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Knowledge, not resources, driving economic growth


Some economists worry the world economy isn’t growing fast enough. It’s slowing down and reaching the point of “secular stagnation”.

On a very different wavelength, however, environmentalists worry that if the world economy keeps growing the way it is, it won’t be long before we run out of the natural resources on which that growth depends. Whoops.


But if all that’s a bit heavy for the holiday season, here’s something lighter. Remember all that crazy talk a few years back about the paperless office? What a joke.

Then there was peak oil. Whatever happened to that looming disaster?



If any of those possibilities piques your interest, I have news – courtesy of an essay by Professor John Quiggin, of the University of Queensland.

Quiggin thinks the paperless office is on the way, especially because the world has already reached “peak paper”.

Despite continuing economic growth, peak paper was reached in 2013. “Global paper production and consumption reached its maximum, flattened out, and is now falling,” he says.

Until relatively recently, the growth and spread of information was directly linked to the growth in paper, books and newspapers.



The closely related information revolution and digital revolution have broken that link. Businesses and governments don’t print reports, they just put them on their website. We read e-books and online newspapers.

Banks and businesses want to stop sending us statements and bills through the post. If we hold out too long, they impose a fee for continued paper statements.



As for peak oil, Quiggin says that, in terms of oil consumption per person, the world reached it in 1979.

“In the developed countries, the decline in oil consumption per person has outpaced population growth, with the result that total consumption is declining. The average person in a developed country now uses less oil than her parents did 40 years ago,” he says.



Why has this remarkable change attracted so little notice? Partly because much of the reduction in energy use has taken the virtually invisible form of improvements in energy efficiency. Both industrial processes and household appliances use far less energy than they used to.

But also because, until fairly recently, the main substitutes for oil have been other fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. Only in the past 10 years have renewable energy sources, especially wind and solar, begun to play a significant role, he says.

Peak coal has already arrived in the developed world. Coal consumption has fallen substantially in the US and Europe, and is set to fall further.

Illustration: Glen Le Lievre.Illustration: Glen Le Lievre

Until recently, the decline in fossil-fuel use in the developed world has been more than offset by rapid growth in the developing countries.

But even China – the planet’s largest coal consumer by far – has changed course. Beginning with Beijing, it has begun closing down all the coal-fired power stations near major cities.

“In fact, China reached peak coal in 2013, at the same time as it reached peak paper,” Quiggin says.

As for peak steel, it’s different. Steel lasts a long time and can be recycled almost endlessly, but demand for it is finite.

In developed countries, the stock of steel reached about eight tonnes a person decades ago, he says, and has remained stable or slowly declining since then.

“With the stock of steel on a gently sloping plateau, the need for more can be met almost entirely by recycling scrap, rather than by burning coal to smelt iron ore in blast furnaces.

“The result has been described as a ‘circular economy’. When this arrives, peak steel will have been reached.”

All this has happened while economic growth has continued and living standards have risen.

Economists have been saying for years, particularly in the developed world, that growth is becoming “weightless”. The part of the economy that’s growing isn’t goods – things you can drop on your toe – but services: people doing things for people, whether fixing their health, teaching them nuclear physics or waiting on their table.

With an ever greater proportion of gross domestic product – the quantity of goods and services produced in a period – accounted for by services, economic growth becomes ever less dependent on the increased use of natural resources.

Over the long term, growth in real GDP comes less from the use of more raw materials, human labour and man-made machines and structures and more from improved “productivity” – greater efficiency with which those inputs are transformed into outputs of goods and services.

What drives productivity improvement? Advances in technology and accretion of human capital. That is, the growth and spread of knowledge and information.

But an information-driven economy is very different from the one we’ve become used to since the industrial revolution, one driven by the use of natural resources to produce goods plus a few conventional services.

Natural resources are finite. If you want to use my coal or paper you must pay me (they’re “excludable”). Any coal or paper you use can’t be used by someone else (they’re “rivalrous”).

This makes economic growth relatively easy to measure. But knowledge and information are opposite to natural resources: they’re often freely available (non-excludable) and my knowing something doesn’t stop you knowing it, too (non-rivalrous).

What’s the difference between a taxi and Uber? Information. What’s the difference between renting a hotel room or self-catering accommodation and Airbnb? Information.

A knowledge and information-driven economy is one whose continuing growth makes less demands on the natural environment than many scientists and environmentalists imagine. That’s particularly true as we move to renewable energy.

But a knowledge and information-driven economy is harder to measure, especially using the metrics (GDP) we developed to measure a raw materials and goods-based economy.

We’re now in a world where GDP is going one way and raw-materials use is starting to go the other way.

That’s why Quiggin doubts that world economic growth is grinding to a halt.

The Sydney Morning Herald    

40 Comments on "Knowledge, not resources, driving economic growth"

  1. Midnight Oil on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 6:21 am 

    It’s different this time….
    I’m a big fan of “Dancing with the Stars” and by watching have developed an extensive knowledge of judging technique.
    Now I plan to open a franchise chain for recent high school dropouts to get their GED along with a Dancing with the Stars degree!
    All paid for by government grants!
    That should help economic growth.

  2. onlooker on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 6:24 am 

    It is unfortunate that the author of this article uses the terms economic growth which most of us here recoil at for it pernicious implication. Rather the author should have coined the information economy as a steady state one. The suggestions and implications of the article should have been adopted decades ago and we perhaps then could have had a modern world without inflicting more and more damage to the environment. As it is now we have past the point of no return both in terms of population size and commensurate damage to the environment and because of climate change and its inevitable acceleration. What might have been.

  3. makati1 on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 6:45 am 

    Onlooker, Climate change is the dinosaur in the room of any future plans or ideas. I am sitting in my condo, prepared for the possible super typhoon scheduled to come through Manila Tomorrow. It has ruined Christmas for millions here already. A typhoon is unusual for this time of year, but, as I said in other comments, the temps here have averaged 3-4F higher than average this year. The Pacific is still too hot to prevent typhoons from forming and growing. Interesting holiday for me.

  4. rockman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 7:11 am 

    “…peak oil. Whatever happened to that looming disaster?” Starting off with the classic strawman bullshit damaged my interest in reading the rest. And then hit “…the decline in oil consumption…with the result that total consumption is declining”. Given the world has increased oil consumption to all time record highs in recent years killed what little interest was left. If the author isn’t capable of doing a simple 30 second web search to discover the current reality of global oil consumption I doubt I’ll miss anything worthwhile.

  5. davy on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 7:11 am 

    Happy typhoon Makati, enjoy what you wished for others and now you realize

  6. Davy on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 8:22 am 

    Genius is the handmaiden of extinction is how it is working out. Too bad we don’t have a wisdom based economy.

  7. onlooker on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 8:59 am 

    I will play both sides of the aisle. Makati stay safe these typhoons seem to be getting stronger. And Davy yep at least the author should have qualified the whole piece with the word wisdom.

  8. Sissyfuss on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 9:40 am 

    The article attempts to put a happy face on “peak everything.” Growth continues even as we run out all things growth related in a physical sense. Plug me into the matrix and I won’t even notice I’m boiling in a kettle of water. Croak!

  9. Jef on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 10:13 am 

    Physical work with real resources is so last century.

    Now its our money that does all the work.

  10. John Kintree on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:20 am 

    Rockman is correct. Googling “world oil consumption by year”, and the same for coal and natural gas, yields graphs going up to 2013 that show increasing consumption for all three fossil fuels. That is why we are well over 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2, and rising.

    Condolences to Manila.

  11. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:54 am 

    I clearly remember techno utopians in the early 1990’s claiming the coming computer revolution would result in a paperless world and what happened? More fucking paper than anyone could imagine….except for those guys in the printer ink business.

    Yabut this time it’s different.

  12. rockman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:55 am 

    Yep…good luck. Waded thru hurricane flooded waters twice in my youth. Rather unnerving to say the least. You gonna shelter in place or have somewhere to go?

  13. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:57 am 

    Hundreds of thousands face starvation and death in Africa in the growing crisis no one is talking about

    ‘As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food,’ warns International Development Secretary Priti Patel

  14. rockman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:58 am 

    John – Of course the Rockman is correct. After all have you ever seen him admit being anything but 110% correct? Not sure why you bothered to double check. LOL

  15. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 12:02 pm 

    11 Charts That Show Income Inequality Isn’t Getting Better Anytime Soon
    It’s no secret: More and more wealth is trickling up.

  16. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 12:04 pm 

    NOBEL ECONOMIST: ‘I don’t think globalisation is anywhere near the threat that robots are’

    “Angus Deaton, who won the Nobel Prize last year for his work on health, wealth, and inequality, told the Financial Times he believes robots are a much greater threat to employment in the US than globalisation. ”

  17. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 12:07 pm 

    Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary

  18. Boat on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 12:41 pm 


    Will finish a barn next week. Either a room addition or a few floors may be next. Yep, temp jobs. I had planned to take Dec off to celebrate the stock market rise. Sigh, my buddie contractors are desperate for help. Need a job?

  19. Anonymous on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 1:27 pm 

    RoLF, sure retard.

    And it’s ‘buddy’ (singular), not ‘buddie’, moron.

  20. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 1:28 pm 

    No boat I don’t need a job. I retired 5 years ago at 45. I do odd jobs for fun and status points. You pushing 60 and still on the tools huh? Don’t sound like the American dream to me. Make sure you invest all your money into those stocks since they are so highly valued based on ZIRP and a bunch of other shenanigans.

    Boat, again you play your hand when your emotions are wounded by any indication that everything is not awesome with your religion/ideology/country and strike out with the same boastful response. Good for you boat, now how does your personal employment situation factor into the bigger picture? Do you expect me and everyone else to believe that because you claim to be doing so awesome that means so is everyone else in your country and around the world? Last year you said you made a whopping 30k a year for all your work and sweat at 60 years old. Do you get medical? I have almost free medical with no cap. I make 30K (CAN) a year in rental income sitting on my ass, a few grand gifted to me for small repair/favors (I would never work under the table) I guess that means everyone else is fine? I’m fine so the other 35 million Canadians are fin. Boat’s fine so the other 320 million Americans are fine. Your logic is impeccable boat.

    Boat what happens if you get nailed by an illness and you can’t work? You are 60 after all and did work in the toxic PVC pipe plant. Isn’t medical bankruptcy the #1 reason Americans go bankrupt? Tell yourself it can’t happen to you.

    If you get unlucky with the health, maybe you could sell your stocks and enter one of the fine senior citizens establishments whose main concern is their residents health?

    How hospitals, nursing homes keep lethal ‘superbug’ outbreaks secret

    “Still, Casa Maria downplayed the emergency. The employee who contacted the authorities asked for information on how to handle “a few cases of C. difficile,” according to the report, but “stated it was not an outbreak.” When a Health Department staffer called Casa Maria the next day to follow up, the nursing home again denied it had an outbreak.

    By June, the outbreak was over. Fifteen residents had been infected, and eight were dead. The public was never informed — until now.”

    “An examination of cases across the country reveals a system that protects the healthcare facilities where superbugs thrive, while leaving patients, their families and the broader public ignorant of potentially deadly threats.”

    Take of your health boat and why don’t you ask Houston’s growing impoverished if they want a days work?

    These Charts Show Poverty’s Startling Spread Across Houston

    “Today, 39 percent of the census tracts in Harris County are classified as “high-poverty.” Within a high-poverty tract, at least 20 percent of households have incomes below the poverty line.”

    “The figure is staggering for two reasons. First, it’s almost double the national rate. Second, the figure has grown quickly, more than quadrupling since 1980. To be clear, the number of high-poverty tracts is growing nationally, too. But they’re not growing nearly as fast as they are here.

    So in Houston, the issue isn’t simply that poverty is on the rise. It’s that poverty — once largely confined to the core of the city — is spreading across the area and transforming places that were once middle-class.”

    Boat’s still working therefore unemployment is not high.

    Boat’s stocks are high therefore poverty does not exist.

    Stephen Colbert on Twitter

    Global warming isn’t real because I was cold today! Also great news: World hunger is over because I just ate.

  21. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 2:16 pm 

    a ‘circular economy’ Ha! more like circling the drain.

    Boat, here is part of the reason your stocks are so high and there is almost no innovation anymore. Lots of marketing and smart phone apps, but no game changers.

    America’s Monopoly Problem

    How big business jammed the wheels of innovation

    “Politicians from both parties publicly worship the solemn dignity of entrepreneurship and small businesses. But by the numbers, America has become the land of the big and the home of the consolidated.

    This is a problem. But it is not an accident. The bigness of business is a result of federal policy, which, in the past three decades, has deliberately made it easier for large companies to dominate their markets, provided that they keep prices down. After years of sluggish wage growth and low levels of entrepreneurship, some people are starting to worry that America’s biggest companies are growing at the expense of the economy, even if they offer consumers good deals.”

    You Call this Progress?

    ” I think we have a tendency to latch onto a story of humanity that we find appealing or flattering, and stick with it long past its expiration date.”

    “The (slightly overstated) claim is that no major new inventions have come to bear in my 45-year lifespan. The 45 years prior, however, were chock-full of monumental breakthroughs.”

    “Telling ourselves that the pace of technological transformation is ever-increasing is just a fun story we like to believe is true. For many of us, I suspect, our whole world order is built on this premise.”


  22. Apneaman on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 2:19 pm 

    Global corporate defaults hit 150 for 2016, most since financial crisis

  23. Dredd on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 3:15 pm 

    Dig the neoFeudalism (American Feudalism – 6).

    What we call “knowledge” is primarily “trust” or “faith” (The Pillars of Knowledge: Faith and Trust?).

  24. makati1 on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 5:57 pm 

    “‘As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food”


    ‘As we enter 2017, over 47 million people across AMERICA are without food’ IF THEIR FOOD STAMPS END, and they will.

    There! Corrected!

  25. ingnorance is bliss on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 7:39 pm 

    If people had knowledge economy would crash tomorrow

  26. DMyers on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 8:07 pm 

    The article says the following about peak oil.

    “As for peak oil, Quiggin says that, in terms of oil consumption per person, the world reached it in 1979.

    ‘In the developed countries, the decline in oil consumption per person has outpaced population growth, with the result that total consumption is declining. The average person in a developed country now uses less oil than her parents did 40 years ago,’ he says.”

    First of all, he is speaking primarily about “oil consumption per person”. But secondly, his statement is limited to “developed countries”.

    The peak of oc/p occurred in 1979, he states. This is the same peak Richard Duncan cited in his Olduvai Gorge thesis, where he substituted a broader measure, energy per person, than oil consumption alone. Duncan posed the e/p ratio as the numerical equivalent of standard of living. The two numbers are likely close. What likely happened in 1979 was the cutting edge of population growth along with declining US production (post peak).

    The question of whether oil consumption per person is declining must be addressed to data from developed countries. Obviously, growing population tends to drive this indicator lower, as does a decline in oil consumption. So, from the start there are competing explanations for oc/p changes, and that is where the inquiry should begin.

    Overall world consumption of oil may be increasing, while consumption in developed countries is decreasing.

    There are many serious questions that need to be asked and discussed about whether our new “information economy” has shown itself sufficient to fill the shoes of the “real economy” which preceded it. If, alas, the information economy does not make the grade, the productive economy is gone. There is nothing to fall back on, other than the sympathies of our (productive) enemies.

    Knowledge and information can supplement a productive economy, but they cannot replace it. IMHO

  27. Truth Has A Liberal Bias on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 10:09 pm 

    Boat you can’t even do junior high math so cut the bullshit that you can play the stock market. Fucking retard.

    Remember when you said the world consumes a billion barrels of oil every 10 years. Fuck are you dumb.

    If a faucet flow rate is 6 gallons per minute how many minutes will it take to fill a 25 gallon tub? How many gallons are in the tub after 2 and a half minutes? Retard.
    Stock market lol you’re too stupid for grade 8 math. Cut the shit dumb ass.

  28. Boat on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:28 pm 

    Hey idiot, tell me how the US crash is going. For that matter how the world crash is going. How a new peak for oil production keeps setting new highs. How depletion ended up in a two year glut and going. Hell now there may be a huge voluntary cut to curb production. Sound like a depletion? You wanna talk mistakes? Your entire narrative has been a mistake for years. You may have found a site with other dumb asses who parrot hate, disinformation and conspiracy but what I see is opinion with little research. For the most part you have little to add.

  29. Boat on Sun, 25th Dec 2016 11:42 pm 

    Might as well readdress typhoon mak again. You worry about food stamps in the US. Yea, you can apply for them and make $10,000 per year. How about there in the Phillipines. How about Russia or China. What’s the threshold for assistance. You post shyt with no context of the poor in the US compared to the rest of the world. Your like Truth, just another posting hate smak idiot.

  30. GregT on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 12:16 am 

    What mak posted above is a fact Boat. It makes no difference how you try to spin it. More of your usual nonsense.

  31. GregT on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 3:19 am 

    “You may have found a site with other dumb asses who parrot hate, disinformation and conspiracy but what I see is opinion with little research. For the most part you have little to add.”

    You are without a doubt the dumbest person who regularly posts here Boat, and you obviously don’t have the slightest fucking clue what the word ‘research’ means. For the most part, your addition here does nothing more than reenforce how completely brain dead the average human being really is, and that you yourself, are far below that average.

  32. makati1 on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 3:31 am 

    Boat, I have no need of food stamps. I have a sufficient income and other resources for the next 20+ years that I might live. I don’t obsess over, or even pay attention to, the Market Casino or the price of oil. I sleep well at night.

    I might add that here in the Ps, the government gives EVERYONE free basic medical care, the poor that are moved out of the city are given small homes with a basic amount of free electric per month. They have enough free land to grow some food. They have no debt to worry about either, like you and most Americans,

    You better stick to whatever you do know about and understand. If anything.

    The U$ is a 3rd world country. You don’t have to be very bright to see it. Half the population is sucking on the government teat and all of you are subsidized a thousand ways out the kazoo by that same fiat printing government.

    I think Trump is going to pull the plug on a lot of that and many millions are going to find themselves looking up at the 3rd world soon. Your whole world is balanced on the knife edge of financial collapse and you argue that I am the crazy one. LMAO

  33. makati1 on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 3:48 am 

    “American Lifespan Declines as Obesity and Opioid Epidemic Takes Its Toll”
    “How Physical Inactivity Increases Risk for Chronic Diseases” (US Obesity stats…)
    “Obama Quietly Signs The “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act” Into Law”
    “Unmerry Christmas: Mass Brawls Break Out Across America’s Malls”
    “America Has Unofficially Declared War on the Homeless”
    “The holiday shopping season is losing some of its power”
    “World Trade Falls to 2014 Level, Dragged Down by US Trade, and the Threatened “Trade War” Might Make it a Whole Lot Worse”
    “Bonanza Creek, Other U.S. Energy Firms Announce Chapter 11 Plans”
    “Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan”
    “Top US Surveillance Lawyer Argues That New Technology Makes The 4th Amendment Outdated”
    “NEC technology knows where you are looking”
    “The price tag for cleaning up nuclear waste at Hanford site just went up another $4.5 billion”
    “Holiday splurging not an option for many workers scraping by”
    “Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time”
    “US Air Force chief: Personnel shortfall is critical”
    “New map plots chemical contamination in Great Lakes”
    “DuPont hit with $2 million verdict over Teflon-making chemical”
    “U.S. melanoma rate is rising, study finds”
    “Remaining FCC Commissioners Promise To Gut Net Neutrality ‘As Soon As Possible'”
    “Ford shutting Kansas City plant for a week, GM lays off shift in Detroit”
    “Personal Income Flat, Consumer Spending Weak, Real Disposable Income Down”
    “Americans are now in more debt than they were before the financial crisis”
    “Young adults living with their parents hits a 75-year high”
    “Baby Boomers Increasingly Having Social Security Checks Garnished To Cover Student Loan Payments”
    “Durable Goods Orders Dive 4.6% Despite Huge Jump in Defense Orders”
    “Is The Auto Industry Slowdown Signaling Trouble Ahead For The Overall Economy”
    “Why Social Security Is Doomed: “Birthrate At Lowest Level on Record”… And the Future Is Unfunded” ( No worry, the dollar will collapse long before the SS money runs out. )

    News from a THIRD WORLD country … America.

  34. freak on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 4:47 am 

    The globalist controllers want to give the illusion that they are in control of the amount of oil being produced at the time we are headed down the back side of peak oil. By using the fake news MSM to preform there psychological operations with misinformation about how the world is swimming in oil so we need to reduce the production to have inflation and growth.

  35. Davy on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 6:04 am 

    Modern civilization has an adapted living standard metric from what was traditionally human. This can be related to a development of a new type of man. What we once were is no more but we are still physically the same. In just a few hundred years our metric of quality of life became a quantity and quality metric of more but not just more as in basics but more as in what was once “god like”. Complexity has resulted with large populations to realize growth and a systematic connectedness. This connectedness has gone global. This growth has gone nonlinear compared to a slow incremental growth of most of our human development. More is better now. Faster and more horsepower the basics for value.

    In regards to a quality living standard does this indicate one of modern man’s primary flaw? When does more in regards to quantity and quality actually become less? We know GDP has been criticized as a poor metric of overall national health but what about man himself and his value system. Has modern man opened a door that is his undoing? If we are basing our value system on what actually becomes less quality then we have a faulty social narrative and one to surely lead us to less quantity and quality. This destructive force then becomes an existential error driving us further away from true value. This error is clearly a lack of wisdom to know what knowledge and technology is actually beneficial and what is destructive. When more technology and knowledge itself is considered wisdom then we have lost a species control mechanism and bad results will occur.

    Energy is part of this. We consider more energy as always better until a point where basic needs are satisfied then it is less energy with more output. We want more complexity with less energy. This is still a relative situation of more energy capacity but instead with complexity and efficiency allowing more. We want to go faster with more potency. Efficiency becomes a major metric of living standards once basics are met. We now know more is not better at many levels. We have pollution and population pressure that are destructive to our living standards. We see efficiency lowering quality in the name of quantity.

    This is now habituated into the population and systematically part of our social narrative of laws and ethics. It is now central to what is moving us forward with our decisions. We as a civilization are now making decisions that are not based upon a commonly accepted quality of life but instead it appears to be an accepted false narrative. It is now malignant and corrupting. It is now infecting all aspects of humanity. It is a virus destroying its host from within. What is more insidious is this situation is now our living standards as the trap. We need more or what is turning out to be bad to maintain what we feel is an accepted living standard.

    How can we break out of this trap? Will it take a crisis with destructive forces to adapt our narrative back to what is a real standard that represent what is best for us? This may mean we will have to go negative in living standards to improve them. This of course is not a possibility at the societal level as a decision. It will only result as a force of fate. This global way of life has self-adapted with self-organizing values of common values from competitive cooperation among diverse cultures spread across the global world. It seems what has come to be a common metric is more energy and more complexity and this is considered sustainable development but in reality it is a dangerous destructive trend embraced by all cultures. We have agreed to this and we use it to compete with each other. A region that embraces less of these accepted standards as a higher value is out competed.

    We see this destructive process happen so many times with societies that have demonstrated higher value living standards but they do not conform to progressive trends of liberal democracy and market based globalism. These higher value societies are then consumed in a slow process of cultural dismemberment. This includes ecosystems. This leaves all niches of our civilization representing higher value with greater wisdom unable to compete. They are lost and the dominant trend of more with less the only option.

    It appears that this dominant human value system is not going to be change and adapted except by crisis and destructive forces of decline. A collapse of some sort will be required to adapt it back to what is really higher in value. This means we are facing a time where standards must fall. This is necessary to get back on track. What is disturbing is we may have gone too far and there is no second chance to get back on the right path. This leaves us with a question of riding this ship off the cliff as our best option or jumping ship and surviving a harsh period of cleansing and atonement with a chance at a new start.

    At the individual and small group level this existential trap takes on a different dynamic. Society may be lost but your local can be saved at least relatively. You and yours can adapt to something higher within this flawed system that is on a destructive path that may end in a die off. You can make changes relative to this overall trend that are positive and conforms to the truth. The truth has to be seen as “what is” not what we want it to be. The “what is” is being reveled to us by science and honest reflection is the best we have. In our case the truth should be what we see in nature and our nature as part of that nature we call the “Ecos”. Society is likely lost in a momentum of decline and decay and likely ultimately facing a rebalance involving a die-off. If you properly aline yourself you can have a better quality of life within this destructive process. Having the attitude to see this and adapt accordingly is the value now. This value is wisdom and this true standard has come full circle. It is sapience based on the “Ecos” not man. We need to be as we once were. Being able to choose a life of less and find dignity in that choice may now be the true value not more.

  36. Hubert on Mon, 26th Dec 2016 10:40 pm 

    These people are not ready for the World’s End.

  37. makati1 on Tue, 27th Dec 2016 1:20 am 

    Rockman, I stay in place. My condo is between two big towers so the wind is modified. In fact, it barely rained in Manila. This time, it went south of the city over the Tagaytay area of Luzon, where all the rich people live. lol

    Deaths this time were small. Five for sure and 18 fishermen missing. Less than the average traffic deaths for two days here. It did ruin a lot of holiday plans. Today, Tuesday, it is sunny and 87F. Thanks for asking.

  38. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Dec 2016 6:17 am 

    Measuring progress also known as economic growth in terms of tons of coal, oil, steel, cement, glass and megawatts is so 20th century, so Anglo-Soviet.

    How about including giga-bytes of debugged code into economic growth? How about producing zero-energy screens:

    How about setting up an economy with strongly reduced commuting, because everybody is working remote, via the cloud.

    We are indeed heading for a “lighter society”, where “economic growth” is measured as doing the same thing with less energy. A society where the combustion engine is largely replaced by data flows through a fiber cable.

  39. dissident on Tue, 27th Dec 2016 7:24 am 

    All this post modern economics drivel is insane. Whatever form the economy takes one thing will be a given: maximization of CO2 production. This is an empirical law that is established based on the data back as far as we can take it. A relevant transition regime is the one that has been occurring in the last 20 years. There has been no hint of any CO2 emissions drop from the growth of the internet, virtual shopping, and the growth of knowledge based jobs (new economy jobs such as those in IT).

  40. Cloggie on Tue, 27th Dec 2016 7:31 am 

    There has been no hint of any CO2 emissions drop from the growth of the internet, virtual shopping, and the growth of knowledge based jobs (new economy jobs such as those in IT).

    Are you sure?

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