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View Diary: The End of Economic Growth (188 comments)

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  •  Lag time. (15+ / 0-)

    I hope we can and do change our energy system, but the thing that must be reckoned with is the lag time inherent in the system.  It takes decades to change energy sources and transition society on a large scale, so for at least this decade much of the economic downside is baked into the cake, just as the climate will continue warming for at least the next 30 years no matter what we do.

    contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

    by barath on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 12:36:39 PM PDT

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    •  Re (17+ / 0-)

      Our energy usage will be fixed for us whether we choose to do so or not.

      Once again, this very prescient diary languishes down the "recent diaries" list while the entire rec list is OccupyWallStreet material. Even if OccupyWallStreet accomplished 100% of its objectives (not even sure what its objectives are, but ok), it would do no good because of the energy situation. Too many people, too many demands on resources, inefficient use of the resources that are there, total cluelessness about any of these issues by either the right or the left.

      Not a pretty picture. Expect more OccupyWallStreet type protests in the future as American living standards continue to decline.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:17:37 PM PDT

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      •  Thanks... (15+ / 0-)

        (As far as the diary goes...I was hoping to be "rescued", because I too think more people should be aware that we may now, as of this week be in uncharted economic waters.)

        contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

        by barath on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:20:56 PM PDT

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        •  Re (9+ / 0-)

          I hope it is rescued. Even on this web site, understanding of what is going on and why is horribly skewed.

          It's almost to me like right-wingers have fairy tales about the economy, and left-wingers just have other fairy tales. Neither can or want to grasp the implications of limits to growth.

          That's why I'm pretty sure things are going to go on like this, declining living standards, protests, etc. The problem is that the middle class and the poor are just as (perhaps more) enmeshed in and dependent on the energy and economic system as it is today.

          OccupyWallStreet wants change, but I don't think they actually want the kind of change that will seriously address these issues.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:30:21 PM PDT

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          •  It doesn't have to be that way... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cliss, divineorder, NoMoreLies, Odysseus
            That's why I'm pretty sure things are going to go on like this, declining living standards, protests, etc. The problem is that the middle class and the poor are just as (perhaps more) enmeshed in and dependent on the energy and economic system as it is today.

            Yeah, though it doesn't have to be that way.  The basic steps I list above can fairly quickly (say over the course of a year) dramatically decrease the dependence of a middle-class person or family on the oil-based economy...

            contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

            by barath on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 01:42:55 PM PDT

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            •  It doesn't have to be that way... for your family (8+ / 0-)

              For mankind as a whole, I really have grave doubts anything will change until the famines begin and the wars break out.  On a personal level though, you can improve your chances.  e.g. Don't move to Las Vegas or petty much anywhere in the American Southwest.  Not if you are addicted to fresh water.

              •  history validates those doubts (0+ / 0-)

                That lack of foresight has along pedigree, from Rome to Easter Island.
                Our focus on economic issues has us tacitly assuming that any 'fix' to it will take, and there will be a happy ending.
                But the economy is the bird in the cage. We lavish our attention on the pretty, pretty bird, but the cage is collapsing. Without it, we lose the bird. To the cat.

                Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

                by kamarvt on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 11:48:11 AM PDT

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          •  We agree on much (5+ / 0-)

            Short version: mankind will not adotp the needed reforms until whacked between the eyes by the ol' Cosmic Two-By-Four.  We are very mule-like in the learning department.

            So I agree the future does not bode well for a whole lot of people. The sort of change needed boggles the mond of most everybody - not just the Occupiers.

      •  Totally agree (8+ / 0-)
        Even if OccupyWallStreet accomplished 100% of its objectives (not even sure what its objectives are, but ok), it would do no good because of the energy situation.
        redistribution of wealth is indeed necessary and important, but as long as our society is based on growth, it's simply a case of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

        You can't have perpetual growth on a single, finite planet.

        Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

        by drewfromct on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 06:57:55 PM PDT

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        •  We are going to have to adapt and learn to share. (5+ / 0-)

          And when I say adapt I mean more than just how we use energy. I think we should consider the very fundamentals of our current systems. Ever wonder why our system always requires "growth"? Here is a great explanation of the technology we call "money" and why systems based on it require constant economic growth, and why they always collapse. It's by an 18 year old Australian guy and IMHO, he is a genius.

          So, doing away with "money" as we know it and it's built in requirement for growth is certainly required.

          I'm sure Buckminster Fuller had a scheme of money which was based on negative interest. That is, the longer you held onto it, the less it is worth. In a quick search I couldn't find what I was looking for. Unsurpisingly because his lifetime's work was huge. But while searching I came across this to cheer this somewhat gloomy thread up:

          Humanity's cosmic-energy income account consists entirely of our gravity-and star (99 percent Sun)-distributed cosmic dividends of water power, tidal power, wave power, wind power, vegetation-produced alcohols, methane gas, vulcanism, and so on. Humanity's present rate of total energy consumption amounts to only one four-millionth of one percent of the rate of its energy income.

          Tax-hungry government and profit-hungry business, for the moment, find it insurmountably difficult to arrange to put meters between humanity and its cosmic energy income, and thus they do nothing realistic to help humanity enjoy its fabulous energy-income wealth. Buckminster Fuller - Critical Path

          "If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth." African Proverb (-6.00,-7.03)

          by Foreign Devil on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 02:45:02 AM PDT

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        •  We were never meant to limit ourselves (0+ / 0-)

          to a single planet.

          When mankind's epitath is written, that will go down as one of, if not our greatest mistake.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 03:22:15 PM PDT

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    •  Warming has many amplifiers (14+ / 0-)

      The more we learn about the earth's climate system, the more positive feedbacks we discover. In my opinion we are setting the earth on a trajectory of warming that will take 100,000 years or more to reverse. Warming would be reversible if we rapidly cut CO2 & CH4 emissions, but we're doing the opposite.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "Forgive them; for they know not what they do."

      by FishOutofWater on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:54:03 PM PDT

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      •  Yeah, it's sad to see. (11+ / 0-)

        And even worse, some governments will inevitably choose to burn more coal and build coal-to-liquids plants in response to peak oil, in a desperate attempt to keep the oil-based economy running at all costs.  It won't succeed, but in the meantime it'll do even more damage.

        contraposition.org - thoughts on energy, the environment, and society.

        by barath on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 04:57:49 PM PDT

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        •  Nationalizing the fossil fuel companies is likely (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linda Wood, offgrid

          the only way to deal with the dangers of their use. Taking the profit out of the equation and factoring in the global damage related to the fossil fuel usage is going to be essential if we're gong to survive as a species.

          Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

          by FarWestGirl on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:11:50 AM PDT

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        •  And fracking. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          barath, SuWho

          I had a horrible suspicion that the shale gas under England was extensive when the Tories started trying to sell off all the national forests. Sure enough this field has been in the news frequently as of late.
          Considering it's BP doing the investigation into drilling that shale, the schadenfreude wafting this way from the Gulf Coast will be overwhelming when they trash out the countryside up North. Unfortunately most of the money lives in the South, mainly London, and gas prices have been going up at a rapid clip, so the chances of Blackpool becoming a descriptive sobriquet are pretty high =(

          "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

          by northsylvania on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:15:28 AM PDT

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