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Why we get bad diagnoses for the world’s energy-economy problems

Why we get bad diagnoses for the world’s energy-economy problems thumbnail

The world economy seems to be seriously ill. The problem is not overly high oil prices, but that does not rule out energy as being a major underlying problem.

Two of the symptoms of the economy’s malaise are slow wage growth and increasing wage disparity. Tariffs are being added as solutions to these issues. Radical leaders are increasingly being elected. The Bank for International Settlements and the International Monetary Fund have raised concerns about the world’s aggregate debt levels. The IMF has even suggested that a second Great Depression might be ahead if major banks should fail in the manner that Lehman Brothers did in 2008.

Figure 1. Ratio of Core Debt Growth (non-financial debt including governmental debt) to GDP, based on data of the Bank of International Settlements.

If the economy were a human being, we would send it to a physician for a diagnosis regarding what is wrong. What really is needed is a physician who has a wide overview, and thus can understand the many symptoms. Hopefully, the physician can also provide a reasonable prognosis of what lies ahead.

Individual specialists studying the world’s economic and energy problems tend to look at these problems from narrow points of view. Some examples include:

  •  Curve fitting and cycle analysis using economic data by country since World War II, as is often performed by economists
  • Analysis of oil supply based on technically recoverable reserves or resources
  • Analysis of fresh water supply problems
  • Analysis of population problems, including rising population relative to arable land, and rising retiree population relative to working population
  • Analysis of ocean problems, including rising acidity and depleting fish stocks
  • Analysis of the expected impact of CO2 production from fossil fuels on climate
  • Analysis of rising debt levels

In fact, we are facing a combined problem, but most analysts/economists are looking at only their own piece of the problem. They assume that the other aspects have little or no influence on their particular result. What we really need is an analysis of the overall economic malady from a broader perspective.

In some ways, the situation is analogous to having no physician with a sufficient overview of where the world economy is headed. Instead, we have a number of specialists (perhaps analogous to a psychiatrist, a urologist, a podiatrist, and a dermatologist), none of whom really understands the underlying problem the patient is facing.

One point of confusion regarding whether today’s oil prices should be of concern is the fact that the maximum affordable oil price seems to decline over time. This happens because workers around the world increasingly cannot afford to buy the goods and services that the world economy produces. Inadequate wage growth within countries, growing globalization and rising interest rates all contribute to this growing affordability problem. To make matters confusing, this growing affordability problem corresponds to “falling demand” in the way economists frame the issues we are facing.

If we believe the technical analysis shown in Figure 2, the maximum affordable West Texas Intermediate oil price has declined from $147 per barrel in July 2008 to $76 per barrel recently. The current price is about $62 per barrel. The chart suggests that downward price resistance might be reached at $55 per barrel, assuming no major event occurs to change the current trend line. Any upward price bounce would appear to leave the price still much lower than oil producers need in order to reinvest sufficiently to allow future oil production to be maintained at current levels.

Figure 2. Down sloping diagonal line at the top of chart gives an estimate of the trend in maximum affordable West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil prices. The downward trend line starts in July 2008, when oil prices hit a maximum. This high point occurred when the US real estate debt bubble started unwinding. Later maximum points correspond to points when oil prices stopped rising and crude oil reservoirs started refilling. Chart prepared by Amit Noam Tal.

Thus, our concern about adequate future oil supplies should perhaps be focused on keeping oil prices high enough. It takes a growing debt bubble to keep oil demand high; perhaps our concern should be keeping this debt bubble high enough to allow extraction of commodities of all kinds, including oil. Figure 1 seems to show a recent downward trend in Debt to GDP ratios for the Eurozone, the United States and China. This may be part of today’s low price problem for commodities of all types.

Needless to say, climate analyses do not consider the severity of our energy problems, nor do they consider the extent to which there is a connection between energy supply and the ability of the economy to operate as usual. If the real issue is a near-term financial crash that will radically affect future fossil fuel consumption, the climate analysis will certainly miss this event.

The Real Nature of the Limits to Growth Problem

To truly understand the headwinds that the economy is facing, we should be looking at the combined effect of all of the limits problems that the individual specialists have been studying. We might also include other issues not listed. The 1972 book The Limits to Growth presents an early computer model of how at least some of the limits of a finite world might be expected to play out.

Figure 3. Base scenario from 1972 Limits to Growth, printed using today’s graphics by Charles Hall and John Day in “Revisiting Limits to Growth After Peak Oil”

This early approach reflected an engineering view of the problem, considering expected diminishing returns with respect to resources of all types. Other considerations included likely resource needs based on prior economic and population growth trends and efficiency gains. The Base Scenario shown in the 1972 book (Figure 3) showed collapse taking place about now–in other words, in the early part of the 21st century.

In the time since the 1972 Limits to Growth analysis was prepared, there has been a major discovery relating the importance of energy to the economy. Ilya Prigogine tackled the problem of the physics of thermodynamically dynamic open systems, earning a Nobel prize for his efforts in 1977. When energy flows are available, many structures, called dissipative structures, can grow and change over time. Examples include plants and animals, hurricanes, stars (they expand in size, then collapse at the end of their lives), ecosystems, and economies. These structures are utterly dependent on energy flows. The economy needs energy in almost the same way that humans need food. Without sufficient energy flows, the world economy will collapse.

It is because of the laws of physics and energy flows that markets are able to set price levels. Indirectly, physics sets the maximum affordable price for energy products based upon the total quantity of goods and services individual workers can afford. These maximum affordable prices may be invisible, but they are very real. Economists may talk about “demand” for energy products, but the real issue is affordability: “Will the laws of physics allow prices to stay high enough to provide the commodities the world economy needs?”

It is because of the laws of physics that debt can play a major role in the economy. Debt can provide time-shifting services if an economy does not have sufficient energy supplies to permit the equivalent of bartering of finished goods and services for new capital goods. Debt can allow future goods and services (manufactured with energy products) to serve as payment for capital goods and other goods purchased using debt. Thus, debt acts as a promise of future energy supplies. These future energy supplies may not, in fact, actually be available at prices that consumers can afford. This is why debt bubbles so often collapse and have a devastating impact on economies.

In theory, the new physics discoveries might also be added to the Limits to Growth model. If this were done, I would expect the downslopes in Figure 3 to be much steeper. Also, the date when the population decline starts would likely move forward, relative to other declines. The actual dates of the declines would of course be expected to change as well, because of updated knowledge regarding resources, population, and other factors.

Including the physics aspect of the economy would lead to many periods when sharp changes take place. When these sharp changes take place, there might be wars, collapsing governments, and epidemics, all causing large numbers of deaths. Debt bubbles might pop, causing deflation and widespread banking problems. These types of events are similar to those that economies have experienced in the past. There is no reason to expect that today’s world economy will have unusual lasting power.

Of course, modeling one piece of the economy at a time, as described at the beginning of this post, leaves out such troublesome implications. Economists tell us all we need to worry about is price fluctuations as the economy substitutes one product for another. If a person has blinders on, perhaps this a good description of the world we live in. Otherwise, the model leaves a lot to be desired.

Implication of the Laws of Physics Being in Charge of How the Economy Operates

Politicians would very much like us to believe that they are in charge. They would like us to believe that adding more technology can solve all of our problems. They would like us to believe that citizens can make a significant difference by voluntarily cutting back on their own energy consumption. They would also like us to believe that countries can cut back on their debt levels without the whole Ponzi Scheme unraveling.

Anyone who has watched bread rise in a bowl can see the implications of growth within a finite structure. It doesn’t take very long for the volume growth of bread dough to exceed the space available. Even if the bread maker pushes the dough back down again, the effect is only temporary. The bread dough quickly rises again to overfill the bowl it is in.

One possible implication of the 2008 financial (and oil price) crash is that we are very close to limits, right now. Regulators can try to fine tune how the economy operates by raising and lowering interest rates (sometimes using Quantitative Easing (QE) in the process), but they are in some sense playing with fire. Figure 4 shows the dramatic impact that popping the real estate debt bubble seems to have had in 2008. It also shows the impact that adding and removing QE has had.

Figure 4. Figure showing collapsing debt bubble at the time US oil prices peaked. Figure also shows  the use of Quantitative Easing (QE) to stimulate the economy, and thus bring oil prices back up again. Ending US QE seems to have had the reverse effect.

By raising interest rates, regulators could easily send part, or all, of the world’s economy to a financial crash that is worse than 2008’s. Or the economy could again reach limits, by itself, with just a little economic growth. In some sense, the world economy is very close to filling the bread bowl, as it was before the 2008 crash pushed it back down.

The World Economy Is Reaching Limits in Many Areas Simultaneously

Many people believe that we are reaching limits in at most a few areas of the economy, such as “running out of oil.” The evidence suggests that because of the networked nature of the economy, we are really reaching limits in many places, simultaneously. The following represent some problem areas:

(1) Too Low a Return on Labor for Workers Whose Jobs are Easily Exportable. With globalization, workers are indirectly competing with workers around the world regarding who can produce goods and services most cheaply. They are also competing with computers and robots that can easily replicate their functions. The net impact is a world where a large share of the citizens find themselves living at a level not much above the subsistence level. In more developed countries, young people may live with their parents longer and may delay having children almost indefinitely, because wages are not keeping up with living costs. Many studies have shown rising wage disparity. In some ways, the wage disparity now seems to be as bad as in the 1930s.

Figure 5. U. S. Income Shares of Top 1% and Top 0.1%, Wikipedia exhibit by Piketty and Saez.

(2) Interest Rates. Interest rates are the lever that economists like to adjust upward or downward to try to stimulate the economy or push the economy downward. Short term interest rates, up until about the end of 2005, were at the level they were at during the Depression of the 1930s.

Figure 6. Monthly average 3-month term treasury bill rates in chart prepared by FRED. Amounts shown through October 2018. Grey bars indicate recessions.

Raising interest rates is like adding a little more dough to the already over-full bread bowl. With these higher interest rates, borrowers need to pay more for monthly payments, making the strain on their finances even worse than it was previously. Figure 6 shows that raising interest rates very often creates a recession. In fact, the Great Recession of 2008-2009 seems to be the result of an increase in short term interest rates. This time we are being told that the increase will be gentle, but if the bread bowl is already overly full (in the sense that affordability of the output of the economy is already way too low, for many workers), what difference does “gentle” make?

(3) Return on Capital Investment/Added Debt. Falling long-term interest rates between 1981 and 2016 seem to be an indirect reflection of falling long-term return on capital investment. If capital returns had been higher, there would be more demand for debt, forcing interest rates up to levels closer to where they had been when the economy was growing more quickly.

Figure 7. Monthly average 10-year US Treasury interest rates in chart prepared by FRED. Amounts shown through October 2018. Grey bars indicate recessions.

Another way we can look how productive the addition of debt has been is by comparing the debt increase each year with the GDP increase (including inflation) each year. We use current year GDP as the denominator in both cases. Figure 8 shows the indications for what the what the Bank for International Settlements calls “Core Debt” (that is, Total Non-Financial Debt, Including Government Debt).

Figure 8. Dollar Increase in US Core Debt as % of GDP, shown beside GDP dollar increase, as percentage of ending GDP. Amounts based on FRED data.

Comparing the red and blue lines on Figure 8, GDP rose fairly reliably in the pre-1981 period, as the amount of core debt rose. The core debt increases tended to be higher than the GDP increases, but not a great deal higher. Thus, the US ratios on Figure 1 could be close to 1.0 in early years.

Once interest rates started falling after 1981 (see Figures 6 and 7), core debt growth and GDP growth greatly diverged. I expect that quite a bit of this change was related to asset price inflation as interest rates fell. With lower interest rates, assets of all types started becoming more affordable. Thus, a greater number of buyers could be expected, driving up prices of assets of all kinds, including homes, stores, and factories. Owners of these assets could “take the equity out” as prices rose and could use the equity to purchase other goods and services. In theory, these activities might somewhat stimulate the economy. Figure 8 suggests that the benefits of these activities with respect to the “goods and services” portion of the economy (red line) were slight at best, however.

Figure 9. Dollar Increase in US Financial Debt as % of GDP, shown beside GDP dollar increase % of ending GDP. Amounts based on FRED data.

Figure 9 shows Financial Debt amounts corresponding to the Core Debt amounts shown in Figure 8. At first glance, it appears that Financial Debt (blue line ) has provided no benefit whatsoever for the Goods and Services part of the economy (red line). But clearly the bankers who created these financial products benefitted from the income they received from them. So did the low-income home buyers who bought homes that they could not really afford in the early 2000s. Home building was stimulated, and inflation in home prices was stimulated. Banks benefitted by being able to transfer their problem home loans to unsuspecting buyers. Whether this whole arrangement had any net benefit to the economy, other than to create pseudo-solutions for people who could not really afford the homes they were purchasing, is doubtful. But when the economy is near limits, strange solutions to stimulating the economy are attempted.

(4) Commodity Prices. If we have a supply problem with one kind of commodity, we likely have a supply problem with many kinds of commodities at the same time. The reason why this happens is because the prices of many types of commodities tend to move together, in response to general market conditions. This is why the US government talks about inflation in oil and food prices as a separate category of Consumer Price Inflation.

If prices for commodities are generally low, as they have been since 2014, this means that commodity investors have received low rates of return for several years. With low rates of return, producers of many commodities have cut back on reinvestment. With inadequate reinvestment, supply crunches are likely to occur across a broad spectrum of commodities simultaneously. A recent Wall Street Journal article says, Supply Crunch Looms in Commodities Markets. The article mentions copper, zinc, aluminum and nickel. Other articles talk about oil in a similar fashion.

The question becomes, “Can consumers bid up the prices of all of these minerals sufficiently, to encourage enough reinvestment to solve the world’s commodity supply problem?” Food prices would likely need to be bid up as well, because oil is used heavily in the production and transport of food.

It was possible to bid up commodity prices in the 1970s, because the economies of the United States, Europe, Japan, and the Soviet Union were all growing rapidly. Also, women were joining the labor force in large numbers. It was possible to bid up commodity prices in the in the 2002 to 2008 era, because China and other Asian nations were rapidly ramping up their demand for goods and services of all kinds.

Figure 10. China energy production by fuel plus its total energy consumption, based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 data. The difference between the production figures shown and the black line consumption total is imports.

Now we are facing a much different situation. China is in much worse shape than most people recognize because its coal supply seems to have passed peak production. This has happened because the cheap-to-extract coal is mostly depleted, making it unprofitable to increase coal production without significantly higher prices. Imported coal and natural gas are expensive options. China also has a serious debt problem.

Because of China’s problems, the country will necessarily need to cut back on manufacturing, road building and home building in the years ahead. (This would happen, with or without Trump’s tariffs!) For some minerals, China currently represents over 50% of the world’s demand. China is the largest oil importer in the world. It is doubtful that China can make major cutbacks in its use of commodities without lowering prices for many commodities worldwide.

Persistence of Outdated Models

We are dealing with a situation where a large number of people suspect, at least vaguely, that the world economy is like bread dough about to outgrow its bowl, but this is not an issue anyone really wants to quantify. Everyone wants solutions; they don’t want a better delineation of the problem. Repeated publication of climate change forecasts is, in a sense, a denial of the possibility that we may be facing resource limits that are close at hand. Such publication is saying, in effect, that the closest limit that citizens need to worry about is the climate limit.

Also, the reliance of researchers on the past work by others in the same field tends to reinforce what are essentially incorrect models. Cross-pollination across fields is difficult, given the technical nature of today’s academic research. Furthermore, it becomes increasingly difficult to properly model a situation that is very complex and depends upon non-linear interactions.

Putting All of These Issues Together

The focuses of today’s narrow research can give a surprisingly distorted overview of where the economy is. A few areas in particular stand out:

(a) The choice of the word “Demand” instead of “Affordable Quantity” makes it sound like the buyer has more control over purchases than he really does. Growing demand seems to depend on continually increasing debt. This is the reason for the debt bubble problem.

(b) Framing the energy problem as “running out of oil” makes it sound like searching for substitutes will be a fruitful area for solution. Because of the affordability issue, this search is futile unless the substitutes are truly cheaper, when all costs are considered. Declining availability of many minerals because of persistently low commodity prices could be an issue as well.

(c) If limits are being reached in many areas simultaneously, incentives for countries to co-operate seem likely to go downhill quickly. Bullies who claim to be able to obtain a bigger share of the shrinking total supply will tend to be elected.

(d) The physics tie between energy and the economy makes major energy consumption cutbacks virtually impossible, without risking economic collapse.

(e) Adding technology isn’t really a solution to the debt problem, because it tends to make the affordability problem worse. The problem is that while adding technology seems to lead to more employment for a few elite workers, it tends to displace lower-wage workers at the same time. The spending of lower-wage workers is really needed if adequate demand for commodities is to be maintained. Additionally, the ownership of the technology-related capital goods tends to be concentrated among the elite; this further shifts wealth from the non-elite to the elite.

The long term prognosis for the world economy seems pretty grim, when all of these issues are put together. Defaulting debt and a resulting collapse in asset prices of all kinds is of particular concern. The default of subprime housing debt was an issue in the US at the time of the Great Recession; the next round of defaults is likely to start elsewhere. Debt defaults could start fairly soon, perhaps in the next 6 to 12 months. The more hostile political situation we have been seeing recently seems to be evidence that limits are close at hand.

Our Finite World by Gail Tverberg

81 Comments on "Why we get bad diagnoses for the world’s energy-economy problems"

  1. makati1 on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 6:17 pm 

    The US economy is on life support, and the Fed is about to pull the plug.

    “The United States Is Going Broke”

    “The Economy Does Not Care Who Won The Midterm Elections “(TPTB are not elected.)

    “World’s Largest Asset Manager Warns: The Dollar’s Days As Global Reserve Currency Are Numbered”

    “Soybeans Pile Up, So Do Worries of Bean Rot “(US)

    “CIA’s ‘surveillance state’ is operating against us all” (police State)

    “Epistemology of a Dying Empire: How do Our Leaders Make Choices?”

    And on and on. Slip slidin’…

  2. Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 6:20 pm 

    there you go about all those empty references without any content…why because you are not smart enough to digest the meaning. All you got to say is “slip slidin. what a dumbass.

  3. makati1 on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 6:30 pm 

    Missouri Jackass, I read them and fully understand what they are saying. They ALL prove my assertion that the US is going down. What don’t YOU understand about that fact? You are too arrogant to even read them because you know they prove my assertion and cannot accept the fact that America is dying and you are going to feel the death pains.

  4. Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 6:41 pm 

    “Missouri Jackass, I read them and fully understand what they are saying.”
    Sure you did billy, why are you so upset then> Missouri Jackass..LMFAO…Dork

    They ALL prove my assertion that the US is going down.
    Yea, sure, billy, you have been saying this now for years. Same thing over and over and over

    What don’t YOU understand about that fact?
    Billy, I just would like you to provide some content so it is clear you understand your references.

    “You are too arrogant to even read them because you know they prove my assertion
    Not my job to read them. It is your job to give us the point if you are going to reference them. Why do I need you to make work for me? Show you are intelligent and provide the main point.

  5. Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 8:26 pm 

    You seem to be having problems understanding billy, that I am the boss of you. If you refuse to do what I tell you to do, I’ll throw another one of my hissy fits.

    That’s not an idle threat billy, it’s a promise.

  6. makati1 on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 8:50 pm 

    Who is hiding behind the Davy mask now?

    But it is funny. Davy would not be funny. He is too intense and stressed out.

  7. makati1 on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 8:53 pm 

    Davy is in deep denial that the Us is going down even though the evidence is all around him and I post new ones daily. That 4×4 will have to knock him to his knees before he will admit it was even coming. BLAM! I understand that that is how you get the attention of a jackass. A blow between the eyes. LOL

  8. Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 9:06 pm 

    End of Day Words of Wisdom:

    An ebony cock in the hand/mouth/rectum (descending order of preference) is definitely worth more than two of a hairy bush.

    Give me cock or give me death.

    Learn to incorporate these truths into your daily routine.

  9. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 3:54 am 

    Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 8:26 pm You seem to be having problems understanding billy, that I am the boss of you. If you refuse to do what I tell you to do, I’ll throw another one of my hissy fits. That’s not an idle threat billy, it’s a promise.
    Davy on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 9:06 pm End of Day Words of Wisdom: An ebony cock in the hand/mouth/rectum (descending order of preference) is definitely worth more than two of a hairy bush. Give me cock or give me death. Learn to incorporate these truths into your daily routine.

  10. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 3:54 am 

    makati1 on Wed, 7th Nov 2018 8:50 pm Who is hiding behind the Davy mask now? But it is funny. Davy would not be funny. He is too intense and stressed out.

  11. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 3:57 am 

    “I understand that that is how you get the attention of a jackass. A blow between the eyes. LOL”
    Makati1 Translation: Davy has neutered me and now I stand moderated with my nose rubbed in my shit.

    BTW, Billy I thought you weren’t going to lower yourself to the children’s games but look at you now playing nasty games with juan.

  12. marmico on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 4:21 am 

    Turdburger blathering about the economy is like an accountant performing cardiac surgery.

  13. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:03 am 

    “Bank Run In Southwestern Chinese City Could Signal “Impending Financial Crisis”

    “That may be about to change: in what the Epoch Times warns could be the “sign of an impending financial crisis”, a small local bank in the southwestern Chinese city of Zigong just suffered a bank run. Shareholders of Bank of Zigong in Sichuan Province absconded with 40 billion yuan ($5.78 billion), through loans issued to shell companies that they had created, according to a Nov. 2 post in a Chinese social-media account, and a report by Da Zhong, a state-run news website. The loans were long overdue, resulting in huge losses for the bank. Even though the post was deleted within 20 minutes by internet censors, the news spread like wildfire and scores of bank customers rushed to dozens of bank branches in Zigong City to retrieve their deposits, while long lines of people could be seen from photos of the scene and uploaded by netizens.”

    “Economists – at least those outside of China – have warned that when the city investment firms go bankrupt, the domino effect on banks that loaned money to them, as well as the private individuals and companies that invested in them, would be detrimental. “When city investment firms have no way to repay their debts, the Bank of Zigong will be in a crisis,” said Zhao Pei, a current affairs commentator at NTD Television, part of the Epoch Media Group. More ominously, Twitter user Cao Ji, a former professor in Shanghai, who now does academic research in Taiwan said that “if there is a bank run at the Bank of Zigong, this means a financial crisis in China will begin from these local small banks.”

    “There has been no additional information on whether the bank run involving the Bank of Zigong has been successfully halted, however as we noted just yesterday in “China’s Middle Class Is Again Desperate To Move Its Money Out Of The Country”, incidents such as this one demonstrate just how brittle China’s banking system truly is, if the mere speculation of capital or liquidity insufficiency is able to prompt a vicious bank run. And while the large, state-owned banks are sufficiently capitalized, the risk is that either any of the remaining shadow banking institutions or small, undercapitalized regional banks are swept away before the government can respond, resulting in a mass financial crisis.”

  14. peakyeast on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:35 am 

    Every time I look at the LTG simulation I think it is following the actual developments pretty good.

  15. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:42 am 


    Enough with the scare porn Grandpa..Give it a rest you old washed up geezer..

    Why don’t you go to infowars and join all the rest of you nut job boomers..And let your diabetes run its course..

  16. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:44 am 

    Limits to growth had 12 models. One of those models, the “standard run” or, alternatively, the “business as usual” model was the one that 40 years of historical data tracked/followed. And according to that model the global economy will collapse by 2030.

  17. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:52 am 

    “Limits to growth had 12 models.”

    MOB has around 5 copy and paste files and he dumps them without content or explanation weekly in different order. This is an example of unintellectual behavior of an uneducated kid. Grow up MOB and don’t post unless you want to say something responsible otherwise you look like an idiot.

  18. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:19 am 

    Davy is “Triggered?”

    I explained it perfectly you uneducated low life..Keep it simple stupid (KISS)..

  19. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:45 am 

    I am not triggered Nob. I throughly enjoy petty internet battles. They make me feel all important.

  20. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 7:00 am 


    Maybe you shouldn’t hang out on doomer sites if you can’t handle doom? Its not the easiest subject matter in the world to digest..Its not for the faint of heart..

    Just saying,

  21. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 7:05 am 

    Shut up stupid. I have the best education my Mommy and Daddy could buy. You had to pay for yours yourself. That makes me smarter then you. Dumbass

  22. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 7:08 am 

    Here is an awesome limits to growth simulator..

  23. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 8:11 am 

    I did not post these
    Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:45 am I am not triggered Nob. I throughly enjoy petty internet battles. They make me feel all important.

    Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 7:05 am Shut up stupid. I have the best education my Mommy and Daddy could buy. You had to pay for yours yourself. That makes me smarter then you. Dumbass

  24. JuanP on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 9:22 am 


    Do you have any evidence to back up your ridiculous claims that I engage in identity theft, moron? No, you don’t, yet you keep throwing the first stone. Well, I promise you that I will make your life hell until you stop. Enjoy it! I am going to be on your ass until at least next year now, prick. You asked for it. You will regret it like you always do because I can beat the crap out of you all the time if I want.

  25. JuanP on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 9:26 am 

    To the board. Davy has been constantly insulting me and falsely accusing me of stealing his identity for weeks and I held back out of consideration for others, but I intend to fuck with him until next year now. Sorry for what’s coming. You can blame Davy for it as he is 100% responsible. Thank Davy for it!

  26. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 9:27 am 

    here is some evidence dirty juan. I also saved your above comment as evidence of your mental breakdown:

    I HATE DAVY on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 8:10 am Davy has so many enemies, including ones he doesn’t know about, it’s unbeleivable. Why? Because Davy is the biggest fucking douche bag to walk this planet. Yeah, I’m not on ur list and I fucking hate ur guts as well Davy boy. God, how I wish Davy boy and me went to school together. I would have punded his fucking face and loved it.
    I HATE DAVY on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 8:18 am Forgot to say why I hate u. Every part, every fiber of who ur reeks like the most stinking garbage dump imagainable- u make the smell of rotting flesh smell better than the odor u emit. U have so many goddamned enemies u can’t keep track. Its because you are a vile quasi human wretch. EVERY NEGATIVE HUMAN TRAIT U EMBODY IN SPADES. NO WONDER U ARE SO UNIVERSALLY HATED.
    JuanP on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 8:59 am OK, Davy, I take credit for fucking with you. I will fuck with you for as long as I can; I enjoy doing it. ROFLMFAO! Come on, Exceptionalist, grow a pair and take it like a man. It is time you fought some real battles and stopped hiding behind your murdering, criminal, terrorist government. Go take back the streets of St. Louis! LOL! You are such a sad fuck, Exceptionalist! Not even your children love you!
    Davy on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 9:09 am Satisfied neder?
    Cloggie on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 9:26 am JuanP, perhaps you concentrate on more positive subjects, like perma-culture and scale back a little on personal attacks.
    Davy on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 4:11 pm I forgot to add, I hate you too nederdumbassNazis. Ive called you a disgusting semi-human on many occasions. Though are the best friend I have in this world, and will ever have, I still hate you.
    JuanP on Sat, 3rd Nov 2018 8:19 pm Someone is stealing my identity and reposting old comments after editing them. It has to be Delusional Davy. Please tell me we don’t have more than one derandged lunatic on the board! With the Exceptionalist it is more than enough. ROFLMFAO! You are all a bunch of freaks. I am the only one here who is NOT bat shit crazy! I swear! I am sane! I swear! ROFLMFAO!

  27. JuanP on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 9:50 am 

    God, you are a fucking retard or an incredible lunatic! Somebody here is posting comments using my name. Not only that, but some of these comments are written using old comments I made in the past, and edited and added to by the joker (my congrats to the lunatic doing that, by the way, it is a source of great laughs) posting those comments.

    The fact that you have old comments I made in a file is extremely suspicious, IMO, since the person doing this is obviously collecting old comments, too. What a coincidence! This is also symptomatic of multiple mental disorders that you suffer from, Davy.

    So, you are either the joker posting these comments and are now just pretending to be enraged, motherfucker, or you are getting played like a fine violin, moron. What are you, lunatic, fool, or both?

  28. Antius on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 12:33 pm 

    If we are to wean ourselves off of fossil fuels and onto more renewable energy sources, then more energy efficient transportation.

    Some updated calculations on hydraulic capsule pipelines. The idea is basically a variant of canal transport, with material goods housed in torpedo like neutrally buoyant capsules and carried along a pipe by water flow. Quite a low tech idea and naturally limited to fairly low speeds of no more than a few metres per second. The idea is for pipelines to carry large volumes of freight in water-tight containers between hubs outside of large towns and cities. Transport to and from the hub and customers will be carried out by short-range trucks, powered by battery, compressed air, stored heat, etc. Truck one-way journey lengths should be no greater than ~30km, preferably <10km, as the low energy density of many alternative power sources tends to limit range.

    Baseline assumptions: A submerged polyethylene lined concrete pipe. Inner diameter is 2m; outer diameter is 2.4m. Flow speed is 3m/s (10.8km/hour). Useful freight is assumed to displace about half of the water volume of the pipe. Jet pumps provide the energy input needed to counteract frictional head losses.

    I made a few calculations of the energy consumption for the defined parameters. Results: 55KJ per tonne-km, assuming 90% pumping efficiency. That is 2.3% of the energy consumption of truck transportation of freight in the US and about 26% of the energy cost of rail freight per tonne-km.

    The idea has strengths and weaknesses. Its strengths are very low energy consumption per tonne-km and the ability to use renewable electricity or direct mechanical power to directly power the pumps, without the need for energy losses in storage (as with hydrogen and other synthetic fuel powered vehicles). Also, because flow resistance scales in proportion to the square of speed, a 50% reduction in the availability of intermittent pumping power would only reduce flow speed by 29%. There are no labour costs associated with transport, other than sorting the containers at each end.

    The most significant weaknesses of the concept are (1) its low speed; (2) the need to achieve high utilisation in order to gain the benefits of energy efficiency, since flow resistance is the same regardless of the load factor; (3) the need to build underground pipelines hundreds of kilometres long – no small task.

    I estimated that a 1000km long pipe would require some 3million tonnes of concrete. Using the UK as an example, let us assume that the we install as much hydraulic pipe length as the country's motorway network ~14,000km, which increases to 28,000km assuming flow in both directions. That means 84million tonnes of concrete. A single kg of concrete has embodied energy of about 1MJ, so the total embodied energy in all of the concrete would be 84,000TJ, or 23.5TWh. That is equivalent to about 5 days of present total energy consumption for the UK. So the investment certainly looks achievable from an embodied energy viewpoint.

  29. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 1:55 pm 

    Not me above

  30. Antius on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 1:57 pm 

    I realised looking at a national geological survey map of the Atlantic, that it is possible to lay a pipeline between Scotland and Canada, I.e. across the Atlantic. If the pipeline goes by way of Iceland and Greenland, it would never need to traverse any length of ocean bed more than 400m deep.

    At this depth, pressure is about 40 atmospheres. But the forces are entirely compressive. Using ultra high-strength concrete, we could build thin walled capsules that would stand up to this pressure.

    The implications are that we could literally pump freight between Europe and the American continent, without the need for ships. With a total length of 10,000km and a flow speed of say 1.5m/s, it might take a couple of months to transport something from Europe to New York. But no fossil fuel would be required and no ports would be needed.

    The pipe itself would probably be made from polypropylene. Using concrete and plastic pipes, we can transport goods globally with minimal energy and labour costs, using entirely renewable electricity.

  31. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 2:40 pm 

    Lol, dirty Juan, your behavior proves I have beaten you. You can play your identity theft games all you like. It just means you are deeper in the hole of failure. I am very glad you are so upset.

  32. Sissyfuss on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 2:51 pm 

    Davy, it’s quite obvious whether it’s a genuine post from you or your antagonist. On his identity I cast my midterm vote on Mobslob. He’s has shown a consistent lack of impulse control combined with a vulgarity that borders on the truly demented. I appreciate your views on multiple subjects so keep on posting.

  33. Эй, братья, пожалуйста, ударьте антиамериканскую собаку, которую я сделал из гранитного форума on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 3:08 pm 

    anything bad is not supertard
    anything extreme is not supertard
    anything intelligent and in moderation is supertard.

  34. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 4:06 pm 

    Thanks Эй, братья, пожалуйста, ударьте антиамериканскую собаку, которую я сделал из гранитного форума. I wear the title as board supertard proudly.

  35. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 4:11 pm 

    Sis, MOB is doing some of it occasionally but dirty Juan is doing the bulk of it. He has failed the legitimate test of debate and ideas and now he is playing dirty. MOB, is like you say, short on impulse control but I can tell the difference generally. They are both insane so sometimes it is difficult.

  36. Antius on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:08 pm 

    You people spend most of your time literally talking about nothing. Is there ever a point at which you get bored? Once upon a time, we used to discuss energy issues here.

  37. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:14 pm 


    I post mainstream and scholarly sources..You post nothing but scare porn from a click bait farm..

    And you say I am insane?

    I think all of that horse shit you inhale all day is fucking your brain up..


    Go fuck yourself..You old geezer..Just wait till the food runs out..You will be the first beaten,raped, eaten..Along with all of your stupid and ignorant children..

  38. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:16 pm 


    Didn’t you say the repugs were going to keep control of the house? According to zerohedge..And then when I objected you said “We’ll see in 25 hours”

    So much confidence based on fake news..You are dumber than dirt..

  39. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:20 pm 

    You post nothing but scare porn from a click bait farm..?


    I stand by the insane part. Anyone who fantasizes about killing whities and breeding their daughters then tries to talk about misogynic issues with a straight face is a loon.

  40. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:23 pm 

    “Didn’t you say the repugs were going to keep control of the house?”

    Where is the ” blue wave” dumbass?

  41. Antius on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:36 pm 

    I did not believe there would be a ‘blue wave’. It didn’t take a lot of intelligence to understand why. People that sell outrage and hysteria without offering up much else, will never be a big sell unless politics is all that you care about. That sort of devotion requires a special kind of detachment from the real world. I don’t believe I made any specific predictions about the house.

  42. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:46 pm 

    Anitus and Davy

    Trump suffered the worst midterm loss in a century, says JP Morgan

    Blue wave you old and ignorant geezers..

    Have a good night..I am not going to wast my time arguing with uneducated hillbilly’s..

  43. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:48 pm 


    Did you read the zerohedge article the other day talking about Aliens and an Asteroid hitting the earth?

    Not kidding, you can’t make this stuff up..

    You love the hedge because you need a news source that match’s your distorted worldview..

  44. I AM THE MOB on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 5:52 pm 

    Simple really….when the World Economy Collapses everything shuts down…the end… We’re talking about grids down all over the world and 7.5B people dropping like f*** flies in short order. The collapse will be absolutely horrible..There is no collapse or horror movie ever produced that has even come close to imagining what the collapse of BAU might look like. I’m talking about every corporation and every social program going bankrupt at once. I’m talking about people eating people. I’m talking about the Worst Catastrophe to ever happen in the history of mankind. Nothing has ever, or will ever come close…(Meadows, 1972) (Motesharrei, 2014) (Turchin, 2010) (Ehrlich, 2013) (Turner, 2014) (Korowicz, 2012)

  45. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:05 pm 

    “zerohedge article the other day talking about Aliens and an Asteroid hitting the earth?”

    If it was on the hedge than it’s the gospel truth. Aliens are already here with us. Where do you think we got all of this technology from? Roswell. Dumbass

  46. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:07 pm 

    not me above

  47. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:10 pm 

    “Did you read the zerohedge article the other day talking about Aliens and an Asteroid hitting the earth?”

    MOB here are Zero Hedge Reads:
    Acting Man
    Boom Bust Blog
    Capitalist Exploits
    China Financial Markets
    Chris Martenson’s Blog
    Contrary Investor
    Daneric’s Elliott Waves
    Dr. Housing Bubble
    ETF Daily News
    ETF Digest
    Financial Revolutionist
    First Rebuttal
    Gains Pains & Capital
    Gold Core
    Guerrilla Capitalism
    Hedge Accordingly
    Investing Contrarian
    Jesse’s Cafe Americain
    Letters From Norway
    Liberty Blitzkrieg
    Market Montage
    Max Keiser
    Mises Institute
    Mish Talk
    Naked Capitalism
    Of Two Minds
    Oil Price
    Peter Schiff
    Quoth The Raven Rsrch
    Rebooting Capitalism
    Shanky’s Tech Blog
    Slope of Hope
    SmartKnowledgeU Blog
    TF Metals Report
    The Automatic Earth
    The Burning Platform
    The Economic Populist
    The Hammerstone Group
    The Vineyard Of The Saker
    Themis Trading
    True Sinews
    Value Walk
    Wolf Street

    Are you telling me not to read any of these? lol you are a dumb. I do know you are clueless when it comes to economics and finance that is why ZH scares you so much.

  48. Davy on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:13 pm 

    “Trump suffered the worst midterm loss in a century, says JP Morgan”

    Where is the blue wave dumbass? What happened was what was forecast to happen. A blue wave would have been the loss of the senate.

  49. JuanP on Thu, 8th Nov 2018 6:37 pm 

    Delusional Davy “Lol, dirty Juan, your behavior proves I have beaten you. You can play your identity theft games all you like. It just means you are deeper in the hole of failure. I am very glad you are so upset.”
    In your diseased mind only! LOL! You have probably never beaten anyone at anything in your whole life. In my book, anyone living off mommy and daddy at your age who hasn’t contributed anything useful in his whole life. I am not upset, fool, but you will be once I am through with your ass.

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