I keep wanting to say something about ‘current events’, or perhaps to be more clear, the ever accelerating deterioration of current events. But it’s a very difficult subject for me now.

But in practical fact, it may simply be too late to change anyone’s mind about anything, and even if they do, it may be too late for them to understand what needs to be done. And even if they do, if may be too late to actually do any of it. And even if it isn’t, what little can be done, may not matter much.

One of the hard truths of being a healer, no matter what kind of a healer you happen to be, is that you don’t fix problems without the cooperation of the involved party. It just doesn’t happen, and trying only drains and damages you, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Too much of the world is simply not involved in fixing what is going on. They have opted out of that possibility and like I say, it may be too late for some people to opt back in. So trying to fix something beyond what little sphere of consent you happen to operate in, is probably a tragic mistake.

This is not fatalism, or pessimism or cynicism. It simply is what it is. There will be more than enough exceptions to prove the rule. Unless something dramatically changes the established pattern of human behavior in extremely short order, much of the world is simply going to die.

How much of our existing food supply is inextricably tied to our fossil energy outputs? Let’s be charitable and say 70%. It’s probably closer to 80 or 90 actually, at this point, but let’s just err on the side of optimism.

The most absolutely conservative estimates in terms of decline in oil fields that have passed peak say a 3% loss of output, year on year is what we can expect. We already have examples of super giant fields that are closer to 5-10% a year. But again, let’s just say 3%. And we’ll just forget about demand increase altogether, which would probably yield a year on year net-shortfall of more like 6%.

Again, the most wildly optimistic estimates have it that if we had a working alternative liquid fuel source today, and we committed to retrofitting our infrastructure completely to this new source, it would take about 20 years to ramp up to anything like today’s production levels.

And finally, let’s be really optimistic and say that we haven’t actually hit the back of the oil production curve yet, and we still have a couple years before we go over the decline cliff. This would be ignoring basically all the evidence since 2005 that indicates we have already peaked, but I’ll be generous.

So starting in a couple years time, we would have our 3% energy shortfall, and let us again say that optimistically, this shortfall is allocated evenly across all regions and all sectors of use. There’s not the slightest fucking chance of that, my friends, but let’s all try and sleep tonight, what do you say?

So that’s a 3% loss of energy inputs to all food production and distribution, everywhere, in the first year. And let’s pretend that this will be a totally linear impact and that supply chains will not simply collapse, that farmers will not simply go bankrupt and abandon their plots, that economic instability will not close borders, or any number of things. I think we’ve already seen how in a hyper connected global system that you cannot contain chaos, and indeed, it infects everything around it at the speed of light.

The relation of energy inputs to caloric production is a bit nebulous, but again, I think I’m being quite optimistic here: let’s just imagine in a perfect world that everyone simply reduces their net caloric intake by 3%. I know for myself, that I’ve probably done that in the last year already, just in terms of certain foods that are getting beyond the price range I’m comfortable with. It’s a trivial, and probably healthy, loss, which I could replace, if I felt like spending the extra money, but the bottom line is, I need to spend more ‘energy’ to stay in the same place. And if this effect is steady and cumulative, sooner or later I couldn’t. Imagine what those people rioting over tortillas or soybeans are thinking. same line, different points.

I’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. For awhile. But how many people in the world are living on the edge of starvation already? How many people die when you slice their caloric intake by just 3% ( and let’s just remember that it’s probably more like 6%, if you spread it evenly, and upwards of 20% if we admit that it will be concentrated in certain areas, at least at first ) ? We’ve got around 40 000 starvation deaths per day already.

Now let’s compound it. Because every year if we’re lucky, for the next ten-twenty years at least, those energy inputs will continue to fall. After ten years, you and everyone else has had your caloric intake reduced by upwards of 30%, and after 20 years, 60%. The average westerner/european can still live on this but much of the rest of the world is simply gone.

The world average caloric intake is currently about 2700 calories per day. 1500 is pushing it and 1200 is in starvation mode. This is not complex math. the best case is that hundreds of millions of marginally-fed people are wiped out, year on year, for about 15-20 years. the worst case is the population gets cut by about half in 6-7 years, and we bottom out some where around pre-green revolution levels.

I may be overestimating this, but I’m not completely wrong. Like I say, I’ve fudged all these numbers wildly in the positive direction. If I am just missing something, I’d sure like to hear how and why. please, be my guest…

71 thoughts on “Tell me I’m wrong…

  1. Well,

    The sun hasn’t stopped shining. Plants haven’t stopped growing. Starving African children is a good excuse to get people to accept GM seeds.

    Meanwhile the sun still shines.

    Its hard to create a bottle neck around the sun. But one way is patented GM terminal seeds. Another is by getting civilization to run on ancient concentrated sunlight and controlling the supply.

    So really these kids are being killed by Robber Barons. plain and simple. Hierarchy creates “ARTIFICIAL” bottle necks.

    So long as people accept the legitimacy of such hierarchies as monopolistic capitalism we will suffer.

    But the sun is continuing to radiate enough energy to sustain life on planet Earth.

  2. that’s fine. but that has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. and active solar power is even farther away than something like cellulosic ethanol or reformed nuclear power.

    people can’t eat sunshine. not directly.

  3. Ok. You are right. We are all fucked. Massive starvation and die off is inevitible. Nothing can be done. Its too late.

    And it has nothing to do with people giving away their personal power to monopolistic capitalists who in turn create artificial scarcity through bottle necks.

  4. I’m not talking about being an optimist or not. and whether or not monopolists are behind it is, at this stage, beside the point.

    and don’t be lazy and paint me with the malthusian pessimists brush, my friend, because my public record speaks for itself. I’m saying if you have a feasible counter-argument, then please, let’s hear it.

    but just tossing out the words ‘solar power’ like it’s a hail mary, doesn’t exactly convince me.

  5. Yeah, I know you aren’t an idiot and are fairly rigorous. But I don’t think you are any more immune to the confirmation bias once you turn pessimistic, than anyone else.

    I mean what do you mean by active solar being “far away?”

    Why do you think that? Why is it far away? Who does high tech Rand D?


    Hmm. Who funds the requisite research departments of the Universities?

    The military and big Multinationals?

    hmm. So you don’t percieve some hierarchical type power structure there creating a knowledge bottle neck?

    So are electic cars “far away” also?

    Well first o

  6. Probably one percent of the population of western nations are “scientifically literate” so that means this is a small resource. Fairly easy to monopolize. First control all the Universities, then hire all the Ph.D’s.

    So yeah, obvioulsy I am not smart enough to come up with a feasible active solar technology. If I was I couldn’t do it in my garage.

    But if I were that edjucated I would probably be fairly spineless like most people are and ruled by fear of not having security. So I’d go work for some big corporation and rationalize it all away, or I would work at a University funded by one.

    We need anarchists that are smart about science. People with balls.

    The best way is to get large numbers of people to stop giving their power away to the system.

    But there is reason for optimism. There are maverick types that want to start green start ups and they are starting to get venture capital.

    The plan was that oil would run out and then everyone would embrace nuclear, That’s why the oil companies own the patents on nuclear.

    So the evil master plan is out of whack already. Things are loosening up.

  7. usable nuclear fuel won’t last much longer than oil will. especially if it’s supposed to ramp up as a full blown oil/gas replacement. if that’s the plan, they’re retarded.

    It makes no difference if there is some benevolent committee of green anarchist scientists. even if you had a working technology today, it would still take you a couple decades to replace the infrastructure we’ve built around oil and gas. that’s why I say 15-20 years of plummeting population, because there’s virtually no chance we’ll be making up our energy shortfall any sooner than that. it may start, but it won’t close the gap in time.

    active solar is far away because for starters there’s no working method that scales or is cost effective. and you don’t get the flux density from solar power to do much besides lighting and heating. solar energy is abundant yes, but too diffuse to smelt metals, fly planes, operate heavy equipment, etc. and then there’s the whole issue of feedstock for fertilizer and plastics and pharmaceuticals…

    if the ‘hierarchical power structure’ disappeared today, it wouldn’t change a thing I just said. In fact, the best case scenario pretty much assumes that’s what happens, and you still have hundreds of millions of deaths for quite a while.

    I’ve treated this as an essentially open question for at least five years, and I’m just getting to the point where I don’t think I can sustain that ethically anymore.

  8. zac – when you give equal thought to the hopeful historic equation, it’s slightly less worrisome, but no less concerning. Just consider when brass tacks come down, something comes around – perhaps a marvelous breakthrough in the plastic iniverse will unveil itself. There are infinite possibilities there …
    Maybe dumb luck will squeak us through? extremely likely, as 2-time Jurassic park survivor Dr. Ian Malcolm said “Life finds a way!” – lots of sustainability efforts out there …
    Or maybe since we cant know everything perhaps conditions arent as dire … but that mf’m asteroid in 2012 … then again a lesser meteorite could knock one’s noggin off in 2008 for all their worldly worrying.

    Until then we can spin along with the world in a spirit of compassion and hope for the ripple effect, and that’s really all one can do . . . and recycle.

  9. Zac,

    I am fucking lazy, OK, but you ARE a pessimist. If I was half as rigorous as you I would have a list of reasons to be optimistic mile long.

    First of all we don’t need to keep smelting metal. The only reason mines are still going is because of subsisdies. We have all the metal we will ever need already sitting on the surface of the earth.

    There is scalable solar. a company called Nanosolar has developed solar film. You can print it off.

    The infrastructure is always being renewed anyway. Its an ongoing process. If you have ben working on this for five years I would like to see your sources. What do you just read doomer sites? LATOC and crap like that?
    You have to approach it from the perspective of people who want to make money. Greedy people don’t think like doomers. I am talking about the types of people who start start ups, not Kuntsler and people like that. Entrapreneurs.

    Good place to start is a book called “Natural capitalism”

    and anything else associated with the”Rocky Mountain institute.”

    There is the documenary “Who killed the electric Car”
    which proves lack of technology is not the problem.

    The “evil plan” I was refering to was JP Morgan and people like that. The FDR government basically bailed out and then subsidized big bussiness so BIg Business could position themselves to rule the world for posterity. These guys are all dead now but the plan was to go Nuclear. Yes they were insane. Plus they may have killed Tesla and hid his technology from the public because it would have wrecked their master plan.

    The point is its the power elite and people giving all their power to the powr elite that is causing this. Not simply “overshoot” and all that Bull shit.

    We have the technology. This should cheer you up because its spiritual growth that people need.

  10. 70% of people wok jobs that have no connection whatsoever with life support on planet earth.

    All these people drive to and from work and sit in buildings that use energy. We buy mountians of useless shit and then dump it all in landfills.

    We could probably improve efficiency andreduce waste 5% a year for 30 years and still come out ahead as oil declines.

    We could simply pay 70 percent of the population to stay home.

    You know if we were all living close to the wire it would be different. But we aren’t.

    Now as far as people in the third world getting screwed I mean that’s been going on for a long time, but I think there is hope that they are empowering themselves.

  11. If you’re in germany in WWII and you see the camps have been built and the jews and gypsies and homosexuals rounded up, and the ovens are running and it’s going to be many months or years before the allies shut it down, if ever, are you still a pessimist when the math tells you that millions people are probably going to die? There were plenty of optimists in those camps and they still had to watch people get turned into ashes.

    believe me, I’ve read plenty of kurzweil, buckminster fuller, new deal economists… I understand what you’re saying and it’s not about any of that.

    It’s like jumping off a cliff and deciding to invent something on the way down. too little. too late. It doesn’t matter if you can do it, or not. There simply isn’t enough time. not for a whole lot of people anyway. since you mention infrastrucutre, that’s part of my point: it ISN’T being renewed. the US hasn’t built a reactor in some 30 years that I know of, and the same for drilling rigs, and god knows what else. the bridges and the roads are falling apart everywhere I’ve ever seen or been. north america barely has a rail system, to speak of. so NO the infrastructure is not being constantly renewed.

    I’m sure many of us are going to reap the benefits of a different kind of world, just as you’ve said. but between here and there, is some pretty hard medicine.

    it’s a little beyond choosing a different lens to filter your selection of facts, or what books to read. by all means look at some of the figures and tell me what your alternate interpretation of them is, because I don’t see what you’re talking about in terms of the numbers. but dropping some new theoretical model in my lap doesn’t change what is already in motion. if you can give me some compelling alternate interpretation of what is already in motion, then I’ll be happy to embrace it.

  12. I am cheerful actually. I just figured out how to do a particular meditation state that’s been driving me nutty for months. I feel quite spacious and happy. but that’s not the point. I’m talking about objective analysis. good night.

  13. Kurzweil, seems to want us all to become grey aliens.

    Buckminster Fuller is more on track. You really should read “natural capitalism” a lot of good stuff. So as far as numbers go, you don’t see that built into your assumption is that we cannot improve massively in terms of efficiency?

    I mean fucking hummers and so forth is the only thing we can drive? toWe have to sit in office building all day with the a/c cranked? We have to blow through mounds of plastic garbage?

    Food is somewhat serious. But Pharmaceuticals? They use that much petroleum and are that neccesary? So like when the oil runs out we all die due to complications of restless leg syndrome and ED?

    As far as food though, Big Corporations don’t grow all our food because they make bigger yeilds they can just do it cheaper.

    We could all live on little victory gardens.

    At most we are in for a recession. Good time to go to school and learn Green bussiness skils and then gradiate and make a killing.

    BTW not one “Green business” program in existence yet. We’ve done all we can?

  14. FROH, I think what Zac is trying to get at is that, while there is certainly a possibility for increased efficiency and a technological shift such as you suggest, it will take quite a few years to implement such measures–meaning that, during that gap, the world faces a severe gap in energy production. For a lot of people, that gap means starvation.

    You both will have to start crunching some numbers to resolve this issue.

  15. time and again, I keep saying that you don’t understand what I’m saying, and time and again you keep proving it. rather than keep spinning off trite denunciations and childish ignorance, why don’t you take the time to make sure you understand what I’m saying before you waste everyone’s time. I’m getting a bit tired of trying to make myself understood with you, and you don’t seem to be making much of an effort to justify mine. sooner or later I’m going to get sick of hearing it.

    given the subject matter, I think you can do better than what you just said.

  16. @zac and FROH: This is following a strictly linear approach with one variable with a back-of-the-envelope calculation; i don’t necessarily disagree. I tend t think that both of you should get more detailed andn uanced for much resolution to come from this. More later. FWIW zac’s more convincing here.

    I tend to think that we’re in an accute phase of crisis, which will slacken, and that we’ll see a racheting up of the baseline. Five steps forward, three steps back.

  17. I’m well aware it’s strictly linear, and intentionally so. if you compound it with all the feedbacks and trigger effects, it gets much worse.

    and yeah, I’m sure we’ll see some oscillation, but I’m starting to think that phase is increasingly behind us. you saw the wild swings a year or two ago, but now it just mostly goes in one direction. in systems theory terms that means we’re about a half step away from chaos.

  18. yeah, well its funny how if I say something intelligent you ignore it. And if I say something silly you get all indignant and start pontificating how you are talking way over my head.

    What about all the waste? You don’t adress it. You act like all this stuff that is part of the western lifestyle is like bare bones survival so that any decline puts it all over the edge.

    But anyway, if you start researching green business stuff, there is all kinds of developments. Sky scrapers with wind turbines and photovalics that generate all their own power and send excess back into the grid. They recycle all their own water and capture rain water.

    Big developments built on “brown feilds” which are polluted areas. They clean up the pollution and build a green community with grass on the roofs so all the runnoff is totally clean.

    There is a car that gets 100 mpg in the works.

    Alll this stuff. Its just that its not yet profitable. Its still more profitible to pollute and waste. I mean it is profitable in certian areas. Rich people are catching on first.

    Here are some concepts you can google”

    Triple bottom line

    Service and Flow economy

    Bio mimicry

  19. Basic google search on 100 mpg cars:

    100 mpg car

    A little bit down the page is an article called “Motorhead Messiah” my freind knows this guy. He can make your car 100 mpg. He has been doing it for years. You pay him he does it.

    Zac. I see I am on moderation now. Lets not have a pissing contest. Lets look at it this way. Maybe you have something to learn. Is that bad? Maybe its not a contest about who is the smartest. Maybe you are waaaay smart but a dumb guy like me may still have something to offer.

    Here is what it is with the oil. its been really cheap and highly subsidized. So people aren’t going to invest in alternate energies that cost more. But once oil gets expensive they will, then once that happens the alternatives will be cheap.

    Plus people will greatly improve efficiency. market forces will encourage it. When JD Rockefeller was a kid, kerosene was way more expensive than oil is now.

  20. when you post something with a link in it, it automatically gets stopped by the moderator. no need to cultivate a persecution complex.

    there’s a difference between silly and asinine. and if you’re so intelligent then why do I have to explain everything I write five times before you end up realizing you misunderstood me in the first place?

    as for the waste question, I’m sure you read this part:

    ” I’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. For awhile. But how many people in the world are living on the edge of starvation already? How many people die when you slice their caloric intake by just 3% ( and let’s just remember that it’s probably more like 6%, if you spread it evenly, and upwards of 20% if we admit that it will be concentrated in certain areas, at least at first ) ? We’ve got around 40 000 starvation deaths per day already.”

    So yes, we here can stand to trim some fat, but we’re not the ones who are going to be dying. not right away. at no point did I suggest that north america was in danger of a mass die-off, but the world regarded as a whole, is.

    We have a small fraction of the earths population. if you sliced our living standards in half, it wouldn’t make much difference if you re-distributed that worldwide. it just wouldn’t. it certainly wouldn’t bring many people out of poverty.

    here’s one to google for you: EROEI- energy return on energy invested. green skyscrapers don’t just appear out of the ground. let alone a whole fleet of mythical new super cars. it takes energy to make them. and beyond a certain point it’s not cost effective to make them, or buy them. and even if you could it would take decades to make enough of them to affect this situation that we are in right now.

    if you want me to take you seriously, then you need to show me

    a) a working energy technology with

    b) an existing infrastructure that

    c) can ramp up to replace our oil and gas consumption in all it’s aspects

    d) right now. today. not in ten years, or twenty years. I might consider something that could be running in five years feasible, but that’s only if my assessment of where we are in the situation is off by a year or two. otherwise the economy will be largely wrecked, and it’ll take slave labor or martial law to get it running again.

  21. Here is what it is Zac. People that write on the internet about government conspiracies an so forth are into dark topics. So doom and gloom is the allure.

    People that want to make money think differently. But you can end up hanging out at all these cryptogon and Jeff Wells websites that all just reinforce each other’s worldview.

    But if you take a leap into green bussiness it opens you up into a whole other world. Its a paradigm shift. Diffrent mindset.

    You can build skyscrapers with 100% recycled materials. You can do all kinds of stuff. We don’t need oil to do everything either and we don’t need to keep mining.

    Subsidies mess everything up. Same with the world food supply.

  22. This will bust your worldview of what is possible:

    Here is the direct link.
    Motorhead messiah

    Licoln continentals with 100 mpg and double the horsepower. Electeic Hummers.

    I’m telling you, lack of technology is not the problem.

    Can’t we be friends? I am trying to spread cheer here! Life is not so bad! There is hope!

  23. right. you seem awfully sure you know what I’m thinking and how I see things.

    I asked for a compelling counter-argument, and all you’ve done is throw links at me, and book titles and suggest I need to start thinking like a venture capitalist. and now you’re turning into another mind reader. I get those now and again, but none of them are very accurate. you have a severely distorted view of what I’ve been saying here for some years now. I’m basically an esoteric trans humanist. I think consciousness change and technological change have to happen together. and I think you have to place both of those in a realistic developmental context of the world as it is. a mass die off and economic collapse doesn’t preclude a technological singularity, or mass consciousness shift. in some ways it accelerates it.

    and I’m sorry to burst your bubble but I was hearing all these things 5 years ago and the visible net effect has been less than zero.

    so now you’re not actually trying to argue your point. just ‘sharing’? that’s fine.

    anyone else?

  24. Well Zac, you know, I don’t mean to upset you. I would rather be your friend then your enemy. Maybe I am just dim like you say and that you talk so far over my head that I just will never get it. It must be lonely being so smart.

    If you have had a “several years” long annoyance at me, I apologize. I was not aware of that.

    I would say that esoteric transhumanism sounds good and not so far from how I feel.

    If you don’t think I contribute anything to your discussions I won’t post here any more. I am sorry to have been bugging you for so long. I was not aware of that.

  25. No need to sulk. I never said you were dim. and I meant I have held the same views for several years. not that you have been misunderstanding them for several years.

    all I would say is that you sometimes seem to rush to a superficial assessment of what I say which you have usually realized after some time. it can be a bit tiring, especially when you comment so frequently.

    a wise man once said, that a friend is not someone who agrees with you. it’s someone who respects you enough to disagree with you and still be your friend.

    you clearly add a lot to the conversation, maybe just take a little more time with it.

  26. Ok Zac, I feel a lot better now. Because that was kind of how I looked at our relationship as friends that can disagree and still be friends.

    I really felt a need to get things cleared up. Because I feel as a spiritual person, its really not good to have animosity with other spiritual people. I think we are all in this together.

    But as for spiritual development of humanity as a whole, I agree that technological progress can’t get ahead of where people are. But I thinkl the lag we are experiencing is in the spiritual department.

    As far as the links go they were carefully chosen and were ones that had a profound effect on me as a person. I really feel like I went through a paradigm shift. They are worth checking out. I wrote about them on my blog back in April.

  27. Microbial biofuels will be the likely “miracle” technology that saves our asses this time around. And I don’t just mean on the energy front. A robust biosynthetics infrastructure would make a closed-loop out of hydrocarbon production and consumption, sequestering CO2 from combusted biofuels back into microbes that produce further biofuels. Biotech in general has the potential to solve a number of current problems, and in a relatively short time frame (like 5-15 years). The key is that, like computer software, biotech is easily distributable. Corporations will try to patent early developments and extract huge rents from state-enforced IP monopolies, but once hackers get hold of desktop gene-sequencers and start publishing entire genomes free on the web, there will be an explosion of open-source green technologies. Unfortunately, none of this will prevent megadeath in the Third World, as the Malthusians among the global elite have long been working on the “problem” of human overpopulation, and so far as they’re concerned the brown-skinned peoples are expendable.

  28. I just re-read this and can’t find much really to dispute any of the claims here, save they’re a little simplistic in method but none the less likely. I really don’t think “green” is the answer so much as just technology, but as any observer will note, it takes a long time before we see the effects of technology. It took practically twenty years for companies to streamline global supply chains, even though all the technology used is early ’70s shipping innovations at the latest. The internet connection I use is a cell-phone for all intents and purposes: it’s a dial-up, just faster. Old technology taking years to enter the market practially. This really is worrisome in the face of severe crisis.

    And again, the thing that surprises me is how captive the market is. Oil is clearing at $120, when gas costs $4/gallon: people aren’t changing their behavior.

    Then again, the ’70s were worrisome but we got past them as well. I tend to think this is a little different though.

  29. I think we have reached a break point in terms of fuels cost, at least for some people. every second story in the mainstream media now is about people cutting back on expenses, fuel surcharges for pizza delivery, truckers rioting, etc…

    ken deffeyes figures oil price as % of GDP is a good barometer of when things have to slow down. he figures 300$ a barrel and 15% of gdp will wreck the whole system. which is not far off if things continue at the present rate.


    it’ll be a while before ‘human die-off in progress?’ hits the front page of CNN though.

    the adoption rate of hard tech is worrisome, but the penetration of consciousness technology is absolutely appalling. if you figure the pali cannon has been circulating orally for at least 2500 years, and the yoga traditions since probably around 3300 BC, something pretty radical has to change before we can turn over the installed base.

    I’m not sure what kind of constructive conversation can be had about the motives of the international finance malthusians, but it’s pretty pitiful that they can’t seem to understand that putting people in abject misery only makes them reproduce more, not less.

  30. I came across an interesting documentary the other night where a speculator, when asked if he felt guilty for the current food shortages and starvation, claimed that if he can just get the price of food commodities high enough, it will warrant major investment and improve global food production.

    Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

    The sad fact is Western ‘civilisation’ has been bred to remain self-absorbed. People have been screaming about food wastage, famine, green tech, peak oil, climate change, ritualised satanic child abuse, rigged elections, and other fucked up depravities for many, many years. No one gives a shit, and it’s frankly too late to do anything to really alter the plan, because I’m hungry so I’m going to the drive through for a burger and then I’m going to watch The Chronicles of Narnia.

  31. “I’m not sure what kind of constructive conversation can be had about the motives of the international finance malthusians, but it’s pretty pitiful that they can’t seem to understand that putting people in abject misery only makes them reproduce more, not less.”

    They don’t care, that’s the “Anglo-American” Financier way. If they were Nordic or Japanese they probably would care.

    “The sad fact is Western ‘civilisation’ has been bred to remain self-absorbed. People have been screaming about food wastage, famine, green tech, peak oil, climate change, ritualised satanic child abuse, rigged elections, and other fucked up depravities for many, many years. No one gives a shit, and it’s frankly too late to do anything to really alter the plan, because I’m hungry so I’m going to the drive through for a burger and then I’m going to watch The Chronicles of Narnia.”

    I tend to think that democracy was a passing fad. So over-all, unless you live in Africa, you’re better off. Cheap iPods and whatnot, and you have about as much political input as your farm-slave ancestors, just a much longer life and some more engrossing toys. So I don’t like blaming “the sheeple” that much.

    “the adoption rate of hard tech is worrisome, but the penetration of consciousness technology is absolutely appalling. if you figure the pali cannon has been circulating orally for at least 2500 years, and the yoga traditions since probably around 3300 BC, something pretty radical has to change before we can turn over the installed base.”

    I was thinking about this this morning. Most people are walking around with a slave mentality. That’s after Nietszche and after 3000 years of Solomonic magic, too, you know, that whole “Royal Art” thing. In fact, I don’t even know what I’d do with power if i had it. Maybe purge off some drug runners, re-instituted the office of Holy Fool and build some big spirulina tanks and solar panels. But just talking to people it’s this constant tooth-and-nail will-to-power manipulative transactional analysis game and they don’t even realize it. Like it’s great to know NLP and all but it doesn’t help for shit if someone lacks the “ecology” to be influenced by anything but CNN.

    So you can imagine if we can’t even get through a rulership-consciousness, how are we supposed to get to a participatory-consciousness? All those 18th Century Freemasons really overshot the mark on that one.

  32. There are a few different ways this can be l00ked at. (excuse the zer0s the letter that c0mes after ‘n’ in the alphabest fell 0ff my keyb0ard and the space where it 0nce was t0tally sh0rted 0ut fr0m being pressed) But anyway, its n0 0ne pers0n’s s0le resp0nsibility t0 save human civilizati0n as a wh0le. If y0u think it is y0urs then y0ur eg0 is 0ut 0f b0unds. It happens t0 me, at times, s0 I am n0t p0inting fingers at any0ne.

    But anyway, the best y0u can d0 is w0rk 0ut y0ur life purp0se and align it with divine will and get plugged int0 where y0u can d0 the m0st g00d.

    S0 if y0u feel its y0ur missi0n in life t0 G0 t0 ap00r African c0untry and teach permaculture, even if y0u can’t save the wh0le planet, y0u can make a difference in at least s0me pe0ple’s lives. And if that is what y0u feel y0u were put 0n Earth t0 acc0mplish what m0re can y0u d0?

    The 0ther thing is, the p0wer elite are aligned with the darkside and they d0n’t act t0tally rati0nally. They act evil. S0 part 0f their “ministry” here 0n Earth is t0 dr0p clues ab0ut h0w evil w0rks s0 that pe0ple will be c0nfr0nted with evil pers0nally.

    S0 y0u can’t begin t0 understand their acti0ns fr0m the c0ntext 0f reas0n and rati0nal self interest. S0 if y0u are 0nt0 vari0us clues, such as the fact that they ass fuck little kids and s0 f0rth, y0u are resp0nsible f0r what y0u d0 with that kn0wledge. D0 y0u want t0 g0 al0ng with them anyway 0r d0 y0u want t0 break away fr0m their system?

    But 0nce again if y0u think its y0ur s0le resp0nsibility t0 st0p them y0u are getting way ahead 0f y0urself. Pe0pe with free will can and will ch00se t0 g0 al0ng and there is n0thing 0ther free agents can d0 t0 change their ch0ice.

  33. @FROH: fair enough. but it’s hard to feel like my $170 donation to some organization helped out much…. that’s another story for another time. i figure though if “extreme poverty” is less than $400/a year that a solid organization has to help somehow. but it’s easy to forget one’s own virtue in all this crap.

  34. it gets hard to pick apart the layers without some kind of language like what you find in spiral dynamics. you have to have a developmental model.

    the population pressure comes from blue memes and below, all the way from perpetuating the mythic membership and ethnic identity, down to basic life instinct in the face of misery and death. these people are blocked from advancing to orange or farther by collapsed infrastructure and social/educational institutions, so that they don’t ‘develop’ into significant economic competitors.

    the economic structure, and technical apparatus are orange level artifacts, but the wealth created is slaved to a whole series of blue level and below tribal conflicts, or orange level consumers who lack a mythic membership context and are too sedated to exploit the reasoning faculties of orange in a comprehensive way. either way the ‘progress’ generated by orange gets pored down the toilet.

    even so, you might have seen some eventual technical paradigm shifts, if not for the green meme priesthood. in the name of compassionate conservationism, they’ve prevented the orange level from following through to it’s logical conclusion by blocking oil exploration, and comprehensive use of nuclear. eventually that would have resulted in global economic parity. but they’re too afraid of offending or marginalizing anyone to suggest that we need to curb population growth, or educate backward people, so all you do is gut the support system that would have kept an expanding population alive, or at least smartened them up.

    meanwhile all the politicians are the worst brand of blue fanatics or orange finance predators, who still think they’re fighting a religious war, or else they’re gordon gecko.

    what was it george carlin said? ( RIP)

    “Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don’t fall out of the sky. They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it’s not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here… like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There’s a nice campaign slogan for somebody: ‘The Public Sucks. Fuck Hope.'”

    meanwhile the infrastructure we do have is rusting away and all the ‘wealth’ is increasingly fiat currency sloshing in the gutters of the world economy, and nobody wants to face that we created the perfect thermodynamic holocaust.

    so you unblock the energy programs to buy time, unblock science in general, flood the economic backwaters with education, not shitty key chains and mediocre television, cut the legs out from under the religious fanatics, launch massive resource conservation programs, again, to buy time, and elect leaders who are capable of qualitative value judgments, and probably you push voluntary childlessness to the developed world until we stabilize things again.

    for a start.

  35. OK, I admit the pissing war is so boring I have given up reading the last half of the posts, but here’s my take: ZAC, your whole premise is centered on oil vs food, as if there was no other thing going on on the face of the earth, and this is wrong (AND, incidentally, you’re the one who’s being an impolite jerk in this thread, not FROH).

    If I cancel my newspaper, don’t paint my house, stop turning the air conditioning on, put off buying a new computer for a couple of years, use my car until it drops, don’t buy a new TV, don’t redo my bathroom, take my own bags to the grocery store, and on and on and on and on, can I make up for that 3%? That’s the real question. If I do those things and others, how much does it push back the things you regard as inevitable? What if I and everyone else continues to collapse our lifestyle until it resembles something that the world considered totally reasonable, say, 60 years ago, to make it easy on us; to what extent does this delay (not necessarily solve) the problem.

    Plus there’s the solar issue no one’s talking about: when FROH mentioned the sun, I didn’t assume he was talking about solar power; I thought he was making the perfectly valid point that the sun to grow the food we need keeps coming, whether we use it or not, so how can we redesign the system to utililize that with less oil–by growing our own, for instance. Remember, in England in WWII they ate the grass from their lawns.

    Anyway, by limiting this to simply an oil vs food issue, without allowing the reallocation of energy and strategies from ALL uses, you have totally doomed us. No wonder you’re forced into playing the role of pessimist!

  36. I guess I’ll have t0 read s0me Ken Wiber is it? T0 get the c0l0r c0des?

    I guess my take 0n it is that the devl0ping w0rld isn’t really “backwards” in terms 0f value as human beings, n0t that y0u are saying that, but y0u seem t0 imply that in a way by saying “backwards.”

    Am I a being a Green meme priest n0w?

    I haven’t travelled abr0ad much. But time and time again, I read acc0unts that third w0rld pe0ple are happier than westerners f0r s0me reas0n. I mean its seems ir0nic, but 0ver and 0ver again I c0meacr0ss this. It seems t0 be a case 0f cultures in rapid transiti0n. And I liked y0ur p0dcast ab0ut the t0xic memes. I think pat 0f it is valid.

    My sense is th0ugh that there is wisd0m in the indigen0us cultures, but that the pr0blem is the rapid transiti0n. S0 I d0n’t see a superi0rity in western culture s0 much as I see pe0ple with str0nger immune systems t0 p0is0n and banality and alienati0n.

    I am n0t putting third w0rld pe0ple 0n a pedastal either. Even g0ing with the idea that the elders 0f the indigen0us cultures are wise, every0ne is n0t a shaman. But being happy and feeling c0nnected t0 a c0mmunity and an extended family is a superi0r quality, even in a shanty t0wn with 0pen sewers.

    I sense there is s0me type 0f leavening that needs t0 g0 b0th ways.

  37. Y0u missed the part where we made up Michael!

    G00d p0int th0ugh! I think we need t0 live m0re like pe0ple in third w0rld c0untries while helping them live m0re like us thr0ugh green techn0l0gy. That way they w0n’t have t0 restructure their infrastructure. It can start 0ut m0re efficient.

  38. I’ve radically simplified the argument. I could get more complex if you want:

    you need oil to run the equipment, oil to drive the delivery trucks, oil to refrigerate/dry/freeze/bottle/can the food, oil to package the food, oil to fuel the ships, create the equipment/trucks/refrigerators etc. natural gas is the feedstock for fertilizer, and follows a similar depletion curve. you may have noticed the truckers protesting in europe. there’s a reason for that. when oil gets too expensive, the economic equation we use to transport food, ( assuming you have it) stops working. unless you plan to use slave labor, and horse drawn carts.

    you could indeed voluntarily reduce your lifestyle, and I heartily recommend that everyone do that. but if you hadn’t gotten so bored with the ‘pissing war’ you might have noticed I wasn’t suggesting that “we” are the one in immediate danger. it is the people whose diets and lifestyles are already marginal.

    if everyone goes back to subsistence farming that would be a good thing, but if you subtract the petroleum inputs you eventually end up with a pre-green revolution level of food production, maybe more if you implement permaculture and bio intensive methods, but probably less because you’ve degraded the topsoil, and depleted the groundwater. which evens out to carrying capacity of about half to a third of our current population. we are pretty much turning fossil fuels in to people, and in the process we’ve used up all the critical nutrients in the soil. the mineral content of food compared to say 30 years ago is dismal. pretty much everyone I know is evidencing signs of mineral deficiency if they aren’t taking vitamins. I don’t expect that to improve much, as things go on.

    any proposed redesign of our system will take time we probably don’t have, money which is increasingly worthless, and energy which is depleting. I have no doubt whatsoever this is what will eventually happen, but I see nothing being done to prevent an interval of mass starvation that will probably last a decade or more if we started today, which, I don’t really think we have.

    I’m perfectly willing to allow for reallocation of uses as well, but that 3% minimum reduction compounds year on year, till you hit pre-oil levels, basically. and really it’s probably going to be more like 6% + compounded each year.

    I’ve actually eaten grass. if you have a good juicer, lawn grass makes a pretty sweet, vitamin rich juice. but based on my experience, you’d use up your lawn and maybe make a liter or two every time you cut it ( every week or two?) that might keep you barely alive, in the spring and summer.

    I’m not sure I understand this pessimism collar that people want to hang on me. there’s a difference between perceiving the worst in motion and predicting the worst from indeterminate evidence. If I see someone bleeding to death on the sidewalk, is it pessimism if I say that guy is going to die, if nothing changes? should i be optimistic and figure that his wounds will spontaneously close, or that he’ll amazingly have 12 pints of blood instead of the usual nine?

    I’m talking about interpreting evidence. I am optimistic that people will be able to do wonderful and hopeful things even in the face of horrific human catastrophe, but I’m getting past the point where I can pretend to not see what is happening.

    I’m sorry if I’ve seemed irritable, but I guess I’m sad. I’d like to be proven wrong. I would have liked to be proven wrong years ago, but I’m afraid I keep hearing the same arguments that are either incomplete, misinformed, or irrelevant. And like I’ve said, the net effect of all these things I’ve been hearing for years now has been basically zero. It may be that a whole fractal explosion of alternatives will come up from the grassroots, but I’ve seen little evidence of that occurring in a time frame that will make a difference, and I can’t really make plans based on what I cannot see or verify, but merely hope for. that would be deeply irresponsible.

  39. Yeah, I read that wiki entry 0n it. I have t0 say superficially, I agree with the critique that by implicati0n SD is elitist and auth0ritarian. I als0 just read this:


    I am in a different headspace n0w. I guess ideal0gically I went fr0m C0nservative t0 green anarchist t0 Straussian n0w back t0…I d0n’t kn0w.

    But anyway I am seeing m0re value in s0me 0f my green anarchist leanings. N0t in the vi0lent Derek Jensen Ted Kaczynski sense but in a m0re peaceful egalitarian indigen0us wisd0m sense. Because n0ne 0f us kn0w fuck all ab0ut Jack shit. The best we can d0 is create values ar0und l0ve f0r 0ur fell0w humanity and espect f0r the earth and attempt the emb0dy th0se values and live them 0ut.

    I have given up 0n any type 0f elite. There is n0 spiritual elite and n0 inellectual elite. There are highlt talented pe0ple with areas 0f expertise and maturity, but master plans are all based 0n hubris. N0 0ne pers0n 0r gr0up can s0lve w0rld pr0blems.

    N0 0ne can make accurate l0ng term pr0jecti0ns ab0ut anything, let al0ne elegant 0nes. The m0re elegant the less accurate IMH0. Accurate inf0 takes up a l0t 0f space.

    I think we can percieve patterns and trends but the harderst t0 predict is timescale. That’s why y0u keep hearing the same stuff 0ver and 0ver again, because they are g00d ideas and pr0bably the ideas 0f the future but n0 0ne kn0ws when they will be implimented.

    Just 0ff hand th0ugh all deisel equiptment can run 0n strainedfrench fry 0il fairly easily and a family can turn a small pl0t 0f “dead s0il” int0 a vict0ry garden fairly easily. N0t that easily, but if its all they have t0 d0 all day…anyway its h0w the Russians survived the c0llapse 0f the f0rmer S0viet Uni0n.

    But there is n0 c0unter l0ng term grand pr0jecti0n I can make t0 c0unter y0urs. I d0n’t kn0w. I just kn0w that the sun is still shining and that G0d l0ves us.

    All pe0ple can d0 is play their little part. There is h0pe that this c0mbined acti0n will pull us thr0ugh.

  40. I’d love to provide an alternative. My gut tells me this is too bleak, but I simply don’t have the knowledge to understand the issue either for good or for worse. What I can say is that I’m beginning to feel tremendous fatigue over this and everything else related. You can make accurate predictions, and even profit from them, and it’s a hollow victory because your ability to prevent the folly’s resolution is next to nothing.

    Arthur Koestler, who coined the term “holarchy”, way back when said that anyone who was trying to spread the word about the Holocaust was treated like a madman in the bushes, jumping out to bother people. He ultimately said that people couldn’t handle “the tragic plane”. having just watched a bunch of ivy leaguers go on a cheap holiday in other people’s misery, I’d suggest that many don’t even know it’s there.

    It’s not the end of the world–it’s more like the 1970s–but we haven’t even started Act II yet.

    I’d like to think that just tending to one’s own, and helping out in one’s own way, would be enough, but it feels hollow.

  41. Well We c0uld start a Master mind gr0up. f0r s0lving peak 0il. I think the key is t0 build a green city in a third w0rld c0untry t0 be used as a template that 0thers can c0py and spread. Start with the p00rest m0st destitute c0untry first.

  42. Zac, are you saying I might starve to death in a few years? Cause if I understand you correctly then that is what your saying, half of the worlds population dieing in 6-7 years? I guess we start from the poorest and slowly move up the ladder, so I must wonder, am I rich enough to survive?

    I wouldn’t say I’m qualified to argue with you about this but wouldn’t we have heard about these horrible facts from more mainstream sources if this were a reality? Or to put it in other words if it is this obvious like you put it out to be, then this would be all over the place, yet it’s not, so I must assume there is some room for interpretation, but I guess you’ve already looked at the various interpretations and came to the conclusion they are bullcrap, which leaves us with a small group of lone geniuses who have the real truth while the rest of the world is deluded, which I don’t think happens very often, so why should I think that is the case this time? I guess I shouldn’t, without researching it for my self.

    Not to say I don’t suspect what your saying is true, cause it makes sense, but what I’m wondering is, isn’t it time to draw out survival plans, then I’m not talking about a survival plan that includes everybody, cause when things get really bad you’re forced to pick and choose, so I’m talking about some solid advice for groups of people who care about each other, should we start buying land, grow food and install solar panels? How do we survive this?

  43. I apologize for not being more clear. half the world dying over a 7 year period is absolute worst case, and even then, that death will be concentrated in the poorest parts of the earth.

    I sometimes forget that not everyone reads all the same things that I do. I don’t know of too many people that have made all these same connections yet. even some of the peak oil sites haven’t really crunched the implications of their numbers yet.

    for starters I’d suggest a basic understanding of the hubbert curve oil depletion theory. it’s really more of a demonstrated fact at this point, but it gives you an idea of what to expect and explains what is demonstrably happening better than anything else.

    then for the food connection read this: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/100303_eating_oil.html

    which gives you an idea of how tightly food and oil are tied together.

    you take both of those together and add some figures in terms of energy dependence in manufacturing, transport, and whatnot, and then lastly look at some of the actual historical recent decline rates of major super-giant oil fields and you’re basically left with with what I’ve said above, which is very vague and has a lot of wiggle room, between horribly bad, and apocalyptic.

    maybe the nicest thing that could conceivably happen is that oil and gas get so expensive that food transport by truck simply stops. the government would have to step in and start securing shipments of food, and underwriting the costs. that too would rapidly get too expensive to maintain and we have a soviet style collapse of the western economic system.

    the worst is that we have a total crop failure this year in several key regions and that sets off a chain reaction of starvation, violent unrest and commodity speculation that turn everything into hell on earth. a billion or more people with no food basically means cannibalism.

    learn to grow food. get with people you can trust. find out who your neighbors are. invest in real physical assets like tools, land, and useful books. hope for the best. save what you can.

    by all means check my facts. do your own research. but do it quick.

  44. The problem with this, Zac, is you’re taking a multidimensional problem and making it one-dimensional. Oil use is complex–just because we use it for many things and supply peaks doesn’t mean that can’t resolve in different ways.

    I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, if we could reduced fuel consumption for transportation in the 70s and early 80s, we could reduce it even more today. Oil use in some areas is elastic, while in others it’s not, so it’s possible to imagine that people will drive less etc. as gas goes to $7, that it’ll be prioritized for agriculture, and that government will intervene.

    But like I said food production is multi-dimensional:

  45. Sure, I get that. But considering that we have to use more and more fuel just to keep our food production in the same place, even modest declines will create a net-export crisis.
    and I’m sure neither you nor I are suffering any delusions about government’s ability to prioritize or intervene in anything

    the trucking thing is a good example: it’s hard to imagine how government could avoid having to step in if diesel fuel went much higher, or you’d have empty shelves across north america, but that creates all kinds of problems and raises the question of rationing and allocating supply, which are hot political issues in ‘free market’ societies. the social fallout of something like that could be almost as bad. you close the door on the simple scenario and you open onto the complex ones, which are even worse.

    the bulk of that eating fossil fuels article is talking about the crisis that is immanent even without a oil depletion problem. then there’s the topsoil and groundwater, and natural gas problems.

    I’m not unaware of the multidimensionality of the issue, I’m just trying to simplify it for conversations sake.

  46. “It may be that a whole fractal explosion of alternatives will come up from the grassroots, but…”

    Ah shit, that was my whole answer right there.

    But I was turned around on this a while ago and I still think there’s something to it that goes beyond just ‘multidimensionality’ or complexity, although I haven’t quite figured out how to articulate the idea yet. And yes, the grassroot fractal explosion of alternatives will only happen when things get bad (i.e. is already happening right now; people driving less, community gardens etc) but might happen on a scale we, being used to being the excluded maverick transhuman elite corps of leading edge reality mashers, won’t expect.

    I think the key point is not to list a few possible responses and say ‘how much will that change? Nothink’ – it is to understand the nature of the fractality we are talking about; every category, noun and process we use to describe the situation is not actually an individual entity but a fractal potentiality. When we talk about ‘oil’, we actually mean 100 different things with 10,000 different uses. When we talk about ‘jobs’, or the ‘economy’, or ‘food,’ these are complex entities with hidden, as-yet-unrealised potentialities for efficiency, deletion, inversion, synergy.

    When we try to imagine a grassroot response we forget to add in cultural momentum, or to imagine what everyone growing their own food, plus community gardens, plus agritech, plus backyard aquaponics, plus permaculture principles, plus the council sending the unemployed to work in the local park-converted-to-market-garden, plus high-tech algae tanks, plus calorific reduction, plus switching from meat, plus eating raw and needing less calories for the same nutrition, plus realising those ‘weeds’ by the roadside are actually ‘food’, plus multiple-level life hacks, multiplied by a thousand synergies and cross-catalytic connections we can’t even begin to imagine – might begin to achieve. Surely the logic of non-linearity, feedback loops, trigger points, and so forth, cuts both ways? Isn’t there potential for positive emergent forms that we can’t predict?

    This is not something I can prove, just an intuition that the whole way of looking at the problem may be reinscribing certain false assumptions and paradigms that imply we can understand the entirety of the situation by modelling it with static, controlled categories and terms, which are reasonably accurate in their own restricted field but become increasingly unrepresentative as we move towards apprehension of the total system. Maybe it’s not so much a matter of hoping for alternatives to magically arrive, as it is one of realising reality itself is fractal, and therefore infinite, and all our models are just attempts to define it as finite. Maybe I’m just feeling optimistic because my squash plants survived while I was away.

    None of this is all that much help for those parts of the world without handy areas of built-in obsolescence for use in experimentation and optimalisation, of course. You are right – lots of people probly going to die. Cross that out. Are already dying. How many seems to swing on the issue of how long the global pyramid can keep standing and when/how it flattens out. But I think I probly take issue with:

    “We have a small fraction of the earths population. if you sliced our living standards in half, it wouldn’t make much difference if you re-distributed that worldwide. it just wouldn’t. it certainly wouldn’t bring many people out of poverty.”

    Surely it’s not outright population that matters here, but resource use? The US alone uses a sizeable chunk of world resources – 25% of fossil fuels? Plus whatever proportion of other countries’ use is directed to manufacturing things to go to the US / outsource environmental use of land and water. I would guess the First world has got to account for about half of all resource use. Halve that and you have gained a good 5 year breathing space at least. For whatever that’s worth.

    Why is everyone quoting George Carlin? Did he die while I was on holiday? Shit…

  47. I guess the point is, you take whatever fraction the 250 million we have in north america are using, and re-divide some fraction of that amongst the other 5.75 billion+ and it doesn’t really add up to much change from person to person. if you sliced half your lifestyle up amongst 23 other people, how much does that add up to?

    I’m all for emergent fractal nonlinearity, but I’d have to say we’ve got quite a few of those cards already laid down on the other side of the table. it definitely cuts both ways is what I’m saying, and I’m just not sure how far you can push the idea that we as a species can use so much more energy than we actually find, for so long, and not have the rubber band snap back at some point.

  48. Zac,

    This might sound crazy to you, but, I mean, if you read Jeff Wells, why should it? Read this with your heart open.

    You don’t have the whole story. Friendly Aliens met with Eisenhower and offered to provide humanity with, Spiritual development, clean energy, and healing technologies in exhange for us agreeing to get rid of all our nukes.


    Well anyway, Eisenhower said no. So then the Greys visited him and made a treaty that they would provide weapons technology in exchange for letting them abduct people for genetic experiments.

    So that is our human situation. Crop circles are a means for the friendly aliens to communicate with spiritual people and bypass governments.

    Incidentally the trilateral commision is funding a massive crop circle disinformation program.

  49. “If you sliced half your lifestyle up amongst 23 other people, how much does that add up to?”

    Depends on how rich I am, surely?

    If I’m as rich as Donald Trump every one of those 23 people gets around $60 million dollars.

    As it is, I could probably afford to buy them all a coffee.

    OK, I’m actually going to crunch some numbers to see if i am talking through my hat. First off: US population 2008 – 300,000,000
    World population estimate as of this morning – 6,707,763,936

    [While I’m here, personal bugbear: For some reason the figure is still repeatedly quoted as 6 billion, which, of course, it was the last time a lot of people looked in the late ’90s. This suggests a failure to understand exponential growth, or you know, the passage of time in general. Personally I’m getting used to saying 7 billion now. If people tell you that’s inaccurate you can just go quiet and sit there looking patiently at your watch…]

    Average per capita income in US: $21,600. Lets say we take $10,000 of that. Distributed amongst a 22.3x population gives $448 per person. Given that 1 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and 3 billion on less than 2 dollars, I imagine that half of the world’s population would be pretty happy with a minimum 200x increase in their salaries.

    OK, so lots of people in the US are poor and could do without the halving, and using purchasing parity statistics is a bit of a joke, and the dollar is likely to be worth a lot less, particularly in relation to food, in the near future, and of course a majority of the world’s money doesn’t actually exist, but still; I think this is a measure of how ridiculous the developed world’s use of energy and resources is – that sharing it with the rest of the world would actually make a massive difference to them – rather than assuming our contributions would just be a drop in the ocean.

    If you factor up to assume another 400 million people in Europe and Canada, plus the upper and middle classes of the 2nd world countries, you have nearly a billion people who can afford to substantially cut their income without actually dying. Given that the labour, energy, consumption, resources etc. associated with this income bear SOME relation to actual ability to produce and distribute food (although not an absolute one, of course), i would think that we could gain substantial breathing room from a global re-distribution of wealth.

    Which brings us back to the likelihood of such a re-distribution, and the (geo-)politics thereof….

  50. yeah it’s a fair point, but even if you work it out in dollar terms it wouldn’t actually create any additional food or fuel, just make it more likely to equitably re-distribute what exists through market forces.

    but given that even people here are starting to have problems affording stuff, I doubt 3$ a day is going to go very far for anyone, before too long.

  51. Zac,

    While you are chuckling to yourself about what a fool I am and how smart you are,(ostensibly for being a near clinically depressed doomer) maybe if you stop to notice a bit of a hollow sound behind laughter, you might want to read this:


    Its about an exhange between Pinchbeck and Whitley Streiber. Streiber the Doomer that writes about alien abduction

    Basically the same conversation.

    You may have gone over to the dark side Zac.

    Something to consider.Unless you are all knowing.

  52. Oh for god’s sake Ted, quit being such a crybaby.

    I have no use for either strieber or pinchbeck and haven’t for quite some time.

    and what did I say about the mind reading? you better be careful before you start pretending to know things about me.

    how much evidence and empirical data do I have to link to before people will mount a serious critique OF THE DATA instead of attacking me for how I happen to be interpreting it?

    everyone seems to be acting like this is the first time I’ve ever talked about this, and it’s clearly not. In fact it’s in my very first post from 2005. In some sense, EVERYTHING I do here is trying to build a positive response to these possibilities.

    The only difference is that now I think you have to start treating them as unfolding realities and not just hypothetical scenarios.

    I could give a fuck if someone wants to critique me as person, or my mindset. It completely and utterly misses the point.

    Don’t you think it’s a little more serious for everyone to decide for themselves whether or not this prediction is correct, and if so, how much, rather than shooting the messenger?

    I thought we settled this Ted. Don’t freak out just because I thought you linked to something funny.

  53. Beyond saying it’s oversimplified (which a few people have already), no one can argue with the data Zac, which only leaves blind faith that a solution will present itself (watch the skies!), or pretending the data is actually just the conjecture of a depressive (maan, your negative thought beams are bringing me out in a rash).

    We shouldn’t really be asking if things will get bad – it’s pretty obviouys they are already – we should be asking ‘just HOW bad will things get?’

    Based on the mass starvation that has occurred in the past (granted perhaps not on the same scale), I’m inclined to think that a lot of poor people will die, but it won’t really matter to us rich folks. At least, that’s my hope…

  54. I think that in every instance of oversimplification I’ve done so in a favorable direction. like I say, if you add all the layers of complexity, you’ve got a good chance of a 10% per year decline cliff, major crop failures in the next couple years, disintegration of the global economy and probably a major conventional war/limited nuclear war.

    I’m praying our system is somewhat more resilient than that though.

    that’s what I find sort of baffling though: history is full of peoples who were closer to the earth, arguably more spiritual, more plugged into higher realities, more savvy in the nuances of ecosystems and more community oriented in general, and they still suffered horrifying system failures and mass die-offs. but some people seem to think that we’re beyond all that for some nebulous indefinable reason. if anything we’re in even worse shape than they were.

  55. Zac,

    I actually can read minds but I can’t read yours because your mind is just so vast and written in a language that is too advanced for me to understand.

    That’s true in some parallel universe somewhere.

    In the Universe I occupy now, you seem to have the mechanical deterministic assumptions of Newtonian physics combined with an arrogant attitude that actually makes you stupid.

    In the Universe I live in now, I have read all this “die off.org” “Life After the Oil Crash” stuff ad nauseum. Its not over my head, I do understand it. And its B.S.

    Its B.s. that this is the only possible reality. That’s not the same as saying its an impossible reality. It is possible. Because we live in a consensus reality that we all contribute to and build as we go along.

    That’s not just magical thinking, that’s quantum physics. There are such things as possibility waves. Your assumptions seem to be the assumptions of materialism. Is there no “ghost in the machine”?

    Is that where you are? I think what it is Zac is that you are a fast reader, so you can read a lot. That gives you the impression that you are erudite. Then from that you derive an arrogant attitude.

    Its a trap, Zac. Comprehension and retention are more important. Not only that but there is innate knowledge.

    Probably everybody in the World knows one thing that no one else knows. So that mans that no one is too stupid to listen to.

    Elitism and arrogance and thinking you are privy to special knowledge that allows you to predict the future is what is stupid.

    So you yeah, Zac, If Newton was right and we live in a Universe of Niave materialism, where everything is simple cause and effect determinism, we are all fucked and everything will wind down starting immediately.

    But if half the shit you read and forgot, that you posted about here 0n your blog, is true then no. Its not inevitable.

    There are postive possiblity waves that we can act upon.

    But if your choice is to watch life unfold like a train wreck in slow motion then that is your possible possibility, too.

    To say that its the only possibility is arrogant.

  56. I could come up with a thousand more reasons why you don’t know shit about me or what I’m talking about, but you ignored the first thousand, so why should I bother?

    if you’re so brittle that I can’t poke fun at one of your links without you having a hissy fit, then I doubt there’s much we can arrive at in terms of agreement.

    further, I find the accusation that I don’t understand or believe the things I write or say, and simply parrot what I have read, to be incredibly offensive. I don’t think we can have any kind of useful discussion if that’s your assumption.

    if you can’t come up with anything more applicable to this discussion than ‘probability waves’, then you might as well not even show up.

    I believe, with all my heart, that the world can and will and should be saved through magick. But your idea of what that is and how it works is so naive I simply don’t know where to start. My record speaks for itself. your attitude seems to change with the weather. I have read your website, and it alternates between lucidity and insight, and signs of pathological mood disturbances. You can’t seem to decide what you think, or if you want to denounce me, insult me, agree with me, be friends, or denigrate my hard work to an unforgivable degree.

    you’ve dropped down to the category of baseless assumptions and insults. I don’t think I’m going to tolerate anymore of that, and I don’t see why I should.

    Good luck, and goodbye.

  57. I read this whole thread (well most of it you guys swim in a deeper meta-physical world than I)

    Zac suger coated it big time in his original post. He also asked for real world solutions/reasons he’s wrong not pie in the sky some thing will be done platitudes. No one came close to delivering one. In fact he negated all your reply’s in the first post and then repeated himslef over and over.

    The Olduvai theory makes so much sense. To claim that we will all be ok because something will be done seems foolish. I like the design the parachute on the way down analogy I usully use “do you try to earn the house payment the day it is due”?

    I would love to be proved wrong with a new energy tech with a good EROEI but alot of people have been looking for a long time to no avail. I have been looking for credible evidence since 1988 that this crises will be mitigated and am still looking earnestly.

    The powers that be are the Federal Reserve bankers. That is all that shoud be said. Nothing else. Alot of the crap posted here is designed to marginalize people who catch on to the bankers crimes.

    Central bankers steal from the working class by loaning new money to corporations they own. The corps then use the preinflation money to buy commodities. They then wait for the inflation the new money will cause before selling the commodities back to us, the end users. In this way they protect themselves against the inflation and gain a little bit more wealth to boot.

    I know most internet conspiricy people know the above concept the reason I bring it up is that it is ALL THAT NEEDS TO BE SAID!!!

    I cannot count how many times I have been asked about lizard people, the NWO, the Amero, or some other nonsense (ceromonial baby rapers)when making the above point about the FED. These questions always cloud the issue and have been clouding it for 50 years. I remember a comic book from the early 70’s claiminmg all this crap.

    Like it or not anyone who makes these dumb claims is immediatly marginalized by the FED banker controled main stream media. This is a FACT. To keep saying these things (even if they were true) will not in any way ever effect changes in the system.

    Once again, does it not seems likely that all this crap was invented by the bankers to marginalize you?

  58. well thanks for your support, but you don’t need to adress anything to Ted Heistman aka FROH. he has his own site if you feel like talking to him, which usually has something interesting on it, mixed in with a lot that is kind of muddled at best.

    I got tired of babysitting him and putting out fires that he tried to start from misreading my writing consistently. some people might recall in another thread that he accused me of trying to give people spiritual AIDS and kill them, only to change his mind five times and then admit he misunderstood me in the first place . so yeah. I got a little sick of that kind of thing.

    hopefully it’s the final word on that.

  59. I don’t like the “Fed Conspiracy” that much. They’re less a shadowy organization than a semi-private government authority. The original backers of the Fed bill withdrew support because they felt the amount of government oversight undermined the bill. They operate under a government mandate, which can and has been changed by your elected representatives.

    Of course the Fed makes some effort to manage the national and to a lesser extent global finances. They’re just not very good at it. Right now there are plenty of bankers having to reach for those golden parachutes, which suggests to me that they had no idea what the fuck they were doing. The housing bubble was largely the work of Alan Greenspan, who was simply trying to cover his own ass before he resigned, a classic “not on my watch–let’s wait for the next guy” move.

  60. Lab, The Fed conspiricy may not be flashy but it is for sure true and can be proven.
    It is not that they do not know what they are doing. As the original post states in a roundabout way this problem is geological. The bankers can not stop anything anymore. They also know it is falling apart hence the “golden parachute” you mentioned.

    Good luck in these intersesting/scary/exciting times

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