December 2, 2011

Trip back in time

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Yesterday the possible failure of a major European bank is likely to have been the trigger for the central banks of the world to hit the panic button and in so doing, admit that the European banking system is in tatters.

Against this background it is interesting to look at what was happening ten and five years ago in the archives. From 5 years ago, I have put up a webchat I did on RTE in November 2006 just after the Popes Children documentary.

It reveals the levels of denial about the housing/credit/banking boom. For those concerned about the Euro today, question 4 is particularly interesting.

The article from 10 years ago, December 2001 is on the budget. It is interesting that back then the article was pointing out that the budget was a sideshow given that the budget in 2000 led to €2billion being injected in to the economy, while private banking lending was running at 10 times that at €24 billion the same year.

We can see that the banking chaos of today was brewing in this lending figure ten years ago. The Irish banking crisis, as I have said over and over again, started in 2000 not 2008.

Hope you enjoy the trip back in time.

Best,

David


  1. roc

    David, your contributions during the boom were much appreciated. It is a shame you were not heeded.

    The degree to which we went overboard during the boom reflect precisely the severity of the bust.

    But, if one understands the dynamics of the business cycle, is the thing to do on the other side of the boom, not to try and act to stem the (opposite) phenomena of the bust?

    There is a recognised phenomenon in economics – ‘Failure To See Cycles As Inherent In Capitalism’. So indeed I think it should be a responsibility of economists to ensure the public is kept aware of phenomena like , Credit Cycles, Innovation And The Creative-Destruction Process, Overproduction, Economic Acceleration, Hoarding, Large Amplitudes In Constructional Industries, Random-Disturbance Events, etc.

    It strikes me you have taken it upon yourself to try and lead as large a part of the herd as you can and all that entails (including exacerbating the reluctance of people to observe and work things out for themselves if they can just read other peoples’ opinions. ie. exacerbation of the herd mentality). You were right during the boom. Personally, I think that now during the bust, what is needed is the precise opposite of your boom-time exhortations. ie. Now is the time to invest in yourself, in your business and your neighbours business, in some property if you can see your way to it, etc. Now is our opportunity to improve our productive habits and institutions, to eradicate gombeenism and all forms of rent-seeking, to try and develop the kind of productive integrity that will allow us to live up to a currency like the Euro, with the other highly developed countries of the EU, and so on.

    It appears to me that you haven’t really changed the message you had during the boom. Well, not true. You did to some extent, you got involved in community initiative, etc.

    But you were a big picture person during the boom. Personally I think it’s a pity you did not carry it through to the bust.

    By the way, I have never doubted your good intent and motivations, or how right you got it during the boom. And perhaps you are right now, but I don’t see it myself for now.

    Cheers.

    • Eireannach

      You might include there ‘natural resource depletion’ and ‘comparative analyses of similar experiences of human civilisations which drew down too many non-renewable resources in the pursuit of high personal consumption lifestyles’.

      Case studies would include the Classical Maya, the Ancient Egyptians, the Harrapan of the Indus Valley, the Sumerians and of course the Western Roman Empire.

      Suppose we have oil supply problems – how will that affect the next business cycle.

      What was the next “buisness cycle” for the Western Roman Empire after 476AD?

      • roc

        Or I might not.

        I am somewhat reminded of the predictions made in London at the end of the 19th Century that if transport kept growing as predicted London would be covered six feet of horse manure.

        Look, the key is not energy or natural resources. Particularly in the context of our current travails. It is organisation of those resources. (And purpose which derives from that).

        For example, take one economist who considered this question – Schumacher. He said (back in the early 70′s) that where we were essentially going wrong with our attitude to oil was in treating it as a never ending income stream, rather than as capital.

        So on these lines – imagine that we made a change in the part of our economic organisation that deals with the selling and taxing and distribution of oil. Say that we made oil treated as a CAPITAL resource much cheaper (for example, oil used to build wind turbines or solar panels). And oil treated as INCOME much dearer. In this vein, we could subsidise profits on the one with the other, and load all taxes onto one.

        Ask yourself – HOW WOULD THAT CHANGE THE LIMITS OF GROWTH as they are currently constituted? I would say it would affect them remarkably.

        Our present industrial organisation is largely one of centralised mass power sources, centralised mass production. But present technological innovations look like they will facilitate a reversion to community based organisation, just more evolved in terms of federation and ‘subsidiarity’.

        Ach, I that see you are another one going heavy with the blog infomercials, going long on fear. So, I’m probably talking to the wall. I’ll leave you to it. Stuck f****** record.

        • bonbon

          @roc
          Eireannach is putting the green agenda on the table now that the money agenda is vaporizing. That’s o.k – there is no escape but to fight it out. The South African Climate conference is underway – it has become a $100 billion question. In fact this is the real problem, not the financial crash as such.

          Unfortunately the “subsidiarity” and “communitarianism” which are in fact pure G.K.Chesterton economics, revived by Fabian Philip Blond, as I point out here repeatedly. stems from the exact same axioms as the Al Gore, Obama green agenda. So one goes around in (vicious) circles, like a broken record on all sides.

          It is not really infomercialism or fear, but a massive problem which will not simply go away.

          It must be dealt with. The Club of Rome Limits to Growth has a serious error, has led to a standstill western economy with no physical growth, bringing the financial synthetic bubble to an almighty crash.

        • Eireannach

          You remind of the shrill voices who tried to shout down those who warned of a crash in the housing market.

    • Eireannach

      Incidentally I do not preach despair as some posters may assume.

      I am saying that too many Irish people now feel confident and ‘ahead of the curve’ because they know we are in a bust cycle, don’t but a house for a few years, invest in alternative energy or rare skills (gold gilding is a booming business in Ireland at the moment for instance, as only 10 or so people do it).

      But wait….what if something deeper, more infrastructural is occuring here, beyond the flow or otherwise of credit?

      What if we have built a way of life totally presuming the availability of cheap oil, and it turns out that we will find the hard way what it’s like to try to live at+€200/barrel oil?

      What if we just weren’t paying attention? We clearly weren’t paying attention to DMcW’s business cycle, not in large numbers at any rate.

      Are we now paying attention to the looming energy crisis?

      Will there just be electric cars “for everybody in the audience”?

      Where are the electric car battery refill stations? Who iss the investor? WHO?

      These are the most important questions in the ENTIRE WORLD right now, more that what’s happening with money. What’s happening with energy? How will Tesco’s function with little or no oil? How will farm machinery do it’s thing?

      If we are at Peak Oil, what does it mean, in the fullness of all it’s implications?

      But we are still stuck talking about money and investment strategies and business cycles and…..

      I’ll bet the Romans in 476AD didn’t see it coming either. Yet the population of that city fell from 1,000,000 to just 40,000.

      That really happened folks. And we have a real energy crisis looming.

      You can’t eat money, as the Native American Chief said.

      • bonbon

        Peak Oil? For anyone who actually works in oil research, this is required reading :

        The Deep Hot Biosphere
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Gold

        Before swallowing too much Peak Oil (it raises the price) have a look at what is really going on.
        Now that should lower the price, if the silly supply and demand Adam Smith stuff actually meant something.

  2. roc

    I have to say too, looking back to those archives, I couldn’t believe you said the following. It had been quite clear what the situation was for some time. ie. that we had a problem of solvency…

    ” September 21, 2008, David McWilliams

    The question for the state is whether we are looking at a situation of illiquidity or insolvency. Pessimists say the banks are insolvent; optimists argue they are simply illiquid.

    IF IT IS INSOLVENCY, WHICH IS STILL UNLIKELY, then there are the normal longer-term measures to deal with bad debts. But if it is illiquidity — a short-term crisis of confidence that can be rectified — then the state can manage this with some obvious measures…”

    Were you just playing games here David, or what?

    • roc

      You weren’t the only one to spout this s***. The whole Dail seemed to take on this mantra. I could never understand how this was so. Anyone reading the quality business press and observing events in the years leading up to the guarantee would see very clearly that the problem was one of solvency.

      Now, sure. It might have been acceptable for certain institutions to insist that the problem was one of liquidity for the sole purpose of trying to reassure the public, to buy themselves time. But I cannot, cannot understand how they could have believed it themselves. Not only in the light of the events that had occurred in the time leading up to it, but also in the light of all that economic history, theory, and statistics has to say on it.

      • @roc

        Hindsight is a discerning voice that is prone to procrastination.

        • roc

          @John, Hindsight is not a factor in this. I clearly remember at the time when more than a year after the world economy had been battered and swayed, and the Irish banks share values had been plummeting, that the Irish establishment started to speak about what was going on, and what they said was ‘liquidity, liquidity, liquidity’. And I remember at the time, both with business acquaintances and with people on online forums, the utter incredulity with which these pronouncements were greeted. HOW could it have been a temporary liquidity issue looking at what the share prices of the Irish banks were clearly saying about their balance sheets. HOW could it have been liquidity issue, looking at what was happening in the housing market of the US and elsewhere. And much more was said in this regard. This was all said at the time. These discussions are recorded for posterity on a number of internet forums. From the time that the Irish establishment started to speak on the crisis and parrot, ‘temporary liquidity issue’, up until the time of the guarantee, there were many who were familiar with the reality. Go back and read the WSJ and FT pre Lehmans, even. It was very clear. I look forward to the day when all that is encompassed in the way this mantra was taken up by the Irish establishment is properly investigated with insight and understanding and imagination. All aspects of the establishment ‘cover-up’ that went on in this country might be read there. (But for now, let’s put that to the side and deal with this crisis).

    • Juanjo R

      Isn´t there some joke or quota that economists only exist as a profession to give astrologers a good name?

  3. DAVID

    Foresight , Forewarned , Forthwith ,Forearmed , Forethought and now Foreword .

  4. Praetorian

    Just like the Second World War has it’s origins in the creation of nation states of the 19th century (Franco-Prussian war etc), the banking crisis actually has its origins in the financialisation of Western economies going back to the Nixon presidency and the 1970s.

    The old line that Ireland was always 20 years behind the US can be applied to the current crisis, Ireland started to take off in the early 1990s, by 1999 you had McCreevy as Finance Minister with the great give aways or McGreevy Doctrine ‘I’ll spend it if I have it’, which coupled with easy money available to and from banks, fuelled the so called boom which was in fact just a debt based economy, it all turned predictably to bust and we are dealing with the fallout ever since.

    If one was really to push it, one could also make the case for the impact of colonialism, which saw Ireland remain an underdeveloped, closed minded, agriculture based, church dominated country with a small elite across the so called political class and professions, which had almost no imagination apart from closing off avenues for creative people. In the new state, much the same continued, with a few initiatives led by Lemass, Whitaker, Aiken standing out in a very depressing period. With a very conservative civil service and political leadership (Dev and is ‘happy maidens), little was done for working people so poverty or mass emigration characterised the first decades of the new Republic.

    Today, we see the fallout from all of the above, but all is not lost, out of crisis can come champions, new faces, new ideas, as in history, the ancien regime is in danger of complete collapse, and collapses are often followed by the release of the most enormous energy.

    We are in phase II, new government doing the same old things, 2012 is going to be a huge year for Ireland in every sense.

    • bonbon

      A very odd view of history indeed. The first nation state was the USA breaking with the British Empire. Followed world wide by many including Ireland. Just to remind everyone the Treaty of Paris was in 1783. That war and most after were with Empire.

      The ridiculous claim that nation-states cause war, is standard Foreign Office fare. This led to all EU nation states giving up sovereignty with the Euro! Look at the unbelievable result of that argument!

      Now these self-emasculated shadows of former nation-states want to create a nation-state of Europe! This is pure schizophrenia. This very effort has brought all EU entities to each others throats!

      Funny enough you point to Nixon – yes he killed the post-war Bretton Woods and was dumped soon after. That opened the door to floating exchange, petrodollars, and financialization, derivatives, and the 2000 repeal of Glass-Steagall. A grain of truth.

    • Eireannach

      2012 is going to be a huge year because Ehud Barat has stated again and again that the Iran nuclear programme must end or Israel must strike Iran before the end of 2012.

      So Israel will strike Iran, oil will hit €250-300/barrel and Irish Mammy will not be driving the kids anywhere. The stuckage of the current 2011 moment will be followed by a dead stop in 2012.

      Ireland will basically stop moving in 2012. Will this suddenly release a ‘most enormous energy’? We’ll see. I think it will coincide with reneging on our sovereign debts and dropping into the euro-slow-lane.

  5. For The Record

    I believe the Establishment and many others have dismissed the opportunity the omission of submissions on Irish Banks & Fraud from the Report by the National Crime Forum in 1998 .

    There was a reason and there was a conspiracy and the Irish Banks were allowed a free run to act with impunity .

  6. Malcolm McClure

    Your Zeitgeist panel discussion is like Irish Stew: – enjoyable when first served; even better on reheating.

  7. SLICKMICK

    Davd argued his case vwel on The Late Late in 2001 and was dismissed by a woman from HP !

  8. bonbon

    DMcW,
    Somehow I missed these discussions as they happened.
    I have been in this fight for quite a while.

    Very interesting you said the crisis began in 2001 – that matches what I have seen. And not only Ireland was plunged into the maelstrom.

    I must add a pre-cursor, the LTCM blowout in 1998. Many I know were already expecting this. This was catastrophic, and Greenspan unusually plain-text, no obfuscation, said so. Very quickly followed the Glass-Steagall repeal less than 2 years after, spearheaded by Sir Alan, and Summers. Clinton was under massive attack then for even mentioning a new financial architecture.

    Matching this was the repeal of 80 financial laws in Germany leading right up to 2001. What I have not yet found is the parallel repeal that must have occurred to enable this in Ireland, and who lobbied over lets say the 1990-2001 window.

    This lock-step repeal was such a gigantic act of destructive finance, Ireland got hit immediately by the tsunami. This was the ultimate “Atlas Shrugged” of Sir Alan, who had been knighted after Black Tuesday for bringing stability to the markets!

    Now the tsunami has ebbed leaving complete destruction and the true state of the physical economy clear for anyone to see. Super Mario’s 24 hour rescue is an aftershock.

    This will kill many more than the quake of Indonesia, Japan combined because of cost-cutting, production of food dropping…

    There is no other option left for finance now, no way to create a new tsunami of money.

    This reality is pushing them to other extreme options in 2011, never mind 2012.

    We are at another cusp.

  9. bonbon

    DMcW,
    Were derivatives ever discussed anywhere in the archives? The are avoided like the plague even now, 2011, in the blog.

    I am amazed at the silence on the very instruments that caused all of this.

  10. Trip Forward In Time

    Are we witnessing the demise of the English Language following the dual State of The Nations Address by France and Germany ?

    Does The Fiscal Union means the end of UK as an entity not alone Great Britain ?

    Will replacements of retired senior civil servants by German and French counterparts oversee the alignment of the new fiscal rules and operational procedures ?

    After more people leave the country in 2012 et sec will our new national languages be replacing English & Gaeilge ?

    Will Industrial Parks outside of The Pale become empty ?

    Will more Irish people speak Dublinese & Joycoise ?

    Has the Atlantic corridor shifted to Paris & Berlin only ?

  11. Trip back in time:

    When I visited Ontario, I took this picture here at Niagara and thought: “If we do not stop these, democracies no longer will exist.”

    Sadly, it seems I was right.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4914840/ontario_niagara.jpg

  12. Eireannach

    David McWilliams predicted the crash as early as 2001.

    Meadows, Meadows and Randers wrote the seminal report “Limits to Growth” in 1972.

    Anyone who read Limits to Growth understood what would happen in the 2000s as early as the 980s – because what is happening is driven by the inability of the world credit system to expand due to E-C-O-L-O-G-I-C-A-L limits.

    Hence banks are making fewer loans, because they KNOW growth will slow down in the future because they KNOW we are running low on key resources which fuel growth.

    Please note: Limits to Growth is an ecoscience book about the relationship between humans and nature, not an economics book about cyclical flows of money.

    The later is dependent on the former – not the other way around.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_to_Growth

    • bonbon

      So you say economy is dependant on ecology, ecoscience of animals. Are you saying that economy is an animal activity? For example are you implying a cow or pig economy?

      (The Tiger economy might qualify indeed).

      Just to clear any misunderstanding.

    • Eireannach

      @Bonbon

      No, not at all! I’m saying that not enough people understand how our economy is NOT based on money – money is a medium of exchange.

      Our economy is based on natural resources.

      Britain became a superpower in the 19th Century largely because it was the first country to capture the tremendous energy of coal. Britain has coal-powered steam ships with steel hulls decades before anyone else. Everyone else still had wooden sail ships until the 1860s – hard to imagine now, but true.

      Similarly, the USA was the first industrial country to systematically exploit oil as a powerful energy souces, much better than coal. The oil age and later the natural gas age has given us motor cars, planes, spacecraft and so on. Before oil was drilled in Pennsylvania in the 1860s we only had steam-powered ships and trains. Hard to imagine today, but true.

      Now the world is past the maximum production of oil. Soon we will pass the maximum production of natural gas. After that point the industrial age will begin to decline.

      Already we see efforts to increase the numbers of biodiesel, hybrid and electric cars.

      But we can’t run what we’re running on renewables – all the nuclear, wind, water and solar power will only give us a fraction of the energy of oil and gas.

      So if you understand this, you will understand why Russia’s Gasprom is so powerful, why the new Nordstream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany is so important, why the war on Libya and Iraq and maybe Iran is happening and why the economy is collapsing.

      Energy, and the energy crisis for mankind, is the masterkey to unlock this true vision of what is happening.

      It’s ecoscience because it’s about the relationship between humans and the natural world of resources, whereas economics is just human-human exchanges that doesn’t think about these wider subjects.

    • bonbon

      Right about money, exactly.

      You have raised the central issue, which I remarked here that human creativity does not exist in this Ecology, the science of animals and resources, if used to mean economy. If creativity is excluded your logic would imply, as most economists would conclude that our 7+billion population is “unatural” – no animal species could manage that. The highest primate population in the last 30+million years was perhaps 10 million.

      I suggest having a look at Sir Henry Kissinger’s NSSM 200, National Security Memorandum, for what policy was all through the 1980′s. Most of the remarks you just made are word for word identical. This report is on the internet, after FOIA in the 1990′s. It looks like it is still policy.

      Second, Prof. Bjorn Lomborg ex-environmentalist statistician has systematically countered all ecological arguments following Julian Simon. BUT there is a central error here too, avoiding the essential active creative effect that human beings express. The error of Malthus, borrowed from Giammaria Ortes is refuted, but Simon without a doubt lies about Benjamin Franklin on this issue, attributing the British Malthus qotes to American Franklin.

      Economics as taught has really brought us to an impending collapse of european civilization worldwide. It is urgent to think clearly about this.

      As Einstein discovered, we live in a finite but unbounded universe, any limits are self-imposed.

      There is no limit to growth.

      • Eireannach

        Of course there are limits to growth, set by nature. Of course there are!

        The city of Phoenix, Arizona has a water supply which draws down a vast underground aquifer. The aquifer is now critically depleted. The same os true of Riyadh in KSA.

        What’ll happen to these cities when they draw down and consume all the water in the underground aquifers? They’ll have no water. To say that after that point, these cities will no longer “grow”, would be a kind of understatement.

        To say ‘there are no limits to growth’ is a kind of progress ideology. We are progressing, we are advancing, things are getting better.

        Yet all the time our prosperity is stealing from the future. We are consuming resources that future generations won’t have. We are consuming the Earth’s metal ores, topsoil fertility, depleting the oceans, our population is expanding all the time.

        It’s like the bacteria in the petridish or the yeast in the beer. When we have consumed everything, we will die. Or at lot of us, at any rate. That’s now no more than a decade or two away.

      • bonbon

        So as I asked in the other question, do you equate economy with animal or even bacteria ecology. It seems you do mention cities and petri dishes in the same paragraph.

        That’s the standard British combabulation, even if from US figures, for example Al Gore, or especially Obama.

        If people are then a kind of economic animal, consuming resources, the herd must be culled, as many of this point of view say, “to save resources”. Some small elite then must do the culling, eh?

        Enough of this, you know exactly where it leads. I can spell it out if necessary.

        On Water in the Midwest, the Great American Desert, and Lake Chad, or Aral in the Russian Federation, it should be clear that animals die waiting for rain. As anyone with the slightest knowledge can see, people move water to where its needed. Animals do not. Even Libya is not so stupid as Al Gore – they move water from Sirte to Tripoli. China is moving water to the Gobi.

        And the USA NAWAPA, North American Water and Power Alliance is the greatest water project the world has ever seen, planned since 1964 by JFK. Move massive amounts of runoff from the Arctic right across the Rockies south, with the biggest pumping system, nuclear powered, ever built.

        On mineral resources – iron for example, the easy to get seams are being consumed. To access less dense deposits, we must used high density power, that means nuclear. The simple deposits are concentrations set down by living activity in past epochs. We know this and how that happened so we know what to do to concentrate. We learn from ecology, and multiply it a thousandfold denser.

        That’s economics, not ecology. Al Gore’s and Prince Philip’s demand that we die like bacteria is really silly pre-industrial feudalism, from an cellar where the sun never shone.

        This is why there are no limits to growth.

        • Eireannach

          There will be no “moving water to Arizona” when everyone else needs the same water.

          As the saying goes, anything that is not sustainable, that can’t go on forever. won’t.

          Roman didn’t go on forever.

          The Mayan civilization didn’t go on forever.

          Sumeria didn’t go on forever.

          Some may imagine “this time it’s diferent”. Where have I heard that before?

        • bonbon

          The Arctic runoff, check how much fresh water is simply lost. Imagine canals, pumps and reservoirs all across the Rockies, including Alaska, Canada, right down to Mexico. All of this was analyzed in detail in 1964, and JFK announced the startup, very like the NASA manned mission orientation. The only reason it is not yet done, was murder, not some natural process. An entirely unnatural murder.

          Well the blanket statement “there will be no…” is just that, not an argument at all, more a brick wall.

          Personally I prefer dams, massive pumps, and greening deserts to a brick wall.

          Obama shutdown manned space travel, not a natural limit at all, simply calculated immense destruction.

          Rome went bankrupt, very like the Fourth Rome today the British Empire.Maya, Aztec, Sumeria, in fact most civilizations disappeared. Blanket fact. This led London to investigate, and the key book The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire says it all – how to have a 4th Empire and not collapse. Well empires always collapse because of the very meaning of empire. If the transatlantic region behaves like empire, as it has done – it is guaranteed to collapse, underway right now.

          NAWAPA empires do not do. NASA also. Finance is what empires do. Greenie ideologies rot empires from within.

          A good example is Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Archaeologists have verified that originally the city was much bigger, now lost in the jungle with an incredible water management system, all canals, maintained over many years. The city was never attacked while occupied, rather the water management stopped. There is only one explanation – greenies wrecked it. Another example Mexico – maize is a man-made plant, requiring keen scientific thinking going back to the Incas, massively increasing food production. By the time of the Aztecs who did not build the pyramids they executed 25000 youth in one day on, because the sun might not rise, there was famine. By the time Columbus arrived the population had already dropped by 50%. What caused this? Greenie resource limiting madness.
          I can cite civilization after civilization.
          Empires can only persist if the masses are convinced they are a type of animal, kept that way, numbers controlled by constant wars, disease. Because empires have to do this they collapse, hence the archaeological record. Wonderful dilemma, what?

          Ireland, greener than green? You must be joking.

          • Eireannach

            You seem to think talk of “Limits to Growth” implies I’m a globalist tyrant.

            Google “Richard Heinberg” for a wonderful exposition of our resource constrained future. He’s hardly a globalist New World Order tyrant, is he? Just a man concerned about our reckless consumerism and it’s inevitable conclusion.

            Inevitable because hubris never ends well.

          • bonbon

            No, but when Obama with immense power follows a green agenda and wrecks the US economy, it is not just a matter of opinion. Or when some IPCC demands the developed world cough up $150 billion to “save the planet from CO2″.

            Then we can talk of tyranny.

          • Willie C

            It does appear illogical that someone could still argue that there are no limits to growth. Not to go at you personally bonbon, but your argument doesn’t hold water.

            1. Infinite growth on a finite planet….mathematically, physically and biologically impossible.

            2. Humans are as much part of the natural ecosystem as polar bears, the gulf stream and the Sumatran rainforests. The folly of humans, greatly amplified since the industrial revolution, is to think we somehow exist outside, and can act independently of the planetary system. One of the greatest urban thinkers of our time, Jane Jacobs, wrote “the nature of economies” in 2000, just before she died – you should read it… amazing insights http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Jacobs#The_Nature_of_Economies

            3. We are distinguished from other forms of planetary life by our extra-ordinary adaptability, resilience and creativity. This however, does not mean that we can transcend physical limits to growth. Yes, we have, can and will develop technological innovations to opportunity and crisis. Will such innovations allow 7 billion people now, and 9 billion people by 2050 to live on this planet… who knows, but absolutely not at anything resembling modern western lifestyles.

            For discussion watch or read Paul Gilding and Thomas Friedman http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2011/s3247216.htm

            PS I highly recommend Paul Gilding’s “The Great Disruption” (2011) as a book that has transformed my outlook on the future (in a positive way.

            my two cents….

          • bonbon

            @Willi C
            The Club of Rome put Limits to Growth on the table. The argument has been taken apart by the 2 I mention above. The mathematical “multiplication” of leaves in a pond is not growth. And “infinite” – we live in a finite but unbounded universe as Einstein discovered. Any bounds are set by us, not the natural universe.

            If it was so evident why is Obama or the IPCC enforcing the limits? Not to mind lesser vigilante’s?

            Limits to Growth is simply that a small elite has decided to limit the masses, nothing new – that’s what empires always do. Our 7+billion s target number 1 for this small group. Sir Henry Kissnger’s NSSM 200, google it, is this agenda in black and white. When this policy s applied by so-called western governments, billions suffer, not because of nature. Sir Henry Kissinger served in 3 US administrations.

            Limits are imposed and NSSM 200 is by now very well known and not the only example. It must be dealt with.

            Instead of flinging books all over the place, counter the arguments, briefly. Which means looking at the roots of the Limits to Growth thesis, and checking for error.

          • Eireannach

            @WillieC

            +1

          • 33square

            economy vs. ecology: FIGHT!

    • Juanjo R

      Theres a general piece on crashes a long or so page in Sliglitz´s Globalisation and its Discontents (from 1998 I think) around page 100 or so. If you simply insert the appropriate names it could read as an accurate account of Irelands crash.

      ´All this has happened before and all this will happen again!´ ( a fictional quote from GSG reimagined ).

      Oh and theres a piece in The Economist´s book on and titled Economics on the perils of giving into and bailing out banks that say `they are too big to fail´. I have second ed. from 2006 though the book was first published abouts 2002.

      And its not peak oil that is the problem just yet. Its the changing nature of work and globalisation allied with debt slavery and giving into markets blackmail thats impacting on us all hugely. If you want to know more rather than take my word on the matter. I´d suggest checking out anything by Naomi Klein in particular No Logo deals with work and globalization. Also theres a book Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders by James Scurlock I´d highly recommend too.

      Peak oil ans energy scarcity will impact in due course. That will be horrible.

  13. Eireannach

    1980s not 980s! doh! :-)

  14. Tull McAdoo

    Where to start really!

    The government’s white paper is showing that Tax take or government revenue is 700 million Euros below what was expected. The spin from the Dept. of Finance is that although they got it totally arse ways again this year in their pre-budget expectations for the economy in terms of revenue, all is not totally lost because they tell us that expenditures are running at 1000 million Euros below what was expected at this time.

    The spin is that, although the figures are way off target, which should under normal circumstances highlight the total incompetence of that department, well the spin is that when you subtract the shortfall of 700 million from the 1000 million, you find that the pre budget NET position is still the same.

    Oh yes and just as an aside or even an off the cuff remark they tell us that the Budget decision to cut circa 3800 million out of the economy is needed because our national debt interest payments will be rising by about 2600 million euro’s next year and yes, before any of you more astute economic bloggers ask, “this does include the 3600 million Euros that went missing, was found again ala Kevin Cardiff”.

    Headmaster Noonan has decided to collect all outstanding amounts owed on the Dail Bar and Restaurant accounts of present and former Members in the hope that this “whip around “ will develop some momentum and offset some of the budgetary shortfall.

    Some members particularly those from Fianna Fail see this intrusion into what they consider to be “family accounts” with the Dail’s “catering cumann” as being totally unacceptable and has been described by one Limerick TD as “ blue shirt vindictiveness” coming as it does between the said Depitty , his pint of plain and his ploughman’s lunch.

    It’s at times like this that you would miss Jim Kemmy……….

    • bonbon

      Quote :
      Dr Bhamjee said: “A recent article in the British Journal of Psychiatry found the beneficial uses of lithium when it was added to the water supply in parts of Texas.”

      I only wonder was that from Bush’s Texas ranch.

      The only thing to say about this is the old George Orwell Brave New World where Soma has this effect.

      By the way, there is a kids program, “Postman Pat”, which some might have seen. The happiest man goes to the grocers – I have the video – if you look carefully at the shop shelves there is a large carton of SOMA. I guess that’s why everyone in Greendale is so happy.

      Wierd.

    • coldblow

      Was this the fellow who was elected as a Labour TD for Clare back in the 90s some time? His election was greeted in some quarters as great news, a sign no doubt that we had progressed as a nation.

  15. Tull McAdoo

    I was looking back over some of my posts from some time back…..jasus nothing changes…

    1. Jim says
    Given that Europe will invariably bail out Ireland, and later on Ireland will ratify the Lisbon Treaty, it seems to me that the Dail per se will be downgraded to the level of a glorified County Council in the eyes of Europe.
    As it stands at the moment the Dail has all the appearances of a County Council at work. Look at the evidence. It has boosted its own staff (Public service). It seems totally oblivious to the outside World, which includes everything in Ireland that not Public Service. It feels no obligation to interfere in any way with what it refers to as a small open Economy run at the behest of the Free Market.
    Cowen (Kenny) himself shows no signs of Statesmanship but looks more comfortable as a type of Chairman of this Country Council. They obviously don’t trust their own to make decisions or at least be seen to offer solutions to problems. They prefer to hide behind a plethora of Outside Consultants, or prefer to wait for some diktat from Europe to tell them what they have to do….
    They pack up the numbers employed in the Public Service with their own Party Faithfull, thereby giving the hardcore support evidenced in the recent polls. This Government has no clue no more than any County Council around the Country on how to create jobs, run an Economy outside of the Public Service etc…..
    It took me quite a while to get my head around these People, but when I did it was easier to understand their thinking and actions when I looked on them as glorified County Councilors….
    I’ve watched Cowen (Kenny) and His frontbench as the Banking crises unfolded and they just seemed mystified as to what they thought people expected them to do. They just seemed preoccupied with their own jobs of running the Public Service. It all seemed like a huge intrusion into their normal functions…..
    When they did speak it was like as if they had just left their local clinic and had just been informed by some developer, that all was not well and could they make inquiries on their behalf with the Dept.
    The recent Budgets were more of a book balancing exercise that you would see by an Accountant for a County Council, extra levies, extra taxes…I was just waiting for Linehan to say something about bin charges or sewerage connections fees, it was that bad from an Economists point of view.
    The problems of the Country did not interfere with any of the public Holidays, and Cowen himself was off swanning about Japan on a trade junket when he made the call to put the Country up to its tits in guarantees. It was like as if it was someone else’s money he was deciding upon, and anyway they would get their Budget next year from Central funds after a bit of a row. Life would boogie on regardless.
    Let the ECB worry about the Euro, as he was busy running the Irish Country Council. I am sure the Members of this forum do not want me labouring this point because ye all have yare own bits ye could throw into the mix.
    That’s how I see it. We are being run by a bunch of County Councillors, and Governed by Europe….Free State me arse, free lunch for the chosen few more like. Goodnight Ireland, sleep well. ;-)

  16. 7th Day before the Full Moon

    Today we will hear The State of Nation Address ……….need I say more……

    • Tull McAdoo

      I wonder will he sum it up in one word John?

      If so! What do people on this forum think that one word is ? Remember that this is the Sabbath day so confine your answers to……Ahhhh what the hell say what you think……

    • Guten Abend meine Damen und Herren,

      Irland steht vor einer schwierigen Aufgabe. Daher haben wir beschlossen Angela Merkel die Irische Staatsbuergerschaft und alle meine Aemter zu uebertragen.

      Im Gegenzug hat sich Frau Merkel verpflichtet einen Schnellkurs in Irischer Sprache zu absolvieren, und uns ebenso ein grosszuegig bemessenes Taschengeld versprochen.

      Daher erteile ich nun das Wort an Angela Merkel….

      • Ladies and Gentlemen,

        Ireland faces it’s biggest challenge in the young history of our Republic. The Government decided to grant Angela Merkel full Irish Citizenship, and I will transfer all my power to Angela Merkel with immediate effect.

        In return, Angela Merel promised to sign up for an crash course in Irish language and agreed to a generous amount of pocket money for each citizen.

        Without further ado, live from government buildings… Angela Merkel.

  17. 2012: The Solution

    next week: Immediate change of European and each member states Constitution, including the right to own guns of all calibers.

    On new years eve, give out unlimited ammo for free and announce a 24 hours amnesty for all crimes being committed. Then flood the Internet with trace Informations on the current locations of bankers and politicians.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Stay cool Georg. We haven’t reached that stage yet. I’m beginning to think that the Euro is not going to go away. –Just enough QE will be pumped into the system to prevent a major default and the ‘crisis’ will become the ‘new normal’ until somebody gets bored with it and starts expanding again.

      The bottom line is that the Euro was designed to be irreversible. Not just irreversible without pain but technically irreversible. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. It may suffer devaluation but it will still be here in 20, 40 years time.

      Don’t blame the current generation of politicians and bankers for the crash. The euro wasn’t designed to be a slippery slope, but using it has become like ski-ing down an endless black run, if you fall, you have to get up and keep going, otherwise you’ll freeze to death up there. One day you’ll become skilful at staying upright.

      • Don’t blame the current generation of politicians and bankers for the crash.

        Here we differ profoundly in our views!

      • You know, it is the same as if you were to say, do not blame Labour and FG for current policies and decisions, they only inherited the situation….

        Of course, this is exactly what we hear….

      • Eireannach

        @Malcolm McClure

        I agree entire that the euro has been technically designed to be historically irreversible.

        When the EU project began, 2 cities were chosen for key institutions: Brussels and Strasbourg. Brussels is a French-speaking city on the border of the Dutch-speaking part of Europe. Brussels is on the Franco-Dutch frontier. Strasbourg is on the Rhine, which is the border between France and Germany. Strasbourg and Alsace have been fought over for centuries. To base the EU parliament there is to signify the end of quarrels between France and Germany.

        So the location of the EU civil service and parliament already signifies the end of historical turf-wars between France, Germany and the Benelux.

        That part of Europe is ALREADY a federated superstate at every level – civil service, Erasmus student exchanges, cross-border police co-operation and, since German reunification, the euro currency.

        France, Germany and the Benelux will never, ever, ever break up. They have been gradually federating since after WW2. Geopolitically, they are finished if they fracture and fragment, and they know it.

        All that remains is to see how far they can extend this federal project. Will Ireland stay part of core Europe? What about Italy? Iberia? Greece? Of course, of the peripheral regions, Britain will always remain peripheral and semi-autonomous. The core is good with that. But the core will set the agenda more than Britian, as we’ll all see as the Tobin tax debate heats up.

        Austria is part of core Europe. Much of Eastern Europe will join, in time.

        It is naive to think that after 50 years of Brussels, Strasbourg and Frankfurt institution-building, the eurozone will entirely fall apart into 17 old currencies. A few rogues may fall off the edges (Greece in particular) but the core will hold it together.

        Anyone who thinks otherwise has been reading too many English language newspapers.

  18. bonbon

    Since Angie Merkel might be foisted with the problem she seems to so badly want, is from the DDR, and for sure has forgotten this, Communist Party Secretary Honnecker’s famous last words :

    “Neither an ox nor a donkey is able to stop the progress of socialism.” (A rhyming couplet in the original German: “Den Sozialismus in seinem Lauf hält weder Ochs noch Esel auf”, Berlin, 7 October 1989)

    Very shortly after, the march from Leipzig tumbled the entire bankrupt mess, and not a single shot was fired – a world record in revolutions.

    Many here must remember that.

    Now we have Jacques Delors on DT saying the flaw of the Euro is execution – not the architects (him).

    Wow – do they ever play back what they say, just to check?

  19. Legionaires

    When you join this army no oath is made to France , no one ask you about your past , no one cares about your future ,you fight only to stay alive and you keep one bullet in your pocket ….just in case you want to stop the enemy take you alive.

  20. Watch the news coming to your screen concerning the german COMMERZBANK soon….

  21. bonbon

    Commerzbank, and Unicredit AGAIN.
    Nothing is solved. Bernanke’s Big Bazooka to the rescue!

    http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article13750329/Faellt-die-Grossbank-Unicredit-spuert-das-ganz-Europa.html

  22. RTE 9:30 PM

    Was this a rehearsal of some kind?

    Surely this was not the state of the nation address that was announced since days, there must be an error with the broadcasting date/time of some kind.

  23. Certainty

    There is no more middle ground!

    • stiofanc02

      George, I think you are onto something, this must have been the taped version for the 8 year olds in the classroom. “you did not create this crisis children” I cannott beleive this was the best he could do. Un-fu€king believable. He will regret this bigtime. Podge and Rodge look less like puppets than this guy. Hope someone removed the rod from his arse once he stood. “no income tax hikes just stealth taxes that will cripple you quietly and unbeknownst to you” Hey now, thats the kind of certainty we need.

  24. ‘You are Not responsible for The Crisis’ …that was the only honest statement he said .

    He omitted to say that while he was in opposition his party failed to report on the signs of the oncoming Crisis and preferred to eat the fat then .

    He demeanour was like a Frozen Pea on a POD on a sell by date shelf .

    He looked like Angela with aftershave .

    My take on it is, this was ‘Lady Cromwell ‘ .

  25. bonbon

    I wonder if Kenny is banking on “fiscal union” to rescue FG? Well has a shock coming. What he will get is intrusive control on the Dail from the Commission, enforced austerity. That’s it.
    A Dec. 3 {Daily Telegraph} article by Liam Halligan, which says that the “fiscal union” which the Empire’s banks are all demanding, is never going to happen, because Germany cannot and will not go along.

    “Market denizens are desperate for `fiscal union’ before the end of the year,” Halligan writes. This “would also spark the mother of all equity market rallies, as the ECB sprayed-out QE funny money. Shares would surge across the globe.” However, he insists, “I see scant evidence of `fiscal union’ happening any time soon,” because of Germany’s opposition, “requiring as it would the reversal of 500 years of European history… German voters will not, repeat not, accept money-printing. If Merkel allows this to happen, I truly believe the German people will riot.”

  26. CERN: December 13th, 2011

    Make a calendar note and check the website on this date.

  27. bonbon

    The CERN Higgs Boson is supposed to save the Big Bang. We have spent Euro billions to rescue the standard model. Science is in exactly the same situation as the Euro.

    If we just get the Euro “fundamentals” right all peace and prosperity would follow automatically?

    We are waiting for the State of the Universe Address, with a Kenny lookalike, and a long trail of titles, announcing the God Particle.

    There is a flaw in the Standard Model, and its is not the execution!

    A Commission has replaced currencies and God. All bow and hail Higgs!

    Amazing.

  28. Willie C

    @ bonbo
    I refer to limits to growth as a concept, not to the 1973 report from the Club of Rome – which horrified the scientific and political establishment so much, they rolled out the big guns & big money to shoot it down (clearly money well spent in your case).

    Nonetheless, conspiracy theories or no… ‘No limits to growth’ implies infinite growth on a finite planet, which is mathematically, physically and biologically impossible. I dont know how i can express this in any simpler terms.

    Last time i checked startrek was only on telly, and we’ve only the WAN planet to live on. Ya sap.

    • bonbon

      That concept needs explaining. For instance you imply “infinite”. Any mathematician knows that Cantor showed there is an unbounded number of infinities. So calling maths to your aid is not precise enough.

      The growth in horse manure referred above, in Paris and London around 1900 shows the error. Extrapolating in connect-the-dot dotism, leads to absurdities. By 1910 there was no manure crisis. Something happened that the Mayors of London and Paris were simply too dumb to even conceive of.

      Same today. The horse trough of Green extrapolation is both scientifically incompetent, and leads only to much manure, sorry bio-gas, ehem renewables…

      Limits to Growth simply smells wrong!

      • Eireannach

        @bonbon

        You obviously don’t like Limits to Growth because baddies like Henry Kissinger subscribe to it.

        I can totally understand why a person would not like the sound or “smell” of Limits to Growth.

        However, the population of humans on Earth, given our per capita use of non-renewable resources, must have a limit.

        Evoking Einsteinian notions of “infinity” as an example of limitlessness is a bit sad and deluded, IMHO.

        Tell that to the Easter Islanders whose population overshot ecological limits, they cut down all the trees, and the population crashed by 80%.Tell them they should have read some Einstein and everything would have been just grand!

      • bonbon

        Steady on. Einstein never said infinity, but finite and unbounded. That is something to really chew on. Any boundaries are only apparent.

        Second applying limits as policy is not “natural”.

        Easter Island, always evoked. Look how isolated it is, ask how did they get there? Answer advanced navigation. So why then a crisis? Why all those statues of Gods or ghosts? This reveals the flaw – they look out to sea. As the culture died it erected more and more exhausting manpower and wood. Why did they turn against the sea? Why would they “protect” themselves from “out there”. They were in a previous generation perfectly capable of trade routes.

        The only more recent comparison is China in 1421 – sending 480 huge ships all over the planet, and then a new emperor says the trees were gone, and burnt all the ships – no foreign trade for 200 years, completely closed up. What causes this? This is not a natural limit, rather a belief system, very human.

        What we see are not natural limits, rather human failure. All over the historic record.

        And now.

    • bonbon

      To put it in terms even Bush could understand -
      “Since experts tell us there are limits to growth, we announce the following measures to limit growth”.

      Or “Since my advisors tell me Sadam is a bad guy and will attack us, we now launch the attack”.

      Or Iran is such a threat we now commence bombing to make sure they do not – Obama any moment…

      Strange logic indeed.

  29. bonbon

    Could it be that Kenny and the Goldman Sachs operatives running countries near you, are so sure the public will accept murderous austerity, because they believe the people accept limits to growth as a law of economics. 40 years of constant indoctrination since the Club of Rome manual have softened up the masses for slaughter?

    I’ll bet they have calculated paltry irrational resistance. That’s the smirking wink “well we all know we are living beyond the limits”, “we have to accept these measures”, “there is nothing we can do against laws of the universe”.

    No physical economic growth in the transatlantic region for 35+ years covered by a huge growth in synthetic derivative instruments being dumped as debt on a moribund economy is what is going on. The inability to efficiently counter this is calculated in. These “debts” could never be payed, driving the economy to negative growth.

    This may sound academic – really?

    It is high time to get serious about economics!

  30. Eireannach

    @Bonbon

    Could it be that your James Bond “baddies”, your globalist rogue villains, Goldman Sachs and Henry Kissinger and the rest of them, are controlling ALL of the world’s oil producers and thus keeping the price of oil “artificially” above $100/barrel?

    Or could the oil industry geologists like Colin Campbell (who lives in Ballydehob) be right that we have reached the half-way point in consumption of the world’s oil reserves, with permanently high prices now the new normal, necessarily due to production constraints relative to demand, a.k.a “Peak Oil”?

    Or is….Colin Campbell of Ballydehob secretly working for Henry Kissinger and the Globalists? Or has he been, as you suggest above, “softened up” and “indoctrinated” by the Club of Rome/Bildebergers/Goldman Sachs/Henry Kissinger/Barack Obama’s Green Agenda/etc, etc?

    Or have you just been listening to anti-scientific conspiracy theory talk-radio celebrities who have encouraged you to believe there are really no Limits to Growth…with no less a figure than Einstein as proof for your faith in boundlessness?

    Boundlessness, limitlessness, etc. are actually there, you maintain, for the taking if it wasn’t for the dastardly plot of the Globalist tyrants!

    So where, oh where, are the electic car “filling stations”? Has Henry Kissinger brainwashed his minions into a mass policy of de-industrialization?

    Maybe it’s all more straightforward than that. Maybe it’s not artificial, maybe it’s just real, there just ARE Limits to Growth in the consumption of non-renewable resources on a finite planet.

    Maybe there are limits to growth, and the Elites are suitably prepared because they have paid for and read top quality reports on the subject. Maybe it’s that simple.

    • roc

      I see you didn’t take on my point about organisation of natural resources. Again, the example I used was – change oil’s revenue and taxation structure to incentivise treating oil as capital. ie use it to construct new sources of energy like wind and solar power units. And de-incentivise using it as expendable income. ie. consumption for non-capital generating activities. You would find then that even if we assumed the peak oil hypothesis held water (which it doesn’t) the ‘limits to growth’ would move outwards exponentially. I think if you considered this point adequately you would need to find a new drum to beat (loudly).

      • Eireannach

        @Roc

        I see you are so brilliant you have found a way to circumvent Limits to Growth.

        In that case, you should lead us in the massive planet-wide movement to reorganize natural resources! Treat oil as capital – brilliant!

        You should make a speech before the UN and save the Western middle class just in time.

        Personally, I plan to get ready for +$100/barrel oil forever, which has extremely serious consequences and I don’t have time for your theories, frankly.

        I know which path I’m going to take. I’m going for the lifeboat and I’m pointing others to the preparations needed to cobble together a lifeboat, I’m not looking for a ticket at the Titanic dining-room ‘save the day’ ingenious ideas speech.

        Yourself and Bonbon can “invest” in your no Limits nonsense all you like. You ain’t going to get any return on that investment – let me assure you.

        • bonbon

          Hope that boat is not heading for Easter Island!

          Much better to build a fusion powered boat for Mars, and occupy it. The “natural resource” for fuel is in the polar craters of the Moon sitting there in the shadows.
          Figuring out how to live on Mars makes the Sahara look like a garden, a minor problem to green. Without actually doing this work the Sahara is a limit, a boundary, but it is self imposed by Easter Island inward-looking belief systems.

          • Eireannach

            I see you are literally planning to fly in a rocket ship to Mars to save mankind! lol :-)

          • bonbon

            Any Rapa Nui would have understood that the island was badly managed. So to green the Sahara, do Mars. The sheer difficulty will make the Sahara seem like a tea party. That’s what humans do after all. Why go to the Moon – simple : because it is there, right there where chemical rockets could reach. The spin-off technologies are not in the “limit book”.

            There are 3 ways to handle desertification, which is a big challenge, (excluding sailing to Easter Island ).

            Move nearby large rivers. Big job, great work if you can get it. Occupy the Arctic and Antarctic (even drier). Organize Mars, best work if you can get it. This is how humans have succeeded breaking all “limit book” rules over 2 million years.

            This is what we do, what we have alwas done, and what we will always do. We plan on being here for the duration!

    • bonbon

      Limits to Growth has become a belief system, to be dealt with as that, a kind of religion. The Rapa Nui, used to bolster the ecological argument, fell foul to such a belief and erected huge statues. China after 1421 also; transatlantic now.
      The statues here are 150m Wind Turbines, plenty around to remind future generations of the folly who will wonder why the cabling was never finished. What did these weird people believe?

      Imposing limits because some experts claim limits, is very clear – no Bond, only a very real Obama. Look at the Solyndra scandal. All these greenie energy “resource conserving” firms can only live on subsidy. In financial crises, these get cut first. Problem is the other energy sources were “replaced” – result the lights go out a la Rapa Nui. You do realize Solyndra only existed because of Obama personally. It was the poster green firm. Notice how Obama dropped “green” in the campaign?

      Very good to see you have dropped the “infinity” sound bite. Better to use “unbounded” – Einstein got it right. Any bounds are self imposed, like the “good” slaves who locked their own manacles at bedtime.

      For Bush and Obama it must be kept simple. For thinking citizens, well, we can only wonder at the sheer unbelievable idiocy of those elites you mention and hold so close to your heart.

      A lot of money was spent on expert reports from Goldman Sachs, and now these are running countries into the ground. They know better?

      I see you have not even dared to look up NSSM 200 by Sir Henry. Be brave it takes nerves. This is very serious, impossible to dismiss. It is a National Security Memorandum, based on Limits to Growth, to limit agro/industry to a list of 13 countries, systematic and clearly laid out for population reduction. This was US government policy, and likely still is with Obama. No way to dance around this, no wiggle room whatsoever.

      We can discuss it point for point for everyone to see.

    • bonbon

      On oil, I gave the Thomas Gold reference. It is easy to get a review in the web.
      In 1640 Louisiana Indians fed a black pudding welling from the ground to sick horses as medicine. The resource was there. It is still the same oil – what changed? What made it a “natural resource”? What was the “natural resource” then? Wood, a much lower energy density.
      Now we have nuclear, and will soon have fusion. Then a plentiful sea component, now gulped by fish, is the “natural resource” – guess what it is?
      To say “where is the fusion” is like insulting the Indian saying where is the auto, meanwhile waiting for wind or a blue sky. The Indian is laughing at the spectacle!

      In a fusion economy, oil then becomes a source of plastic, and we make our own methane precursors. Simply saying “there will be no…” or “where are the…”, is not very smart. Ask the ghosts of Rapa Nui!

  31. Willie C

    Jaysus lads maybe i should move home from australia…. Clearly the paronoid delusional quality of the marjuana back home has increased exponentially (no limits to growth!!) since i left.

    Maybe the the climate change / limits to growth concepts are elaborate conspiracies, orchestrated by the british royal family, so they can practice genocide on poor people again and thus regain their global hegemony once more.

    • bonbon

      Easter Island is not too far. I hear there are some others heading that way for the End of the World Ball.
      (if you have read Swift). As Gulliver noticed the tailor even measure your shadow. Very limited places at the table, book now!

      • Eireannach

        You imagine a future where humankind lauch a mission to terraform Mars into a fertile world of cornucopian abundance.

        I see a present with no electric cars, no hydrogen fuel cell refill stations, no maglev trains being built outside of China, and Concorde scrapped into the dustbin of history.

        The majority of the world’s commercial airplane fleet are old Boeing models. The NASA space shuttle is almost a thing of the past. After the space shuttle Columbia disaste the International Space Station could only be accesed using Russia’s Soyuz craft launched from a cosmodrome in Borat’s Kazakhstan.

        The American cities of Detroit and New Orleans, and numerous large industrial towns in the UK, are empty, post-industrial rust-buckets. Much of the Dublin hard water drinking supply is still piped through lead pipes.

        Yet you reckon there are no limits to our potential future progress and we’ll terraform Mars.

        You must be reading too many 1950s comic books where in the 21st century we’ll all have bubble cars that hover around. In those comic books, nations like Iraq or Iran are never mentioned, because the writers has no idea how important these countries would become when the oil supply starts run flat and humanity has nothing, no backup plan, zero, ziltch that can replace that oil.

        Hence no hydrogen fuel cell fill up stations, no bubble car, terraforming Mars, etc.

        The future will look more like the past. It’s already starting to look that way, and it’ll continue.

        • Willie C

          +1 Eireannach…
          keep up the good work using logic and evidence to counter the conspiracy theorists…

          Ps bonbon, that end of world ball sounds grand, Im on for it. We’ll survive, so will the planet, but civilisation as we know it today? radically different future ahead – of LESS CONSUMPTION, because the “market” will start to price in “LIMITS TO GROWTH”… d’oh.

          • 33square

            “the paranoid delusional quality of the marijuana back home has increased exponentially”

            hence the need for the lithium i suppose?

            … or what would be your take on that?

          • 33square

            is dr.bhamjee using logic and evidence? if the dose is so small as to have no negative effects, what is the point of adding it? could it be that homeopathy isn’t tripe?

        • bonbon

          Amazing “logic”. No manned space travel now not because of an accident, but because of an insane Obama, you might have seen at Darwin recently. Borat is a genius compared to this utter destructive incompetent.

          As long as Obama remains in the white house your crystal ball will be self-fulfilling. Only missing is WWIII, but that’s not logical.

          Impeachment now or your picture gets painted in.

    • roc

      @Willie C, it is not that there are no limits to growth, the point lies in how they are vastly transformed and extended by technological, political, organisational and economic changes.

      Think of the Eireannachs of the nineteenth century making it their life’s work to tell the world how London would be under six feet of horse manure in 50 years time.

      What was the problem in their thinking?

      Same problem here. – Lack of imagination and understanding of the creative and inventive attributes of mankind.

      @Eireannach: My suggestion of an organisational change to treat oil as a capital reserve rather than as expendable income was merely to demonstrate one idea that has potential to profoundly impact on the limits to growth as currently set in stone by the unimaginative and crankish.

      It is not my idea either, it was E.F Schumacher’s. Anyway, the political will is building towards such an idea. In other words, because of some of the factors that you set out in your posts, such an idea will soon become a necessity.

      It is such ‘necessity’ that has driven our development overwhelmingly thus far.

    • roc

      @bonbon: From an environmental perspective, it is to be fervently hoped that we don’t discover fusion for some time, at least until we have developed our political and social organisation much much more.

      Think of the damage we have inflicted with cheap oil, how much of the earth we encased in concrete and tarmacadam, how many trees we cut down, how much we forced the earth to produce for our insatiable appetites, etc.

      Imagine what we would do with fusion? We would very quickly destroy ourselves. So let us develop our political and social organisation much better, first. The, talk about fusion.

      • bonbon

        We already have fusion, and it works extremely well as Sakharov’s Zara Bomba in 1954 proved to the entire world. We have enough fusion to flatten the planet, and Obama is at that thermonuclear fusion trigger right now.

        That’s the clear and present danger.

        Fusion power generation has been delayed for 45 years, by cost cutting. Hence we burn more oil. Its that simple. Trying to stay at a lower energy density destroys the environment. So environmentalism paradoxically destroys that very thing it touches.

        There is a shortage of 6000GW right now worldwide, that is 6000 1GW power stations. Without Edison’s electricity, something the horse taxis never dreamed of, society collapses to that population level meaning today 7 billion to 2. Every engineer, public infrastructure official knows this. So any attempt to block progress has to be considered as concerted population reduction. Victims – well they instinctively know they are targeted – no fancy explanations needed.

        Political and social organization only develops with growth, the kind of growth in energy density. Electricity changed this for example, ready or not. Knowing this make the discoveries and map the changes.

        The paradox is our human future directly affects what we do now. We know we will have 9 billion soon, so we should provide power now. We know aquifers are low, so we should move water now. Some of course see this as a reason to prevent 9 billion to protect nature, but the future directly affects their pessimism, whether they like it or not. Social organization the same. That was NSSM 200.

        By the way the Zara Bomba showed everyone that these weapons simply cannot be used to win a war – they had to tone it down to 30%. It really means the end of war. So Obama must be totally insane. War has been a social organization for millenia, and the current empire has not cought up – that’s over.

        • roc

          I was talking about fusion as a power source.

          Anyway. Think of cheap energy like too easy credit.

          There’s a balance.

          It’s like how parents used to try and teach their children to understand the value of money.

          Same with energy.

          Over and out.

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