Your lethal education: Part 1

Society teaches you that the environment has an unlimited supply of energy and raw materials to drive exponential economic growth.  Growth, growth, growth…it’s all we ever hear about.  Politicians preach it.  Bankers subsist on it. Economist-morons sell it.

Their power depends on the status quo remaining well…the status quo.  That means exponential growth at all costs. The rest of the world be damned.  This is a grotesque lie. Millions are likely to suffer from it.

Harsh? Well, the powers-that-be are either lying, grossly misinformed, or at the very least…uh, creatively myopic.

These morons think energy and raw materials are just sub-systems of the economy:

Reality is the complete opposite:

The economy doesn’t just pop into existence ex-nihilo now does it?  No, that’s impossible.  It would be the first known rebuttal of the first law of thermodynamics if it did.  Energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed.

It follows that man does not make anything.  We simply re-fashion what nature provides. Therefore, there’s no such thing as man-made capital. It’s obvious that the economy is 100% dependent on the environment.  Anyone saying otherwise is a liar or smoking his own belly-button lint. (Hat tip: Max Keiser)

Allow me a few illustrations:

Giant copper nuggets and easy-access oil are gone.

Here’s how we get copper and oil now-a-days.

Looks a wee-bit harder now compared to the good old days now doesn’t it? Not only are critical raw materials getting more and more scarce, but it’s also requiring more and more energy to get them out of the ground.

So eventually it will come down this. If it takes more energy to get the stuff than you’re ever going to get out of it, why bother?

But until then…repeat after me: growth at all costs, growth at all costs, growth at all costs! We chant it over and over with the Keynesian High Priests that have become gods unto themselves and also lord over all of us sheeple.

Just one problem. Nature, the ultimate lender-of-last-resort, has a balance sheet problem: depletion.

The powers-that-be deny all this. They are a bunch of greedy cowards.

Wake up fellas. Growth is now a curse. In a finite system, exponential growth is a oxymoron.

Contrary to what they preach in Washington and Wall Street, our current economic system destroys the basic resources it depends on to survive.  They don’t get it. By making us slaves to growth, they force us to commit environmental, and by extension, economic suicide.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by M. Winston Egan on October 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Are you leaving any room for the development of sustainable and renewable forms of energy to contribute to our essential needs?


  2. Posted by Susan Silberberg on October 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Please take some time to study the evolution of late 18th Century Capitalism, via Ricardo et al (the Scots Enlightenment bunch). None of the energy resources you evoke could have come into fruition without the hand of man, and capital. Capital is based on reserved production. In the 18th century, it was based primarily on grain, sugar, and cotton reserves, at least in Britain and the Americas. People then used reserves, which were convertible to gold and silver, to invest in other areas, to make more money in areas they saw ripe for investment; oil was one of these areas. This is not rocket science, but the apparent gap in knowledge of our later generations regarding these basic elements of knowledge is formidable. NOBODY ever invested in a zero-sum game.

    All future energy resources will suffer the same gambit. Nobody will invest in something that is not likely to make money within a reasonable time of return on investment, which within normal practice has been up to 30 years. If the industrialized societies continue to collapse as they have for at least the past three years, or 20 if one includes Japan (which is essential), demand for energy from these sources will continue to collapse (and this is underscored by their far from lively birth rates–all are in complete collapse, except the USA, which is buffered by illegal immigrant births).

    Right now, emerging country birth rates are poised to peak in less than 40 years. Huge advances (as the agencies responsible for this characterize it) have been made in the elimination of human births, often by near-term abortions, or outright infanticide. I take it that you endorse these policies fully, as well as any other policies that might come into the minds of the powers that be currently, or their successors–policies that we, as a people, have never been consulted about, yet are required to contribute massive amounts of tax monies to those agencies that effect and fund these policies.

    I should imagine from the foregoing that you might assume that my evaluation of your thesis is idiotic. You would be correct in that assumption.


  3. Posted by the rookie cynic on October 27, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you for your comment. I do very much hope that you will continue your discussion with me. I cannot claim to be an expert in 18th Century Capitalism, so take this with a grain of salt. I think you have it backwards. Let me explain:

    You are right of course, that human commerce, cooperation, and capital are all necessary prerequisites for any major exploitation of the world’s natural bounty. However, human beings, and therefore the “capital” you describe, would never have existed without the biological and mineral building blocks upon which human life and any economy ultimately derives.

    Capital depends on labor, trade, and goods. However, no earth…no humans. No human…no goods. No goods…no capital. This is not a riddle like, “What came 1st the chicken or the egg?” Capital would never exist without the earth and the earth will exist long after human capital is extinct.

    In terms of the precursors to capital, especially energy resources, my point is that the low-lying fruit, in terms of natural resources, is gone. Year after year it takes more and more risk, energy, and capital to get them. What I meant by a zero sum game speaks specifically to energy resources. Sometime in the future, it would take more energy to find, develop and exploit an oil resource than it produces in usable energy.

    This trend is exemplified by oil fields in Texas. In the early oil boom years, it’s estimated that it took 1 barrel of oil to pump out 100 new barrels. Of course, there’s not much oil left in Texas now. It’s mostly gone. Nowadays the ratio is more like 1 barrel in for 5 barrels out and is dropping. Many fields have been given up on, not because there isn’t any oil left in the ground, but (to use your words) the return on investment is just not there, so why bother?

    Of course “capital” is going to move from market to market seeking the greatest possible return. On this point, I think we probably agree. However, in a closed system, there will always be winners and losers. Humanity has been “winning” at the expense of the planet for some time now, cheap oil being the chief propellant. Humanity is in effect living on borrowed time by using quadrillions worth of BTUs created by millions of years of solar energy that fell on the earth in ancient times -eventually creating a huge biomass of plant and animal matter which, compressed over the epochs, became the fossil fuels we benefit from today.

    The danger of viewing “capital” and “growth” as the pre-eminent variables in the economic equation rests in the fact that exponential growth and a limited system like the earth’s ecosystem, are mutually exclusive. They cannot co-exist in perpetuity. Exponential growth has been possible in the short term because of the energy windfall developed in last century. Although growth can escalate unabated for many years without causing a major problem, it cannot go on forever when key resources are limited. At that point, system can change from within or it will be forced to collapse. This is just basic math.

    The time of humanity’s manifest destiny of raping the earth in the pursuit of perpetual growth and quick profits has passed. As a species we will suffer for our hubris, greed, and myopia, chiefly in the form of famine, epidemics, pollution and other ills. Regardless of whatever economic model might explain 18th Century Capitalism, we can’t continue to waste capital by filling our landfills with cheap crap from Wal-mart when we should be using the windfall created by fossil fuels to create sustainable economies capable of lasting for eons, not just a few more centuries.

    Idiocy, it seems to me, would be to continue to pray at the altar of growth and perpetual profit in a vain hope that the earth and it’s resources would somehow magically, eternally replenish themselves.


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