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12424NYT on "No More Indsutrial Revoutions"

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Oct 15, 2012
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      Interesting NYT article on Robert Gordon's thesis that we can depend on no more industrial revolutions:


      I post my comment on it below in case they don't choose to publish it:

      > What underpins Gordon's argument is that IR #1 and IR #2 (and to a certain extent IR #3) are all dependent on coal and oil, a non-repeatable windfall. Oil is running out, and we cannot afford to burn coal at rates that would replace it without forcing the planet into climate collapse. Endless growth was based on endless energy. (Though even with free energy it is an absurd hypothesis; you cannot fill every square inch of the planet with cars and television screens and have a life, much less an economy.)
      > Furthermore, the Global War on Labor will in the long run undercut the ability of populations to buy the goods and services on which a consumer economy is predicated. This will reduce total wealth, though the Right's program of income redistribution will keep the 1% in comfort for quite a while as we devolve into a neo-feudalist economy.
      > In other words, to prevent the collapse Gordon foresees, we have to do three things: 1) Return to the more progressive tax rates of the (Republican) 1950s, which saw widespread prosperity; 2) Transform from a fossil-fuel based economy to a solar-based one; and 3) Surrender the idea of endless growth and commit to circular economies where all are producers and providers as well as consumers, and people are paid fairly for their work instead of suffering virtual taxation by the management and investment communities.

      What do y'all think of Gordon's hypothesis?

      Richard Risemberg
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