WHERE’S THIS HEADING?


2013-08-23 08.38.09

Pour Yourself a Beer

Pour yourself a beer or something before you start reading this post; it’s a ‘big yin’ (big one) as we say here in Scotland.

What’s a Young Person Supposed to Do?

This post is the first of two consecutive posts. The second post will address the question, ‘What’s a young person supposed to do if the Moraymint World View stacks up?’ Bear in mind that this blog’s strapline is ‘a father’s thoughts for his children … and other stuff’. I’ve been lamentably remiss at offering positive and practical thoughts for my children thus far. I’ve remained focused on the ‘other stuff’. I’ve spent a lot of time on ‘the situation’, which is a term from my military days relating to the preparation of battle orders or some other plan or proposal to do something. The section of the document headed ‘situation’ sets the scene for the plan. So, I want to use this post to pull together the situation: the Moraymint World View – which will set the scene for the next post in which I’ll share thoughts for my children. Thoughts about how their lives might differ from mine, and how they might approach things as the 21st century unfolds.

Que Sera, Sera

In writing this post I’m conscious of that question-and-answer session that goes, ‘How do you make God laugh?’ Answer: ‘Tell him about your plans.’ I say that as an atheist, but it makes a fair point. To some extent, life will be what it will be: ‘Que sera, sera.’ But these philosophies shouldn’t detract from the importance of planning and preparing for the future. The trick is to strike a balance between Benjamin Franklin’s observation that, ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’, and Winston Churchill’s view that, ‘it ‘s a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.’ I want to help my children (actually, they’re 20-somethings) start to grasp the links of destiny; and I’d like to summarise the situation under the heading the Moraymint World View.

The Moraymint World View

Not everybody subscribes to the Moraymint World View. Indeed, I’ll wager that, by virtually any measure, those subscribing to the Moraymint World View are in the minority – for now anyway. What is the Moraymint World View? Well, in a nutshell, the Moraymint World View holds that mankind is on the cusp of one of the great turning points in history. Richard Heinberg[1] identified previous turning points as being the harnessing of fire; the development of language; the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution.

Now, according to Heinberg, mankind is turning from a fossil-fuelled, debt- and growth-based industrial civilisation towards what will have to be a renewable, sustainable, steady-state society. This change will be characterised not – as previously throughout history – by overall societal expansion and growing complexity but rather by societal contraction and simplification until such time as we’re living within Earth’s replenishable budget of renewable resources. Orthodox economists (generally speaking) argue that this world view is arrant nonsense; they say that the human species is sufficiently resilient, tenacious, optimistic and ingenious that, to all intents and purposes, industrial age rates of economic growth can and will be sustained largely indefinitely.

On the other hand, the Moraymint World View holds that the industrial age was just that: an age; a period in mankind’s history with a beginning, a middle and an end. For 250 years or so mankind has benefited from the extraordinary, one-off release of 2 billion years’ worth of accumulated energy reserves: fossil fuels. As a consequence, mankind has experienced an explosion in population growth; a phenomenal raising of living standards for hundreds of millions of people in the developed world in particular; and with that came an ingrained belief that fossil-fuelled rates of economic growth were the norm, and would be so ad infinitum. When you think about it, that’s a natural – if flawed – belief.

We’re Not Running Out of Fossil Fuels

Incidentally, we’re not running out of fossil fuels as such. The issue is that the laws of physics are making their presence felt, which was always inevitable (I’m a physicist by university education, by the way). Our predicament is that notwithstanding the amount of coal, gas and oil locked up in the Earth, the energy costs of extracting those fossil fuels are rising to such a degree that the amount of surplus energy being produced is declining all the time. There comes a point when it is economically irrational to harvest fossil fuels if it costs a lump of coal to produce a lump of coal; or if it costs a barrel of oil to produce a barrel of oil. And that is the fossil fuel trend.

Just to re-emphasise for a moment: orthodox economists, by and large, argue vehemently against the Moraymint World View. Economists tend not to view the economy as an energy construct, per se. Consequently economists don’t recognise that because the central economic dynamic of surplus energy – note the word ‘surplus’ – has entered decline, then 2 centuries of economic growth as we’ve known it are over[2]. ‘Rubbish’, say the economists. In simple terms economists argue that, by and large, market forces will prevail, facsimile substitutes for fossil fuels generally and oil in particular will emerge and, therefore, industrial age rates of economic growth will be sustained. It’s almost as if the current practitioners of economic theory (with relatively few exceptions) are entirely unaware that the economy would have no form, no function and no ‘life’ without energy[3]. More specifically, our way of life today is predicated on the reliable and sustained availability of ‘surplus energy’: that is the net energy which we’ve enjoyed by releasing the 2 billion years’ worth of sunlight stored in the Earth that I mentioned earlier.

Oil – The Master Resource

Perhaps above all else, oil is the most critical energy store available to mankind today, by far and away. Oil is the master resource[4]. At the turn of the 20th century, when oil first began to be used for industrial purposes, the world’s population was 1.1 billion human beings; sailing ships still plied the seven seas alongside coal steamers. In the almost indiscernible blink of an eye in the historical sense, the world’s population has expanded over 6 times, mankind’s energy use has increased 10-fold and the world’s economy is 40 times larger than it was just a century or so ago. These have been unprecedented changes to mankind’s presence on Earth. Oil has been the overwhelming key player in the energy landscape, used as it is for over 90% of the world’s transport, as well as being the primary input to industrial processes for such necessities as home and commercial heating and hot water systems, fertiliser, asphalt, plastics, paint, synthetic fibres and so on and so forth; the list is enormous. Moreover, without the ready availability of affordable oil in the quantities that we demand it today, it would be virtually impossible to sustain the levels of intensive farming that we need to keep us fed in the developed world.

Life Before the Industrial Revolution

History tells us that for aeons prior to the industrial revolution, economic growth was a direct function of the energy available to mankind in real-time, whether that was solar energy, wind energy or hydro energy. The rates of economic growth that mankind has enjoyed for the past couple of centuries or so have been an aberration, albeit an aberration that has brought spectacular benefits to our way of life. The Moraymint World View is that those spectacular benefits are about to be diminished and withdrawn as mankind turns to enter a post-industrial age.

The renowned economic historian Angus Maddison – a world scholar on quantitative macroeconomic history, including the measurement and analysis of economic growth and development – estimates that up until the 19th century a doubling of economic wellbeing per capita only occurred every 3,000 to 4,000 years. However, from around 1820 onwards this doubling of economic wellbeing accelerated at warp speed to every 50 years or so. Since the 1950s the doubling of our economic wellbeing further accelerated to a rate of every 30 years: that is over 100 times faster than during the millennia prior to the discovery of fossil fuels and the industrial revolution that fossil fuel energy facilitated.

The Economics of Surplus Energy

The economics of surplus energy – surplus energy being, to all intents and purposes, that which the industrial revolution unleashed – has meant that my generation and several generations before have enjoyed all the benefits of truly extraordinary but ultimately unsustainable wealth creation. Such extraordinary wealth creation is unsustainable precisely because the sources of energy that have enabled us recently to double our wealth every 30 years (rather than every 3,000 years) are finite. More to the point, those sources of energy are becoming increasingly energy-costly to extract from the Earth. Like I said earlier, there’s little point in drilling for oil if it takes an oil barrel’s worth of energy to extract a barrel of oil; and yet that is the inescapable geophysical trend. Indeed, that has been the irreversible trend for years now, because we can’t defy the laws of physics; not even economists can be so defiant.

Peak Oil and Gas

Take for example the North Sea. Oil production peaked in the North Sea in 1999 and has been declining year-on-year ever since. Gas production in the North Sea peaked a year later in 2000 and has been declining year-on-year ever since. The UK is now a net importer of 60% of its natural gas requirements – and this will rise to 80% by 2020. Ironically, the Scottish National Party (SNP) seemed to have been unaware of these North Sea energy fundamentals. When it came to the 2014 referendum on independence for Scotland, the SNP staked Scotland’s economic future on the broad assumption of a never-ending supply of North Sea oil and gas at a price unaffordable by society in the long term. Politicians have never been great at either economics or science.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) produces 40% of the world’s oil. A lot of that oil is consumed by the OPEC countries themselves of course. Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s largest oil producer. OPEC’s oil exports represent about 60% of the total petroleum traded internationally, which means that OPEC’s decisions about oil supply-and-demand have an extraordinary impact on global oil prices.

OPEC oil production peaked in 2012. Of the 12 OPEC member countries, only 4 countries (Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) have held their own or increased production slightly since then. The other 8 OPEC countries combined hit peak production in 2005; their oil production has declined at a rate of 3 million barrels per day since then. In December 2014 OPEC produced 1.4 million barrels per day fewer than it produced in the peaks of 2008 and 2012. In recent years Saudi Arabia has more than doubled the number of oil rigs on its territory. The Saudis are drilling about 2,500 new oil wells each year to keep oil production pretty much flat.

Today’s Low Oil Price – What’s Going On?

The current low oil price (it’s at $48 per barrel as I write this post) reflects a number of things, not least a supply-demand hangover as high-cost/tight-oil producers piled in to the market whilst oil was selling at over $100 per barrel, creating an oil glut. Meanwhile, demand for oil has fallen in Asia, China and Europe – partly as a consequence of the relentlessly rising oil price – which has since caused the price of oil to plummet. This is orthodox economics theory in action.

However, the fact is that the majority of Exploration & Production (E&P) companies in the industry need the oil price to be over $100 per barrel to achieve positive cashflow under their current capital expenditure requirements and shareholders’ dividend expectations[5]. That’s double the current price of oil. Almost half the industry needs the oil price to be over $120 per barrel. A quarter of the industry – which includes most US E&P companies – needs the oil price to be over $130 per barrel to remain in business: that’s almost 3 times the current oil price.

So, here’s the rub: the fall in the oil price has little to do with the underlying economics of oil extraction. As Mr Abdullah Al-Badri, OPEC’s Secretary General said recently, ‘Yes, there’s an over-supply, but the fundamentals don’t justify this fall in price.’ Right now the oil price is more a reflection of geopolitical and geoeconomic manoeuvring than it is of underlying operational costs. As the ‘swing producer’ – owing to the volumes of oil that it can supply to the market – Saudi Arabia is able, for now anyway, to manipulate the oil price for reasons best known to itself. Here are a few such reasons[6]:

To punish Russia, which is being crippled by the low oil price, for Russia’s support to the Iranian Ayatollah’s – who are in turn backing Syria’s President Assad. The underlying issue here of course is that Shia-run Iran is considered to be Saudi Arabia’s mortal enemy.

To restore relations with the US following the dispute over the US’s rapprochement with Iran – whilst making it clear to the US that ‘Saudi is not just another sandpit, but a serious player in geopolitics and the global economy – and one that cannot be hung out to dry[7].’

To give a shot in the arm to global economic demand for oil.

To reinforce Saudi Arabia’s oil supply supremacy by squeezing out high-cost producers in the short-term and so benefiting from higher oil prices in the medium- to long-term.

The Effect of Low Oil Prices Today, Looking Forward

The low price is likely to result in oil industry investment falling by as much as 15% (about $100 billion) this year alone. Such a slump in investment will set the scene for a much tighter balance between supply and demand in future. As Mr Claudio Descalzi, Chief Executive of Italy’s ENI has pointed out, prices could jump to $150 – $200 per barrel within a few years. Some analysts argue that upward price pressures will re-emerge as early as the end of this year. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Daily Telegraph’s International Business Editor informs us that ‘oil barons are eyeing $150 per barrel crude as an investment slump incubates a future supply crunch.’ Quite.

Just to be clear then, and in case you’re wondering about the relevance of all this: the current configuration of our costly, complex, cheap oil dependent society cannot and does not function with oil at $150 per barrel. Which brings me back to the Moraymint World View: that we’re on the cusp of one of history’s great turning points. You see if the economics of our complex society precludes the familiar and settled functioning of our society with oil costing well over $100 per barrel, then it’s axiomatic that the nature of our society will change – whether we like it, or not. It’s worth noting that since 1869 the inflation-adjusted price of oil, in 2010 dollars, was – until recently – under $25 per barrel[8].

Complex society as we know it doesn’t work with its master energy resource costing 6 times its 145-year trend price.

These are immutable facts which contrast with, indeed they fly in the face of orthodox economics theory. It’s this fundamental connection between the economy and energy – and in particular surplus (oil) energy as it powers our current way of life – which gets overlooked or missed entirely from the current practice of mainstream economics[9]. It’s also why economists and the politicians who generally hang on economists’ every word are unable to understand what’s really going on at the moment, still less are they able to articulate a future world view. Certainly, they don’t buy in to the Moraymint World View which is that we’re on the cusp of one of mankind’s great turning points in history. ‘Rubbish’ say the economists, again.

Back to Surplus Energy Economics

As Dr Tim Morgan, author of the blog ‘Surplus Energy Economics’ puts it, ‘the critical relationship between energy production and the energy cost of extraction is now deteriorating so rapidly that the economy as we have known it for more than 2 centuries is beginning to unravel.’

Jeremy Warner, who is an Assistant Editor at The Daily Telegraph and who is ‘one of Britain’s leading business and economics commentators’, wrote recently:

‘Ever since the financial crisis first erupted, there’s been a strong presumption that eventually things would bounce back to their pre-crisis norm. This year’s World Economic Forum [in Davos] is witness to a kind of capitulation, or sense of resignation. Slow growth and low inflation seem to have become the established condition, at least for advanced Western economies, and no-one is able to articulate a plausible reason for thinking they might break free. Faced with this apparently inescapable reality, business leaders are struggling to achieve appreciable top line growth.’

Note that Mr Warner says that, ‘no-one is able to articulate a plausible reason for thinking they might break free.’ Those of us holding the Moraymint World View are not in the least surprised at the state we’re in, nor indeed are we ignorant of the prognosis. Economists, meantime, do seem to be baffled.

So What?

Now of course you don’t have to accept this argument for the critical relationship between surplus energy and the functioning of the economy, the critical importance of oil as the master energy resource and the concluding hypothesis that mankind is on the cusp of one of history’s great turning points. You’d be in good company if you concluded that it was all so much piffle. You’d be singing the refrain that given faith in orthodox economics theory and a little more time we’ll be in the swim again soon enough. Well, that’s your prerogative, of course. However, the next post that I publish will start from this thesis. If you don’t accept the thesis, then you may find this father’s thoughts for his children misplaced. Again, that’s your prerogative, albeit I’d like there to be a continuing debate on this matter.

And Finally

And finally this subject is not about optimism versus pessimism regarding the future. It’s simply about recognising that something hugely significant is happening at the moment in terms of global economics, geopolitics and how complex societies are evolving and interacting. Some might say that what’s happening these days is neither unprecedented nor terribly significant in the great tapestry of history. Fine, those folk can run with that world view. However, it’s on the basis of this the Moraymint World View that I’ll publish my next and subsequent posts.

_______

 

[1].  ‘The End of Growth’, Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 2011.

[2].  ‘Surplus Energy Economics: A Brief Guide’, Dr Tim Morgan.

[3].  ‘The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy and Environment’, Dr Chris Martenson, Wiley, 2011.

[4].  ‘The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy and Environment’, Dr Chris Martenson, Wiley, 2011.

[5].  Goldman Sachs ‘Oil Price Required by Oil Companies to be Free Cash Flow Neutral after CAPEX and Dividends’, as published in Gail Tverberg’s ‘Our Finite World’ Blog, 25 February 2014.

[6].  ‘Deploying the Saudi Oil Weapon Against Russia’, Neil Barnett, Centre for Policy Studies, 2014.

[7].  ‘The Saudis Are Playing a Clever Game with Oil Supplies …’, Neil Barnett, The Spectator, 6 January 2015.

[8].  ‘Oil Price History and Analysis’, James L Williams, WTRG Economics, 2011.

[9].  ‘The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy and Environment’, Dr Chris Martenson, Wiley, 2011.

 

27 comments

  1. Turns out this post was quite interesting – even to someone who doesn’t pour himself a beer.

    Most of this parallels my understanding, though I don’t think you mentioned nuclear energy as a which I see as a possible semi-green bridge into a green energy future, especially if Thorium is developed commercially (it was originally dropped in favour of Uranium because Thorium reactors don’t lend themselves to making bombs). What does that tell you ?

    Additionally, I’m keeping an eye out on the revolutions underway in robotics and biotech.

    For example, Patrick Cox at Mauldin Economics argues that the coming collapse of the overloaded pension system/demographic overhang will be countered by greatly increased health spans in the near future. He has a free weekly at http://www.mauldineconomics.com/tech/tech-digest.

    Readers of this post might also appreciate Marin Katusa’s recent book The Colder War ; I’m waiting to get my mits on a copy.

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  2. Hi MorayMint, thanks for this great article. I totally agree with you, the economy is nothing more than a function of (diminishing) surplus energy. The Tullett Prebon reports often mention this fact.

    In terms of running a car/truck/tractor: Brazil is the only country that I know of that has sufficiently untapped productive land resources to get by on Ethanol (despite the poor ERoEI associated with it!). Right now in Brazil ethanol is still cheaper than petrol for example and it’s absolutely prolific, that is to say, where you find a petrol station you can always buy ethanol. Most new cars are “flex” meaning you can run said cars on either petrol or Ethanol.

    Nevertheless as you correctly point out, farming too is a function of affordable oil prices, unaffordable oil equates to having no fertilizers and pesticides i.e. insufficient food to feed > 7 billion people:-)

    Humanity reminds me of bacteria in a petri dish, as long as there is energy (food) the bacteria continues to thrive and grow at exponential rates but as soon as the energy supply is curtailed the numbers start to fall fast:-)

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  3. Thing is, when we look at future scenarios, there are various possible end-games, but they’re a long way off. For us older folk, we’ll probably only get to live through the ensuing turmoil, although we’ll worry about our children.

    Getting low on fossil fuels is bad enough, in a world where most of the wealth is concentrated in the West, but now everybody wants a Western lifestyle and a bigger slice of the pie. The world won’t afford everybody a Western lifestyle, it hasn’t the resources and can’t take the pollution.

    I think we do consume too much in the west, we may even be happier with less. In the meantime we will be living in interesting times as it’s decided how we share out dwindling resources amongst a rapidly increasing population. Lets face it if we consume less, this will be offset by an expanding population, the numbers don’t lie and some of the scenarios are horrific. New technologies may help, but they need to hurry up.

    I don’t know how things will pan-out, but moraymint certainly has a point.

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  4. Herbert 99 · ·

    “Now, according to Heinberg, mankind is turning from a fossil-fuelled, debt- and growth-based industrial civilisation towards what will have to be a renewable, sustainable, steady-state society.”

    I stopped reading at this point. This is not possible. See the Finite World blog for reasons.

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Herbert, I think Richard Heinberg (End of Growth) and Gail Tverberg (Our Finite World) are on the same page, aren’t they? In other words, industrial age rates of economic growth stretching indefinitely in to the future – resting as they do on the indefinite supply of affordable fossil fuels – are inconsistent with us living on a finite world. At some point we may discover how better to harness safely and affordably substitutes for fossil fuels (nuclear is the obvious one which springs to mind), but right now there are no cost-effective alternatives to fossil fuels. When fossil fuels become no longer affordable to extract (for that is the inescapable trend), then we’re left with solar, wind and hydro to meet the voracious energy needs of the developed world and the rest of humanity. The portents aren’t too good for this scenario.

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  5. Hi, moray, in the long term you are correct. However, in the long term we are all dead. Just want fracking to work and make me a lot of cash. Respect, and how are your spaniels?

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    1. moraymint · ·

      By and large I think we have to try the whole range of energy opportunities in the short- to medium-term. If we don’t, we could be dead sooner than in the long-term! Dogs fine, thanks …

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  6. Hysteria · ·

    Re the “goldilocks” price range. Interesting point – I explained it by drawing an analog to the gas interconnector (Zeebrugge to Bacton) . When this was commissioned the idea was that the European and British Gas markets would join up and the consumers would benefit. To an extent this was true – the *market* did indeed join – but no gas molecules actually moved across the channel – the very fact of the connection impacted price. Fast-forward to shale oil today……..

    The (onshore) shale plays are relatively cheap to drill and come into production in weeks/months. (Yes, decline is rapid – hence the need to keep drilling). A major oil project offshore would take typically 5 to 10 years to bring onto production at a cost of several billion $. So what will happen? I think a natural cap is now placed in very high prices – if the price goes North of, say, $100, the shale wells get turned-on/drilled. The low cost producers know this, hence the upside oil price has a natural upper equilibrium, other things being equal. So we will see a medium term stability as supply/demand comes into balance, then a price increase as the low cost producers get to the point where they cannot produce enough. After that, a gradual rise as investment money chases returns from shale –

    Meantime, lots of good high paying jobs come to an end. And yes, the SNP have been very quiet of late !

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks hysteria – and I believe you work in the industry.

      I’ve always found this to be a succinct analysis of the shale oil situation:

      ‘Drill Baby, Drill – Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance?’

      http://tinyurl.com/nlxy4un

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    2. Hi Hysteria
      You say:
      “…if the price goes North of, say, $100, the shale wells get turned-on/drilled.”
      Yes, that does seem on the face of it logical, but, whilst the drillers may be gung-ho and willing to take down the steel shutters and start drilling again, will the finance to re-start drilling, be there.? Will ‘the money people’, be willing to put up the new investment to take down the shutters, when an oil drop to $50, has burned their fingers badly? That’s why I suspect the ‘Goldilocks Price Range’ will narrow, because the high risk (expensive), wells will fall from favour (investment), at each price ‘whiplash’ up and down.
      Another descending variable in the mix has been alluded to in the (Energy Return on Energy Investment) EROEI point, ~ that it is clearly useless to go drill for one barrel of oil by using one barrel of oil. But when you push this concept further, you then have to ask, ~ how many surplus (NET), barrels do you need to support a modern functioning economy? A century ago we were getting 100 back for every 1 barrel used. But my best guess is that we are now down to ( an aggregate of all global wells), of about 15 : 1 ? Is that enough? A Philippines level of economy might be able to get along with a (guestimate!) 5:1 EROEI.? But I suspect a more complex Western level of economy, that has to support a myriad of people from, engineers, clinical psychologists, health workers, estate agents, environmental health technicians. software writers,…..etc………. to ‘Diversity Outreach Workers?? ‘, will take a minimum of 10:1 EROEI.?
      Is this not why our kids are finding it a tough job market?, because the surplus energy that we have today, will only support an economic system where only the most crucially necessary tasks can be supported by the surplus energy we have available to do them?
      As we (in the West) head for a Philippines or Cuban lifestyle, who’s going to break the news to the ‘Diversity Outreach Workers’, that they might be better thinking of a new career path in maybe,… agriculture?
      Indigoboy 27:1:15

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      1. moraymint · ·

        Excellent logic indigoboy.

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  7. carlosgoldenhorde · ·

    Hey Morayman

    Thanks for the interesting and detailed post.

    Shame it was wrong it just about every way it could be.

    Proof, as if it were needed, that for the truly religious, believing things without evidence is never quite as satisfying as believing them in flagrant disregard of the evidence…

    Which appears to be your self-confessed position.

    You’re a scientist, you say? What happened, man?

    Write more when I have time.

    Cx

    More stimulating than a chorus of approval!

    Like

    1. moraymint · ·

      Indeed more stimulating! We should perhaps draw readers’ attention to another (guest) post on this site ‘Optimism … At Last’ which I suspect chimes more with your own thoughts on this matter. I invite any reader picking up on this comment/reply exchange to check out ‘Optimism … At Last’ – and thereby obtain a balance to the general thrust of this blog. All the best!

      PS When you do have a little more time, it would be interesting if you could point to those statements in my post which you consider to be rather more religious than evidence-based – just so that I know where I’m getting my facts (or assertions?) wrong! Many thanks … and have a great day.

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  8. bobanddonna@terra.com · ·

    Good blog MM. Brings together a whole lot of loose threads, most of which I’d read elsewhere or was aware of.My own view is one stultifying impotence in the face of religious idiocy alongside political mendacity, incompetence and greed. We have two children. Daughter (23) a Masters graduate in nursing. (No jobs for nurses here in Spain, so she’s considering broadening her options by doing a four year business degree, or an MBA). Son has a hankering to follow his dad, (me), into the Military. My best chum was commissioned in the RM (I’m ex RAF), and regrettably our son has expressed an interest in the Corps. Right now, he’s working out the ski-season in Andorra doing barwork, so at least his mind is occupied with thoughts other than the RM. He’s a very ‘young’ 19 and I’d rather he snowboard every day than be blown to pieces by some Muslim piece of filth.Our view of the world is modified by time, experience and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. I’m 66 yrs young and will be going back up to Andorra for a second visit this year to use my season ski-pass. I wouldn’t trade places with my children for all the Whiskey in Ireland. We’ve created a hell-hole for them to inherit, courtesy of religion. (I, like you am an atheist and an avid subsciber to the view that “religion poisons everything,” in the words of the late Christopher Hitchens). Still, in the words of J.P Donleavy in ‘The Ginger Man,’ “We’ll be alright so long as there’s drink.”Regards from Spain.El Do 25/01/15 12:50, Moraymint Chatter comment-reply@wordpress.com escribió:moraymint posted: ” Pour Yourself a Beer Pour yourself a beer or something before you start reading this post; it’s a ‘big yin’ (big one) as we say here in Scotland. What’s a Young Person Supposed to Do? This post is the first of two consecutive posts. The secon”

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Bob and you’ve kind of summarised why it’s important (for me anyway) to at least make some attempt at guiding my offspring in to the future. Such a philosophy could of course be futile, but I’ll give it a go nonetheless. I do harbour a fundamental optimism about the age-old optimism of youth!

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    2. I totally respect your view. I have children too and my first concern is to keep them safe. I wish you the best of luck!

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    3. Bob, huge numbers of muslims came to help put down the Nazi menace and protect the commonwealth. Many of them gave their lives and not a few are buried in Britain while you have traipsed off to Spain to enjoy the good life and make ungrateful and racist remarks.

      You wouldn’t be talking about your son’s career options if, for all we know, their efforts hadn’t helped your sorry bacon survive long enough to reproduce.

      I’m not sure what’s more disturbing – seeing throwaway racism just pop into your comments like yours, or that none of the Moraymints readers had both inclination and valor to speak up.

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      1. Faz
        You’re right about the unnecessary ‘throwaway racism’, but the underlying fear (surely?), is of *fundamentalism* and moreover, the intolerance for everyone else, who is ‘not in their particular club’. Amongst many of my fears are,…Bible Belt Christians,.. Zionist Jews,.. Jihadi Muslims…(add to the list as you see fit).
        Is it unreasonable to simply want to be left alone and free from harm from those so ‘steeped’, in their particular belief system, that they wish for some odd psychopathic reason, to do harm to others?
        I am an atheist, but I’m *not* a fundamental atheist, and I have no desire to persecute, harm or kill you if you really feel the need to hang on to your belief system of choice. Indeed, so flimsy is my atheism, that if someone can show me irrefutable proof, of the existence of their ‘brand of deity’, I will gladly cast my eye over the evidence. I’m very open to change or even ditch my belief system, if new evidence comes to light… are you open to doing the same with your belief system Faz?

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  9. You’re right moraymint. I had this figured out twenty years ago and it’s why now live in a quite place, where I can hunt and fish if I have to or want to.

    At the time I announced my intentions people thought I was crazy, now I think many are envious.

    It’s almost amusing to watch politicians in their desperate search for growth, printing money while waiting for growth to return is futile. Unfortunately, this all comes at a time when everybody in the world wants a Western lifestyle, but the World’s wealth is becoming polarised along different lines, with a handful of people determined to hang on to what’s left.

    I think you know: conflict will be imminent: I really hope you can use those brains of yours to find a way to keep your children out of it.

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks flyer and I can see we’re of like minds. Helping my children – indeed the next generation – to prepare themselves for what lies ahead is important to me. Certainly we cannot for a moment rely on the political class to prepare us for and protect us from the collapse of complex society …

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  10. Samantha Asher · ·

    I totally agree and thank you for the reading recommendations.

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Samantha, and you’re welcome!

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  11. Good piece.
    First and foremost, I’m on board with the Moraymint world view. I too have been ‘noodling’, and researching these thoughts for some 6 years now, once the initial shock ( read – implications! ), had subsided. It’s clear to me that Peak (or Plateau) Oil is real, but it’s very hard to embody an argument for it, when week to week events don’t always seem to tally with the sheer obviousness, that the ‘punchbowl’ is down to dregs, and the 250 year fossil fuel party is coming to an end.
    ” Seriously dad,… I filled my car for £8 cheaper this week than I did a year ago,… how can you think, driving cars will be a thing of the past ???”
    And I do struggle explaining it to my 24 year old daughter, because I can’t put the whole concept into a 20 second sound bite that will convince them in the time they have ‘allotted to me’. Indeed, this for me is the most depressing, in that I cannot seem to engage my nearest and dearest into understanding the ‘economic shifts’, that ARE going to change our world. Don’t get me wrong,.. I don’t want to scare the crap out of them, but I would like them to understand a little better that their world view is undergoing changes,.. and not necessarily for the better.?
    Now retired, my background is in engineering, and I can see, all too clearly, that something is wrong and how energy threads into that slow death of the global growth that will continue its grinding shut down over the next few decades.
    But, coming back to your broad point, you are right that crude oil will never ‘run out’ as such. It will instead, stay in the ground because it will become financially, and thermodynamically, ‘inaccessible’. My view is that already, the oil price has entered a kind of ‘Goldilocks price range’. Too high at $110 to support a functioning and growing global economy, and too low at $50 to be profitable to those drilling in the more ‘marginal’, challenging places. By the same token, if it is now locked into its Goldilocks range’, as I believe it is, it is unlikely to ever see $115+ per barrel ever again. Instead I believe over coming months (and years), the price range will ‘whiplash’, between the upper and lower ranges. At each ‘lash of the whip’ the ~ upper … lower range(s)~ will narrow and converge, such that a price point will occur, when no driller will go for it, and no economy can utilise it (at that price), to create a growing economy.
    To date stamp a time on when all this will transpire is to invite ridicule and failure, but I will say that we are very near.
    Indigoboy 25:1:15

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    1. moraymint · ·

      Good comment indigoboy; thanks. Can I take it that you’ve read the likes of James Kunstler’s ‘The Long Emergency’, Richard Heinberg’s, ‘The End of Growth’, Jeremy Leggett’s ‘Half Gone’, Chris Martenson’s ‘Crash Course’ and Dr Tim Morgan’s ‘Life After Growth’ to name but a few? All of these authors provide clear, consistent and objective descriptions of our energy predicament and its likely impact on the global economy and, therefore, the complex societies in which we live. Dr Morgan is also kind enough to track my own musings and you’ll see he’s commented here today. You may wish to stay in touch with Tim’s own blog, ‘Surplus Energy Economics’.

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      1. Thanks for the reply Moraymint.
        Yes indeed I have followed most of those you mention, and should add Nicole Foss and Ilargi at The Automatic Earth, and the ever present input of Gail Tverberg, over at her blog, Our Finite World, whose simple yet, ‘matter of fact’ style of writing always leaves you in no doubt of the direction of travel we are heading.
        As I said, I’m convinced of the dilemma we face. My real angst is in convincing others, that I care about, without turning their hair grey overnight ? It seems I took the Red pill 6 years ago, and now there’s no going back.!!

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  12. Great article, extremely well explained!

    Like

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Tim, and you are of course one of the many sources of my research on this matter. Keep up the good work yourself please …

      Like

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