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Where are we on the Limits to Growth model?
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kenneal - lagger
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Joined: 20 Sep 2006
Posts: 10519
Location: Newbury, Berkshire

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Politics is a circle. If you go far enough to the right you meet the left and vice versa.
As Steve Keen puts it: “Capital without energy is a statue; labour without energy is a corpse.” Economics ignores this which is why economics is broken.
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Lord Beria3

Joined: 25 Feb 2009
Posts: 4289
Location: Moscow Russia

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Interesting article on what we may see develop in a post-capitalist system as we transition into an era of scarcity industrialism.
Peace always has been and always will be an intermittent flash of light in a dark history of warfare, violence, and destruction
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Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Beria3 wrote:

Interesting article on what we may see develop in a post-capitalist system as we transition into an era of scarcity industrialism.

This quote from the article amused me.
This same monopoly power allows banks to charge 300k interest on a 300k mortgage, and demand the interest first.

There's an extra zero on both numbers today due to inflation but doubling the money on a thirty year mortgage has always been the rule even when you could buy a good home for $30K.
He forgets that you get to live in the house for the thirty years and the rent on a home purchased today for $300k with even modest inflation would amount to $450K to $550k over the next thirty years, the exact amount uncertain while you can lock in the interest payments on the mortgage.
This other rant is a bit odd:
As Douglas Rushkoff points out in Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, modern capitalism is not about the production and sale of goods and services. That’s all very 19th century. Now, the derivatives market comprises over 90% of the global economy. The world’s most powerful algorithms, on the world’s fastest computers, owned by the world’s wealthiest investment houses, intercept bids from less powerful algorithms on slower computers, buy up their targeted stock a few nanoseconds before they get to it, then immediately sell it to them for a few pennies more than they would have paid had they got to the seller first. The few pennies don’t make much difference to each sale, but the combined reward for such activity globally is in the hundreds of billions.

When you compare the cost and speed of buying stocks today with computers to the pre computer age standard brokerage fees the purchaser is much better off today even if some computer giant is skimming a few cents per share off his purchase , or sale. That the total world market is huge so skimming a few cents off each share adds up shouldn't offend anyone except day traders that are trying to beat them at their own game.
All in all I don't think he has any real answers as he doesn't see the real problem.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On another thread - the Archdruid one actually - clv101 posted this:

clv101 wrote:
Globally, the economy is growing at around 3% annually. Population 1.2%. On average we're still getting richer. Maintaining that economic growth rate to 2030 grows the economy by close to 40% - anyone here think we've got the resources and stability to support a 40% larger economy, in 2030?

By 2030 the condition of most important resources (fossil fuels, soil, fresh water, good weather etc) will be degraded with respect to today. Will we be able to deploy infrastructure and technology fast enough to enable faster extraction/utilisation from a degraded resource?

I suspect we're already experiencing a lot of 'manipulation of abstractions' to keep the show on the road *today*. We're already eating the capital to book short term growth. I don't expect the 'global growth' show to go on for more than decade and the wheels could come off any day.

Regarding the economic growth at 3% figure. Whilst this is an averaged out figure as some countries are growing faster than others, what this does not illustrate is just how much DEBT is required to achieve such a figure.
Wolf Richter recently pointed out just how much in the case of USA:

Wolf Street: US Gross National Debt jumps by $1.27 trillion in 2018

The really scary thing about this is:
Wolf Richter wrote:
But this isn’t the Great Recession when tax revenues collapsed because millions of people lost their jobs and because companies lost money or went bankrupt as their sales collapsed and credit froze up; and when government expenditures soared because support payments such as unemployment compensation and food stamps soared, and because there was some stimulus spending too.

But no – these are the good times. Over the last 12-month period through Q2, the economy, as measured by nominal GDP grew 5.4%. “Nominal” GDP rather than inflation-adjusted (“real”) GDP because the debt isn’t adjusted for inflation either, and we want an apples-to-apples comparison.

The increases in the gross national debt have been a fiasco for many years. Even after the Great Recession was declared over and done with, the gross national debt increased on average by $954 billion per fiscal year from 2011 through 2017

As for the actual wealth of a nation and redistribution, has anyone here read this?

Firstly, it illustrates how seemingly objective metrics often have ideological assumptions baked into them. While there is already a well-established literature on alternatives to GDP, many economic metrics are used in economic analysis and policy appraisal without any critical appraisal of their underlying ideological assumptions. This needs to change.

Second, it highlights how paper wealth has in many places become decoupled from productive capacity, and how conflating the two can be highly misleading. This is particularly the case where zero sum rentier activity is widespread, as in the case of Britain. Such discrepancies raise the question of whether the way that we currently measure wealth is really the most sensible.

But most importantly, it illustrates that the distribution of wealth has little to do with contribution or productivity, and everything to do with politics and power. As J.W. Mason states: “It’s bargaining power, it’s politics, all the way down

So what does this mean in an increasingly resource constrained future?
Tim Morgan, at Surplus Energy Economics, has his take:
The Politics of Declining Prosperity

Tim Morgan wrote:
This puts us in a strange situation in which the general public knows more than the political elites. The official line is that people are continuing to enjoy growing prosperity, but people themselves recognise increasingly that this isn’t the case. The elites believe that traditional parties, and established ideologies and methods of conducting government, remain valid, but the public is well advanced in the process of repudiating all of them. Where elections are conducted proportionately, insurgent parties are making huge inroads – but where, most obviously in America and Britain, the system is structured in ways which entrench established parties, those parties are becoming the target for capture from within

Two humdrum issues in fiscal policy illustrate quite how dramatic the economic change is going to be. For a start, there’s no point in anyone proposing to increase public spending, because this is ceasing to be affordable. Likewise, there’s no point in asking whether or not governments should “tax the rich” more than they do now, because doing so is becoming unavoidable.

This change invalidates much of the economic thinking of the respective ‘conservative’ and ‘Left’ political persuasions. Additionally, the conservative side is now about to discover the price of two disastrous mistakes made within the last decade, whilst the Left is losing the ability to present a viable alternative to “austerity”.

Trouble is the economic growth forever mantra has brainwashed the elites and will continue to try and maintain it at all costs - thus making the inevitable crash that much harder
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools - Douglas Adams.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good article, that last one r-b. Excellent, in fact, worth reading and internalising in full.

how do we govern societies that are getting poorer?

The usual answer is with violence. The army means employment, so the system produces those who're willing to serve it, as they see no other means of feeding their kids.

As to the propaganda put about by governments and 'you've never had it so good', anecdotally many people I know are getting poorer, the cost of living far exceed the official figures and those who seem to be doing ok are either on humungous wages or heavily, constantly in debt (or both).

There's not much actual cash flowing. I'm sure this is even more the case in places like the US, where the official line is usually the opposite of reality.

This is food for thought:

virtually all Western systems of government and politics are products of an age of growth


it’s fair to say that no system of government in the advanced economies pre-dates the start of growth

This has profound implications at the end of the bulk resource age.
"Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fụck the Buddhists" - Bjork
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Little John

Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is exactly the problem E. Socialism was born in the same industrial revolution's crucible of seemingly perpetual growth as capitalism. Consequently, both suffer, at a deep ideological level, from the same flawed assumptions.

Neither socialism nor capitalism, as they are currently formulated, are fit for purpose. Though, I think it's fair to say that capitalism is taking us to the brink it little bit faster than socialism might have done due to its arguably greater efficiency of resource allocation. In other words, socialism is slightly better at resource conservation due to its arguably lower efficiency of said resource allocation. Though, in the end, they both take us to the same destination. Which is the collapse of industrial civilisation.
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