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

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  •  It's POPULATION in the end (6+ / 0-)

    We wouldn't be having this conversation if the worlds population were a sustainable 1 billion, rather than a catastrophic 7 billion.  We can't support an American standard of living for a population of 7 billion with any existing technology.

    As long as China, India, Africa... were economically incompetent, we didn't have to share the worlds resources with them.   But that's changing.  In a world of rapidly diminishing resources, the demand for those resources is growing rapidly.

    Unless we can figure out how to deny resources to most of the rest of the world, the US standard of living is about to drop tremendously.  The era of economic growth has ended for the U.S. and the era of standard of living contraction has begun.

    We've known about this for more than 40 years.  Jimmy Carter tried to set us on a path of sustainability, and Ronald Reagan and the Republican denialists drove a stake in the heart of America's future.

    It's nothing more than a life boat now.  The only question is how many will suffer and how much will they suffer.  And if you sit home on election day, or vote for a 3rd party candidate, I hope YOU are one of those who will suffer.  Every election from here on out will be more critical than the one before.  With every Republican victory, the amount of suffering will increase tremendously, and you may be one of those who will get tossed out of the life boat.

    •  An example of resource competition. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, Sparhawk
      As long as China, India, Africa... were economically incompetent, we didn't have to share the worlds resources with them.   But that's changing.  In a world of rapidly diminishing resources, the demand for those resources is growing rapidly.

      Here's a small example of resource competition.  Jeffrey Brown has done a number of analyses of what he calls available net exports of oil.  Basically take world oil production, subtract out oil that isn't exported, then subtract out oil imports by India and China, and you get available net exports, which is the oil available on the global to the rich nations of the world.  He's found that if trends were to continue, China and India would consume all global exports by 2025.  Obviously that can't happen, so something has to give.

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

      by barath on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:44:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Very nice calculation (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barath

        That's a very nice way to look at Peak Oil.  It makes you wonder about how many other resources, Lithium, copper, rare earths... could be analyzed in the same way?

        Goldman Sachs just came out with a report stating the U.S. would be the worlds largest oil producer in a decade or so.  The masters of the universe are at it again.  Pump up oil sand companies to their customers, than dump em before the customers realize the energy return on oil sands is dropping fast.

    •  Re (0+ / 0-)
      It's nothing more than a life boat now.  The only question is how many will suffer and how much will they suffer.  And if you sit home on election day, or vote for a 3rd party candidate, I hope YOU are one of those who will suffer.  Every election from here on out will be more critical than the one before.  With every Republican victory, the amount of suffering will increase tremendously, and you may be one of those who will get tossed out of the life boat.

      Do you really have a lot of evidence for this? I'm not sure we really have any evidence that Democrats can or will handle Peak Oil related economic catastrophes any better than Republicans do or have.

      (-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 Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:02:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we do... (0+ / 0-)

        Because unrestrained from political obstruction the parties have very different approaches on such issues.  Democrats have pursued energy efficiency and alternative energy and high-speed rail which while wholly insufficient in the scale they've been attempted, are at least a step in the right direction.  On the other hand, when unrestrained Republicans have pursued more drilling, looser laws for energy companies, cutting funding for public transit and rail, etc.

        The way I see it is that on the issue of energy Democrats are bad (ell, with the exception of Pres. Carter, who got it and spoke the truth on these issues) and Republicans are worse.

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

        by barath on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:10:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's a matter of hope (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        barath, Alice in Florida

        If you look at the efforts to transition to an ALT-E economy, they have ALL come from the Democratic side of the isle.  More specifically, the Progressive side of the Democratic party.  The majority of Democrats in congress understand this problem.  The problem is, a majority of one party isn't enough to accomplish what needs to be done.  As long as we have a united Republican party that is sending the country and the world over the cliff, and a big bunch of blue dogs who either join in the effort, or who are too dumb to understand, we're stuck on the life boat.

        Our only hope is to elect enough progressive Democrats so they can implement the resource policies that lead us to a less hard landing.  If we can't do this within the Democratic party, it's pretty crazy to think we can do it from scratch with a 3rd party.

        Hope and hard work is our only chance.

        •  I mostly agree. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher, Sparhawk
          The majority of Democrats in congress understand this problem.

          I'm not sure this is true, however.  I sat down with the staff of my congresswoman, who has to be one of the two or three most progressive in the country, and they were clueless about peak oil, limits to growth, etc.  And they were especially clueless about the timeframe - that this was an imminent problem.

          They're aware that oil is bad, and that climate change is a problem, but I think they don't grasp either the severity of the problem, is scope (especially with respect to growth and the economy), and its imminence (they still think it's decades away).

          I swear we need Jimmy Carter to sit down with progressive Dems and deliver the message on these issues.

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

          by barath on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 09:21:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's an excellent idea! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            barath, SuWho

            Ok, let's do it.  I have a copy of Jimmy Carters global 2000 report, which pretty much predicted that this would happen, a bit early perhaps but not too bad for being written 30 years ago.

            So how can we go about this?  How can we start arranging meetings between progressive Dems and Jimmy Carter?

            Should we start with Diaries asking for people who could put us in direct contact with Jimmy Carter, so we can run the idea by him? Should we write a diary, with a poll, so we can demonstrate there is support among the progressive community to address this critical problem?

            How do we go about educating the progressive's in congress to the fact that they can fiddle with the economic knobs and levers all they want, but if they don't directly address the critical problem of critical resource depletion, the economy will NEVER recover to an acceptable level?

            You've made a great start at informing this community, how can we get many more involved?

            •  I wonder... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SuWho, pollwatcher, Linda Wood, Cliss
              How do we go about educating the progressive's in congress to the fact that they can fiddle with the economic knobs and levers all they want, but if they don't directly address the critical problem of critical resource depletion, the economy will NEVER recover to an acceptable level?

              You've made a great start at informing this community, how can we get many more involved?

              So my approach has been to try to get meetings with my representatives / local officials, but that's slow going and I only ever get to meet with staff (who probably don't pass the word on).

              First I think we might need to get one national Democrat on board.  My understanding is that Tom Udall is a member of the (very tiny) congressional peak oil caucus.  I don't know, though, if he understands the broader limits to growth issues.  Might it be a better bet to find a progressive dem who is energy-conscious and really hammer away to get them on board?  I don't know which approach is better.  From there, they can reach out to Carter to get him to brief them all.

              I remember someone posting this comment that they spoke with Carter at his church:

              http://ourfiniteworld.com/...

              Since Jimmy Carter is much being mentioned here, let me relay a recent crossing of paths with him that I was privileded to enjoy after attending church services at Plains, Geogia Baptist Church.One of the highlights of so attending is to have your picture taken with President Carter and his wife, Rosalyn after the service. Participants are told not to interact with either,and not to touch either, but to look into the camera, smile, click and move quickly on. I could not resist doing otherwise. being in presence of the only President ever to actually try to deal with our energy situation.

              My words to Mr. Carter, “Thank you Mr. President for having the courage to raise the issue of oil field depletion at a time when this country could have still done something about it.” He quickly reached across his wife, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “It’s going to get a lot worse.”

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

              by barath on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 10:34:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  And the obvious conclusion from that is ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cliss

      ... there's going to be a whole lot of dying before this mass of humanity collapses to a much smaller, sustainable size. Like I said before: this is going to suck more than most can imagine.

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