economics is that its practitioners preach a concentration on money, whereas money is the language rather than the substance of the real economy. Ultimately, the economy is – and always has been – a surplus energy equation, governed by the laws of thermodynamics, not those of the market.

Society and the economy began when agriculture created an energy surplus which, though tiny by later standards, liberated part of the population to engage in non-subsistence activities.

A vastly larger liberation of surplus energy occurred with the discovery of the heat engine, meaning that the energy delivered by human labour could be leveraged massively by exogenous sources of energy such as coal, oil and natural gas. A single US gallon of gasoline delivers work equivalent to between 360 and 490 hours of strenuous human labour, labour which would cost perhaps $6,500 if it were paid for at prevailing rates. Of the energy – a term coterminous with ‘work’ – consumed in Western societies, well over 99% comes from exogenous sources, and probably less than 0.7% from human effort. Energy does far more than provide us with transport and warmth. In modern societies, manufacturing, services, minerals, food and even water are functions of the availability of energy. The critical equation here is not the absolute quantity of energy available but, rather, the difference between energy extracted and energy consumed in the extraction process. This is measured by the mathematical equation EROEI (energy return on energy invested).

For much of the period since the Industrial Revolution, EROEIs have been extremely high. The oil fields discovered in the 1930s, for example, provided at least 100 units of extracted energy for every unit consumed in extraction (an EROEI of 100:1). For some decades now, though, global average EROEIs have been falling, as energy discoveries have become both smaller and more difficult (meaning energy-costly) to extract.


The killer factor is the non-linear nature of EROEIs. As fig. 1.5 shows, the effects of a fall-off in EROEI from, say, 80:1 to 20:1 do not seem particularly disruptive but, once returns ratios have fallen below about 15:1, there is a dramatic, ‘cliff-edge’ slump in surplus energy, combined with a sharp escalation in its cost.

Research suggests that the global average EROEI, having fallen from about 40:1 in 1990 to 17:1 in 2010, may decline to just 11:1 by 2020, at which point energy will be about 50% more expensive, in real terms, than it is today, a metric which will carry through directly into the cost of almost everything else – including food.

crisis, culpability and consequences

If the analysis set out in this report is right, we are nearing the end of a period of more than 250 years in which growth has been ‘the assumed normal’. There have been setbacks, of course, but the near-universal assumption has been that economic growth is the usual state of affairs, a rule to which downturns (even on the scale of the 1930s) are the exceptions. That comfortable assumption is now in the process of being over-turned.

The views set out here must provoke a host of questions. For a start, if we really are nearing a cliff-edge economic crisis, why isn’t this visible already? Second, who is to blame for this? Third, how bad could it get? Last, but surely most important, can anything be done about it?

Where visibility is concerned, our belief is that, if the economy does tip over in the coming few years, retrospect – which always enjoys the 20-20 vision of hindsight – will say that the signs of the impending crash were visible well before 2013.

For a start, anyone who believed that a globalisation model (in which the West unloaded production but expected to consume as much, or even more, than ever) was sustainable was surely guilty of wilful blindness. Such a state of affairs was only ever viable on the insane assumption that debt could go on increasing indefinitely. Charles Mackay chronicled many delusions, but none – not even the faith placed in witchcraft – was ever quite as irrational as the belief (seldom stated, but always implicit in Western economic policy) that there need never be an end to a way of life which was wholly dependent on ever-greater debt.

Even to those who were happy to swallow the nonsense of perpetually expanding indebtedness, the sheer scale of debt – and, relevantly in this context, of quasi-debt commitments as well – surely should have sounded  warning bells. From Liverpool to Los Angeles, from Madrid to Matsuyama, the developed world is mired in debts that can never be repaid. In addition to formal debt, governments have entered into pension and welfare commitments which are only affordable if truly heroic assumptions are made about future prosperity.

At the same time, there is no real evidence that the economy is recovering from what is already a more prolonged slump than the Great Depression of the 1930s. We are now more than four years on from the banking crisis and, under anything approaching normal conditions, there should have been a return to economic expansion by now. Governments have tried almost everything, from prolonged near-zero interest rates and stimulus expenditures to the creation of money on a gigantic scale. These tools have worked in the past, and the fact that, this time, they manifestly are not working should tell us that something profoundly different is going on.

The question of culpability has been the equivalent of Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that did not bark in the night”, in that very few individuals have been held to account for what is unarguably the worst economic disaster in at least eighty years. A small number of obviously-criminal miscreants have been prosecuted, but this is something that happens on a routine basis in normal times, so does not amount to an attribution of blame for the crisis. There has been widespread public vilification of bankers, the vast majority of whom were, in any case, only acting within the parameters of the ‘debtfuelled, immediate gratification’ ethos established across Western societies as a whole.

Governments have been ejected by their electorates, but their replacements have tended to look very similar indeed to their predecessors. The real reason for the seeming lack of retribution is that culpability is far too dispersed across society as a whole. If, say, society was to punish senior bankers, what about the thousands of salesmen who knowingly pushed millions of customers into mortgages that were not remotely affordable? The suspicion lingers that there has been a ‘grand conspiracy of culpability’, but even the radical left has failed to tie this down to specifics in a convincing way.

The real causes of the economic crash are the cultural norms of a society that has come to believe that immediate material gratification, fuelled if necessary by debt, can ever be a sustainable way of life. We can, if we wish, choose to blame the advertising industry (which spends perhaps $470bn annually pushing the consumerist message), or the cadre of corporate executives who have outsourced skilled jobs in pursuit of personal gain. We can blame a generation of policymakers whose short-termism has blinded them to underlying trends, or regulators and central bankers who failed to “take away the punch-bowl” long after the party was self-evidently out of control.

But blaming any of these really means blaming ourselves – for falling for the consumerist message of instant gratification, for buying imported goods, for borrowing far more than was healthy, and for electing glib and vacuous political leaders.

Beyond visibility and culpability, the two big questions which need to be addressed are ‘how bad can it get?’ and ‘is there anything that we can do about it?’

Of these, the first question hardly needs an answer, since the implications seem self-evident – economies will lurch into hyper-inflation in a forlorn attempt to escape from debt, whilst social strains will increase as the vice of resource (including food) shortages tightens. In terms of solutions, the first imperative is surely a cultural change away from instant gratification, a change which, if it is not adopted willingly, will be enforced upon society anyway by the reversal of economic growth.

The magic bullet, of course, would be the discovery of a new source of energy which can reverse the winding-down of the critical energy returns equation. Some pin their faith in nuclear fusion (along lines being pioneered by ITER) but this, even if it works, lies decades in the future – that is, long after the global EROEI has fallen below levels which will support society as we know it. Solutions such as biofuels and shales are rendered non-workable by their intrinsically-low EROEIs.

Likewise, expecting a technological solution to occur would be extremely unwise, because technology uses energy – it does not create it. To expect technology to provide an answer would be equivalent to locking the finest scientific minds in a bankvault, providing them with enormous computing power and vast amounts of money, and expecting them to create a ham sandwich.

In the absence of such a breakthrough, really promising energy sources (such as concentrated solar power) need to be pursued together, above all, with social, political and cultural adaptation to “life after growth”.

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BooMushroom's picture

There are multiple generations of people who have never eaten fresh food, who have never gone a day without HFCS, and who have never grown a single pea of their own food.

They won't know what to do, and will probably go to the store, stand in front of the empty shelves, and demand food that simply isn't there.

Tango in the Blight's picture

And when they finally figure out that there won't be any more food they will riot and murder other people for a can of beans. It will not be pretty.

If you can move away as far from densily populated areas as possible.

Some of you rich guys maybe have a nice penthouse in NYC or whereever, you don't want to be there when the mass of people without food for even one day. There won't be any more champagne and caviar for you as well, you're not worth more than the EBT crowd then.

Karlus's picture

Its just like every zombie movie Ive seen. "beannns, beannnns."

Just need to find Will Smith to save us all.

ramacers's picture

oh what tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

AgAu_man's picture

Must post blog before crowd moves on to next article of the hour... ;-)

But Porter Stansbury assures us that we have oodles of cheap energy for decades! ;-)

michael_engineer's picture

What a great article!

Bob's picture

Funny, I wondered if maybe you had written it!  I recall reading your piece a few months ago in the user archives, great text and video (I even saved the link):

Damn, access is now "forbidden."  What's up with that?

michael_engineer's picture

This article does sound very similar in ways to the article you refer to. I like to think its a sign that in ways my contributions and economic and philosophic musings here on ZH have had a positive and beneficial impact on some readers and on economic conversations and considerations. Thinking of economics with engineering insights is thought provoking in ways and may be closer to truth and reality than pure economics is. I personally have benefitted from reading materials at websites like, and The Crash Course and just about all of Gail Tverbergs columns.

I am not sure why that articles access is now forbidden. Maybe I struck a nerve somewhere along the way, is my guess on that. Maybe someone at ZH could send me an email regarding it. I'd be interested in ways.

But I also have some very big fish to fry on some other things. I have two children that I am trying to quickly build valuable skills for. And I have an iPad app in development that morphs any mathematically describable shapes to any others in very fun ways. See this link for some early video of the app :
The app is much further along than this now but it is not yet in the App Store.

Best. --

michael_engineer's picture

Even another article today lends credence to part of the now forbidden articles analysis that indicated it would be hard for the general public in some world locations to recognize that they may be better off than they would have been without their social dramas due to possible weak economies resulting from structurally constrained resource inputs.

itstippy's picture

Excellent article.

Linking corporate executive compensation to stock performance also played a major role in the current focus on short-term results vs. long-term planning & positioning.

The "Shareholder Revolution" demanded "performance" as measured by current-quarter profits and stock price.  An executive who could jigger current stock valuation higher got huge performance bonuses and stock option gains.  This is not good for longterm strategic corporate planning.

Couple that with corporate raiders looking for fat leveraged-buyout opportunities and you've got a recipe for disaster over time. 

DR's picture

"Excellent article"


If your ready for more and you don't have a date for tonight....



Seer's picture

Yes, this is what people should be referring to.  It's the complete document, which goes in to a bit more depth.

Man do these guys nail it!

cosmicinsight's picture

Subtle transition is underway from the old normal to the new normal.It will be disruptive and painful for society as whole affecting more profoundly and less absorbing for segments according to their vulnerability to debt.For those higher up and in policy shaping roles,the effect could be cushioned by kicking the can a bit further down the road.For the change to be seemless and painless the society as a whole has to grasp the dire situation and curb its excesses.Then collectively seek real growth not the hyped one.

jplotinus's picture

It's Saturday night for crying out loud. And, a full moon too. That article was too long :-(

GetZeeGold's picture



Here's your can go now.

upWising's picture

“We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.” 
– Lily Tomlin

"Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse."
– Lily Tomlin

"If I had known what it would be like to have it all - I might have been willing to settle for less." 
– Lily Tomlin 

Seer's picture

My favorite, though it seems to have several slight variations is:

"No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

And then there's this quote from Woody Allen, which is similar the to second Tomlin quote you provided:

"We stand today at a crossroads.  One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to extinction.  Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice."

Milestones's picture

I have beeen on ZH almost 3 years and I wiould have to say this was one of the most thoughtful and thought provaking article I have read here. Barvo sir. You have done well.           Milestones

Seer's picture

It's pretty much as I've been saying for a LONG time, only he does it without cussing :-)

But, yeah, as far as hitting the bulls-eye I think that this one scored a direct hit, more dead-center than anything else I've ever read on ZH (and there's been pretty darn good stuff, but nothing that could find its way to challenge the very underlying fabric of "economics").

Hubbs's picture

Sounds a lot like Chris Martenson's

Still pissed that the stock market keeps going up. Where did I read/hear the comment tonight ?


the stocket market  (hmm at first I thought it was a typo , but rhymes with rocket, so'll I'll leave it) is to the upper 1% like the EBT is to the bottom 99%.  A pacifier.

OldTelem's picture

Thank god my ex-husband had a very tight fist. He taught me the way to keep from being overwhelmed by debt, although my natural tendency was to have big consumerist desires, which were almost never realized. As a result, I pay off my credit cards in full when they send me a bill, and I paid off my mortgage. Two weeks later my house burnt to a crisp, but that's another story.

Seer's picture

You sound like my ex!  But I know you're not her because she's never had a credit card (neither have I); and, she still has a mortgage (though now, at least, it's on viable land).

Sorry to hear about the house.  Never seems to fail that no matter how well you plan something has to come along and throw a brick at you.

cbxer55's picture

I do not have a single credit card, and don't want any. But I'll suffer for all the fools who overindulged just the same.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits in rush hour traffic.

vote_libertarian_party's picture who's winning American Idol?

GetZeeGold's picture



Some chick with a really smart dog I think.

q99x2's picture

Ok so now can we have an open source monetary system or do we have to wait for the suicide bankers that have taken over the US to destroy Washington DC as well. I can wait.

CaptainSpaulding's picture

Oh well, It was nice while it lasted. i grew up in the 70s and I loved every minute of it. I hope heaven is like the 70's where everything was so good. It was the best time to be alive. Amen

Vagabond's picture

So your favorite days were when you were able to live large at the expense of the future, but didn't know it?  Take the blue pill.

Oreilly's picture

The article itself has some worthwhile points to think on, but what's with the two point exponential extrapolation on the energy returns chart?  Things are pseudo-linear up to 2010 and then all hell breaks loose past 2020.  You don't do your arguement any favor when you use trend analysis that would have gotten you failed in first year statistics.  You only think it makes your predictions better to ramp up to catastrophe using no data, but it actually makes the rest of the article all the weaker when you do so.

Seer's picture

You're not thinking big enough...

I'll toss this at you, it's MY personal coinage: Economies of Scale in Reverse

EVERYTHING is a parabolic curve, well, if its origins and buildup are parabolic then it's a certainty that it continues to behave that way, and, well, the down-side pretty much looks like the up-side.  So, yeah, they're pretty much correct (again, contemplate on what the Economies of Scale in Reverse means/would look like- we have been pretty well indoctrinated with the notion that economies of scale produce only "positive" things [it was never signed, so the assumption was always that it could only be POSITIVE- OOPS!]).

imapopulistnow's picture

An analysis for the purpose of promoting an agenda.  The initial points are valid although the 6% annual change in inflation adjustments *but not the premise) is an urban myth outlyer. 

the globaliztion point is a valid perspective but only on one side - unfortunately our side. I suspect a billion plus or so newly created middle classers in China and elsewhere would have a different perspective on the destructive nature of globalization. 

the energy point does not follow logically and seems to be agendized to promote the need for alternative energy as if fossil fuel extraction is a hopeless cause because of rising extraction costs.  Productivity and efficiency gains (energy to GDP) are not acknowledged.

Its purpose may be to midlead, or more likely, its author unconsciously force fitted a future scenario that was consistent with preconcieved biases.  Very common and difficult to overcome.

strangewalk's picture

Agreed, it's the responsibility of American workers to loose their jobs, wreck their families and shatter their communities so as to raise living standards in tyranical, despotic shit-holes on the other side of the world whose own governments never cared enough to try managing it themselves.

I lost my job to outsourcing--but I don't care--since I'm not paying taxes, we can just take the money from your kid's education to pay for my new life on the dole.     

blindman's picture

re:publica 2012 – Eben Moglen – Freedom of Thought Requires Free Media

blindman's picture

27 January 2013
Edward R. Murrow: Good Night, And Good Luck
"All I can hope to teach my son is to tell the truth and fear no man...
If none of us ever read a book that was "dangerous," had a friend who was "different," or joined an organization that advocated "change," we would all be just the kind of people Joe McCarthy wants...

The only thing that counts is the right to know, to speak, to think — that, and the sanctity of the courts. Otherwise it's not America.

No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices."

Edward R. Murrow, speech to his CBS News staff, 1954" jca


bank guy in Brussels's picture

Great quote from Ed Murrow ... but sadly since then, the US courts have totally died, so indeed it is 'not America' anymore

Today US courts have the CIA's Google Inc. as their partner, to totally erase the truth about US judges from the internet

Here in Brussels is a political refugee from the US who barely escaped alive from threats to kill him by friends of the Bush family and bribed US federal judges ... Google also pays ad cash dollars to anyone who will print lies about him, while Google blocks the victim from replying

Live Photo: Google Inc. Caught Censoring EU Search Results on US court corruption (for USA - CIA)
Google Internet Censorship - Censure d'Internet par Google - Internet censuur door Google

Articles on US court corruption often censored by the CIA's Google - Goog usually 'erasing' all the websites of this US refugee who risked his life to try to support the US Bill of Rights

Foreign Companies Face Risk of US Court Corruption:
Doing Business in the Big Bribery Nation

America's Corrupt Legal System -
A Danger to Visitors, Travellers as Well as USA Residents

Americans Murdering Their Judges, and the US Crisis of Judicial Corruption

'Ex-Agent: CIA Seed Money Helped Launch Google', retired intelligence agent Robert David Steele interviewed by Paul Joseph Watson, and speaking of the CIA's Dr Rick Steinheiser and his connections with Google:

GetZeeGold's picture



Here's a great quote from Walter Cronkite......on video no less.


"I'm Glad To Sit On The Right Hand Of Satan"



blindman's picture

re:publica 2012 – Eben Moglen – Freedom of Thought Requires Free Media e-media/

blindman's picture

Eben Moglen on Facebook, Google and Government Surveillance

Seer's picture

I agree about the quote from Murrow, but this all targets human action.  As the underlying paper/report states:

Third, there has been a failure to grasp
the most critical point of all, which
is that the economy is an energy
dynamic, not a financial one.

This is the SINGLE most import element for people to focus on (or, perhaps not- the less people doing so means that I have an advantage over them in seeing this).  No matter how "civil" we wish to be, how we would look to be forthright and adhere to human laws, it all pretty much goes out the window if/when we lose the energy side of our great existence; that is, our entire economic construct lies on a key natural resource that is in decline.  Human nature GUARANTEES that we'll employ more deception in order to ensure our personal claim on scarce resources: and, actually, this is how ALL of nature works.

Survival instincts trump human constructs (such as "human law").  Rocks and scissors trump paper, always...

SpykerSpeed's picture

Thorium nuclear energy and bio/nanotech can drastically improve our lives over the next 20 years, as well as the rapid advance of computers/smartphones/internet devices.  Bitcoin is another technology with massive potential.

Byte Me's picture

Thorium cycle +++ (but CANDU may still be more realistic - just NEVER let the Japs use either)

Bio/nanotech ++-- (seriously, the military have first dibs on ALL techadvance. So, we're in good hands there....)

Bitcoin (neutral) (bitcoin "production" already being offshored to PRC - surely you received the memo??)


The very best option available to the 99.9% would still be to homogenize the 0.1% that perpetrated this shit and deposit their worthless remains on the surface of Venus.

Seer's picture

Did you not read the part in the article that states (and is in agreement/supported by history) that it's VERY doubtful that we'd be able to bring anything online in LESS than 20 years?

Have fun telling the starving masses that they'll have to starve MORE so that "the people" can have thorium reactors.  We KNOW that it'll be the very same people who have surfed on top of the masses continuing to do so.  Do people really believe that the masses won't retaliate by trashing any such "innovations" (which they see as only benefiting the elite)?  Take a look at what's happening in Mali.  This is how it's going to go down.  No matter HOW great something will be we'll see greed spawn revolts against any possible "solution" (fuck, people have made all sorts of idiotic claims for the sake of denial about the decline of energy for many years- abiotic oil is one such whopper; we no longer have ANY credibility in delivering any message of "salvation").

"rapid advance of computers/smartphones/internet devices"

Like we need MORE?  iPhone 26?  And when the VAST majority of humans on the planet have never made a phone call or touched a computer (as it is) it's all going to get better because a handful of elite white kids can have version 26 of iCrap?

"Bitcoin is another technology with massive potential."

Potential for WHAT?  Deception?  Go talk to the "terrorists" in Mali about how likely they'd be signing up for this: look at what "the System" had produced up to this point- one huge fucking economic scam- and ask yourself whether you think people would trust yet another "gift" from the white elites.

TNTARG's picture


"Governments have been ejected by their electorates, but their replacements have tended to look very similar indeed to their predecessors."

That's one to be revised.

I've heard some governments have been ejected by killing the head, by coups, by "parlamentary removal", by election's frauds, by forcing ressignation (in the "developed world" the last was Berlusconi, I think right after Papandreou) just to install the "appropriate ones" to secure control remains in the hands of... Who? Bankers are not to be blamed? 

And about energy... Please, those who celebrate the golden age they've lived do not forget at what expenses that was possible.

I have this slight perception that the analysis is just a bit distorted by taking for granted things that can be strongly objected.

As for solar energy it's not the only alternative available.


eddiebe's picture

Mr. Morgan raises important points, but obviously doesnt factor in or even suspect the dark hand(s) steering the worlds governments and their populations towards total servitude.

Seer's picture

"And about energy... Please, those who celebrate the golden age they've lived do not forget at what expenses that was possible."

How does one utilize energy from one's "memory?"

"I have this slight perception that the analysis is just a bit distorted by taking for granted things that can be strongly objected."

A politician couldn't say things better!

"As for solar energy it's not the only alternative available."

And that would be, what?  Keeping something in your backyard that you're not telling us?

For the sake of discussion, "alternative" basically means "replacement."  Do not confuse something being able to produce something with it being able to supplant the existing store of energy that was accumulated/formed over the course of billions(?) of years.  SCALABILITY.

TNTARG's picture

Just to mention one:

Quote: "Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: "Marine power is a growing green clean source of power which has the potential to sustain thousands of jobs in a sector worth a possible £15 billion [US$23 billion] to the economy by 2050."

Multiple sources and of course, research because we have huge marine coasts down here. The quote is from

TNTARG's picture

And... we hardly need most of the energy we're squandering.

Specially the people in that advanced, Western World but not only.

You know? The article sounds like supporting  alleged Bilderberg's plan to reduce human population. I've been earing rumors and reading statements from Prince Phillips duke of Edimburgh, Bill Gates, Ted Turner and awesome people of the kind.

Yeah, I know. However...


Seer's picture

"The article sounds like supporting  alleged Bilderberg's plan to reduce human population."

That YOU read into it thusly is because that's what you're looking for.  And if true, what are you going to do about it?  Push "alternative" energies?

Sorry, but this is passive aggressive behavior.  Get right out here and lay it on the line!

My arguments are front and center (I am sitting on NO "investments," I support no group, I am not looking to make a dime off anything nor am I "set").  I say fuck your passiveness and fuck the Bilderbergs (and the notion that they really have any way to pull off any mass murder)!  FUCKING MOTHER NATURE IS GOING TO DO IT, and paranoid fuckers (folks misdirecting from the REAL issues) are going to ensure that this does in fact happen.

You can spin things however you want, but the FACTS are there- FINITE PLANET cannot support perpetual growth.  TPTB, most of them, probably understand this fact- this does not, then, make them conspirators to kill off masses of people, no, the sanctioned (supported by "We The People") "terrorist" campaigns are how populations are being reduced, though the loss of human lives are collateral damage of the aim of securing (dwindling) resources.  The people you fear need not lift a finger- we'll fucking mess it all up, and ourselves, all on our own (because rather than chasing the future we chase these bastards, and never get there).

ALL WARS ARE ABOUT RESOURCES.  Until the non-TPTB can get this fact we're going to be chasing their tails while they continue to ride on our backs.

Seer's picture

More folks looking for research handouts.  YWAN...

And, really, with shipping going down the drain ( why fucking bother?

Take existing energy and apply it creating "alternative" energy that will power ships that remain docked?

How is this going to help profits/bottom lines?

I'm thinking that you really didn't comprehend what this paper is all about.  Shipping when there's no consumers?  When all else takes too much energy to be deemed profitable?