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Re: [energyresources] Re: The most important decision of our time, re Dell and Gerry/ep

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  • Denis Frith
    Gerry You say If we have suitable and efficient ways of managing our natural resources (including energy), can we find them and hence satisfy Denis s
    Message 1 of 41 , May 25, 2013
      Gerry
      You say "If we have suitable and efficient ways of managing our natural resources (including energy), can we find them and hence satisfy Denis's objections?"
      The natural resources are irreversibly being used up. That is just a simple fundamental principle even though most people do not understand that. The best that society can possibly do is make sounder decisions so that what is left of the natural resources is used wisely.
      Denis
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Gerry Agnew
      Sent: 05/26/13 06:51 AM
      To: energyresources@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [energyresources] Re: The most important decision of our time, re Dell and Gerry/ep

      Very interesting Eric! I have read that the level of programming is increasing so fast that every few years computer storage requires a doubling of space. The clear corollary of this must be that this data is used and can be accessed efficiently. I guess this is what you are referring to with your comments about how "in a decade or two" we might be seeing things which we cannot even imagine today. This time line would nicely dovetail with the idea of really critical labour (skilled as you have mentioned) shortages. I suppose we can say that "man will be doing more, a lot more, with less"?

      Opponents of immigration are screaming about US high school/university graduates not having jobs which are commensurate with their education achievements. The clear implication is that Bachelor of Arts holders may be stuck with asking clients "Do you want fries with that?" as their future (I assume that fries and shakes will still be marketable commodities!!) will be murky at best. Illiterate high school leavers will really be pushed to find things to help themselves survive in some recognisable form, sad to say.

      I must admit that the "immigration thing" being irrelevant, I had not considered. So, do you think that this is a possible way to get around the FR crisis then? If we have suitable and efficient ways of managing our natural resources (including energy), can we find them and hence satisfy Denis's objections? Will the masses of unuseable labour find their ways into armies with the predictable results, or will they find their ways into enormous numbers of security agencies with the equally predictable results for civil liberties as such security forces will undoubtedly be used in some manner?

      There was a book published nearly two hundred years ago by Charles MacKay (?) called something along the lines of "The Extraordinary Delusions and Madness of Crowds". I have not seen it for something like three decades now, so I quote from memory. Basically, the conclusion was that people individually make decent and rational decisions, but people taken together in crowds make the worse decisions you can imagine. Can software writers find away around this obvious human failing?

      Excellent letter. I thank you for it!

      Gerry

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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Eric Pfeiffer
      To: energyresources%40yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, May 24, 2013 8:25 PM
      Subject: Re: [energyresources] Re: The most important decision of our time, re Dell and Gerry/Dell

      Is there a shortage of skilled labor? Yes. Is it increasing? Yes. While there is piles and piles of labor in place across the world, technology is moving aggressively to render that unused labor pool ever more irrelevant. The needs of the emptying factory floors are very specific and demanding of people with good math backgrounds.
      Do pay attention to "big data". There is far more to the story than just collecting data as I learned in a recent trip to Austin area.
      Good data can lead to good decision making. Can "computers" generate better decisions than humans having access to the global data base and an ability to process that data 24/7? The tech industry feels it can and is moving resources into software writing to generate
      basic decision making. The results will be first seen on the factory floor and in the global Markets in the next half decade.
      Will this change the entire concept of skilled labor? Oh yes. Could it change the way our societies function? Perhaps.
      Our debate at present is centered around technology as it exists now. That technology story is changing rapidly and will change
      how people live a decade or two decades from now ways we cannot know.
      Are people good decision makers or lousy decision makers? If we look at our Congress, that answer becomes evident. Will our software writers develop ever more complex programs to ever expand the ability of computers to increase the complexity of
      decision making? You can count on it.
      The world's best software and hardware people will find their way into this effort. It's not an immigration thing as the corporations pushing this have no borders. The information pools have no borders. The locations, nationalities, of these people is irrelevant. Where the data is stored is irrelevant as is the location of all of the hardware.
      I guess I personally view the immigration debate as an issue that is winding down in relevance. A lot of people are being left behind in this change. They will have to devise new outlooks on living or at least redefine comfort and happiness. And more change for
      an increasing number of people is coming.
      I have no answers or even much in the way of opinions on this. That trip to Austin certainly jarred my view of things.

      EP

      ________________________________
      From: Gerry Agnew < gaea%40telus.net >
      To: energyresources%40yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, May 24, 2013 11:53 AM
      Subject: Re: [energyresources] Re: The most important decision of our time, re Dell and Gerry/Dell

      Good morning Dell and I am glad to see that we can resume our running debate (for the benefit of all of course!).

      Well, I have never (apart from my economics teacher in university who gave me a "D" in my first year!) been told that I do not understand the Dismal Science!

      All that you have written is textbook correct, but the trouble is that it does not apply here! Please hear me out!

      In normal times, with normal wage and availability skews, we do see what you are seeing. However, I do not believe what we have just entered are normal - anything but!

      The current US immigration bill, as far as I know, is not open ended. It has limitations (which we shall find out when this monster finally comes to pass, is enacted, and signed) but will admit (my best guess) some 75-90 million people, of whom maybe 25% will be the Skilled Workers we have been looking at recently. The balance will be dependents which seems reasonable. However, anyway you slice it (and this part makes all of this relevant to our moderator) it is a LOT of people and this will be a demand on raw materials, which includes energy. It will be an "all at once" (or over a decade or perhaps a decade and a half) which will stress every facet of current US economic structures.

      However (as we can see from the current leaked programme coming into play in Canada) there are those who have done the math associated with the FR and we are seeing in plain TV advertising, that we (North America and most of the rest of the Westernised world) have a major problem because of a once in a lifetime (several lifetimes?) imbalance in existing population internal structures. This has led to older prople retiring with insufficient and/or untrained youngsters coming along to replace them.

      The US seems to have decided that massive waves of immigration are the answer and we are seeing this coming out of Congress very shortly. At that time we shall see the true nature of this economic mess unfold.

      The level of economic progress today is such that with the current trained working population, we can supply the needs and wants of a large population in relative ease and comfort. If we have a surplus of autoworkers (to take a simple example) then there are various levers which we can push and pull and the problem will take care of itself in due course as Dell implies with his economic analysis. However, this level of economic advancement has all led to a rapidly expanding banking sector and this has made available all sorts of loans to run this level of relative nirvana which many of us in The West take for granted. Because of the level of global economic interconnectiveness, an econonomic turndown in one area (ie real estate in 2008 to present) can have devastating effects globally. In short, banks cannot keep their balance sheets afloat when the level of economic activity starts to decline. I trust you will cede me that we DO have a major banking
      problem on our hands - the Fed printing a trillion dollars a year should lay aside any doubts to this effect, and they are not alone in this activity. Therefore, if we have large numbers of worker dislocations, the bank balance sheets will suffer and this resurrection of their balance sheets is not being done to keep zillionaire corporations afloat - it is for all of us and we all suffer if the banks do go down. This is the major problem now, as I see it. We do not have the workers available to keep the global economy intact going forward.

      Where Dell and I disagree (and which may turn out to be the nexus of this debate) is on the availability of workers. He says it is "nonsense" to claim that there is a labour shortage. I say different because at the current time most of the world is going to be short of Skilled Workers in many disciplines. It is not a question of shuffling workers pay rates and so forth around. It is a question that there may not be enough workers in the disciplines under consideration to come to the forefront and work.

      This is the problem of capitalism driven by economic theory. It does not allow for outlier events. One can put workers/jobs and whatever under the relevant Bell Curve, but in every Bell Curve there are asymptotes at either end of the curve. While 99.9% (depending on inputed volatility etc.) of the problem can be nicely fitted under this structure, we are in a one of the events which fall under the end of the Curve and where "things happen" which are not seen in normal circumstances. Frank H., on this page, wonders about what happens if there are insufficient workers to fill the vast numbers of jobs which are starting to come open globally. Canada and the US are clearly stating that they do not have the workers required. What about Germany? What about Japan and RoK in particular with deathly low FRs? All we see are classic economic structures coming to the forefront saying that the workers are there and that the relevant wage levels will be found to
      balance it all out.

      We are not seeing this. The analysis is wrong, this time. My postion is that if we "get women to work NOW" we might be able to stave off the worst of what must happen and perhaps a general economic implosion can be somehow be averted or at least ameliorated as we move towards 2050 and 2060. I hope so, because if the overal level of economic activity does take a downwards tilt and catches overextended bank balance sheets the wrong way, this will further collapse the current debt structures which means that we all take yet another knock to our (debt driven) standard of living. Sadly, I fear that there are insufficient levels of the worker skills needed to maintain what we have managed to achieve in the 20th century.

      It is quite probable, Dell, that we might turn out to be debating two sides of the same economic coin when all is said and someone writes the history of the misery to come. I think the bottom line must be that there are too many governments who are suddenly waking up to demographic trends and asking "Say ... what happens when?". As far as I can see, Canada is the only country which seems to be asking the relevant questions outright.

      There ARE shortages of immense dimensions brewing, Dell. The skills are not interchangeable in that a lettuce picker or a building designer cannot do the other's job with the same degree of efficiency which makes economic sense. Workers in the Tar Sands (to use an Albertan example) cannot be replaced by day care workers or old folks carers.

      The baby boom will start its massive die off/inability to work efficiently in a few years as more and more turn 70. Then what, when most young people today quite possibly illiterate and not able to do much of anything (or wanting to - note)? If we wait for classical economic arguments to take hold and yet again magically save us, we are going to suddenly find ourselves in a pickle without a resolution as too much time will have been lost. The what do the major economies of Germany, Canada, US, Japan, Singapore etc. etc. do?

      The revenge of the asymptotes is at hand; they have been ignored for far too long!

      Gerry

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    • Denis Frith
      Gerry It does not matter what you say or what I say or what financial resources say. The simple fact of that matter is that the systems of civilization are
      Message 41 of 41 , May 31, 2013
        Gerry
        It does not matter what you say or what I say or what financial resources say. The simple fact of that matter is that the systems of civilization are irreversibly using up the limited natural resources, producing irrevocable waste and degrading the environment. That is the fundamental principle governing all operations of technological systems. Lack of skilled workers may well have an impact of the decisions about what can be done but that does not change the fundamental principle. People may be skeptical about climate change but their musings will not sigificantly change how the climate operates in the future. Society embraced the technology that extracted energy from the fossil fuels without understanding the physical consequences. now the best that they can possibly do is adapt to the demise of the infrastructure of civilization.

        Of course, most people, including the leaders of society do not understand that simple fundamental principle and will continue to promote and go along with economic growth as long as they can get away with ravishing their life support system. Those who survive the disintegration of the infrastructure in coming decades will wonder at the lack of understanding of their forebears.

        Denis
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Gerry Agnew
        Sent: 05/29/13 11:20 PM
        To: energyresources@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [energyresources] Re: The most important decision of our time, re Dell and Gerry/df

        Denis-

        I hear what you are saying, but I am also seeing some interesting comments from various financial resources. Shall write on these again next week. Effectively, CNBC and "press europe" are talking about grave lacks of skilled workers springing up. There are no more available skills workers because of FR in other words.

        Therefore, what is going to happen is that we are going to have a global government panic to try and replace them by poaching them from elsewhere. This means, perforce, that environmental concerns (as this panic becomes more and more clear) will be put on the back burner.

        Let's put more cats among the pidgeons here, if I may! I am still unsure about global warming. In reviewing old files I see that NASA in the 1970s was talking about the same changes the global warming people speak about - but they were ascribing these to global cooling! I remember well in the late 1970s when there were a lot of real fears admitted that we were going to see a Summer, very soon, which would see that the previous Winter's snow drifts not melt and glaciers starting to form. Food could not be grown and on and on. This stopped in the early 1980s. FWIW, in Edmonton they are looking at this cooling possibility again. Edmonton is a cold city and takes huge amounts of snow off its roads in the Winter. This snow, for want of a better place to put it, is dumped in various locations here and there. It was found that last year all of the snow collected from the previous year did not melt until late August I think it was. Latest ever!

        You have mentioned that there are many US Congressmen who do not believe what global warming is all about. To dispute their beliefs, one has to get inside their heads and challenge their thinking processes. It seems they see that whatever happens in weather it is always global warming which is at fault and there is no other possibility. For example, in the Eastern US last weekend there were huge amounts of snow in places - the latest ever recorded in some areas. Immediately, I read that this was due to a brief pause in global warming before it gets hotter again. The thinking is that if it had been a very warm weekend then we would have heard endless stories about global warming! In other words, there is never a case for global cooling. The thinking, as I understand it, is that we are in a general period of global cooling and the current 30 years or so of warm weather is merely a small interlude in this overall trend. Why can this not be true, in other words?

        I don't know with all of the pros and cons being presented, to be completely frank. However, from what you are saying it may be irrelevant as too much time has elapsed for anything meaningful to be done in either direction.

        To finish off this commentary, I shall simply note that governments WILL react for the economic status quo when the FR problems becomes much more acute. It is also probably too late for anything meaningful to be done either on this score, but that will not stop the effort!

        Gerry


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