AuthorTopic: Looking at the Crystal Ball  (Read 3353 times)

Offline monsta666

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Looking at the Crystal Ball
« on: July 23, 2013, 02:22:01 AM »

Off the keyboard of Monsta666



Discuss this article at the Energy Table inside the Diner




One of the most common discussions that I see cropping up in the doomer blogosphere is the speed of collapse. Quite often there are two camps in this debate with one camp strenuously believing that a fast collapse is inevitable while another bunch will insist that a more measured slow collapse or even decline is the most likely outcome. What is most striking, at least to me, is the degree of certainty that some people have in these debates. In fact in many cases people can be so confident in their beliefs that quite often you can almost sense a sense of disdain to people holding an opposing opinion. I suppose this is only human nature but as I have often said before: the nature of complex systems is they are inherently unpredictable. You can only really predict a general trajectory and perhaps with enough knowledge assign probabilities to possible outcomes but anything more and it just amounts to a lot of guesswork. If anyone makes a long-term prediction with a strong degree of confidence then you can be sure the person either has a blind-spot or worse doesn’t have a clue or maybe pushing an agenda or all of the above.


Making predictions and the questions of timing have always been the most difficult questions to answer in the collapse blogosphere. Despite much analysis of information from various sources we are humbled time and time again when it comes to making predictions. Don’t believe me? Just check out the predictions of what pundits said five years ago and look at ALL their dialogues in the past. The pundit is sure to trumpet their successes but normally there is a heap of false predictions they will quietly brush under the carpet and not state. Making any prediction is always difficult especially if it is about the future. In fact one of the few things I can say with any confidence is that when all is said and done that there will be many twists and turns that will surprise everyone, collapse stars included.


The changes in the 20th century were great and totally unexpected but the changes in the 21st century, if you think about it, will have an even larger, more profound and lasting impact on humanity. Furthermore because of the drastic nature of these changes that will likely change human behaviour irrevocably and kill our religious type belief in infinite growth and cornucopian technological worship I expect these changes will surprise people to an even greater degree. It will have to be a bigger surprise because as we see today it will truly take a hammer blow of gargantuan proportions to prize these ideas out of our collective consciousness.


When we see the future in those lenses and anticipate the big changes that will come – that will have to come – to alter our minds so drastically you come to realise just how difficult predicting the future will be. The issue I see here is when change becomes so dramatic it can be hard to grasp the full magnitude of the situation; we cannot appreciate the weight of the words we speak. The discussion almost takes on an unreal element; like we are talking and describing a dream and not reality. In these cases though, it is always helpful to look back on history to gain a good perspective on matters. When we look back consider what people in 1910 thought the year 2000 would be like. Much of the dialogue there would be way off and likely much of the thinking, conventional thinking at least would have seen people imagine that the year 2000 would look a lot like the year 1910 with a few additions added here and there. As you can see this is normalcy bias at work.


Granted in today’s world it can be argued that communications is far superior and our means of acquiring and analysing data is far better today than it was in 1910 so people can make much better predictions. But has that really been the case? I would say the normalcy bias is as strong as ever and if anything it has grown more entrenched. Our belief in progress, technology and infinite growth have only solidified during this time while older or opposing belief systems to counter this culture or belief structure have been systemically eliminated during this time. So in light of that we must always be aware of not only this normalcy bias but also the cultural bias that we are exposed to.


It is also very prudent to remember that because our industrialised society is so truly unsustainable on so many levels that very dramatic changes must happen for society to regain a balance with nature. And these changes must be sufficient to not just alter the way our relationships with one another but our views on nature must change dramatically as we must finally confront the issues we have been trying to hide in the past few centuries namely that humans are not gods and are actually bound by the laws of nature and do have a finite capacity for ingenuity (only gods have infinite ingenuity). We will have to realise our well-being is dependent on the state of our ecosystem and we cannot detach our economies from the resources of the planet (as much as economists will try and convince you otherwise). Our Earth has a finite amount of resources, our society is dependent on energy (and not technology) and the Earth has a limited capacity to handle the pollution from our daily activities. All these ideas, as basic as they may seem, must be grasped by our collective minds and for that to happen we need some major change for people to alter their behaviour in such a drastic matter. In fact at this point I can only see a hammer blow working in waking zombies people from their collective slumber.



We must also note that these profound changes will be so big they will affect mankind for a very long time. This is especially true if you are to believe that these changes will result in a mass die-off. If the die-off is more than 50% of the population then there has been no historical precedent to this and so the changes will truly be unprecedented (at least in absolute terms thus excluding the Toba event). Therefore if the changes you are projecting will result in unprecedented outcomes it stands to reason that the unprecedented changes that will need to occur to reach the final state will become very difficult to predict as we have no historical measuring stick to base our analysis upon. By its very definition it is guesswork, educated guesswork perhaps but guesswork all the same.


This means that a drastic turning point, of some shape or form must occur. Since turning points are so notorious hard to predict (various experts, in various fields have a very bad record of predicting changes in trends) it is curious how people can say with such confidence what the year 2100 or even 2050 will be like when we consider how much the future will have to change to fit in with reality. We were never good in the past in predicting the future so when we make predictions we must be aware of this and aware of the bias that work against us. When looking at such deep matters it pays to reflect for a moment and stick our heads out to gain a greater perspective when making these debates.


And if you really think about it, it is still early days in terms of collapse. The century is still young so I do feel it is premature to make such strong bets that we can predict what will happen in the coming decades. To me it would be a bit like betting on a football game and me predicting that the score would finish 3-0 to the home team. Then after only 15 minutes in, when the score line still says 0-0, we get some people coming out and saying my prediction are wrong because there has been no sign of a goal nevermind a collapse from the away team. We got to wait a decent amount of time before we can really say with any confidence whether the predictions made by you or I are anywhere near right. I think most collapsers (Greer included) foresee a die-off of some sort by 2100 or even 2050. The question is whether this collapse will be slow, fast or step-wise. Can’t say which path will be right with any certainty until at least 2025 IMHO and we probably need even longer than that. I suspect there will be various twists that take Greer and others by surprise because there are simply no historical precedents to the globalised economy we see today. The Roman Empire or any other empire for that matter cannot sufficiently cover all the difficulties modern society faces.


At the minimum what I think we need to be aware of is how the financial system will handle a scenario when global crude oil production leaves the plateau and begins declining year after year. Even more significant turning points would be when total gross energy of ALL fossil fuels reaches a peak and begins declining. In my Energy part II article I had a graph were this point would be reached sometime around 2025. At that point the amount of total possible wealth in the economy will peak and the claims to wealth that money/credit represent will become fundamentally broken. It will become much harder to continue playing the shell games that is QE or massaging various economic statistics to cover up the fundamental mismatch between claims and actual wealth.


Also as the system continues to deteriorate and get even more stressed you increase the probability of the system reaching a tipping point. It is this tipping point that creates the fast collapse scenarios, this happens because the system will leave its island of stability that is its dynamic equilibrium and system behaviour will suddenly change quite radically. You see this in the Arab springs where the economic, political and social systems were under stress for a prolonged period of time (decades) and all it took was a trigger and poof you got massive cascading failures in successive governments. The spark or trigger was quite small but since the system was already under severe strain that this was all it took to break the camel’s back. You see a similar phenomenon occurring in biological systems when the body fails in cascade fashion when certain the parameters leave a certain threshold. Indeed the definition of a tipping point is the disproportionate reaction of a system to a particular stressor and it is this particular behaviour of systems that is the trigger of fast collapses.


As always it is most difficult to determine precisely when this tipping point occurs or when the parameters become too extreme to push the system out of its dynamic equilibrium but most systems have them. I don’t think we can dismiss them and we certainly cannot dismiss tipping points with any degree of confidence until we have experienced periods of sustained declines in either crude oil production or more important total energy production. It is because of this why I feel Greer’s confidence in slow collapse is unwarranted. I am not saying he is wrong but he should exercise more caution and not be dismissive of these notions after all one of the main points about complex systems is they are inherently unpredictable.


The other complication that trips a lot of people up is the fact that most systems have delayed responses to signals. This issue of a delayed response was most notably seen when production of crude oil began to plateau in 2005. As production plateaued, the price of oil increased from around $50 to $148 a barrel and it is only when oil prices reached the upper threshold did the general economy react in a profound manner. It can be noted this response to a plateau in oil production took three years before the effects truly manifested. This delayed response is a common feature of many complex systems and the nature and responses to these delays in signals is dependent on how efficient or resilient and healthy a system is. A more resilient system will have more redundant sub-systems or buffers in place to handle potential shocks. For example a factory with a large well stocked warehouse is more capable of handling a surprise influx of extra orders from customers before needing to restock (which again restocking is a delayed response to a stimuli) than a factory that operates with a small warehouse which operates a more just-in-time regime.



It is these delayed response to signals that give rise to issues such as population overshoot in the first place as temporarily resources can be consumed at a faster rate than the Earth can replenish resources because it takes time for the negative feedback loops to gain sufficient strength to overcome the momentum of the system which is to grow. And just think, this momentum of growth has got a number of centuries under its belt so it will take some time before the negative feedback loops gain sufficient strength to overcome this forward momentum of the overall system again this is a delayed response. We cannot expect immediate responses even if we believe so on an intuitive level.


In fact when it comes to delayed responses there are two types of delay: the first is perception delay and this is the time it takes before it can be observed there is a change in a system. To offer an example of a perception delay let us consider a bacterial infection. It takes a certain amount of time for the person to exhibit symptoms after contracting the bacteria infection and this incubation time can last anything between a few hours or years depending on the particular bacteria. In system dynamics this would be the perception delay. The second form of delay is response delay and this delay is the time taken between when an action is initiated and the time it can deliver a response. Applying the same example of the bacteria it takes a certain amount of time to for the medication (the action or external agent) to take effect and reduce the symptoms from the disease. The elapsed time to take effect is the response delay.


These delayed responses can also be observed in the price of goods and services because the price of goods will not reflect the true scarcity of resources as it takes time for these price signals to filter through the economy. These distortions are only made worse when we introduce various subsidies such as tax breaks, subsidies or do not pay for the full environmental costs of various activities as all these activities serve to mask the market signals that permeates through the system.


How a system handles these responses is, as stated earlier, dependent on how healthy and resilient it is and the length of delay in responding to various signals. If a system is less resilient and the responses are more delayed then the eventual counter-response is likely to be greater. To go back to the economy if there was another financial crisis similar to the one observed in 2008 then the economy would be in a less healthy state plus it would be less resilient. This means any shock coming from a delayed response (say the plateau of global crude production is left) then it would be less able to handle this shock and therefore the probability of a tipping point being initiated will be that bit higher since the stresses being placed on the system are greater.


On the note if global crude oil production it can be noted that more and more experts seem to believe that we will leave the plateau sometime this decade and the period of terminal declines in production will begin. What percentage these declines will take is difficult to say and there is some source of controversy on the magnitude of these declines but most seem to agree on the time-frames. A notable poster called Ron Patterson (also known as Darwinian in The Oil Drum) has followed crude oil numbers like a hawk for various years and has predicted a decline occurring sometime around the year 2015 give or take one or two years (to follow his analysis please follow his blog that is Peak Oil Barrel). If this really materialises then we can say that if the reaction time is similar to the one before to crude oil production plateauing then we could expect a reaction to this decline in oil production sometime in 2018. Again though, this is merely speculation so it must be taken with a grain of salt. What should be noted in this is that we must look out for changes in trends AND then factor in the amount of time needed for the market to respond to these trends for the reaction is not going to be immediate especially if there are distortions in the pricing mechanisms of the commodity in question.  Plus as alluded to earlier the most important variable would be the turning points in total gross energy or better yet gross net energy which is likely to occur shortly after one another as demonstrated in the graph below:



As to zombies, resources wars etc. if there is a major die-off it seems to me there is a good probability those events will transpire in some shape or form. I can’t see how half the world’s population (or more) will die-off without some of them putting some kind of fight so I think if you believe in a die-off, be it fast or slow, then you need to believe the probability of war and zombies is highly likely. I don’t think it is really possible to have one without the other. If you think the two events are not mutually exclusive then you need to lay out how the die-off will occur in such a way those zombies or wars won’t occur. For such a die-off to go unnoticed it must be really slow. The only way I can see it going silently is if people slowly starve to death and die from the various diseases that come from chronic malnutrition. This chronic malnutrition could also act as a means of preventing people from rebelling and thus starting wars because they don’t have the energy to do so. It is not the scenario that is most likely to happen in my opinion but you are welcome to postulate alternate scenarios were people can slowly die. I will say mass die-offs that involve acute starvation of vast chunks of the population or death through wars would tend to suggest more mad Max type collapse scenarios. The other final possibility is you have a hybrid where certain sections of the world have slow collapses while others have fast collapses or flash crashes. If you think about it, everything is up in the air because it is still early days. We are only in the second decade of the 21st century. The Limits to Growth book still said the world economy would still be growing at this point in their standard run so really it would be a surprise to see fireworks just yet, but just because there are no fireworks does not mean there will be none.


To summarise, we cannot know for sure what will happen and we must recognise the fact that predicting the future especially the distant future is largely a fool’s game. Most people who engage in star seeing will look like fools. Remember that. The main things one can do is appreciate the uncertainty that is life and learn to live with it. It is this feeling of wishing for certainty, wishing for absolute control that contributed to some of the problems to begin with. All we can do is be humble, be honest about our shortcomings and observe the patterns that occur in nature closely and most important of all respect the laws of nature. If we observe the phenomenon that occur in nature we can build models that can give us a better understanding of the world around us which can be enough to offer a general idea of what to expect. However all models are flawed and do have their shortcomings so we must know acknowledge their weaknesses. As Ugo Bardi likes to say all models are wrong. I wouldn’t quite go as far to say that but I do like to use the analogy of a torch. Models are like torches they shed some light to the path ahead of us and make navigation somewhat easier. Some torches especially well built torches are better than others but ultimately no torch can show you the whole picture and most of your environment will still be shrouded in darkness. After all torches are no real substitutes for natural sunlight so the best we can do is acknowledge their shortcomings but use their small benefits to maximum use.





Offline RE

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Re: Looking at the Crystal Ball
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 02:25:57 AM »
Monsta's latest Systems Article now UP as a Feature Article on the Diner Blog.

He fleshed it out just a little.  LOL.

I added the Music Soundtrack.

RE
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Offline Eddie

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Re: Looking at the Crystal Ball
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 06:25:36 AM »
Probably one of the more honest and realistic articles about collapse I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

What I see is that, ,looking at history,  prognosticating types always seem to overlook something in their analysis. something that  might appear unimportant, but turns out to be key in understanding how the situation actually plays out.

And timing is often the hardest. Even Malthus, badmouthed and ridiculed for 200 years, may turn out to have been very right, just a little early.

And individual humans don't generally plan for events that take place over periods of time that exceed one lifetime. ( I immediately, on reading this, took comfort in knowing that in 2025, I will already be 70 years old). I guess it would be my goal to be fully doomsteaded by then. given that, the rest of my life would be dedicated to lying low and watching the show.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline WHD

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Re: Looking at the Crystal Ball
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 08:20:29 AM »
This is what logic looks like when it is blessed with a healthy dose of humility, when it understands limits. I love it, Monsta. Very impressive. A fine how-to in understanding the coming changes.

So where do you put the odds that the OBVIOUS declines in total fossil fuel production get overshadowed and zero media attention in the face a cataclysmic reset in the financial realm, resource wars masked as spreading democracy, etc?

Offline agelbert

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Looking at the DATA instead of a Crystal Ball
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 12:31:17 PM »
Quote
It is also very prudent to remember that because our industrialised society is so truly unsustainable on so many levels that very dramatic changes must happen for society to regain a balance with nature.

It is also even MORE prudent to NOT assume that collapse is inevitable.

WHY? Because industrialized society is so fragmented in it's energy using processes that a huge segment of it can still continue while another segment blacks out.

The fact that the present overall structure is unsustainable does not justify the assumption that very dramatic changes must happen for society to avoid a collapse. Assuming that one thing MUST lead to the other is incorrect and inaccurate logic.


I have argued and continue to argue, with quite a bit of data, that the reverse is true. That is, VERY dramatic changes, like nuclear war, MUST occur for a collapse to occur.

Otherwise, it won't, REGARDLESS OF HOW BAD THE WEATHER GETS because the fascists have the guns and the high tech murderous toys to kill off the revolting rabble ANY TIME. You just don't want to go there.

You are in denial Monsta666. This is my final attempt to get you to see reason. If you do not admit to the possibility that a collapse WON'T occur based on the robustness of present society to respond to damage and emergencies, then I will continue to post while ignoring anything you post because you are sold on your own ideological position.

As the years pass and NO COLLAPSE occurs, you will be forced to reach for ever more implausible scenarios of how said collapse WILL occur.

When a fossil fuel fascist engineered scare tactic type "collapse" of a large city of a third world economy occurs you will seize on this to yell, THE END IS NEAR! But you will be proven wrong again and again as the system, corrupt as it is, rebounds and continues to limp along, to your chagrin.


Even now, the governments of the world are mobilizing to toughen up their electrical grids. Look HARD at what is going on out there and realize that the trigger, focus and motivator of human affairs now is not financial theory or politics or unsustainable energy infrastructure. All those are horrendously flawed as you, AND I, have taken great pains to point out.

HOWEVER, it's the GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE that is making the idiots clinging to the fossil fuel fascist dystopian modern human power structure to change their ways, not lack of, food, overpopulation, or lack of proper financing.

This is an example of how those governments are sensing that they are in BIG trouble and moving to PREVENT collapse. Pay attention or be proven wrong, Monsta666.

Global Smart Grid Technologies Market - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2012 - 2018      

Now at Transparency Market Research Transparency Market Research Report Add "Smart Grid Technologies Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends And Forecast 2012 - 2018" to its database.

Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/23/2013 -- The growing need of nations across the globe to reduce the cost of blackouts is driving the market for smart grids. The conventional electrical grids installed in many countries are now aging and this is causing massive electrical blackouts.

Governments of many countries are incurring huge losses in order to maintain conventional electrical grids,[size=1opt] owing to which they are now focusing on smart grid technologies. The market is primarily driven by the growing need of robust electrical supply technologies that cannot be interrupted.

According to a study, power outages and blackouts costs nearly USD 80 billion annually in the United States. To reduce these costs, governments are continuously looking for new technologies which are more effective and efficient.

Browse Reports @ : http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/smart-grid-technologies.html

Some other factors the market desires include the characteristics of these technologies such as the ability to generate higher quality power and the fact that these are self correcting. However, the market is inhibited by huge initial capital required to set up these technologies and the lack of awareness amongst under developed countries.

Some of the leading companies operating in this industry segment are Alvarion Inc, Ambient Corp, American Superconductor Corp, Comverge Inc, and 3 M Company. This research report analyzes this market depending on its market segments, major geographies, and current market trends.

Geographies analyzed under this research report include

North America

Asia Pacific

Europe

Rest of the World


This report provides comprehensive analysis of Market growth drivers Factors limiting market growth Current market trends Market structure Market projections for upcoming years

Full Story Here:

http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/global-smart-grid-technologies-market-industry-analysis-size-share-growth-trends-and-forecast-2012-2018-now-at-transparency-market-research-288359.htm

Superconductor Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCON), a severely depressed stock, is having a good day (although the volume isn't all that impressive). Their technology is made to order for smart grids so MAYBE some insiders are getting on the bandwagon before the big orders come in. This stock used to be much higher so, if they've got a solidly marketable product that will be in demand by governments all over the world that want to upgrade their grids, they have huge upside potential.

Full disclosure: I don't own this or any other stock.

3.45   +0.74 (27.31%)
Description Superconductor Technologies Inc. (STI) is engaged in developing and commercializing high temperature superconductor (HTS) materials and related technologies. It has commercialized wireless products using its technology and are focusing its efforts on this technology in superconducting power applications, radio frequency (RF) filters and cryocoolers. Its revenue comes from the design, manufacture, and sale of high performance infrastructure products for wireless communication applications. It has three product lines all of which relate to wireless base stations: SuperLink, AmpLink and SuperPlex. SuperLink is a compact and reliable receiver front-end HTS wireless filter system to eliminate out-of-band interference for wireless base stations, combining filters with a cryogenic cooler and a cooled low-noise amplifier. Its AmpLink is a ground-mounted unit for wireless base stations that includes a amplifier and up to six dual duplexers.

https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3ASCON&ei=RrjuUcjYLvK10AG00wE

Even the CIA, not known for tree hugging  :icon_mrgreen:, recognizes the PARAMOUNT importance of Climate change to damage civilization and is moving to counter it.

CIA backs study into how to stop climate change through geoengineering.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cia-backs-630000-study-into-how-to-control-global-weather-through-geoengineering-8724501.html

MONSTA666, Let the ideology go and open your eyes to the possibility that a TOTAL collapse won't occur.

http://www.envisionyourdreamsllc.com/Golden-Pig.jpg

TOTAL Collapse (Monsta666's theory) probability WITHOUT a NUCLEAR WARThe above GOLDEN pig with wings is officially named the GOLDEN DARWIN AWARD  (presented to anyone with a less than 25% prediction success rate  ;)). Feel free to present it to ME if what I say doesn't pan out. But what's good for the Goose is good for the Gander.  :icon_mrgreen:

Agelbert's PREDICTIONs for 2013-2017:

1. THERE WILL BE NO TOTAL COLLAPSE OF CIVILIZATION

2. THERE WILL BE A FOSSIL FUEL FASCIST ENGINEERED COLLAPSE OF AT LEAST ONE LARGE CITY POWER GRID AND/OR ONE OR TWO THIRD WORLD COUNTRY'S INFRASTRUCTURE.

3. BY 2017 AVERAGE WIND SPEED INCREASE OVER THE EARTH AND OCEAN WAVE ACTION WILL CAUSE SEVERE BEACH EROSION AND DIFFICULT OCEAN PASSAGE AS WELL AS MORE INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGE ON LAND THAN EVER BEFORE IN HUMAN HISTORY.

4. THE FIRST ICE FREE SUMMER IN THE ARCTIC WILL BE IN THE YEAR 2017.

5. PAKISTAN WILL COME TO THE BRINK OF NUCLEAR WAR WITH INDIA WHEN THE INDUS RIVER WATER FLOW SLOWS DOWN DUE TO MELTED GLACIERS (INDIA CONTROLS THE INDUS AND WIL REQUIRE MOST OF THE REMAINING WATER- PAKISTAN IS BASICALLLY A DESERT).


I may publish a few more predictions this year. Stay tuned for opportunities to rub Agebert's predictions in his face.  :icon_mrgreen:

I INVITE ANY OTHER DINER, ESPECIALLY YOU, MONSTA666, TO PUBLISH YOUR PREDICTIONS FOR 2013-2017 NOW. Put your money where your mouth is. :icon_study:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
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if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Looking at AG's data
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 01:50:22 PM »
It's mostly the economic consequences of deflationary collapse that bother me. I don't see that being managed very well. Whether that leads to blood in the streets is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Your scenario, which I accept as a possible path out of the weeds (or at least a step in the right direction) makes a certain degree of CFS to me. I do believe that things would have to get very, very bad before the Rule of Law disintegrates. I think there will be a very repressive attempt to head that off at the pass as long as the powers that be can buy bullets and gasoline.

Most likely scenario 2014-2016 is another major deflationary event that will put us into the kind of Greatest Depression that nobody will have trouble identifying. The only effect that has on me is that nobody will be able to pay me, which means I'm over-leveraged and I go semi-broke. Fortunately, I'm not THAT leveraged, and it would take a true economic catastrophe to make that happen.

I worry about climate change much more, and I'm not at all sure that it is a reversible process. You make some good points, but let's face it, we are in deep, uncharted waters with no GPS when it comes to mitigating that type of problem.

Frankly, I hope and pray you are 100% right. That's a win for me and you and mankind.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Looking at the Crystal Ball
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 02:58:28 PM »
I predict that Agelbert will make his 2000th post in 2013....

Woohoo!! Way to go!!
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline monsta666

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Re: Looking at the DATA instead of a Crystal Ball
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 04:14:48 PM »
So where do you put the odds that the OBVIOUS declines in total fossil fuel production get overshadowed and zero media attention in the face a cataclysmic reset in the financial realm, resource wars masked as spreading democracy, etc?

There are plenty of boogie men and fall guys to go around so the lack of fossil fuels can easily be blamed on someone else. The fact that most people don't realise the US peaked in oil production 1970 is testament to how easily can be fooled. I do wonder at times if people will ever get the real reasons for the decline of industrialised civilisation. It is quite possible the blame maybe attributed to incompetent politicians and nothing to do with resource collapse.

WHY? Because industrialized society is so fragmented in it's energy using processes that a huge segment of it can still continue while another segment blacks out.

The fact that the present overall structure is unsustainable does not justify the assumption that very dramatic changes must happen for society to avoid a collapse. Assuming that one thing MUST lead to the other is incorrect and inaccurate logic.


I have argued and continue to argue, with quite a bit of data, that the reverse is true. That is, VERY dramatic changes, like nuclear war, MUST occur for a collapse to occur.

Otherwise, it won't, REGARDLESS OF HOW BAD THE WEATHER GETS because the fascists have the guns and the high tech murderous toys to kill off the revolting rabble ANY TIME. You just don't want to go there.

You are in denial Monsta666. This is my final attempt to get you to see reason. If you do not admit to the possibility that a collapse WON'T occur based on the robustness of present society to respond to damage and emergencies, then I will continue to post while ignoring anything you post because you are sold on your own ideological position.

As the years pass and NO COLLAPSE occurs, you will be forced to reach for ever more implausible scenarios of how said collapse WILL occur.

When a fossil fuel fascist engineered scare tactic type "collapse" of a large city of a third world economy occurs you will seize on this to yell, THE END IS NEAR! But you will be proven wrong again and again as the system, corrupt as it is, rebounds and continues to limp along, to your chagrin.

When it comes to questions of collapse we need to first define what a collapse is because collapse means different things to different people. How would you define collapse and how does collapse differ from say a severe depression? Before any of your next questions can be answered adequately you need to say what your version of collapse is.

I would certainly agree that the rich elites hold the high cards for now but much of their wealth is held in the form of abstract financial instruments which will be rendered worthless when the economy declines in earnest. In my eyes the descent will be a great leveller in society as absolute inequality will decline. As to retaining power, this enforcement of the status quo all depends on maintaining systems that are very energy intensive. I have doubts on how long these systems can be maintained as round the clock surveillance systems, modern armies and all the rest of it require copious amounts of energy.

Moreover without the use of concentrated energy the elites will lose the capacity to control large areas of land and it is likely that we will get a scenario of one to many. If you think about it this general trend of centralisation from states to super states has come because of the increasing availability and affordability of energy. To achieve the economies of scale that make these super structures viable and competitive you need a lot of concentrated energy. Without this concentrated energy these structures can no longer remain viable. You already see problems in the EU in this regard and it is likely the problems in the US will increase and when this occurs it will be increasingly difficult to maintain control over such large areas. I do see there is a reasonable probability you get successionary movements as things really begin to unwind. Saying all that I do not expect such events to occur within the foreseeable future i.e. the next 10 years.

This fall from one to many will likely cause many problems for the elites themselves as some will be pushed of the cliff and there will be infighting as the elites fight for the table scraps left of civilisation. This in itself is likely to cause many unforeseen and unpredictable events. As for global warming, that is the big one. I am not clued up on the full implications of climate change but I imagine it will be immense. The big problem I see here are the delayed signals that come from factors leading to climate change. It takes years even decades for the full effects of pollution to be felt and it will take even longer before the effects gain sufficient strength for the elite to take serious action. You have suggested it yourself agelbert that these elites are trying all their best and then some to ignore this problem. And I would say this is a terrible mistake as it will bite them in the ass but this is one of the big points that I tried to make in my article as I raised the issue of delayed responses. The perception delay in climate change is considerable (a few decades) and the response delay maybe equally long meaning that by the time meaningful action is taken it could well be too late.

Now as you know I consider the chances of a fast crash as the most likely event although I will stress it is not an inevitable event just the most probable in my opinion. You can never be sure with anything and that is one of the most important points I wish to make. I do not think collapse of civilisation is inevitable it is possible there is just a slow descent. Despite this I will try and answer your questions: for the next year or two I can see that the world economy will largely muddle through. Things will get slowly worse but not dramatically so meaning the elites can deny the existence of decline. I can see this muddling continuing so long as production of crude oil remains at a plateau. I really don't know when we leave this plateau but I suppose if pushed I would put 2015-16 as the time we leave this plateau. I have doubts on how much the decline will be initially but I think the percentage would not be sufficient to cause much response in prices for another year or two so. Once declines in global production reach around 3-4% per annum (a decline of 2.1mb/d) then those declines will be felt after three years or so. In light of that I can see real pain hitting the global economy sometime just before 2020. But let me stress what I am saying has a high degree of speculation so don't think I say this thinking it is inevitable. It is just a vision that I think is most likely to occur. In the end I don't think anyone really knows what will happen. Prediction is a fools game and if one plays this game long enough you will look like a fool myself included.   

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Looking at the DATA instead of a Crystal Ball
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2013, 06:07:43 PM »
Prediction is a fools game and if one plays this game long enough you will look like a fool myself included.

I'll play, I don't mind looking the fool.  Here are my prognostications:

1.  Major famines will occur.
2.  Oil production will drop off significantly.
3.  Global financial markets will collapse.
4.  Armed conflict will occur worldwide.
5.  Elites will make a desperate attempt to have a single world government.

Oh yes, and the timeframe for all of these is not sooner than 3 weeks and not longer than 3 decades.  And, those predictions are not in any particular order, either.

The thing is, the hard part of making predictions is the timing.  Predicting that there will be a year when oil production peaks was easy, because the only other possibility is that oil production increases without bound forever, which is an impossibility.  Picking the correct year is far more difficult.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline g

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Re: Looking at the Crystal Ball
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2013, 07:25:45 PM »
Quote
our views on nature must change dramatically as we must finally confront the issues we have been trying to hide in the past few centuries namely that humans are not gods and are actually bound by the laws of nature and do have a finite capacity for ingenuity (only gods have infinite ingenuity).

This was quite an article Monsta, an honest, from the heart impassioned view and warning.

Have taken the above quote from your article because it seemed to encompass the entire view, and rung a bell with me.

We are arrogant, believe we are the Gods of technology; and are most likely going to have our sin of Pride turned into the virtue of Humility by Mother Nature soon.

Would like to point out to many of our recent Diner's, that Monsta is a very young man, mid to late twenties. His hard work and the quality of his work are remarkable, as well as his dedication to the success of the Diner. One can only wonder what his offerings will be like as he advances his studies and continues on his learning path.

 

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