Population Overshoot

Making the Grade in Population

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Published on Peak Surfer on August 14, 2016

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"Activist saints who receive C’s on the population quiz: Ralph Borsodi, George Monbiot, Wendell Berry, David Attenborough and Jane Goodall."

 

 

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Fourteen percent of all humans who have ever lived are alive today. Recent projections  of fertility momentum put global population between 9.6 and 12.3 billion by the end of the century. Of course that could no more be sustained than too many reindeer living on lichen on a small island.

 

 

 

A 2014 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Bradshaw and Brook, "Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems." DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1410465111)  looked at a number of different scenarios to gauge how long it might take the human population to plateau and then decline. The Yale Environmental Review commented:

 


Many of the findings highlight the strength of this demographic momentum. For example, the study found that if every unplanned pregnancy were avoided worldwide due to reproductive education, family planning, and cultural shifts, population would peak at 8.39 billion in 2050 and then fall to 7.3 billion by 2100, a level slightly higher than today. The study also found that implementing contentious population control measures such as a worldwide one-child policy, results in a population that wouldn’t fall back to present-day size until the end of the century. Another scenario looked at a hypothetical catastrophic mortality event equal to the number of deaths from the First World War, the Second World War, and the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic combined. This event barely altered the long-term population projection.

 

 

 

Population tends to be the third rail for many environmental activists. They are okay talking about a one child policy for China, or lamenting the fact that Africa will more than triple its population by mid-century, but the idea of limiting their own family size seems to hold little interest.

 

 

 

Perhaps some role models are needed. Among the presidential candidates, Jill Stein gets a C. She has two children. Donald Trump receives a failing grade. He has 5. Hillary Clinton, with only one child, receives a B. To get an A she would have needed either none or a half child, perhaps one adopted from a one child family or acquired by marriage.

 

 

 

Top Marks: Leo DiCaprio (0); Rocky Mountain Institute’s Amory Lovins (0); Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader (0); Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson (1); 350.org’s Bill McKibben (1); Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard (1); Greenpeace spokesman Kumi Naidoo (1); and “population bomb” theorists Paul and Anne Ehrlich (1).

 

 

 

The US’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, Sierra Club, has a population mission:

 

 

 

The Global Population and Environment Program believes that healthy people and a healthy environment go hand in hand. We work to protect the global environment, preserve natural resources for future generations, and ensure healthy, thriving families and communities by promoting global reproductive health, reproductive rights and sustainable development initiatives.

 

 

 

And yet the Sierra Club’s president and his wife “attribute their ongoing passion for environmental activism in part to concern that their children (plural) inherit a healthy world.”
 
Pope Francis has yet to issue an encyclical urging Catholics to use birth control. Naomi Klein thinks artificial insemination should be a universal right.

 

 

 

Activist saints who receive C’s on the population quiz: Ralph Borsodi, George Monbiot, Wendell Berry, David Attenborough and Jane Goodall.

 

 

 

Top Marks: Rachel Carson (0); Henry David Thoreau (0).

 

 

 

Failing grades: Thomas Malthus (3), Helen Caldicott (3); Al Gore (4); David Brower (4), Jacques-Yves Cousteau (4); Garrett Hardin (4); Allan Yeomans (5); Aldo Leopold (5); and David Suzuki (5 children, 6 grandchildren).

 

 

 

Groucho Marx, on You Bet Your Life, questioned a female contestant who came from a family of 17 children:

 

Groucho: How does your father feel about this rather startling turn of events? Is he happy or just dazed?
Daughter: Oh, my daddy loves children.
Groucho: Well, I like pancakes, but I haven't got closets full of them …

 

 

 

Many people are familiar with the Groucho cigar story, which is similar but a bit more salacious. Apparently that is an urban legend. Judge for yourself at Snopes.

Chinese Toast: The Rant

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on April 22, 2014

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Snippet:

…Besides that they are making Oil deals with the Ruskies, building Nuke plants, high speed rail lines and entirely New Cities from the Ground Up. Never mind that nobody lives in those cities and at the prices they sell the apartments for nobody but Hedge funds can afford them on a typical median income for a Chinaman of $10K a year. That is compared with median income in the FSoA of around $84K. HTF are Chinese supposed to buy apartments selling at $300K on an income of $10K a year? Forgetting interest and buying food and electricity to keep the lights on, the average Chinaman would have to cough up his entire paycheck for 30 years to campout in one of these White Elephants. Reality is of course that the prices will crash, and plenty of folks who invested in the building of them will lose their shirts, not to mention their underwear and socks…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!

RE

 

Oil and Gas Limits Underlie Syria’s Conflict

Off the keyboard of Gail Tverberg

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Published on Our Finite World on September 9, 2013

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In my view, oil and gas resource limits are major contributors to the conflict in Syria. This is happening in several ways:

1. Syria is an oil exporter that is in increasingly perilous financial condition because of depleting oil resources.  When oil production is increasing, it can help an oil exporter in two ways:  (a) part of the of the oil supply can be used internally, to grow more food and to support increased industry, and (b) exports of oil can be used to provide revenue for governmental programs such as food subsidies, education, and building highways.  Syria’s population grew from 8.8 million in 1980 to 22.8 million in 2012, at least in part because of the wealth available from oil extraction.

Figure 1. Syria's oil production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Now Syria’s oil production is dropping. The drop between 1996 and 2010 reflects primarily the effect of depletion. The especially steep drop in the last two years reflects the disruption of civil war and international sanctions, in addition to the effect of depletion.

When oil exports drop, the government finds itself suddenly less able to pay for programs that people have been expecting, such as food subsidies and new irrigation programs to support agriculture. If revenue from oil exports is sufficient, desalination of sea water is even a possibility. In Syria, wheat prices doubled between 2010 and 2011, for a combination of reasons, including drought and a cutback in subsidies. When basic commodities become too high priced, citizens tend to become very unhappy with the status quo. Civil war is not unlikely. Thus, oil depletion is likely a significant contributor to the current unrest.

Egypt has many Similarities to Syria

Egypt is another example of an oil exporter whose oil production has dropped because of geological decline. Its chart of oil production and consumption (Figure 2) looks very much like Syria’s (Figure 1).

Figure 2. Egypt's oil production and consumption, based on BP's 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy data.

Egypt is actually doing a little better than Syria. One of the things that has helped Egypt is its natural gas production, because it has been another source of export revenue. Unfortunately, Egypt’s natural gas production suddenly flattened starting in 2009, again because of depletion (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Egypt natural gas production and consumption based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

As Egypt started losing oil supplies, it was able to keep its own energy consumption growing (to keep up with growing population) by rapidly cutting back on exported natural gas (even though it had contracts in place to sell some of the this natural gas). Part of  this cutback was to its pipeline customers, namely Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Of course, this left Egypt with less foreign revenue to fund subsidies, education, and many other programs, but Egypt’s own energy consumption (Figure 4) was able to keep growing, helping agriculture and industry to function as normal.

Figure 4. Egypt's energy consumption by source, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Figure 4. Egypt’s energy consumption by source, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

Syria, on the other hand, was consuming all of the natural gas it produced. In fact, is was importing a little gas from Egypt, so it had no exports it could cut back on. In fact, Egypt’s cutback worked the wrong way from Syria’s perspective–it lost a small amount of natural gas imports from Egypt.

Figure 5. Syria Natural Gas production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

Figure 5. Syria Natural Gas production and consumption, based on data of the US Energy Information Administration.

As a result, Syria found its energy consumption decreasing (Figure 6), even as population continued to rise.

Figure 6. Syria Energy Consumption by Source, based on EIA data.

Figure 6. Syria Energy Consumption by Source, based on EIA data.

At least part of the decline in Syria’s energy consumption occurred because of damage to oil and gas pipelines and to electrical transmission equipment. According to the CIA Fact Book, Syria’s industrial production shrank by 36% in 2012. Thus, geological depletion and the civil war that grew out of inadequate resources both contributed to the drop in energy consumption.

Going forward, this tendency toward civil disorder is likely to get worse, whether or not the US decides to attack. The underlying issue in Figure 1 is depletion. Population remains high. Even if damage to pipelines and transmission lines get fixed, the depletion issue will continue, and the population will need to be fed.

2. Economic sanctions, to the extent they have an affect, can be expected to act similarly to resource depletion and increase the tendency toward civil disorder.

Syria has been operating under economic sanctions from the US since 2004. To the extent that these had an effect, one would expect that they would reduce economic activity, and thus energy consumption. It is hard to see a significant change in energy use patterns in the years immediately after 2004, from the charts provided.

Many other countries have added sanctions since hostilities broke out in 2011. It is difficult to tell how much effect the 2011 sanctions have actually had. It is possible that they contributed to Syria’s drop in energy consumption. It is also possible the civil disorder together with depletion explain the recent drop in oil production and consumption.

Even with sanctions, Syria continues to participate in international trade.  According to the EIA, Syria continues to trade with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, and Venezuela. Other sources mention China (here and here) as a trading partner with Syria. North Korea is also mentioned as being a trading partner, especially in the area of chemical weapons.

3. Oil pipelines from Iraq through Syria would be helpful if Iraq is to greatly ramp up its oil output in the next few years.

The United States has an interest in getting oil production from Iraq ramped up, in the hope that world oil production can continue to rise. World oil production has been increasingly flat, even taking into account liquid substitutes and new sources, such as biofuel and new US tight oil production.

7. Growth in world oil supply, with fitted trend lines, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

7. Growth in world oil supply, with fitted trend lines, based on BP 2013 Statistical Review of World Energy.

One of the limits in ramping up Iraqi oil extraction is the limited amount of infrastructure available for exporting oil from Iraq. If pipelines through Syria could be added, this might alleviate part of the problem in getting oil to international markets. According to the EIA,

 One particular project proposes to build two oil pipelines (and one for natural gas) that would send Iraqi crude to the Mediterranean coast in Syria, and from there to international markets. The first of the proposed pipelines would send heavier crudes from northern Iraq and have a capacity of 1.5 million bbl/d. The second pipeline would send lighter grades from southern Iraqi fields, and would follow the same route as the former Haditha-Banias pipeline; the second section is scheduled to have a 1.25 million bbl/d capacity.

4. The possibility of natural gas pipelines through Syria to alleviate potential shortages in Europe and elsewhere is contentious.

Russia currently is a major exporter of natural gas to Europe. It would like to keep natural gas prices as high as possible because of the high cost of its natural gas extraction, and because of the high cost of building new pipelines. Russia does not necessarily welcome new natural gas production from, for example, Qatar or Israel, carried by pipeline through Syria. Such new supply might reduce natural gas prices in Europe, either because of oversupply or because the other natural gas sources have a lower cost of extraction and transport.

If new pipelines are built through Syria, there are several countries that might theoretically ship natural gas through such pipelines, and there is considerable rivalry among these countries. For example, Israel and Iran are rivals as to which country might export natural gas to Europe. Also, as noted above, there is a possibility that natural gas from Iraq could be exported through Syria to the international market, if suitable pipelines were built. There is even theoretically a possibility that natural gas from Turkmenistan could be exported by pipeline through Iran, Iraq and Syria, cutting out Russia (and the profits it receives in buying, transporting and selling this gas).

It should be noted that even though many countries have their sights set on exporting natural gas to Europe and other parts of the world that need natural gas, it is not at all clear that this additional transport of natural gas will work out as planned. We have known for a long time about a large amount of “stranded” natural gas–gas that is theoretically available, but it simply too expensive to extract and ship to locations where it might be purchased. The limits on how much natural gas will be consumed are financial–how much can consumers really afford.

The affordability issue is clear if we think about a family in India, living on $2 a day, deciding whether to burn animal dung or compressed natural gas for cooking. If the price of natural gas is high, the family in India will choose to burn dung. A similar issue arises for a pensioner in the UK, deciding to what temperature to heat his home. It also arises for an electric power plant in Germany, deciding whether to burn natural gas or coal. If the cost of natural gas is too high, demand is likely to shift to cheaper fuels, or to disappear through alternative behavior–for example, wearing long underwear to keep warm in winter, instead of heating homes as warmly as today.

5. Need for America to prove its might, to maintain the US dollar’s reserve currency status.

Without the reserve currency status of the US dollar, America cannot continue to run a big balance of payment deficit importing large quantities of oil. This is important, because the world’s total oil supply is not growing much (Figure 7), regardless of price. If America is forced to consume less, more oil will be available for the rest of the world.

Conclusion

Because of its oil depletion, Syria will remain a problem country, regardless of whether the US decides to intervene militarily. Removing Assad as leader of Syria cannot be expected to solve Syria’s problems. Even if oil deletion were not the major issue, US’s recent experience in Libya suggests that removing a leader does not guarantee future stability. Associated Press reports this week, Libya’s oil exports plunge as problems escalate.

Some may argue that Syria has other gas and oil that it can exploit, and because of this, its depletion problems are only temporary. In particular, the EIA report on Syria notes that there are both shale oil resources in Syria and natural gas resources offshore that Syria might develop. In my view, there are several reasons that this optimism is unwarranted. As a practical matter, even if there were peace and plenty of investment capital, developing these resources would take several years. During this period, other countries would need to donate enough resources to keep the population pacified. Can this really be done, especially if other countries are reaching limits themselves?

Furthermore, it is not at all clear that extraction of oil from shale can really be  developed profitably. No one outside North America has yet figured out how to do so.  The US has laws and pipeline infrastructure that are different from elsewhere that help make shale development possible at reasonable cost. Available credit and low interest rates are also helpful.  The US also has abundant water resources, and population that is not too dense, so that fracking is less of an issue than it would be elsewhere. A recent Wall Street Journal article talks about the difficulty China is having trying to extract hydrocarbons from shale.

There is also the question I mentioned above with respect to the economic feasibility of new natural gas resources. If the cost is too high, the cost may simply be too high for buyers. Furthermore, if buyers find a need to cut back on other expenditures to purchase gas products (or for that matter, high-priced oil products), they are likely to cut back in the purchase of other discretionary items. Layoffs are likely to occur in discretionary sectors, leading to recession and reduced demand through fewer jobs. Thus, one way or another, a reduction in demand is likely to occur.

Egypt and Syria are not the only countries in the area with oil depletion problems. Yemen’s oil chart of oil production and exports (Figure 8) looks very much like that of Syria and Egypt.

Figure 8. Yemen oil production and consumption, based on US Energy Information Administration data.

Figure 8. Yemen oil production and consumption, based on US Energy Information Administration data.

Saudi Arabia may even be reaching limits on its extraction capability. It recently is reporting refocusing on unconventional resources, something it would not do if conventional oil were performing well. Saudi Arabia is also using a greater number of drilling rigs, reported to be necessary because of the increasing difficulty of extracting oil from mature fields.

If oil depletion is becoming an increasing problem, I am afraid we can expect increasing conflict in the Middle East, regardless of whether the US chooses to intervene in Syria because of increased oil depletion.  A shortfall in one country can ripple to the next country, and on to the next country, as exports are reduced, and as civil unrest spreads.

It is easy to blame bad leaders for the problem, or a bad form of government. Much of the problem, however, is simply not having enough oil resources to go around for the size of population the world has today. We can kid ourselves about additional oil and natural gas resources being available, but these very much depend on the ability of buyers to pay higher prices, without excessive recessionary impacts.

Debt Monetization Economics

Off the keyboard of RE

Published originally on the Doomstead Diner on January 12, 2013

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If you are the kind of person who worries about Inflation and read the pages of Zero Hedge, there’s a good chance a few days ago reading through the article summaries on the Home Page you had to take a trip to the Throne Room and kneel down and Pray to the Porcelain God while Heaving the Technicolor Yawn.

Let me begin this article by pasting in a few of the synopses from Jan 7th, which came nearly one right after another describing the various and sundry Monetary “experiments” being undertaken by the Bank of Japan (BoJ), the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the Swiss National Bank(SNB) the European Central Bank (ECB), and of course that Central Bank we all Love to Hate here in the FSofA, Da Fed(FRB).  Not all these main CBs are covered in these articles, but they are sufficient to detect a pattern forming up.

 

Tyler Durden's picture

Japan May Or May Not Mint Quadrillion Yen Coins, But It Will Monetize European Debt

Submitted by Tyler Durdenon 01/07/2013 – 22:03

Just when we thought America would be alone in crossing into the montary twilight zone where so many Keynesian lunatics have gone before, and where trillion dollar platinum coins fall from the sky right onto the heads of all those who have not even the faintest understanding of money creation, here comes Japan:

ASO: JAPAN TO BUY ESM BONDS
ASO SAYS JAPAN TO BUY ESM BONDS USING FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVES
ASO: ESM PURCHASES WILL HELP TO STABILIZE YEN

For those who have forgotten, the E in ESM stands for European (the S for Stability), not Japanese (Stability). Otherwise it would be, er… well, JSM. Keynesian at that. But yes – Japan will now proceed to “stabilize” itself by monetizing European debt. Because its own JPY 1 quadrillion in debt was not enough.

Tyler Durden's picture

Meet Jack Lew: Tim Geithner’s Replacement

Submitted by Tyler Durdenon 01/07/2013 – 19:58

Bloomberg is out after hours with news that was expected by many, but which was yet to be formalized, until now: namely that following today’s flurry of contntious nomination by Obama, the latest and greatest is about to be unveiled – Jack Lew, Obama’s current chief of staff, is likely days away from being announced as Tim Geithner’s replacement as the new Treasury Secretary of the United States. In other words, Jack will be the point person whom the people who truly run the Treasury, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, chaired by JPM’s Matt Zames (who just happens to also now run the notorious JPM Chief Investment Office which uses excess deposits to gamble – yes, you really can’t make this up) and Goldman’s Ashok Varadhan, global head of dollar-rate products and FX trading for North America (recently buying a $16 million pad at 15 CPW) will demand action from.

 

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Greek Banks To Merkel: “Please Ma’am, Can We Have Some Moar”, Or Here Comes Bailout #4

Submitted by Tyler Durdenon 01/07/2013 – 19:19

As loathed as we are to say “we told you so,” but we did and sure enough eKathimerini is reporting this evening that: thanks to the ‘voluntary’ haircuts the Greek banks were force-fed via the latest buyback scheme and the political uncertainty causing non-performing loans (NPLs) to rise (in a magically unknowable way), they will need significantly more ‘capital’ to plug their increasingly leaky boats. The original Blackrock report from a year did not foresee a rise in NPLs (which Ernst & Young now estimates stands at 24% of all loans) and the buyback dramatically reduces the expected profitability of the banks as it removes critical interest payments that would have been due. Whocouldanode? Well, plenty of people who did not just buy-in blindly to the promise of future hockey-stick returns to growth. Expectations are now for the Greek bank recap to be over EUR30bn.

 

Eooowwwchhh!   Reading this stuff, you get the sinking feeling that Monopoly Money is pouring off the Printing Press at Warp Drive Speeds, and in a fashion you would be correct in believing that.  The Nipponese are clearly in the Deep Doo Doo, their Export Market is collapsing,  the “Off” switch on “cheap” Nuke Power currently remains off (though the new Goobermint intends of firing them up again); the Greeks are a Black Hole of Debt the ECB and various and sundry Financial Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) like the ESM keep funding with more fictitious money, and of course Da Fed remains busy in Financing the FSofA War Machine through an exponentially growing Federal Deficit, while at the same time expanding it’s “Balance Sheet” in order to buy absolutely WORTHLESS collateral from the TBTF Banks to keep them from going under this week.

Trying to look at what EVERY CB is doing here to Monetize Debt is an exercise in futility, the rest of the post would be filled with Graphs up the Wazoo here.  As it is, just looking at FSofA Debt Monetization and Population Issues has more graphs than I like to jack into one article.  I’m a Big Picture Pontificator, not an Actuary or CPA, so inundating the reader with endless Graphology of the Exponential Function in action is not my Stock in Trade.  I’m a decent enough mathematician, but I am also perfectly aware that throwing out endless numbers for most people makes their eyes Glaze Over, so I try not to do that.

However, it is necessary in going forward with this post to look at what actually is occurring on the Monetary level, at least here in the FSofA utilizing Da Fed as the Example.  It’s no different for the BoJ,the ECB, the SNB or the PBoC, and in fact since Da Fed produces the WORLD RE$ERVE CURRENCY of the DOLLAR, this best represents what is occurring on a global scale with the monetary system.

Let’s begin with the expansion of the Balance Sheet of Da Fed.  This BS expands as Da Fed purchases Trash for Cash.  TBTF Banks unload worthless MBS, CDOs, Soveriegn Bonds, Securitized Student Loans and Baseball Cards (the ONLY thing in this list of real value)

 

As you can see, the FRB Balance sheet shot to the Moon in 2008, when in order to keep the Financial System from Imploding, Da Fed when on a Buying Spree of Junk Assets on the books of these banks they could not unload to anybody else for Cash, which everybody was short of at the time.  Does this really mean Da Fed “printed money” here for this stuff that wasn’t already in existence?  Not really, becuase these ‘assets” represented money that was already trading around in the system anyhow, Da Fed just traded FRNs for the collateral, providing more liquidity in the system.  Actual Dollars in Circulation, the M1 Money Supply didn’t change all THAT much, certainly not as much as what the above fairly TERRIFYING Graph would indicate.

Not that it still isn’t terrifying to see this vast expansion of Da Fed BS, it still is because it is indicative of the fact the regular Credit Market was in catastrophic failure mode so the assets were transferred off of Private Balance sheets onto Da Fed Public one, even though all this accomplishes is moving insolvency from one place to another.  In the end when the system does implode (it will), it really doesn’t matter who goes broke FIRST here because everybody will go broke.  The Banksters weren’t ever going to be able to pay off their Bad Bets, nor will the Taxpayer be able to do it.  Broke is Broke when distributed over an entire system like this.

The next graph shows the ALSO TERRIFYING expansion of the Federal Deficit, not coincidentally occurring at precisely the same point in time, 2008-9, when Da Fed Balance sheet went Ballistic.

Why is the Federal Deficit ballooning here at the same time?  Because with Private Credit drying up for lack of Creditworthy Borrowers in the Private Sector, in order to keep the system from imploding on this level, Da Goobermint steps in as the Borrower here, basically borrowing money on its own account to do the numerous Bailouts of failing institutional lenders.  This again serves the purpose of providing liquidity and keeping Zombie Banks as the Walking Dead a while longer, but it is still not really putting money into a system that wasn’t already there, just in other forms in the “Shadow Banking” system.  This is unaccounted for money, and nobody really knows how much of it is out there even now, estimates run as high as Quadrillions.  All that is happenning in this case is that some of that sloshing pool of fictitious money is being moved to the Public balance sheet, in dribs and drabs as parts of the system continue to fail.

So now what we have to do is to drop back from the gross debt being pitched around here and look at the components of the Money Supply to see how they are doing.  Below is the graph of the FSofA Monetary Aggregates, divied up into M1, M2 and M3 forms of “Money” that circulate and/or get parked as Savings or Investment in something.

The part of this graph that concerns the Main Street Economy and J6P is mainly down in Blue at the Bottom of the graph.  That’s the actual Cash FRNs floating around out there and digibits in your Checking Account.  As you can see, it has increased substantially since around 1980, but nowhere near the vast increase through the other components of the Money Supply, half of which were such a small component of the total supply in 1970 they don’t even show up on the graph.  This is where most of the “Money” is floating around, and it is mainly held in large Corporate Accounts, Pension Funds etc, in theory there as a balance sheet number, but in realty not there at all.  This is the most fictitious of the fictitious money.  “Other Checkable Deposits” I believe represents Reserves the TBTF Banks have on deposit at Da Fed, my good friend and fellow Macro Economist Steve from Virginia from Economic Undertow will correct me if I am wrong on this.

Although the increasing muber of FRNs and digibits is causing some inflation, particularly in Food prices now which are also being pressed on the Supply End due to drought,  overall cost per capita doesn’t expand that rapidly (at least not at an HI pace until there is a currency collapse of the Dollar), because this Main Street Economy money is distributed out over many more people than it was in 1970.  First the graph of US Population expansion over the time period in question.

As you can see, since 1970 the FSofA has seen a roughly 50% increase in population size from the 200M neighborhood to the 300M neighborhood, so what FRNs there are out there for J6P to earn are spread over more people.  All else being equal, if the number of FRNs don’t increase at the same rate the population size does, each person will have fewer of them, which would be of course highly deflationary for Prices.  Fewer people would have say $5 for a 1 lb Ribeye Steak at Safeway, so to sell the same number of ribeyes, Safeway would have to lower the price to what the new normal was, in this case a 50% decrease in available cash per capita of consumers of Ribeyes, so the price would have to drop to  probably around $3/lb to keep selling the Ribeyes.

Obviously no such thing has happenned, the price keeps going up, but not as fast as you might think it would if you look at the top graphs in the Fed balance Sheet and Federal Deficit graphs.  More money is out there, but sprinkled out over many more people than it was in 1970, and not just here in the FSofA either.  The vast increase in total money supply mostly is NOT distributed out either, it remains “in reserve” at Da Fed on accounts of the TBTF Banks.

This because with increasing Globalization of trade along with the fact the Dollar has served as World Reserve currency through the time period has meant many of these Dollars are now sprinkled across the WHOLE WORLD, often used as black market currency in many highly populous nations that are unable for one reason or another to run a viable currency system of their own.  So Dollars now aren’t spread through just the FSofA population, but across the whole WORLD population in one form or another.

So this leads us to look at the Global Population Graph for the time period, yet another TERRIFYING graph.

 Here you can see especially if you look at Asia since around 1950, the Global Population has more than Doubled, and where have many Dollars been spent to buy stuff?  From Asia of course, Japanese Carz and Electronics, Chinese Plastic Toys etc.  Since the FSofA has had a Trade Deficit since at least the 1970s, a constant outflow of Dollars produced has made it into the hands and savings accounts of literally Billions of Asians, when looked at across the aggregate scale anyhow.  In reality, most of said dollars are just in a few hands, not ALL Asians have gobs of FRNs stuffed in the Bank of Sealy.

Any given INDIVIDUAL in China doesn’t have gobs of FRNs to spend to buy a Ribeye steak, in fact most have far fewer than even the most imoverished Amerikans living on Food Stamps.  The result is that instead of getting an HI in the price of Ribeyes, what yoou mostly get is Demand Destruction as margins are compressed and the actual price a Cattle wholesaler can get is pressed down by the inability of most people to afford to buy the Ribeyes.

The same Bizness of course is occurring with Gasoline (Petrol for the Eurotrash), so instead of HI in Gas, actually prices have now once again DECLINED here in Alaska to BELOW what I paid for it when I first got up here 7 years ago.  It has been above that price for most of those years, but across the board the Demand Destruction is taking hold on this, and despite no increase in total production of Liquid Fuels (see Monsta666 Energy I&II articles), the prices are getting pushed back down again.  Mainly probably attributable to cratering demand for Gasoline in Eurotrashland, now Double digit Unemployment throughout the PIIGS countries and working its way into France also.

To conclude here in this portion of the running Kick the Can Game in Debt Monetization Economics,  despite some outrageously BIG numbers and some really TERRIFYING graphs is really just spreding its way across the entire global monetary system, but because all the CBs are currently engaged in the same process of trying to provide liquidity to an illiquid market, the RELATIVE VALUATIONS between the currencies are not yet changing that much.  Euro’s will spike up or down on a given day dependent on the Newz, same with Yen, same with the Dollar itself of course.  Everytime they do spike though, the OTHER CBs in the system react to it, genrally themselves ALSO adding more liquidity.  Absolute Numbers go up, Relative Values don’t change all that much, at least they have not YET.

Eventually, somebody’s currency will crack here in a Crisis of Confidence, forcing a run out of that currency.  Remains to be seen who is the FIRST to go down the Toilet, but it most CERTAINLY will not be the Dollar.  It is too big and too much of the current system is dependent on valuations made in Dollars.  the much more likely candidates are the Euro or the Yen.  These are the currencies most at risk right now for an HI event, not the Dollar.

In terms of actual Purchasing Power for all these currencies with respect to Oil & Food (closely related clearly), all are destined for terminal decline as the resource base declines and the Cheap Oil dwindles in availability.  What counteracts that on the gross scale is Demand Destruction, and that can occur a lot faster than actual resource depletion does.  It is moving at an INCREDIBLY rapid pace in Eurotrashland right now.

I had Chartist Friend From Pittsburgh do a curvilinear wave analysis of this graph, and as I suspected,  the resistance line is well broken and demand for Oil Products in Europe is likely to hit new lows as we move into 2014. How LOW will it GO by 2014?  13K BPD seems like a very good bet to me.  This represents around a 20% decline off Peak Demand in Europe for Oil, while at the SAME time the population there has increased substantially.  Obviously, per capita consumption of Oil is on a steady downward slope there already,  and this is nothing if not highly deflationary all around.  Thus of course the massive Unemployment problems the Eurotrash are immerssed in already.

Where will the Demand Slack be taken up?  Will it be in China or South America or Africa, in the “growing” economies of the developing world, or will it be in the last place to lose Credi to buy the Oil, likely the FSofA, home of the Printing Press of the Dollar and Home Base for the Big Ass Military?  One thing is for certain, TPTB cannot allow the Demand to Crater entirely, because when it does (it will eventually of course), the entire monetary system they depend on to maintain power goes with it.  The ULTIMATE demand side solution for this is full on WAR, and that of course is liekly to come down the pipe in the bye and bye.

Time will tell, but until the whole Geopolitical equation plays itself out, my bet is that no debt monetization undertaken by Da Fed will spark an HI in the Dollar during this period.  There are too many other weaker players in the same game.  The “Game” still has a few rounds to go in terms of competitive devaluations of the Major Currencies by each of the respective Central Banks, along with still more rounds of Austerity and Demand Destruction being embarked on by more Central Players, including France, Germany, and of course the FSofA.

RE

Underpinnings of the Drive to Industrialization: An Anthropological Perspective

Off the Keyboard of RE

 

Discuss this article around the Kitchen Sink of the Diner 

In the Waste Based Society series Part I & Part II, I detailed many of the reasons why it behooves those in control of the resources of the earth to pursue such practices as Planned Obsolescence and R&D as a means to create ever more dependence on Control Conduits themselves ever more dependent on Energy Extraction from Earth resources. For the most part, this Energy comes from NON-RENEWABLE Fossil Fuel sources, becoming ever more expensive to extract from the Earth.  If indeed we were able to develop RENEWABLE sources of energy to continue the paradigm, then also Industrialized Society might be a sustainable model.  Diner  A.G. Gelbert often makes  the case that such Renewable Sources of Energy are within grasp, and he also contributed to the Waste Based Society series in Part III.  I do not agree with him, but he makes a good case for this idea.

However, what neither of us really covered in that series is what DRIVES the Industrialization Paradigm to BEGIN with.  Steve from Virginia who publishes Economic Undertow, one of our Cross Posting Bloggers on the Diner often posits that the choice to live the Industrialized Life is a FASHION choice.

From Steve’s Debt-o-Nomics Part III:

– The productive sector isn’t productive, this is so generally by design. Production answers the dictates of fashion and nothing else. The production enterprises are supported by borrowing. Finance provides enterprise profits, to ‘entrepreneurs’ who are shills. Finance provides essential initial capital without which enterprises cannot be born. Finance provides required enterprise cash flow when it is not natively available. Fashionable enterprises which have no hope of gaining a productive return are supported entirely by borrowing over extended period. Given fashion demand — for supersonic jet fighters, for instance — tens of trillions in any currency can be borrowed without end.

Bombarded as we are by all the Propaganda to buy Automobiles, GINSU Knives and Salad Shooters, every last person in the Industrialized World buys this paradigm because it is Fashionable to do so.  Certainly true is it IS much more Fashionable  to live this way than to live as a Kalahari Bushman feeding off Grubs, Lizards and Roots in the Kalahari Desert.   Crap, the KBs don’t even have Wireless Internet or I-phones!  Talk about being Out of Fashion! A KB is like a Beatnik showing up at Andy Warhol’s Factory or a Hippie  showing up at Phillips Exeter, Andover or Choate!  You just do not FIT IN with the crowd there Dude! Get With the Program!

However, is it REALLY  true there as in we are immersed in this Industrial Civilization as simply a  FASHION choice? Not at all.  In reality, Industrialization is the outgrowth of the Will to Power as a Sentient Species evolves, first just attempting to SURVIVE in a Hostile World where many other species view you as FOOD.

In the beginning, without TOOLS, incipient Homo Sapiens was little more than a modern Chimpanzee.  As such, said Great Ape was quite vulnerable to other Predators running around the Savannah once we dropped down out of the Trees to try to make a go of it out there on the Plains, where lots of FOOD for us was available. We are talking Africa of course here, with a wonderful variety of Predators running around.  Lions and Tigers with Big Teeth and Big Claws of course.  Cheetahs that can run a whole lot faster than the typical small child can run.  Pack Animals like Hyenas that will Gang Up on you.  Very tough environment overall for a two legged creature with no Claws and no Big Teeth to make a go of it.  Not too big either, and for a lot of time there was Mega Fauna around  MUCH bigger and stronger than we ever have been.  Bears 12 feet tall, that sort of thing.

Given our apparent Weakness relative to the other Predators out there, you would figure that we couldn’t make it.  Except we did, for two reasons mainly.  Our Hands with their Opposable Thumbs, and our VERY BIG Brains relative to all the rest of those other predators.  Smart suckers who figured out how to use TOOLS to lever up an ADVANTAGE over all the rest of them.  Just some Rocks and Sticks at first, but always Improving on these Weapons.  Spears came along, then Atlatls, then Bow and Arrow.  Death at a DISTANCE, something no other Animal in the whole Kingdom can accomplish. For a Lion to make a Kill of a Wildebeest for example, it has to actually JUMP it and sink in the Claws and the Teeth.  Wildebeests are not without their own defense here, that got some nice Horns to GORE with, and they can KICK mighty hard with legs strong enough to run that kind of weight around the Savannah. Lion makes Mistake ONE in his attack, he is likely to be STOMPED in a big hurry.  A swift Kick to the Ribs cracking a half a dozen of them and puncturing a lung, Lion is TOAST. So it is a relatively Even-Steven Battle between the Wildebeests and the Lions, and a Balance is achieved in the ecosystem, though it varies from year to year in cycles between Predator and Prey.  Lions being no complete dummies of course try to prey on either old or young or sick or injured Wildebeests rather than the tough suckers in their reproductive Prime years, but Wildebeests gather together to PROTECT AND DEFEND their weak ones. they are at the Center of the Herd, the tough guys run the Perimeter. Only if a Lion manages to catch a weak one outside this perimeter does he make the EZ Kill.  Otherwise, if he is Hungry he HAS to take on a Tough Guy.  A relatively even battle most of the time in that situation.

No such danger in preying on a Wildebeest for Homo Sapiens armed with an Atlatl and Spear though.  From 20 yards away, HS can easy hurl a spear with an Atlatl so hard and fast even equipped with a roughly hewn Stone Point on it the spear will penetrate toughest Hide and go clear through the unfortunate Wildebeest before it ever knew it was even coming. Not only that, Brainy Homo Sapiens figures out how to Enlist the Assistance of a whole other Species, the Canines.  They become Good Buddies, and work together.  The Dogs run down the Wildebeests chasing them right into a fucking Ambush, traps laid to break their legs as they run, whatever.  HS is now SUPREME KILLER out there, no other higher level Animal can stand up to his tools, his dogs and his SMARTS. Eventually he also enlists the aid of Horses, which allow him to run down all but the very fastest and nimble of other creatures as well.

Once this level is achieved, HS now begins to expand over the whole Globe with the Hunter Gatherer paradigm, knocking down just about all the slow and lumbering Mega Fauna as they go. Quickly enough by Geologic Standards, HS comes to completely dominate the entire Planet as an HG, actually migrating all the way from origins in Africa right down to the tip of South America by around 15,000 BC or so, after recovering from the Toba Supervolcanic Eruption which likely knocked down Human Population to around 10,000 Human Souls or 1000 Breeding Pairs approximately 75,000 years ago.

It is at this point that the Weapons once used just for Hunting purposes against other species become turned on each other.  Why?

Essentially because the H-G paradigm takes a LOT of territory to support a relatively small number of HS, but HS was now reproducing faster than this amount of territory could support, so each group or Tribe of HS is now in COMPETITION with each other for territory.  So now the Tribes of HS begin to use their weapons on EACH OTHER, in the attempt to gain or retain their territory. We are now Full UP as can be on Planet Earth for H-G style living, which began to decline probably around 10,000BC or so except for a few areas we were real late in making it to, like the Big Island of Hawaii, the very last pristine environment of good size H-Gs found and colonized around 1000AD.

Despite the fact a form of Warfare has now begun between tribes of Homo Sapiens, it’s mostly a pretty Level Playing Field, all armed with similar Weapons and similar Numbers.  We essentially maintain a fairly steady-state in the environment through this period as well, and our numbers Level Out to just what the environment will support in terms of our numbers on a sustainable level.

This all CHANGES again on one Fateful Day when some Homo Sapiens somewhere probably in the Fertile Crescent around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers  grasps that many of the veggie foods he eats grow well in his Latrine and Garbage Dumps.  He realizes the SEEDS grow well in these well Fertilized locations.  AGRICULTURE IS BORN!

This REVOLUTION completely changes the balance in nature for Homo Sapiens,  both with respect to the rest of the animal kingdom as well as with respect to other HS stilll living the H-G life. Ag allows for a group of HS to reproduce even FASTER, remain sedentary on a given plot of land and then develop out of the excess population a Class of Warriors, aka an ARMY. The job of the Army is to protect the area already taken for Ag, and also to rid the surrounding neighborhood of H-Gs so that land also can be converted to Ag.  Even without better Weapons, the Ag CIVILIZATIONS now developing start to overwhelm the H-Gs just by virtue of greater Numbers.  Then it gets still WORSE for the H-Gs.  Why?

Reason, now that the Ags have lots of people and no need for all of them to be involved in food collection, they have time to mess around with their Big Brains and they develop METALLURGY!  Their new Bronze Pointed Weapons are better than the Stone Age weapons of the remaining H-Gs.  Same Metal stuff also makes Ag more productive as well.  Now the  Ags are basically STEAMROLLING over the H-Gs just in the Bronze Age, but it gets still WORSE when the Iron Age hits.

But of course, the Ag Civililizations themselves start running up against each other here, now fielding some Big Ass Militaries to go up against each other in Full On Warfare we have become all too familiar with over the last few millenia. Again though, for the most part they all are armed with similar weaponry and something of a Balance is achieved with respect to each other, but we are now out of balance with Nature as a whole because Ag is pushing out of existence many other species and also soaking up resource faster than it gets replenished.  Desertification begins in some of the areas earliest transformed to the Ag paradigm, the Middle East in particular there.  We also run up against another Limiting Factor to further Exponential Growth at this time, the “Beasts of the Earth” in the form of PESTILENCE, or disease vectors.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

By around the 1300s, because of increasing population density as well as the practice of keeping so many Domesticated Animals in such close proximity with so many Homo Sapiens, a whole HOST of diseases begin to appear knocking down vast SWATHS of population every time one of these PLAGUES crop up.  At this time, the HS population more or less stabilizes again at around 500M Human Souls walking the Earth at any given time, JUST prior to the NEXT REVOLUTION, application of  Thermodynamics to Metallurgy which results in FIREARMS.  AKA, Guns and Cannon. This preceeds the full on Industrial Revolution by a couple of centuries, but Tips the Balance of competition between the  Ag societies towards the ones that made use of this Weaponry FIRST, the Europeans who made the Scientific Discoveries.  Together with Sail and Navigation technology this set of discoveries now allows this Civilization to begin overwhelming all the other Ag Societies.   The understanding of Thermodynamics leads then to the Steam Engine, from there to the Internal Combustion Engine, and thereafter it is another Total ROUT as the Europeans proceed to waltz all over the world in the colonial era from about 1750 through to 1900 or so.

The process results in Mechanized Warfare which really got underway with WWI, though you can see its beginnings in the War of Southern Secession (aka the  Civil War) here in the FSofA .  Finally after WWII, the powerful Industrialists are pretty much in control of the entire World, and they have built a HUGE Industrial Plant to build the Weapons of War, but now that they are in control of everything, unless they can put these Factories to other uses, they are malinvestment that will not pay off anymore. To make them continue to pay off, the Bomb Plants are turned into Fertilizer Plants, the Tank Factories are turned into Sports Car factories. The Green Revolution and the Mall Culture is BORN!  Here in the FSofA,  biggest WINNER after WWII, credit flows out fast and furious as Levittowns are built for the Victorious GIs to come Home and Breed Up the Boomer Generation.  Over in Eurotrashland, the Losing Krauts are handed the Marshall Plan to allow them to rebuild what was destroyed of their Industrial Infrastructure, with the SAME folks who owned them before the War STILL in control of them!  Together, the Anglo-American Illuminati and the Teutonic Illuminati join forces to turn the world into the Konsumer Paradise of Strip Malls and Ring Roads and Suburban Subdivisions all run on the OIL they now control worldwide, making themselves RICHER THAN GOD, far more wealthy and powerful than any Pharaoh or Chinese Emperor ever was, and really we do not even know who most of them ARE at all.

Industrialization did not arrive because it was FASHIONABLE, nor does it hang around because of that either.  It evolved from the Will to Power, a gradual accretion of knowledge over many millenia which first allowed Homo Sapiens just to survive and prosper in a Hostile World where other Predators were Out to Get Him, and then allowed one group of  H-S to dominate and squash out of existence other groups.

Where does the EVIL crop up in all this stuff? Tough question to answer, but IMHO it comes once one group becomes vastly more powerful than another group.  At this point the Playing Field is no longer LEVEL, and one group can exercise POWER over another group willy-nilly without Consequence to themselves, at least on this side of the Great Divide anyhow.  Once nasty consequence to your actions is removed, Evil begins to grow inside the Individual and inside the Society Unchecked. Today, for the top .01%, there are NO nasty consequences to THEM for their actions, only nasty consequences for EVERYBODY ELSE.  So they have essentially become completely CONSUMED by Evil at this point.

I still hold out the HOPE that Homo Sapiens can make it through this trial, where Evil has now become so dominant a force in society.  If we are to do that, there must be CONSEQUENCES for Acts of Evil.  It is up to the GOOD people of the Earth to step up to the Plate now and administer the consequences, or suffer the results of leaving Evil to run amok unchecked in our society.

RE

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