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 Economic Undertow

…Largely left out of the peak oil- and energy discussions is the consumer side of the process. Generally, petroleum analysis focuses on how much we have left; extraction and the rate of extraction. We love talking about how much we have left, it makes our private parts seem that much larger, it reinforces our sense of how clever we are, it also distracts us from how much treasure we’ve already squandered along with what little we have to show for it. As with other critical areas of our society, we set out to get rich first so that we could afford to solve wealth-related problems later. To pursue the highest level of growth we put hundreds of millions of drivers onto the roads circling between gas stations like flying Dutchmen 

This is where the self-driving cars enter the picture, billions of them can motor aimlessly around the clock whether they carry passengers or not and make more growth all by themselves = singularity.

It’s a great pretty stupid plan, I didn’t come up with it.

Recently, there is a little bit more discussion about fuel industry costs as drillers confront the near-certain prospect of bankruptcy as their only product runs out. Customers cannot earn by driving in circles so the fuel industry is funded by the same customers reaching for the plastic…

Read more here.

 Our Finite World

 At the Age of Limits Conference, I gave a talk called Converging Crises (PDF), talking about the crises facing us as we reach energy limits. In this post, I discuss some highlights from a fairly long talk.

A related topic is how our current situation is different from past collapses. John Michael Greer talked about prior collapses, but because both of our talks were late in the conference and because I was leaving to catch a plane, we never had a chance to discuss how “this time is different.” To fill this gap, I have included some comments on this subject at the end of this post.

The first three crises are the basic ones: population growth, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. The other crises are not as basic, but still may act to bring the system down.

Humans have found a series of ways to keep deaths down, each adding more control of external energy.

As humans’ control of energy improved, human population grew and the population of other species fell. . .

Humans are not doing anything “wrong.” Humans are reacting to the same instinct that all species have, namely to make use of available energy to allow more of the species to live to maturity.

 

Read more here.

 The Archdruid Report

Myths, according to the philosopher Sallust, are things that never happened but always are. With a few modifications, the same rule applies to the enduring narratives of every culture, the stories that find a new audience in every generation as long as their parent cultures last. Stories of that stature don’t need to chronicle events that actually took place to have something profoundly relevant to say, and the heroic quest I used last week to frame a satire on the embarrassingly unheroic behavior of many of industrial civilization’s more privileged inmates is no exception to that rule.

That’s true of hero tales generally, of course. The thegns and ceorls who sat spellbound in an Anglo-Saxon meadhall while a scop chanted the deeds of Beowulf to the sound of a six-stringed lyre didn’t have to face the prospect of wrestling with cannibalistic ogres or battling fire-breathing dragons, and were doubtless well aware of that fact. If they believed that terrible creatures of a kind no longer found once existed in the legendary past, why, so do we—the difference in our case is merely that we call our monsters “dinosaurs,” and insist that our paleontologist-storytellers be prepared to show us the bones.

Read more here.
 Kunstler

This is a society in deep danger that doesn’t want to know it. The nostrum of an expanding GDP is just statistical legerdemain performed to satisfy stupid news editors, gull loose money into reckless positions, and bamboozle the voters. If we knew how to act we would bend every effort to prepare for the end of mass motoring, but instead we indulge in fairy tales about the “shale oil miracle” because it offers the comforting false promise that we can drive to WalMart forever (in self-driving cars!). Has it occurred to anyone that we no longer have the capital to repair the vast network of roads, streets, highways, and bridges that all these cars are supposed to run on? Or that the capital will not be there for the installment loans Americans are accustomed to buy their cars with?

The global economy is withering quickly because it was just a manifestation of late-stage cheap oil. Now we’re in early-stage of expensive oil and a lot of things that seemed to work wonderfully well before, don’t work so well now. The conveyer belt of cheap manufactured goods from China to the WalMarts and Target stores doesn’t work so well when the American customers lose their incomes, and have to spend their government stipends on gasoline because they were born into a world where driving everywhere for everything is mandatory, and because central bank meddling adds to the horrendous inflation of food prices.

Read more here.

 Nature Bats Last

Recently, I’ve noticed some longtime activist voices verbalizing a new perspective and one that some would label as “defeatist.” Writing in his “How To Save The World Blog,” Dave Pollard recently offered a piece entitled “In Defense Of Inaction,” in which he states:

“No one is in control. The enemy, if there is one, is not a cabal of elites, but a set of co-dependent collapsing systems that every one of us has a vested interest in trying (insanely) to perpetuate. Systems we have all helped co-create and are almost all dependent on…The question we must each ask ourselves, I think, is this: If we acknowledge that our systems and hence our civilization cannot be reformed or ‘saved’, what can we do now that will make a real difference, for the future, in our communities and for those we love?…The insanely rational answer to this question, I think, is (a) probably nothing, and (b) it’s too early to know.”

Isn’t this just giving up, or giving in? The pathetic whining of defeatists? How can any respectable activist utter these words?

Read more here.

The Anti-Empire Report #129

I have great admiration for the young Mr. Snowden, for what he did and for how he expresses himself. He may not be a radical, but he is a hero. His moral courage, nerve, composure, and technical genius are magnificent. I’m sure the NBC interview won him great respect and a large number of new supporters. I, in Edward’s place, would be even more hated by Americans than he is, even if I furthered the radicalization of more of them than he has. However, I of course would never have been invited onto mainstream American television for a long interview in prime time. (Not counting my solitary 15 minutes of fame in 2006 courtesy of Osama bin Laden; a gigantic fluke happening.)

Apropos Snowden’s courage and integrity, it appears that something very important has not been emphasized in media reports: In the interview, he took the Russian government to task for a new law requiring bloggers to register – the same government which holds his very fate in their hands.

Read more here

This Week In Doom June 8, 2014

by Surly 1
Freda-Right-to-Live-copy-600x637‘Twas a week in which a US President made a deal to bring a hostage home and got nothing but criticism for his trouble. The world celebrated the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Obama and Putin spoke privately. Poroshenko, the Willy Wonka of Ukraine, was sworn in as president. Open Carry Tarrant County continued to “educate the public” by dropping in fully armed at restaurants; a Ukrainian jet killed eight in Luhansk; Verizon had a big sad because Netflix told the truth about its bandwidth-throttling; GM recalled another 106,000 vehicles; a Vermont gun store laid off 41 and blamed Obama, who may also be responsible for the resurgence of polio, decreased sunspot activity, an outbreak of genital herpes and a US plague lab in Kazakhstan. Kenyan police seized hundreds of elephant tusks, the Thai military swept the country for weapons, and Brazil’s “love hotels” were refurbished for the World Cup. But we won’t be talking about any of that. Because this is That Was The Week in Doom, where we look for themes, context, and any good excuse for a rant. We’ll look at capitalism’s assault on our food supply, on the very notion of national self-determination, and at the elite’s favored tool for control, “privatization.”

 

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Daily Rant 12/3/2014

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D

Daily Rant Archives

RE Economics

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Welcome to the Hotel California Mushroom Farm

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Musical Dollars

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Ostriches on the Blind Side

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History & Future of Coinage & Money

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The Future of Money

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Whither Gold?

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Yes, We Have No Bananas

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Homo Collaboratus

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More Musings on Money

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Collapse Cafe

Recent Podcasts

Ruble Run Insanity

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COMETH DEFLATION!

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TSA Follies & Myths of Transportation Security

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The Week That Was

Archives

Off the Grid

The Georgia Guidestones: Warning or Prophecy?

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Winter Garage Greenhouse

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That Was The Week That Was in Doom June 23, 2013

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The Week That Was In Doom, May 26, 2013

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Boston Marathon Bombing

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Twilight of the Standard Model

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God and Football

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2013 thus far, America

Well, 2013. Here we are, not yet a month in, and it...

RIP Aaron Swartz

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Doom and the Spiritual Path

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Knarf’s Knewz

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Knarf's Knewz Archives

12/18/2014

Meet the Men and Women on the Hill Who Told Citigroup to Go to Hell


How Smart NYS Fracktivists Beat Cuomo And Won The Fracking War



The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings



How to Defuse the Population Bomb



Quiet Distress Among the (Ex) Rich



Drone strikes counterproductive, says secret CIA report



Republicans Rustlin' Up Some Cash With Dick Cheney



The World's Biggest Car Company Wants to Get Rid of Gasoline



Exclusive: As easy targets thin, Syria air strikes by U.S. allies plunge



These Ubiquitous Chemicals May Be Making Us Stupid



Keystone XL pipeline: TransCanada sends final offers to 100-plus Nebraska landowners

12/17/2014

The return of subprime lending


Gov. Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks



From Ferguson to Freedom, Part 2: Institutional Racism in America



El Salvador Imprisons 17 Women Who Lost Their Newborns as Murderers



4 indicted in West Virginia chemical spill case



Walmart Guilty of Illegally Intimidating Workers, Judge Rules



13 Years for Two Joints? Louisiana Gov. Jindal Needs to Correct Injustice With Clemency



Obamas on Race: We've Been Treated Like the Help



How Congress Snuck Changes To U.S. Environmental Policy Into New Budget Bill



There’s Even More Plastic on the Ocean Floor Than on Its Surface

12/16/2014

Gluttony and Global Warming: We’re Eating Ourselves to a Warmer Planet


India’s Love Affair with the Privatization of Everything



Terror, Torture and Torpor: Inside Guantanamo Bay With the "Forever Prisoners"



Loopholes, Filing Failures, and Lax Enforcement: How the Foreign Agents Registration Act Falls Short



Man Arrested After Filming Police Beating Man And Pregnant Girlfriend



The college trap that keeps people poor



Elizabeth Warren wouldn't even beat Jeb Bush, and a run against Hillary won't save liberals



Oil plunge takes price below $55 a barrel



CLIMATE-CHANGE CHRISTMAS CAROLS



Native American Council Offers Amnesty to 220 Million Undocumented Whites

12/15/2014

Report: Afghanistan War Reaches $1 Trillion And Will Require Hundreds of Billions More


Crippling Dominance of Big Pharma, Indian Judge Blocks Bayer's Drug Monopoly Bid



Ports expand – at the expense of America’s poor?



Revealed: How Big Oil Got Expedited Permitting for Fracking on Public Lands Into the Defense Bill



The devalued American worker



These 7 Men Owned The Company Linked To CIA Torture



Anti-Nuke Activists Fight to Close Diablo Canyon



The media treats Dick Cheney like the royals on vacation. He should be in jail



Massive Oil Spill Threatens Bangladesh's Sundarbans



'Warning Shot': Sen. Warren On Fighting Banks, And Her Political Future

12/14/2014

Haiti's prime minister resigns amid protests


One of the First Victims of US Torture Is Now Missing in Afghanistan



The Gun Battle Since Newtown



FOUR FALLACIES OF THE JUNGLE EVICTION



About that Rider to cut Pensioners' Benefits -- Guess who's to Blame



'A Roadmap to Global Burning': COP20 Closes With Even Weaker Climate Pact



Brazil Plans to Help Other Countries Fight Amazon Deforestation



America just doesn’t get it: Why police killings demand more than a “respectable” response



Hunger, Homelessness on the Rise in Cities Nationwide: Report



CIA = Contracting Intelligence Agency



INSTITUTE INDEX: The private contractors involved in CIA torture

12/13/2014

House passes spending bill to avert a government shutdown


Food Prices Surge As Panicked Russians Empty Their Bank Machines Of Cash



Disengagement? Israel's interests in Gaza are stronger than ever



New Studies Expose Public Health Risks From Fracking



Afghanistan attacks kill 20 on day of violence



Cases like Ferguson invite Cold War tactics from Russia



Bill Nye: Creationism Is 'Raising A Generation Of Young People Who Can't Think'



Six released Guantanamo detainees ‘happy to be’ in Uruguay



‘Do No Harm’: When Doctors Torture



Air strikes, clashes near two eastern Libyan oil ports

12/12/2014

Dramatic Photo From Oakland Protest Shows Undercover Cop Pulling A Gun


Republicans Dealt A Quiet Blow To O-Care In The CRomnibus



Citigroup Wrote the Wall Street Giveaway The House Just Approved



Elizabeth Warren goes to war: Why the Democratic Party could seriously change — for real, this time



‘Are You Listening?’ Ten Highlights From a Generational Moment



Untrained CIA Agents Were Just Making Up Torture Methods As They Went Along



This is what the end of racial profiling looks like



Booted From Occupy Central, Hong Kong's Pro-Democracy Protesters Take on New Battlefields



All Senate GOP staff going on ObamaCare



The Map That Shows Why a Pipeline Explosion in Turkey Matters to the U.S.

12/11/2014

Cheney Throws Bush Under The Bus On Torture Program


Federal Bill Introduced to Ban Fracking on Public Lands



Rumain Brisbon Is Just the Latest to Be Shot Dead by a Cop Over a Phantom Gun



SENATOR PROFESSOR WARREN IS TIRED OF REASONING WITH YOU PEOPLE



Warren leads liberal Democrats’ rebellion over provisions in $1 trillion spending bill



John Kerry: climate change is now a security issue



Only Half of Global Banks Have Policy to Respect Human Rights



EXCLUSIVE: “Corrupt, toxic and sociopathic”: Glenn Greenwald unloads on torture, CIA and Washington’s rotten soul



Southeast Asia's Tigers Are in Desperate Need of Saving



The Long History of Presumed White Innocence and Black Guilt

12/10/2014

Photo Revelations of U.S. Torture Atrocities Likely


Benzene and Worker Cancers: "An American Tragedy"



Millionaires' choice for president: Hillary



Japan's strict state secrets law takes effect



Every 3 Minutes Solar Industry Flips Switch on New Project



Accountability for Torture: Infographic



I Can’t Be Forgiven for Abu Ghraib



U.S. launches 20 airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq



Global group of Catholic bishops call for end to fossil fuels



Ebola survivors, doctors named 'person of the year' by Time magazine

12/9/2014

The Most Gruesome Moments in the CIA ‘Torture Report’


There Has Been a Fatal School Shooting Every 5 Weeks Since Sandy Hook



Goal to End Fossil Fuels by 2050 Proposed at Lima Climate Talks



Why Dick Cheney Is Really Freaking Out About The New Torture Report



Another Witness in Michael Brown Shooting Found Dead



THE SENATE TORTURE REPORT (.pdf)



How Social Media Helped an Independent Candidate Beat the Odds in Taiwan's Elections



Iraqi leader asks US for more air power, weaponry



Unrest Over Race Is Testing Obama’s Legacy



Another Disturbing Video of Police Brutality Just Emerged in Arizona

12/8/2014

Ordinance to be introduced banning chokeholds in Chicago


Congress gives Native American lands to foreign mining company with new NDAA



Slain MassMutual Executive Held Wall Street “Trade Secrets”



Suffering in Afghanistan Hits Record High -- for Any Country



Eric Garner, Michael Brown Deaths Spark Protests in Berkeley, California



Stifling Dissent on the Upper East Side



These college presidents make at least $1 million



Meet the BART-stopping woman behind “Black Lives Matter”



Forensic Experts Identify Remains of One of Mexico's Missing Ayotzinapa Students



Gun Shop Owner Surrounded By Weapons Gets Robbed By Two Masked Gunmen

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