Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 30, 2014


Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

A while back, I tried to clarify the way Money works as a Proxy for Energy in the Money Valve series, in which I took a detailed look at how the various facets of our Industrial system conspire to turn Resources into Waste over time.  The whole bizness got pretty complicated even though I tried to keep it simple, stupid in the KISS principle.  What I was trying to demonstrate is how money and energy are related, and how the flow is mediated by the monetary system.

We began with a fairly simple chart, to see how Money is allocated based on Energy.

MoneyValve3The whole idea began to get a lot more complicated once I tried to identify the various sectors of the economy, how they interact, where the inputs are, and where the waste flows to.  Even at a simple level, the network gets pretty complex.

MoneyValve7While it is worthwhile to try to elucidate how all the factors interplay here in an Industrial type economy, in reality the basic issue is one of fundamental thermodynamics, which the classic Heat Engine graphic at the top of the article illustrates.  In the classic Heat Engine, energy in the form of Heat flows downhill from Hot to Cold, and how big the gradient is between Hot and Cold determines the amount of work the Heat Engine can perform.  For the Heat Engine to do WORK, there always has to be a HEAT SINK, a place for the waste heat to go on the way downhill.

As I have argued on numerous occasions, Money serves as a PROXY for the energy available in a given society, and because of that there is a PRECISE analogue to the Credit-Debt system of money we use to the available energy in a given society.  All you have to do to see this is re-label the Thermodynamic Heat Engine to see how this works.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689.jpgThe analogy is so clear and so precise that I am quite certain Master of the Mint Sir Isaac Newton understood this relationship when they founded the Bank of England in 1692.

At the beginning in the theoretical example, a Heat Engine is very efficient, when there is a large difference between the temperature of the Heat Source and the Temperature of the Heat Sink.  The greater the gradient here, the more Work the system is capable of performing, and the waste heat is only a small percentage of the total energy consumed by the machine.  Over time however, as the Energy source which provides the Heat is consumed and the Waste created in the process becomes ever larger, the Gradient becomes ever less, and the machine becomes ever less capable of doing Work.

In the REAL example here of Industrial Civilization, back in the late 18th Century when the Fossil Fuel resources began to be exploited, there was a very large gradient between what was available for exploitation in terms of resources, and the total amount of WASTE accumulated to that point in time.  The New World Continents of North & South America were virtually empty of people, as the diseases of Smallpox, Tuberculosis and Scarlet Fever decimated the Native populations, and compared to Europe and the Middle East, not near so much agriculturally intensive society either, though there was some going on prior to the Colonial Era.

Beginning with this era, it became possible to issue out EXTRAORDINARY amount of DEBT, if you were in a position of power with which to do that.  There was seemingly ENDLESS resource available in the New World even BEFORE the discovery of Fossil Fuels and how to use them in Heat Engines.  Once fossil fuels began to be exploited, it seemed like you could issue out ENDLESS debt on this one, because the Energy Source was so big.  And so it came to pass, virtually endless Debt has been issued out on this resource base, which now is running a bit thin overall.

It hasn’t “run out”, nor will it likely ever really entirely dissapear, but what has DISAPPEARED here is the Energy GRADIENT between available resources and Waste produced, so the Engine of this sort of economy is no longer very efficient, and becomes less so every day.  At this point, the Waste is not just filling Land Fills with Garbage, it is filling the Atmosphere also with CO2 and the oceans with plastic garbage, not to mention the Nuke Puke from Fukushima.  All of this waste accumulating in the environment make the Engine less able to do Work, because the gradient is less capable of absorbing the Waste Heat.

In terms of how this is reflected in the Monetary System serving as Proxy for this, all the DEBT issued out since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has to collect in a DEBT SINK.  What is that sink?  It is the expanding balance sheet of the Central Banks, most notably De Federal Reserve Bank of the FSoA, but also including numerous other CBs like the Peoples Bank of China (PBoC).  The source of the Credit was the Global supply of fossil fuels, which still exist but the gradient between what is extractable and the waste produced in the burning of it no longer is there to do efficient work with.

On the Credit-Debt level, you see this problem in sharp relief.  The folks with the power to issue Debt still have that power, and they continue to issue more and more of it every day.  In the main, it is a few powerful Oligarchs who have the power to issue out debt, and they get the ball rolling on anything.  They do not pay off the debts however, they are all transfered through various processes of bailouts and bankruptcies onto the balance sheet of the Public, at the Central Bank.  This is how the “Privatization of Profit, Socialization of Debt” occurs.

You reach a point in this equilibrium however when the Debt level in the Debt Sink is equal to or greater than the Credit that can be issued out on the resource base of energy.

Credit-Debt_FlowWhy does the money stop flowing?  Well, it doesn’t in it’s entirety at first, but the backflow of bankruptcies matches or equals the rate at which new credit/money is issued out.  This is the stage we are at now.  You can keep issuing out credit, but you don’t get any return from it because the backflow matches any amount of new credit you pitch out.  There are not more resources the money can access without accumulating debt at an equal or greater rate.  The money at this point has to be issued out at a ZIRP, because there is nothing to be sieved of the flow from Interest & Taxation.

The Boom-Bust cycle occurs in the early years of accessing an energy source because the “animal spirits” of the folks issuing credit take over and they issue more credit than the machine at that point is prepared to handle.  You can only grow the money supply and credit as fast as the resource base that underpins the money is accessed.  In fact the folks running the Central Banks learned this, and thus came up with the target inflation rate of around 2%, to match how fast new sources of fossil fuel energy were being found and exploited.  The early 20th Century collapse of the Great Depression was an example of a Boom cycle where animal spirits amongst the creditors went wild, but the consumption ability was low at the time, there were not enough vectors through which to waste the energy.  It all went Bust in 1929 at the end of the Roaring 20s, and the aftermath of that Bust is well recorded history overall.

The situation we have now IS DIFFERENT THIS TIME, it’s not that the credit has been issued out too fast to access the resource base, it’s that the resource base relative to the debt level is too depleted to offer a return on investment. Certainly you could in theory issue out another say $100B in Credit to energy companies to drill the Arctic Ocean, but you’ll never get BACK the $100B PLUS INTEREST from the population at large to pay off on this investment.  The Debt Sink of the Consumer is already full up here, on all levels from personal debt to Goobermint debt signed for in his name by his “elected” representatives.  Da Goobermint is NOT handing out free money to consumers to buy the oil as it hands out free money to extractors to drill, and they likely never will.  What they are doing in just about all economies across the globe is strangling the amount of credit the population at large has available to buy the energy, while they close up shop and stop the CapEx required to exploit any sources of energy that are still left here.


You can see this in action already in the Bakken and other neighborhoods where high CapEx is necessary to drill and develop the energy source, rig counts are already down there.  Royal Dutch Shell and the other majors are already backing off from further investment, and Geopolitically you see the collapse of agreements between countries like Russia which still has some energy resource to exploit and the multi-national companies that provide the expertiese and equipment to do the drilling, like Halliburton and Baker-Hughes, recently merged as they consolidate downward here.  These service companies to the Energy Industry are the ones getting hit first and hardest, but the whole industry will collapse in a cascade fashion here.

Once you grasp that Money is not a THING in itself, but just a PROXY FOR ENERGY, you should also grasp that it does not MATTER what the currency used is made from, Paper, Gold, Cowrie, Shells or Digibits.  Issuing out more digibits to buy energy that is not being extracted does not allow you to buy more energy.  You cannot issue out more Gold (because of course what Gold is left in the ground takes ever more Energy to extract), so all converting to a PM based monetary system does is deflate the economy, the gold becomes less valuable with respect to the resource available as well, not to mention not very available for people to use because it is so centralized overall.  In the final stages of the game, no matter HOW MUCH “money” you have of any type, it simply does not buy the resources you want to buy with it, they just are not there to BUY!

http://scriptshadow.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/canary-in-the-coal-mine.jpgw595.jpegBecause we depend on money to lubricate and run the global system of trade we have developed, it remains possible to an extent for the folks running the credit creation biz to funnel credit out to some places and not others, and in so doing triage off the economy whole sectors of the globe now.  Southern and Eastern Europe is being so triaged off as we speak, with our friends in Greece at the forefront of this, in a constant state of Bailout and Political Crisis, but NONE of the Bailouts to date have done a goddamn thing to relieve the misery of the Greek population, all they have done is keep the Bankstering System in Greece and Europe as a whole floating another day.  At this point as far as the majority of the population in Greece is concerned, there simply is no benefit whatsoever to remain inside the system.  They want to Opt Out.

Greece is the Canary in the Coal Mine here, and the same effect is going to move through all the economies of the banking system as the Credit that is issued out to consumers to buy energy is triaged off here.  The last places to experience this will be the centers of credit creation, in the City of London and Wall Street, but the speed at which it works its way inward increases daily here, you absolutely can track this progress on a monthly if not daily basis now.

Eventually, the Credit issued out is worthless, the currency is worthless there just is nothing left to BUY with it.  That is why the Roman currency collapsed, not because they diluted the Gold in the Coins with Base Metals, but because there simply was not stuff to BUY with that currency once they reached the Limits to Growth of that type of economy, mainly agriculturally based to provide energy to the society.

Has such a thing occurred before?  Indubitably, it has, it most certainly occurred at the end of the Babylonian Empire in the earliest years of the Ag Economy.  From Revelation 18:

10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

At a certain point in the Collapse of a Civilization, it ALL goes WORTHLESS.  Not just the Fiat Paper, not just the Gold, but even the SOULS of MEN.  The life of a Slave is Worth LESS than it costs to keep the Slave alive, so the slave is disposed of.  When the Souls of Men become worthless, just how much value do you think remains in an Ounce of Gold?  Answer, not a whole lot there.

Money is a mathematical artifice that represents the total energy available to a society at any given time.  You cannot create more energy by issuing out more credit.  For the Roman Empire, which took Millenia to grow, it took Centuries for their economy based on Agriculture as their source of Energy to Collapse.  For the Industrial Society which developed over just a few Centuries, it will Collapse in a matter of decades at the most, and possibly more rapidly  than that as the monetary system which mediates the flow of energy itself collapse.


There is no stopping this process, the only thing that remains somewhat possible is to slow it down some, and to REVERSE ENGINEER to some older technologies that are less energy intensive on the way downslope.  That is not possible however on the grand scale here, the network as a whole is too dependent on the energy to continue functioning, so until the network collapses, there will be no changes made.  When the network does collapse, the change will come rapidly indeed.

Prep for it.


27 Responses to Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

  • RE, was the biophysical component to the supply demand equation intentionally left out of the equation (sinister, unquenchable greed) or just plain ignorance on the part of the Masters of the Universe?

    This article is simply brilliant! I recently read “Environment, Power and Society by Howard Odum, a seventies work that incorporates the money component into the energy dynamic. That’s forty plus years ago and here we are.

    Your work and Ludlum’s are the best I’ve come across and I’ve been at this long and hard for many years.

    Any thoughts on how long the Canadian Tar Sands debacle can survive?

    Your ability to deliver complex concepts in a succinct and understandable manner (with appropriate humor and irony) is truly amazing. Bravo!

    Bill Sodomsky

  • p01 says:

    Money has no meaning unless it is used to back the issuance of debt. What we call money is in fact the instrument debt is issued upon (seeds, grains, grains of gold, gold, debt based on gold, debt based on debt based on gold, etc). It is an effect of both surplus energy and human imagination (projection into the future).
    Surplus energy is necessary, but not sufficient.

    Money was one human saying to the other:
    Gimme me that, and I’ll give you back more.
    Then it evolved into a narrative and became more abstract, the underlying asset became controlled and hard or impossible to forge, but the basic concept remains.

  • St. Roy says:

    Brilliant RE. At year end you have outdone yourself. I agree with BS above that you and Steve L. are both hitting on all eight cylinders or out of the park for your last posts of the year.

    Have a great New Year

  • RE says:

    Thanks for the Testimonial BS! You too SR!

    “RE, was the biophysical component to the supply demand equation intentionally left out of the equation (sinister, unquenchable greed) or just plain ignorance on the part of the Masters of the Universe?”-BS

    I think at the beginning just as the Resource was considered Infinite, the capacity of the environment to absorb Waste also was considered Infinite. A few really bright folks like Newton might have realized that neither was truly infinite, but from the POV of the folks who started this Ponzi, the economic theory behind it was based on both those concepts being true.

    As we move through time here, it’s hard for me to believe that by around the 1970s that people in the Energy Industry did not know its days were numbered, but in order to keep it going the depletion was willfully ignored, along with the environmental degradation. Campaigns were actively undertaken to destroy the environmental movement, subsidize fossil fuels, etc. It wasn’t too hard a sell, because as I have mentioned in a few articles, had we started really trying to exit the fossil fuel economy in the 70s, the ponzi would have began to crash then. Nobody wants to take Pain Today when it can be put off until tomorrow, especially if the Tomorrow is after you personally are likely to be dead anyhow.

    Tar Sands are not a lot different than the Fracking, it’s high cost energy that the customers cannot afford. It will shut in as time progresses here.


  • English Rose says:

    Your prose has simply gone to new levels over the last few months RE. What has happened in your life that has made things so much clearer to you?

    From someone who remembers your constant Lone Ranger battles with the dim wits over on the burning platform, I have to say you have come along way my friend. Remarkable stuff, keep up the good work. I have learnt a hell of a lot from your during the last 6/7 years.

  • St. Roy says:


    I was so enthralled by this post, I read in again for the third time trying to reset my brain to how I I think about the 3Es. There is a commonality in this post and Gail’s most recent one too. Inefficiency in the various economic sectors is just another way of explaining loss in the energy gradient or declining net energy. I think 2015 will be the pivotal year for industrial civilization when the wheels start coming off big time.

  • RE says:

    ER! Long time no see!

    One thing that’s changed is I don’t waste my time in pointless battles with dimwits anymore, I ignore them.

    Otherwise though, it’s just a process and the ideas get more refined over time so it becomes easier to communicate them.


    The inefficiency Gail talks about is related, but it’s not precisely the same thing. It takes more energy to refine a low grade ore to metal than a high grade one for instance, but this doesn’t explain how money and debt are related to that idea. My goal is to get people to grasp how the areas of Energy, Economy & Environment are tied together here.


  • St. Roy says:


    Agree. While I noted the synergy of both posts, yours was far better. Thanks for the further elucidation. Also, your writing style is much more logically coherent than hers.


  • RE says:

    Gail has a fairly “traditional” view of money as an Actuary, so she doesn’t always see things precisely the way I do. Always good by the numbers analysis in the traditional sense though. We probably will hook up Sunday for a Year in Doom Recap on the Cafe.

    I’m currently working up material for a New Year’s Day EXTRAVAGANZA on the Diner, Surly is putting together a recap of the Year in Doom, I wrote a Short Story and I may work up a Rant here too tonight! I’m also kicking off a New Year Fundraiser, which you beat me to with another Donation, so thanks for that!


  • The article above proposed this definition:

    “Money serves as a PROXY for the energy available in a given society.”

    My definition:

    Money is measurement backed by murder.

    The article above proposed a “Thermodynamic View of Money.” I believe that one should engage in a radical critique of the BASIC ERRORS in the philosophy of science which were originally developed in thermodynamics, and then extrapolated into information theory. The IMPORTANCE of those ERRORS is impossible to exaggerate, as demonstrated in the following quote, which is alleged to be a statement written in 1979 regarding efforts made then to compare monetary systems to energy systems.


    Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

    … Energy is recognized as the key to all activity on earth. Natural science is the study of the sources and control of natural energy, and social science, theoretically expressed as economics, is the study of the sources and control of social energy. Both are bookkeeping systems: mathematics. Therefore, mathematics is the primary energy science. And the bookkeeper can be king if the public can be kept ignorant of the methodology of the bookkeeping. … In this structure, credit, presented as a pure element called “currency,” has the appearance of capital, but is in effect negative capital. Hence, it has the appearance of service, but is in fact, indebtedness or debt. … if balanced in no other way, will be balanced by the negation of population (war, genocide)… They must eventually resort to war to balance the account, because war ultimately is merely the act of destroying the creditor … War is therefore the balancing of the system by killing the true creditors (the public …)








    6.6 Entropy in quantum mechanics


    6.7 Information theory

    I call attention to the fact that those mathematical definitions of entropy, “S” have an ARBITRARY MINUS SIGN inserted, so that the measurements of power and information will result in positive numbers, rather than negative numbers.

    Mathematics is a language that endeavours to be more rigorously stylized, in order to become more sublimely useful. Mathematics is the language of the bookkeeping of both energy and money. In that context, consider the MAGNITUDE of the ERROR in the philosophy of science which resulted from INSERTING A MINUS SIGN INTO THE ENTROPY EQUATIONS OF THERMODYNAMICS AND INFORMATION THEORY!

    Some basic background, within which to understand the significance of that ERROR, are that human beings have two primarily media through which energy/information flows. The first is the biological, the DNA and proteins. The second is the neural networks. The former is often simplified by referring to the genes, while the later is simplified by referring to the memes.

    Human beings are biological beings which are able to build brains that can operate languages, including mathematics, as the most abstract of those languages, but still a human language nonetheless. Some of the basics of that are that human beings build mental models of their world, including mental models of themselves within their mental models of the world.

    Money is measurement backed by murder, because the meaning of the symbols depends upon behaviour. The debt controls depend upon the death controls. That operates within the overall situation that all private property exists as claims backed by coercions. There is no private property outside of some system of public violence. The overall trajectory of that human history was that the privatization of God led to the privatization of the environment.

    What follows from looking at individual human beings and human civilizations as general energy systems is that human realities are always organized lies operating robberies. However, in order to understand that better, one must engage in a radical critique of the concept of entropy, in order to perceive how the meaning of that concept was inverted during the development of the history of science.

    Human beings have the genetic ability to develop a brain that can learn a language. The basic ways that tends to be done are through various DUALITIES, which are as ancient as human language itself. However, most of the progress in science has been based upon profound paradigm shifts which replaced better UNITARY MECHANISMS for the previously mistaken false fundamental dichotomies, which were presumed within human languages based on DUALITIES.

    For instance, in thermodynamics, heat became understood as the average kinetic energy of molecules and atoms. After developing that unitary mechanism, then the duality between hot and cold was no longer a valid fundamental dichotomy, because cold did not exist the way that hot existed. Cold was an absence of heat. Heat was a form of energy. The perception of cold was due to the relative absence of heat, but cold did not exist in itself, the way that heat existed as a form of energy. The language of hot and cold was the kind of duality that people presumed upon due to common sense being encoded into natural languages. Hence, people talk about hot and cold as if they are equal opposites. However, that is WRONG.

    The same ideas apply to understanding light as a form of energy. The unitary mechanism with respect to light is that all colours are different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. Colours exist as forms of energy. White light is due to perceiving all the colours together. Natural languages, based upon encoding common sense, can become quite confusing mixtures to discuss, however, the basics are that black or darkness does not exist, only colours exist, the same as cold does not exist, but only heat exists. Pure black would be no light whatsoever. Pure white would be all colours at once. The unitary mechanism understanding of light, as a form of energy, electromagnetic radiation, transcends the previous dualities that were presumed by natural languages.

    Deeper scientific understand of the speed of light, due to light being a form of energy, has resulted in the special theory of relativity. That has resulted in transforming the common sense presumptions regarding time and space, to transform those into unitary mechanisms, which are pretty well the total opposite to the previous presumptions, that time and space were independent absolutes. It is quite difficult to approach better understanding of the principle of the conservation of energy, because doing so tends to asymptotically approach transcending all of the dualities that we use to think through. That becomes even more imperative when we attempt to interpret the meaning of the mathematics found in quantum mechanics, etc. …

    I assert that post-modernizing science is re-converging with ancient mysticism, from where it originally started, long, long ago. However, in order to better reconcile science with mysticism, one has to correct some of the profound ERRORS which were made in the history of the philosophy of science, such as when the concept of entropy had its meaning REVERSED, by inserting a minus sign into the entropy equations.

    The theoretical imperative importance of that change in world view can be understood better after one considers that the special theory of relatively enabled harnessing atomic energy, while quantum mechanics enabled electronics to be developed. Those abilities are trillions of times BIGGER than anything that previously existed in known human history, however, those abilities have been channeled through Neolithic civilizations’ social pyramids systems, based on being able to back up lies with violence, to become globalized systems of electronic monkey money, backed by apes with atomic bombs. That is, the ENFORCED FRAUDS which are the foundation of our political economy, which operate inside of our human ecology, have applied progress in science and technology to become much better at being dishonest and backing that up with bigger violence.

    As soon as we relatively SUBTRACT human beings from their environment, then across those defined boundaries they must TAKE ENERGY in order to live. To the degree that we name human beings, and assign them properties, then they necessarily become organized systems of lies operating robberies. When one perceives individual human beings, and human civilizations, as entropic pumps of energy flow, then that is based on SUBTRACTION and ROBBERY, as the fundamental realities, which condition everything else that is perceived upon that basis.

    Human civilizations developed due to the history of warfare. The oldest book on the Art of War starts by saying that “success in war depends on deceits,” and ends by saying that “spies are the most important soldiers.” The history of warfare selected for the surviving War Kings to create the powers of sovereign states, such as the power to tax, and the power to kill to back up the power to tax, as allegedly justified through the rule of law. When one applies some of the basic concepts of general energy systems to human systems, then one discovers that human societies operate as fractal patterns of the principles and methods of organized crime. Social systems are controlled by their most labile components, which are the most dishonest and violent people, while the human path of least resistance is the path of least morality. Warfare was organized crime on larger scales. After the War Kings made the sovereign states, the best organized gangs of criminals were able to apply the methods of organized crime to the political processes, in order to capture control over governments, and thereby effectively privatize those powers of governments.

    The best organized gangsters were the banksters. Those international bankers applied the methods of organized crime through the political processes, in order to capture control over the monetary systems, which became the MAD Money As Debt system, backed up by the MAD Mutual Assured Destruction system. Those banksters became the Fraud Kings, which controlled the powers that the War Kings had originally assembled and channeled. Therefore, the power to tax, and to kill to back up the power to tax, backed up the creation of “money” made out of nothing as debts, by privately controlled banks, which systems of ENFORCED FRAUDS everyone else was forced to live within. There were developed entire royal courts of Frauds Kings. Each central bank was the national Fraud King, while the King of Kings of Fraud was the Bank of International Settlements. Those presided over other banks issuing the credits, that was the “money” made out of nothing as debts, which “paid” for strip-mining the planet’s natural resources, which was all merely a BIGGER AND BETTER SYSTEM OF ORGANIZED LIES OPERATING ROBBERIES, which developed at an exponential rate throughout the history of Neolithic Civilizations. At the present time, we are wondering whether those social pyramids systems will be able to adapt to survive running into the real limits to exponential growth, which are showing up as diminishing returns, impacting first and foremost within the financial systems based on ENFORCED FRAUDS.

    Therefore, as the article above expressed it, as well as the earlier articles on “money as a valve,” what is happening is that human realities were always organized lies operating robberies, which became more sophisticated. At present, there are globalized debt slavery systems, whereby the access to natural resources was controlled. I AM NOT SAYING THAT ANYTHING IN THOSE ARTICLES WAS WRONG, SO MUCH AS I AM PROVIDING A DEEPER BACKGROUND OF THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE UPON WHICH THOSE ARTICLES ARE FIGURING.

    We are living in a Bizarro Mirror World, where everything appears proportionately backwards and distorted. Governments are the biggest form of organized crime, controlled by the best organized gangs of criminals, the banksters. There are no fundamental dichotomies between countries, corporations, or churches, versus organized crime. Rather, what happens is that the biggest and best organized gangs of criminals are able to have their social stories, as the biggest bullies’ bullshit, almost totally dominate society, in ways whereby the vast majority of people end up brainwashed to believe in that bullshit.

    The two most dominate State Religions at the present time are the monetary system, and national security. Both are based on the maximum possible frauds and deceits. Within that context, the controlled opposition groups developed to become co-opted to operate within the same basic bullshit world view, based on false fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals, which actually make the opposite happen in the real world.

    The common natural languages, based up dualities, are found throughout all of the various old-fashioned religions and ideologies. The history of the philosophy of science was often due to a series of compromises with those old-fashioned religions and ideologies. The philosophy of science, like all other social enterprises, ended up being dominated by the biggest bullies’ bullshit world view. There were many important ways that happened. One of the most important and abstract ways was the insertions of an arbitrary minus sign into the entropy equations of thermodynamics and information theory.

    Paradoxically, inside of a social reality dominated by the biggest bullies’ bullshit world view, everything gets inverted and perverted, on level after level, as one travels through infinite tunnels of deceits. Metaphorically, one may ask: “How far down the rabbit hole does Alice go?” of “How far up the tornado does Dorothy go?” There are extremely profound problems which developed as natural selection was internalized as human intelligence. After life exists, then the evolutionary ecologies which develop depend upon the death controls. That applied to how human beings and human civilizations developed their forms of artificial selection, which emerged out of the history of natural selections pressures acting through human beings.

    As I said, the history of successful warfare based on deceits then morphed to become successful finance based on frauds. The recent Frostbite Falls Rant about “Energy & Banking Criminal Racketeering” correctly quoted Smedley Butler summarizing the social facts in this way: “A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”

    I am NOT disagreeing with that view, rather, I am attempting to present the deeper reasons how and why that happened. I believe that is what is necessary, IF we are ever to be able to develop better resolutions of the chronic political problems inherent in the nature of human life, which are currently headed towards becoming more and more acute at an exponentially accelerating rate, due to progress in science and technology enabling the industrial revolutions.

    My recommendations are that we should go through intellectual scientific revolutions, which apply to political science in general, and to the combined money/murder systems in particular. The main effects of the runaway debt slavery systems, developing numbers which have become debt insanities, are that those are going to provoke death insanities. The only apparent ways that the ruling classes, or the pyramidion people at the top of the social pyramid systems, have prepared for running into the limits to growth were to stage inside job, false flag attacks, in order to start more genocidal wars, as well as prepare to impose democidal martial law.

    IF we are going to cope with the various limits to growth better, then we are going to have to develop better death controls, to back up better debt controls, all of which means better government, which is better organized crime. That is the context in which I promote the ideas of a creative synthesis of ancient mysticism with post-modernizing science. The main philosophical basis for doing that are the concepts of SUBTRACTION and ROBBERY. The main point I have made above is that we have effectively “subtracted the subtraction.” Although we currently understand almost everything as general energy/information systems, ALL OF THAT SUFFERS FROM THE ERROR OF INVERTING THE MEANING OF ENTROPY.

    Therefore, we are operating our civilization on the basis of combined money/murder systems, which operate through the maximum possible frauds and deceits. We continue to rely upon old-fashioned, apparently common sense dualities, which are expressed as false fundamental dichotomies, and their related impossible ideals, which continue to actually cause the opposite to happen in the real world. The vast majority of people are living inside of a Bizarro Mirror World, while they do not understand that they are perceiving everything BACKWARDS. I suggest that the metaphorical solutions are that we should go THROUGH the looking glass of that Bizarro Mirror World, and one of the ways of doing that is to understand the ERRORS in the philosophy of science, which inverted the meaning of entropy, so that we inverted the ways that we understood all general energy systems, including the monetary system, as a proxy for the energy system.

  • Phil Hamilton says:

    Howdy RE,

    Looks like you will be sharing that Nobel prize with Steve. That piece is a absolute cracker.

    How do you donate to Steve’s blog, or should I just give my worthless Aussie currency to you. lol.


  • RE says:

    I don’t think Steve has a Donate button up. He’s waiting for the $1M Check from the Nobel Committee. :mrgreen:


  • Phil Hamilton says:

    Howdy again there RE,

    What do you think about this….Even ‘conventional oil’ is becoming more and more ‘unconventional’. E.g. even Saudi Arabia has to pump more and more water in, to get the oil out.

    Is all oil ‘unconventional’ now?


  • Scott Boy says:

    Hi RE, what a fantastic article! Is there a pdf version or something like? I would love to re publish this with credit to you.


  • RE says:

    Thanks SB!

    No, I haven’t pdfed ths one. You can copy/paste to Word and pdf it from there though.


  • RE says:

    “Is all oil ‘unconventional’ now?”-PH

    Common Fucking Sense is Unconventional now. :mrgreen:


  • Phil Hamilton says:


    What I was tring to get at RE.

    Is there any largish oil fields, where the oil comes out of the ground, Ged Clampett style or ‘conventionally’?


  • RE says:

    I doubt there is an Oil reservoir left anywhere in the world where it POPS out of the ground under it’s own pressure. Perhaps somewhere, but I doubt it. However, that doesn’t make it “unconventional” by itself. I think that designation goes to any type of field that you can’t get the oil up just by pumping alone. If you need to do “stimulation” by explosions or if you have to heat the stuff up to make it flow, that I think is what gives it the UC designation.


  • Phil Hamilton says:

    Ok, so most of Saudi Arabia’s oil, where they have to pump more and more water in, to get the oil out. Would make their oil, ‘unconventional’. :mrgreen:


  • RE says:

    No, it’s still “conventional” because all they have to do to get it out of the ground is do some pumping. They don’t have to do explosions to fracture rock, they don’t have to heat the stuff up to make it flow either. It still comes out of the ground pretty cheap without having to expend a whole lot of energy to get it to come out of the ground. Unconventional Oil requires a heavy input of energy to get the energy out, and that is where the EROEI calculation comes into play. It also factors in to deep water drilling and to Arctic sources where you battle the climate conditions to be able to do the extraction.

    The legacy wells in Saudi Arabia like Ghanwar are “conventional” Oil sources, even though they now require pumping down water to get Oil up from underground. The Bakken and Hoser Tar Sands fit the unconventional oil definition.


  • Phil Hamilton says:

    Yeah, I know their ERoEI would be heaps better then fracking, tar sands, deep water etc. But this set up looks pretty elaborate to me…. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9045

    When the water contaminate the oil, (is that a oxymoron?) it has to be treated, as well.

    It would be interesting to know at what oil price they need just to break even. Just to pay production costs.


  • Spud Coolzip says:

    Bucky Fuller got a lot of things wrong, including many of his predictions, although his body of work in math and geometry might be one of the things that will help keep humanity from falling into a new dark age after the big crash. He put way too much faith in technology and way, way too much in human nature. Still, some of his ideas are worthy of consideration, if only as concepts of how things might be if we would only do things which most people seem to be incapable of, which are to think and act rationally and be honest with ourselves. One of my favorite ideas of his was to make the monetary system incorruptible and based on real wealth – actual natural “energy income”.

    “I therefore predict that before the end of the 1980s the computer’s politically unbiased problem-solving prestige will have brought about the world’s completely integrated electrical-energy network grid. This world electric grid, with its omni-integrated advantage, will deliver its electric energy anywhere, to anyone, at any one time, at one common rate. This will make possible a world-around uniform costing and pricing system for all goods and services based realistically on the time-energy metabolic accounting system of Universe.

    In this cosmically uniform, common energy-value system for all humanity, costing will be expressed in kilowatt-hours, watt-hours, and watt-seconds of work. Kilowatt-hours will become the prime criteria of costing the production of the complex of metabolic involvements per each function or item. These uniform energy valuations will replace all the world’s wildly intervarying, opinion-gambled-upon, top-power-system-manipulatable monetary systems. The time-energy world accounting system will do away with all the inequities now occurring in regard to the arbitrarily maneuverable international shipping of goods and the top economic power structure’s banker-invented, international balance-of-trade accountings. It will eliminate all the tricky banking and securities-markets exploitations of all the around-the-world-time-zone activities differences in operation today, all un-beknownst to the at-all-times two billion humans who are sleeping.”

    The psychopathic plutocrats (is that redundant?) in charge right now would sure as hell never let this happen.

  • Spud Coolzip says:

    BTW, the above passage came from his book, Critical Path. The above excerpt came from the forward. That and the first chapter, Legally Piggly, are definitely worth a read. Free scanned PDF of the book is at

  • joebhed 6 minutes ago

    First thing I say is that the author is indeed onto something with regards the laws of thermodynamics as they must be accounted in our seeking of optimal prosperity in light of natural resource limitations imposed by the capacity of ‘nature’ to support that prosperity.

    Me thinks he is perhaps reinventing a wheel, and thus is unnecessarily trying to model these energy-resource interactions with the result being confounded understandings by the readers.

    The founder of the science of Ecological Economics, Natural Science Nobelist Dr. Frederick Soddy, has laid out much more complete and comprehensible explanation of these relationships and how we need to change the role of money in society in order to bring forth our goal of natural resource and human sustainability.

    His Lectures in Cartesian Economics go a long way towards this basic Second law-based understanding
    Subtitled as “The Bearing of Physical Science Upon State Stewardship”, and available here :

    But his book on The Role of Money provides the mechanical and operational money-system understandings that are needed to guide us to a new monetary undertaking based upon the reversal of the debt-based money – economic growth imperative at the heart of our ecological and economic crises.
    Reformers Simons (The Chicago Plan), Fisher (100 Percent Money) , Friedman (Fiscal and Monetary Framework), and modern IMF researchers (The Chicago Plan revisited) are all advancing modern reforms to the money system, and all have their foundation in Soddy’s work.


    Soddy has done this already.

    Re-learning his work is the order of the day.


  • Pingback: The supply of money in an energy-scarce world | Doomstead Diner

  • timl2k11 says:

    So very insightful and important. So much so that I wonder how people don't  get this! I've believed that's money is a proxy for  energy for a while. What else could it be? We are all "energy slaves" and always have been. Using money as a proxy for energy, it's very easy to see that with things like rooftop solar, if you don't get a positive ROI, then solar is an energy sink! And if you take away both the overt and hidden subsidies the ROI is indeed negative. Shale too, if it's not profitable, that is also a sign that there is little or no net energy, hence the economic stagnation in the US despite the explosion in oil production here. Modern economics hides and obfuscates what is really going on.

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