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Re: [energyresources] Re: Mr. Lynch Responds

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  • Perry Arnett
    your comment seems framed in such a way that you have some specific suggestions in mind; if so, care to share them? thanks, Perry ... From: Jay Woods
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 31, 2000
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      your comment seems framed in such a way that you
      have some specific suggestions in mind; if so,
      care to share them?

      thanks,

      Perry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jay Woods" <woodsjay@...>
      To: <energyresources@egroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, December 31, 2000 12:42
      Subject: Re: [energyresources] Re: Mr. Lynch
      Responds


      > So long as the debate is framed in terms of what
      is unobjectionable and
      > currently used technology, Jay wins because the
      energy resources are
      > limited.
      >
      > The solution for us all is to change the frame
      of the debate. We need to
      > find a reliable way of incorporating sources of
      energy that many find
      > objectionable. We need to find a way of
      selecting sources of energy that
      > are currently beyond our technology. ---Jay
      Woods
      >
      > j@... wrote:
      >
      > > > Paul Ehrlich and others got the food
      situation wrong is because of
      > > > a bad "model", that is, they didn't factor
      in the ease with which
      > > > food production could be increased through
      better techniques and
      > > > technology. Similarly, the
      > >
      > > Correction: He didn't factor in the ease that
      throwing more energy
      > > at the problem could increase food production.
      Energy, of course, is
      > > the ultimate resource. And one we are running
      out of.
      > >
      > > I have a question for the optimists: "Is the
      die off presently under
      > > way in Russia and Africa an acceptable
      solution to the 'overshoot'
      > > problem?"
      > >
      > > In other words, as long as resources are
      allocated by ability to pay,
      > > then gradually the "underachievers" of the
      world will simply
      > > disappear. Which, presumably, will leave most
      of us on this mailing
      > > list alive long enough to die of old age.
      > >
      > > How about you Lynch? Johnson? Fleay? Vaux? Is
      this your preferred
      > > outcome? Or do you suggest something else? If
      so, what?
      > >
      > > Jay
      > >
      > > Your message didn't show up on the list? See
      http://dieoff.com/FAQ.htm
      >
      >
      >
      > Your message didn't show up on the list? See
      http://dieoff.com/FAQ.htm
      >
    • Tom Robertson
      Jay: I am inviting myself to comment on your question below, where you say:
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 31, 2000
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        Jay:

        I am inviting myself to comment on your question below, where you
        say:

        <as long as resources are allocated by ability to pay,
        then gradually the "underachievers" of the world will simply
        disappear. Which, presumably, will leave most of us on this
        mailing
        list alive long enough to die of old age.

        How about you Lynch? Johnson? Fleay? Vaux? Is this your preferred
        outcome? Or do you suggest something else? If so, what?>


        Too often, the transition we are entering is put in a all or
        nothing context. There is very little about degrees of social
        impairment as the world adjusts to limited resource availability.

        Nor is there much about who is caught up in the consequences.

        Some time ago, while digging into my family history, I looked
        back at the history of who won and lost in 1929, I found that one
        of the big loser groups were those who actively denied the
        possibility of changes in financial markets, and who had not
        accumulated enough durable wealth to ride it out once the
        economic hammer fell. (And my father, whose life looked like it
        came right out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, was able to make
        it through OK.)

        In the coming Energy/Money Transition, which is what I call what
        ever this is we are headed toward, we will see that the many
        flacks for unlimited growth are as hammered by the foreseeable
        consequences as those who lacked the resources to do anything.

        Tom Robertson
      • Sholto Maud
        There appears to be some confusion (I know I m a little perplexed) as to why global oil prices have dropped so much after having been so high recently. My
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 1, 2001
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          There appears to be some confusion (I know I'm a little perplexed) as
          to why global oil prices have dropped so much after having been so
          high recently.

          My feeling is that Marvin's question to Lynch below suggests something
          of an explanatory theory of international political-economy (and has
          implications for philosophy which is my field of training).

          I'm hoping that list members can do either of two things to help
          verify/falsify what this theory says.

          1: can you confirm if this theory is commonly accepted or not, if so
          where and by whom (references would be really helpful).

          2: if it not a commonly held view is that because it is too
          simplistic, or because it has not been tested? And where a blind
          researcher such as myself might look for data (and correct
          terminology) on the issue.

          From Marvin's question, the theory suggests that;

          The, "freezing out of poor nations" is formalised by the exclusion of
          a Nation from the oil purchasing market. On the exlusion of a Nation,
          global oil price will fall as there is a consequent decrease in the
          demand for oil.

          That is to say that there is one less buyer in the market. (Thus oil
          producers move to cut production: see Roger Baker's energyresources
          message 4350, 'Saudis seek oil production cuts').

          So as production peaks the tendency is towards a National
          monopolisation of the oil market. And so global oil prices would
          appear to vary according to both the demand by Nations, and to the
          abundance of Nations demanding (which in turn is dependent on the
          Nation being able to meet oil payments; ie. afford trading currency).

          An example of a Nation excluded might be Zimbabwe. Apparently Zim. was
          excluded from OPEC buying market as they could not meet payment
          demands.

          The data that is needed to corroberate this theory is

          - historical breakdown of who supplies what % of the world oil,
          - history of which Nations buy from which suppliers at what price,
          - history and the date at which (poor) Nations are excluded from the
          purchasing market and reason for exclusion.

          - then there is a need to correlate the date of exclusion from the
          purchasing market with the dates for shifts/drops in world oil price.

          - this might then in turn be correlated to economic indicators for
          these nations to suggest the prospects for other Nations.

          Can anyone lead me the way to the data?

          Best Reguards,

          Sholto Maud.


          --- In energyresources@egroups.com, mwgreg140@a... wrote:
          >
          > [Following is my question -- actually one question of two original
          questions
          > -- quoted by Mr. Lynch, and then his response. Marvin]
          >
          > There are two minor questions that tag along with this. The
          first is:
          > Can
          > a crisis of sorts be introduced by a stable production of oil that
          only
          > wealthy nations can afford? What I'm thinking of is a freezing out
          of poor
          > nations (and the introduction of starvation because of the petroleum
          costs
          > of
          > agriculture) and the creation of long-term bipolar world because of
          this
          > freezing out.
          >
          > >>This doesn't' worry me, although in theory something like that
          could
          > happen. First, the goods that are only affordable by the rich are
          usually
          > things that involve high production cost and/or are constrained or
          very
          > scarce. A jaguar or Porsche, for example, or sable/minks. Raw
          materials
          > like food and heat usually do not experience broad, long-term
          constraints.
          > **Note that some like Ted Trainer/Jay Hanson point to instances
          of
          > ancient or primitive societies having energy problems, but I don't
          think
          > those are applicable to modern, globalized life. You would have to
          assume
          > that transportation costs soared or some kind of border restrictions
          > prevented trade to think that one area could suffer shortages while
          others
          > don't.**
          > Instead, the norm is that higher prices result in moderate
          changes
          > in supply and demand, and since most of the problems are due to a
          > shortfall/loss of a few percent, that balances the system. Remember
          the food
          > crises of the 1970s? Lots of people saw the solution as rich people
          eat
          > beef, poor people eat tofu. But within months, the system balanced
          again.
          > But this is a supply-side description. Demand-side is another
          > matter, and you have lots of cases where people can't afford food
          because of
          > poverty. But there, the problem isn't so much food, as a) local
          situations
          > (i.e., drought and no food supplies available because of distance or
          > infrastructure) or b) extremely poor people, which is again not a
          resource
          > problem but an economic one. Producing more fertilizer doesn't
          solve it, or
          > having cheap oil.
          > I realize that this sounds Pollyannish, and is "averaging out"
          some
          > extreme conditions. But from what I can see, it fits the case much
          better
          > than those who argue that a) oil is becoming more scarce and
          expensive over
          > the long run, b) this time, the crisis is really, really here. The
          reason
          > Paul Ehrlich and others got the food situation wrong is because of a
          bad
          > "model", that is, they didn't factor in the ease with which food
          production
          > could be increased through better techniques and technology.
          Similarly, the
          > ease with which oil could be conserved and production costs reduced
          were
          > underestimated by others in the 1970s. And no one has explained why
          these
          > arguments have suddenly become valid after being wrong before.
        • S. Morningthunder
          From: mwgreg140@aol.com Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 22:19:26 EST Reply-To: RunningOnEmpty@egroups.com But from what I can see, it fits the case much better than
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 1, 2001
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            From: mwgreg140@...
            Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 22:19:26 EST
            Reply-To: RunningOnEmpty@egroups.com

            But from what I can see, it fits the case much better than those
            who argue that a) oil is becoming more scarce and expensive over
            the long run, b) this time, the crisis is really, really here....
            Similarly, the ease with which oil could be conserved and
            production costs reduced were underestimated by others in the
            1970s. And no one has explained why these arguments have suddenly
            become valid after being wrong before.

            Lynch's posture is common among those who have great faith in the
            market mechanism to solve any problem such as the peaking of oil
            exhaustion. Such faith combines with an adoration of technolgical
            innovation to constitute the blood and the body to an economist.

            It brings to mind the four graphs in the last chapter of Overshoot, by
            William Catton, each depicting a different relation to the possibility
            of overshoot. The most desirable scenario is that we will gradually
            diminish our rate of growth and material throughput, and happily find
            ourselves still safely under the carrying capacity of the planet.
            Unfortunately, the wisest way to strive toward that reality is to
            presume that our situation is one in which we have already overshot
            the carrying capacity of the Earth, that this present structure of
            agriculture and transportation built so dependent upon fossil fuels is
            indeed unsustainable, and that there is no promised miracle that must
            come to our rescue simply because we believe we are clever.

            Lynch's heedless optimism would have us continue merrily with this
            culture that promotes SUVs until the peak of petroleum exhaustion has
            become undeniably manifest. And if there is no miracle source of
            energy then capable of replacing the liquid fuels, we will then
            belatedly confront the arrogance of a humankind who dared to presume
            that there would be no ecological limits to which they must conform,
            in difference from all other species. As to the past being a model by
            which to anticipate the future, a quarter century of awaiting
            technolgical breakthrough has seen no replacement for dependence upon
            petroleum, only a taller, more precarious infrastructure allowed from
            a global frenzy of drilling effort, whose possibility of repetition
            will dubiously not be vastly more difficult.

            The blithe ignoring of overshoot is the largest wager ever made by
            humankind, and the signals that the global ecosystem gives us from all
            sides are not ones praising the intelligence of such an attitude. The
            conversion of agricultural potential to golf curses in the desert is
            not symptomatic of a willful preservation of carrying capacity, but
            rather one of typical, blatant annihilation for short-term profit. The
            glaciers and permafrost melt, the coral dies, the fish are overfished,
            the species disappear, the forests decline, and pollution exceeding
            absorbtion capacity continues to increase.

            I do not think it is wise to depend upon that faith from the past to
            take us unto the future, when it has left us with a present so
            demanding of a caution which we have yet to adequately encompass.

            --
            I once assumed that humankind had matured beyond the dangers of its
            own ignorance, that progress was bound to be essentially unbroken
            and continuous, the lessons yet to be learned small and welcome.

            Steve Morningthunder

            mthunder@...
            http://greatchange.org
          • j@qmail.com
            ... The short version is think carburetor float (prices DO NOT indicate how much oil is left in the ground until production can not keep up ... Economists
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 1, 2001
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              > "Sholto Maud" <energyquest@h...> wrote:
              > There appears to be some confusion (I know I'm a little perplexed)
              > as to why global oil prices have dropped so much after having been
              > so high recently.

              The short version is "think carburetor float" (prices DO NOT indicate
              how much oil is left in the ground until production can not keep up
              with demand). Here is the long version:

              ---------------------

              Economists Can't See It Coming

              "Energy" is defined as the capacity of a physical system to do work.
              Over a hundred years ago, scientists pointed out that energy -–
              not money -- is the true source of the capitalist's wealth:

              "It is, in fact, the fate of all kinds of energy of position to be
              ultimately converted into energy of motion. The former may be
              compared to money in a bank, or capital, the latter to money which we
              are in the act of spending ... If we pursue the analogy a step
              further, we shall see that the great capitalist is respected because
              he has the disposal of a great quantity of energy; and that whether
              he be nobleman or sovereign, or a general in command, he is powerful
              only from having something which enables him to make use of the
              services of others. When a man of wealth pays a labouring man to work
              for him, he is in truth converting so much of his energy of position
              into actual energy...The world of mechanism is not a manufactory, in
              which energy is created, but rather a mart, into which we may bring
              energy of one kind and change or barter it for an equivalent of
              another kind, that suits us better -- but if we come with nothing in
              hand, with nothing we will most assuredly return." -- Balfour
              Stewart, 1883

              But economists still do not study energy -- they study money and
              prices. Physics incorporated thermodynamics -- moved rom "production"
              to "circulation" -- over 100 years ago. But modern economic texts,
              such as McConnell & Brue, 1999, and Samuelson & Nordhaus, 1998, still
              do not discuss thermodynamics or entropy! Money isn't a measure
              of anything "real", like joules or kilograms. Money is merely social
              power because it "empowers" people to buy and do the things they
              want -- including buying and "doing" other people.

              Economists frequently point to "prices" and make claims about the
              real world. This or that is "better off" they say, and go on their
              way. But the price of a thing does not reveal its quantity or its
              quality, particularly in the energy business. At best, the
              relationship between prices and natural resources is nonlinear. A
              good analogy for the oil market is the float in a carburetor: as the
              engine demands more gas, the float falls and allows more gas to flow
              in from the tank. But the float has no information concerning the
              amount of gas left in the tank until the fuel line is unable to keep
              up with demand. So it is with the market. As the demand for oil
              increases, the increase in price signals oil companies to pump more
              oil out of the ground -- which lowers prices again. But the oil
              market has no information about the amount of oil left in the ground
              until production is unable to keep up with demand. In October 1980,
              Julian Simon challenged Paul Ehrlich and colleagues to a $1,000 bet
              that in ten years the price of any raw material they selected would
              fall (measured in constant 1980 dollars). In October 1991, Ehrlich
              paid up. The prices of the five minerals chosen (copper, chrome,
              nickel, tin and tungsten) had dropped substantially. Obviously,
              though, prices did not reflect the fact that ten years' worth of
              minerals had been taken out of the ground! One concludes that prices
              give no warning of approaching resource exhaustion.

              How much is $10 worth of oil? It depends upon when and where you
              bought it. What's the net energy of $10 worth of oil? If oil costs
              $10 a barrel, how much is left in the ground? Who knows? Prices
              simply measure states of mind. This means that economists issue
              opinions on opinions. In short, economists are pollsters with an
              attitude. Based on the best information we have at hand today,
              sometime during the coming century the global economy will "run
              out of gas", as fossil energy sources become sinks. One can argue
              about the exact date this will occur, but the end of fossil energy --
              and the dependent global economy -- is inevitable.

              Jay -- www.dieoff.org
            • Tom Robertson
              Folks: In the following, Jay Hanson goes into some of the problems with economics as a measure for use in social interaction. For another look at this
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 1, 2001
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                Folks:

                In the following, Jay Hanson goes into some of the problems with
                economics as a measure for use in social interaction.

                For another look at this business, go to
                http://dieoff.org/page200.htm

                Tom Robertson

                -----Original Message-----
                From: j@... [mailto:j@...]
                Sent: Monday, January 01, 2001 2:43 PM
                To: energyresources@egroups.com
                Subject: [energyresources] Re: Freezing out of Poor Nations


                > "Sholto Maud" <energyquest@h...> wrote:
                > There appears to be some confusion (I know I'm a little
                perplexed)
                > as to why global oil prices have dropped so much after having
                been
                > so high recently.

                The short version is "think carburetor float" (prices DO NOT
                indicate
                how much oil is left in the ground until production can not keep
                up
                with demand). Here is the long version:

                ---------------------

                Economists Can't See It Coming

                "Energy" is defined as the capacity of a physical system to do
                work.
                Over a hundred years ago, scientists pointed out that energy -–
                not money -- is the true source of the capitalist's wealth:

                "It is, in fact, the fate of all kinds of energy of position to
                be
                ultimately converted into energy of motion. The former may be
                compared to money in a bank, or capital, the latter to money
                which we
                are in the act of spending ... If we pursue the analogy a step
                further, we shall see that the great capitalist is respected
                because
                he has the disposal of a great quantity of energy; and that
                whether
                he be nobleman or sovereign, or a general in command, he is
                powerful
                only from having something which enables him to make use of the
                services of others. When a man of wealth pays a labouring man to
                work
                for him, he is in truth converting so much of his energy of
                position
                into actual energy...The world of mechanism is not a manufactory,
                in
                which energy is created, but rather a mart, into which we may
                bring
                energy of one kind and change or barter it for an equivalent of
                another kind, that suits us better -- but if we come with nothing
                in
                hand, with nothing we will most assuredly return." -- Balfour
                Stewart, 1883

                But economists still do not study energy -- they study money and
                prices. Physics incorporated thermodynamics -- moved rom
                "production"
                to "circulation" -- over 100 years ago. But modern economic
                texts,
                such as McConnell & Brue, 1999, and Samuelson & Nordhaus, 1998,
                still
                do not discuss thermodynamics or entropy! Money isn't a measure
                of anything "real", like joules or kilograms. Money is merely
                social
                power because it "empowers" people to buy and do the things they
                want -- including buying and "doing" other people.

                Economists frequently point to "prices" and make claims about the
                real world. This or that is "better off" they say, and go on
                their
                way. But the price of a thing does not reveal its quantity or its
                quality, particularly in the energy business. At best, the
                relationship between prices and natural resources is nonlinear. A
                good analogy for the oil market is the float in a carburetor: as
                the
                engine demands more gas, the float falls and allows more gas to
                flow
                in from the tank. But the float has no information concerning the
                amount of gas left in the tank until the fuel line is unable to
                keep
                up with demand. So it is with the market. As the demand for oil
                increases, the increase in price signals oil companies to pump
                more
                oil out of the ground -- which lowers prices again. But the oil
                market has no information about the amount of oil left in the
                ground
                until production is unable to keep up with demand. In October
                1980,
                Julian Simon challenged Paul Ehrlich and colleagues to a $1,000
                bet
                that in ten years the price of any raw material they selected
                would
                fall (measured in constant 1980 dollars). In October 1991,
                Ehrlich
                paid up. The prices of the five minerals chosen (copper, chrome,
                nickel, tin and tungsten) had dropped substantially. Obviously,
                though, prices did not reflect the fact that ten years' worth of
                minerals had been taken out of the ground! One concludes that
                prices
                give no warning of approaching resource exhaustion.

                How much is $10 worth of oil? It depends upon when and where you
                bought it. What's the net energy of $10 worth of oil? If oil
                costs
                $10 a barrel, how much is left in the ground? Who knows? Prices
                simply measure states of mind. This means that economists issue
                opinions on opinions. In short, economists are pollsters with an
                attitude. Based on the best information we have at hand today,
                sometime during the coming century the global economy will "run
                out of gas", as fossil energy sources become sinks. One can argue
                about the exact date this will occur, but the end of fossil
                energy --
                and the dependent global economy -- is inevitable.

                Jay -- www.dieoff.org



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