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View Diary: Energy (89 comments)

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  •  Some action items to consider (4.00)
    Diversification of Energy
    Diversify the energy supply portfolio of our civilization. Improved capacitor technology can accumulate near-continuous, low- and/or variable-density energy sources such as winds, tides and sunlight and gradually supplant fossil fuel and charcoal and dung burning as economies of scale emerge.
    Dispersion of Capital
    Miniaturization a go-go. Devolution a go-go. Leverage skilled labor a go-go. Reduce capital inputs per output of product, disperse capital to the small shops and tool shed workbenches of the world, as much as possible. This is practicable by reducing the size and complexity and cost to manufacture, use and maintain tools and machines used in the production of goods and services. We don't need nanotech. All we need in the next decade or so - and have time for - is mini-tech. And anything that can empower the weekend hobbyist can make a factory that much more energy-efficient and competitive.
    Energy-Based Currency
    Make the currency based not on speculation or precious metal stockpiles or good faith and credit, but on the kilowatt-hour. Make the dollar energy-based. In a sense, it already is. Make this explicitly so, such that a country that spends more than it saves in energy terms will see its currency depreciate, the opposite for thrifty societies. This might require the cooperation of several major currency countries, and a mechanics of crediting savings as well as debiting consumption would have to be in place, else not one of the major economic powers would play along since almost all are net energy debtors. The short-run advantage would fall to net energy producers, but in the long run the depletion of extractable stocks and the incremental appreciation of `energy capital reinvestment' would give a significant advantage to the most technologically progressive countries; the worst-hit would be net energy debtors that made no attempts to invest in the new mode; not only would such countries' productivity falter, their currency would crash, as well.

    It's only Nero-esque if the city is burning. :)

    by cskendrick on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 12:06:21 PM PDT

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