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Catalyst for economic collapse

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:06:34

It's similar in mass transit.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby evilgenius » Mon 13 Mar 2017, 12:39:59

Cog wrote:At a certain level its understandable. The benefits of fixing a road system or bridge that services hundreds of thousands of commuters a day outweighs the needs of a few hundred who are serviced in a rural area. But what I have seen is perfectly serviceable urban roads and bridges that just need repair versus a complete new build or other expensive option.

I can get on this high horse when it comes to the issue of whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I don't think that's true. I think the issue is about right-of-way, how we determine that politically when we spend resources. My own state has a problem with it too. We spend a lot of money on city infrastructure, on big projects. More are in the pipeline still. Some are going on right now that have taken money that could have been used to build much needed interchanges outside of the cities.

I live in a mountainous state. Over time the connecting roadways that could have been built out to tie various roadways that go to the same places together, allowing drivers to get around traffic or blockages, haven't been built out. Only the major roadways have received very much consideration. Traffic is bad in and out of the mountains. Even at that, those needs have had to take a back seat to what happens in the big cities. Actually, we only have one really big city, but some of the smaller cities also get that same kind of consideration. The really big city is king. The mountains are expected to go to it, and the people who live on the plains are expected to go through it to get to the mountains. There's a lot of sense in that, but it also sets up problems.

People who live outside of the city are always getting told that the money they thought was coming isn't because those city projects had to be done. And that's one place where what I am saying about right-of-way becomes an issue. A road analogy, might as well use one here, that expresses what I mean would be how people who want to make a left turn almost always are the lowest person on the totem pole when it comes to right-of-way. When things happen at a four way non-signalized intersection they may have to wait for the next cycle to complete in order to get their turn. What is happening effectively, though, is that the process is overlooking that they have a call at all. Because this is about politics, it is like the person waiting to make a left is having to sit literally all day. I wonder if this doesn't refer back to the issue over trust I was talking about, that when it isn't there we have a problem recognizing the lower rights holder's calls? And, again, how affluence distorts our world view such that we tend to think it is the end of the world when we can't get what we want, such that waiting for someone else's rights to get exercised seems like a misuse of resources?
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Revi » Wed 15 Mar 2017, 09:59:15

I wonder if they will raise the debt ceiling today? We need to borrow our 2,739,726,027 a day so that we can continue our unsustainable lifestyle. It's not negotiable!
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 18 Mar 2017, 15:50:56

Is this what I have been worrying about?

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN16P0FN

Financial leaders of the world's biggest economies dropped a pledge to keep global trade free and open, acquiescing to an increasingly protectionist United States after a two-day meeting failed to yield a compromise.

Breaking a decade-long tradition of endorsing open trade, G20 finance ministers and central bankers made only a token reference to trade in their communique on Saturday, a clear defeat for host nation Germany, which fought the new U.S. government's attempts to water down past commitments.

In the new U.S. administration's biggest clash yet with the international community, G20 finance chiefs also removed from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change, an anticipated outcome after U.S. President Donald Trump called global warming a "hoax".
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Revi » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 19:47:51

Here is an interesting article about the Debt Ceiling. It looks like it might be a mess!
https://dailyreckoning.com/countdown-to-crisis/
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 23:24:02

Revi wrote:Here is an interesting article about the Debt Ceiling. It looks like it might be a mess!
https://dailyreckoning.com/countdown-to-crisis/

The main surprise would be if it WEREN'T a mess, given the irresponsibility and inability to compromise for the common good endemic to Capitol Hill in recent years. And this is a problem definitely owned by both sides of the aisle.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 20 Mar 2017, 01:59:33

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
Revi wrote:Here is an interesting article about the Debt Ceiling. It looks like it might be a mess!
https://dailyreckoning.com/countdown-to-crisis/

The main surprise would be if it WEREN'T a mess, given the irresponsibility and inability to compromise for the common good endemic to Capitol Hill in recent years. And this is a problem definitely owned by both sides of the aisle.

Thank OS, for that measured ,moderate and fair comment. This is sorely missing on this site with people entrenched in their positions
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 20 Mar 2017, 20:43:24

This article by Ugo Bardi,min our home page, speaks to my fears. Financial collapse brings on starvation due to trade barriers. The USA and Canada should be reasonably OK, Europe not so much. For countries in Armfrica and Asia may be very bleak. Unless they try to forcibly take what we have. Russia may have a tough time of it.

http://peakoil.com/generalideas/zombie- ... our-future
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 25 Mar 2017, 08:13:50

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-2 ... -carefully
Good article from ZH about Geo-political flashpoints or triggers. Any stand out?
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 25 Mar 2017, 11:37:10

I don't think the zombie meme is so much about overpopulation as it is about polarization and lack of proper management. It is about overpopulation, I should say, but the response is channeled through polarization, and tinged with a desire for management that doesn't exist.

First of all, you have this conservative vs. liberal divide, and not just within the US. At every turn each side sees the other as some kind of monolithic horde. Each member of the horde is indistinguishable from the others.

Secondly, the expectation of management may be an accident of history. The Cold War and the post WWII era laid down an expectation of behavior on the part of politicians that set bounds within which they could act. They had to get along. They had to come to consensus. Without the dire threat of missiles coming over the horizon any day, and with the diminishing of the impact upon personal experience of the taboo generating fascist ideals and philosophy, the world feels the lack of management. Only there was never management, but a common understanding which passed for it.

There is no illuminati. There was never an evil cabal of industrialists or super-rich secretly controlling the world. There was only ever a collective understanding of the way things should work. That understanding came with some of the seeds of its own destruction, as almost universally people have always wanted communism to work even though it doesn't. They have always wished for something other than capitalism to replace the current order. They embrace capitalism, however, recognizing it as the common sense answer. This has caused a kind of fugue state within the mind of man, as he has become less willing to admit the faults that capitalism actually does have, and less able to admit his own moral voice into the argument. Therefore, capitalism has become an unmanaged force, running rampant under the free market label. Morality runs a permanent second to common sense operation. Anyone who decides that morality is more important to them has outlets, such as the abortion argument, to assuage them. If your moral sense is more developed, then you can talk about tax structures or opportunity, just don't talk about unions. Never admit that we have to arrive at consensus in order to properly manage our world, that would be anathema to the common sense answer because it could potentially imperil it. Solutions that involve both conservative and liberal ideals, honoring both, are not on the table.

What capitalism does as the population it deals with grows is very interesting. It concentrates power at the top. And why shouldn't it? But doesn't this create a wider gulf between the haves and have-nots? Of course it does, but that isn't important to capitalism, unless it is under a wider management. There are probably as many conservatives headed into poverty as liberals under this concentration, but each side is weakened in its own way and subject, therefore, in differing ways to propaganda issued by those who hold the concentrated power, via politics. Each side jabbers at the other, and the old framework under which some kind of management emerged spontaneously falls into more and more disorder. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The trouble is that freedom won't come from a revolution, that would only result in the new boss meeting the old boss. Freedom can only come from managing the situation.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Squilliam » Sat 25 Mar 2017, 15:49:55

onlooker wrote:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/watch-these-geopolitical-flashpoints-carefully
Good article from ZH about Geo-political flashpoints or triggers. Any stand out?


I'm not sure I agree with it really. It is easy to ascribe most of what happened in the ME to Western/U.S. actors, but the reality itself is a mix of different factors. It was a one/two/three punch of economic, energy and ecological problems that caused the Arab Spring. Our involvement in this really was to help expand the conflict by stupidly supplying weapons and support to civil war actors. Everything is fine until the subsidised bread and energy becomes unaffordable -- and then you have problems. It wasn't ideology that brought millions to the streets, and the same would have happened if they were democracies, but problems that dearly affected the poor.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby evilgenius » Thu 30 Mar 2017, 10:31:53

The Arab Spring was mostly caused by global warming. Food prices went up and the people acted. They didn't act out of a desire for better government, or freedom. Yes, many of those who desired such things took advantage of the situation. Mubarak was tossed out. He wasn't exactly replaced by George Washington.

There is something interesting to the Arab Spring that people don't mention enough, I think. That has to do with the people's attitude toward the role of money in general and the process of political rule and approval. First of all, the Arab Spring took place amidst a backdrop of largess economies, where the powers that be placate the masses with handouts in order to curry either favor or passivity. There isn't any real engine for choice at work in those country's political structures, no way to bring up and bolster people with certain ideologies or that represent interests that lie outside of the organic tribal or place order of things. Once a person has gained power in those places they seem to have it for life. In this regard, it's a big deal that Mubarak was ousted, but telling that his Islamic replacement didn't last. It's also telling that his Islamic replacement came from the order on hand, the place, and not from a more complex ideological foundation representing a drive for freedom or a more democratic social order.

Secondly, the attitude toward money is weirdly two faced in this situation. Money works very well as an arbiter in supply and demand economics. It provides a single gauge to measure the success of offerings, to determine whether people really want a thing that is put out for their consumption. Money is not, however, a very good determinant of morality, which is what it has been asked to do in these largess economies. It was a moral call that launched the Arab Spring, when the Tunisian vendor immolated himself. Then the revolution in Libya went after Gaddafi. Mubarak went into the hospital. Syria fell apart. All of these things are striving after some moral purpose, but rely upon economics for their existence. The reason, that is to say, that these situations individually prosper is that the people are unhappy with the results of the largess structure. Their group was on the outs, or there wasn't a more equitable distribution of the funds as they were divided up. Nobody was talking like Thomas Jefferson. That is to say, they aren't touting development of political structures within which they might pass on power, even to a group diametrically opposed to them, in a peaceful manner. They aren't talking about equality, but about bettering the share of their group. Each group seeks to get their hands on the public sector prize, not how to properly divide control of that between all the groups. They want money to do what it is not good at.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby onlooker » Thu 30 Mar 2017, 10:50:09

Some good points Evil. I assume by public sector prize, you mean the reigns of governmental power. The situation in the whole of the Middle East is chaotic. Tribal and religious affiliations and long standing feuds inform some of this chaos. But, above all is the meddling of the great powers and the desperate situation of the people. My reading of the desperate act of immolation, is one of total desperation. The people are seeing little hope and desperately are trying to gain power for themselves and their group, so they can at least be a little better off. Government and the monopoly on force is where people correctly know the power is. So, they seek to gain political representation ie. power. For the most part, people see as a zero sum game, meaning winners and losers. This is accurate but simplistic. The real winners as always are the elites in the military, in upper classes and in the oil industry. They are the ones who get to live comfortable even affluent lifestyles. The rest of the people are barely given subsistence relief or handouts. Given, that it is very hard to enter into elite circles without substantial money, the situation will not change, except for a massive revolution and the enthronement of persons or a person from the lower classes who wishes to radically change the entire structure of society. That would be fiercely opposed by the mentioned elites and by the powerful countries.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby evilgenius » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 10:39:15

It's the Export Land Model at work. If they use their own resources to create industry that employs people, making them well off enough to demand power, then the West won't have enough of what it wants. The thing is, in the context of the fracking induced oil glut currently going on, that may not be true. It could be that allowing the Middle Eastern countries to use their own oil in order to build and fuel an infrastructure that not only employs people, but gives them something to lose in the face of radical extremism, was the correct answer all along. The region suffers now in the vacuum created by the lack of that use. There is nothing about fracking that couldn't have been developed years ago, should the incentives have been in place. There was the Cold War, but that's essentially been over since 1989. What's in place is a management system (meme) that operates out of fear that there won't be enough. It does not believe in the capacity of renewables to have a significant structural effect. It loves coal. It loves nostalgia, in fact. It treats the masses as if they are incompetent, and have to be coddled rather than educated. It listens to the voice of money as if it were equal to that of the people. It does not examine its own motivations, for it is not a person.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby asg70 » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 14:23:09

"It treats the masses as if they are incompetent"

That's because they ARE incompetent.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 01 Apr 2017, 11:04:23

asg70 wrote:"It treats the masses as if they are incompetent"

That's because they ARE incompetent.


Are they really, or just ignorant? Look, I know that the seeking of answers comes across the threshold of many charlatans, but that is't reason not to seek them. I think we do what we do because we don't know what else to do. We trust others. We react rather than act. We don't plan ahead. We lack vision. When we are offered it we tend to refuse it in favor of what looks good to everybody else. Lacking that kind of signal, we still refuse it in favor of what is most like what has always been. Jesus didn't cry out, "Father, forgive them for they are a bunch of stupid morons who can't ever get it right." He said, "forgive them because they don't know what they are doing."
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 01 Apr 2017, 23:45:18

I've often thought that humanities greatest failure is its inability to plan.
We are not stupid, we may be ignorant, but there is less excuse for that daily.
We are short sighted.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 02 Apr 2017, 06:38:43

evilgenius wrote: Freedom can only come from managing the situation.


I have always assumed that events external of human agency, as in the consequences of human overshoot, would bring about the required consensus, the busting of polarization, the required humility, so that management of these instabilities would have the opportunity to trump the current consumer capitalist model. External events severe enough that all the division dissolves. Unlike a single event like a hurricane where you see folks of all creeds and colors pulling together to help each other out but then a few days later everything goes back to normal, issues like resource depletion and climate change are systemic and long lasting.

I don't trust my assumptions as much anymore in these external events having the power to force a more enlightened managed response. On the other hand it is hard for me to fathom that we will stubbornly hold on to an unsustainable model resisting change as glaring instabilities disenfranchise ever greater numbers of people.

Something has got to give as the saying goes at some point.
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 02 Apr 2017, 09:30:08

"I don't trust my assumptions as much anymore in these external events having the power to force a more enlightened managed response."
I think the responses will be as varied as the particular unique situation/status of different areas and regions. Remember as some have said collapse will NOT be homogeneous in either time or space.
What is worrying about the United States is its long standing ethos of Individualism. All things being equal, places that are prepared in a unified manner and with common purpose will do better than those that aren't
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Re: Catalyst for economic collapse

Unread postby Squilliam » Sun 02 Apr 2017, 17:35:36

One interesting factor in the collapse of a civil society is the contagious way that it spreads. I was reading today about the end times of the Ming dynasty whereby desperate groups of men would descend upon farms and steal valuables, food and especially the seed in order to eat. This then led those farmers that suffered this fate to often abandon their farms and join the ranks of the desperate. It's as if disorder itself is a disease, and once it reaches a certain level it can go rampant within a region or even across a whole continent. Law and order is like the immune system of a civil society, so once it breaks down the whole system can break down too. If enough of the system is affected by these conditions then it can become a terminal disease that breaks down the whole society until either the society is destroyed or it burns itself out.

The problem with economic collapse is that it often leads to very low EROEI outcomes that destroy the capital of a society. For instance there was the example given here somewhere about farmers defending centuries old olive plantations against the desperate people seeking wood to cook or heat with. The cost of chopping down a single olive tree for instance is far greater than the gain in utility from the wood it is made up from. Another example is the damage done to a shop window in order to gain access to the valuables inside is often greater than the cost of the goods stolen. So like in the previous paragraph once the person that owns the goods/capital in question becomes affected badly by it then they too could become part of the problem.
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