Tuesday, April 23, 2013

article two of two today-3pc2v2no10

A short word before we begin.  As pointed out today at Rawles, there is an executive order in the works to ban imports as related to arms and ammunition.  I pointed out HOW FRIGGIN LONG AGO that your steel cased ammo for the Russian bolt could be interrupted at any time by a change in the law?  I ain’t smarter than most of you, but I am far more paranoid.  I’m turning out to be right so often it’s becoming embarrassing.





Malthus Post Petroleum


It seems strange, but simplicity would tend to point towards genius whereas over-complexity usually is pointing towards stupidity.  The more information someone throws at you bolstering their argument, the weaker their case.  Any law or theory that is simple and understood by all is usually right.  For instance, ALL oil production follows a bell curve.  The arguments against that simple sentence can run into book length, but generally boil down to wishful thinking.  Another simple common sense observation is by a long ago English dude, Malthus.  Population growth outpaces food production.


Must it not then be acknowledged by an attentive examiner of the histories of mankind, that in every age and in every State in which man has existed, or does now exist

That the increase of population is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence,

That population does invariably increase when the means of subsistence increase, and,

That the superior power of population is repressed, and the actual population kept equal to the means of subsistence, by misery and vice.


A bit flowery, as per the times and he being a preacher and all, but while none us have much knowledge about the man or even much of what he wrote, we all know his theory in general.  Which is good enough, since he probably had to puff up his simple theory with a lot of math or whatnot since just like today when you buy a book you expect some heft to it. 


What tripped up Malthus was not an incorrect theory but the use of first coal and then oil.  Carbon fuels allowed the world to ignore historical solar cycles of food production.  For a few hundred years it was Damn The Resource Constraints And Full Speed Ahead.  So since the poor bastard went out on a limb and told everyone they were dirty hairy apes and not much smarter ( and, hey, who wants to hear their species isn’t very bright? ), he was laughed at.  Just this year, the once venerable and now laughably Central Banker Whore of a magazine “The Economist” was poking fun at the old boy.  Why, look at that fool, sputtered the article, resource restraints indeed!  Why, human ingenuity solved all our problems.  I crap you not, their claim is human ingenuity saved us from starving after we overshot the Earths carrying capacity several times over.  If you breed too much, and then turn to a NON-RENEWABLE FUEL TO BUY YOU TIME, this is not ingenuity.  That is just kicking the can down the road, not solving any problem.  I’m sure the fools on Easter Island were able to do the same, before it bit them on the ass.  Malthus was right, and will be proven right, as soon as the petroleum, natural gas and coal can no longer feed our surplus population.  I don’t know how long this will take.  If I was that great of a forecaster, I would be advising rich people for a very high sum indeed from my mountain top fortress protected by an armed group.


But the time isn’t going to be all that far into the future.  In 1971 the US reached the lower 48 Peak Oil.  The Arabs saw us stagger and so decided to kick us while we were down.  Good tactics, but unfortunately for them we recovered with Alaskan oil and the North Sea fields ( Maggie Thatcher wasn’t a free market god that saved the economy, the extra oil did it ) and held a grudge we are now making good.  Since 1971, the US has declined in domestic production roughly 1-2% a year.  Great!  Plenty of time to save ourselves from Global Peak, right?  No.  We added Alaska and then the Gulf Of Mexico to the lower 48 to get that figure ( which is declining ).  And, we had middle east oil to import.  Even adding our recent frack oil and Canadian Fake Oil, half our daily needs are imported.  And everyone, including Saudi Arabia and Russia have already started in on their own Peak Oil.  We aren’t running out, but the available daily amount is contracting.  And because the supply is shrinking everywhere ( both due to the supply NOT increasing but contracting, and because the exporting nations are holding more back for domestic use ), there won’t be an orderly three decades long 1% a year decline.  Already, years ago, the average decline in production was more along the lines of 5-8%.  The US is only seeing its usual 2% decline, but that is with us fighting wars for the oil.  AND, because we are seeing a decline NOT made up for with extra imports, our economy is double humped. 


At a mere 8% decline a year, assuming it doesn’t get worse, assuming the wars for oil are over, assuming we don’t destroy the means of production which would accelerate draw down, how long do you think it will be before the oil is effectively gone?  We’ve already reached peak oil and already overshot our ability to feed everybody with only current solar input.  It isn’t IF Malthus is proven right, but WHEN.  You can keep betting the ranch he stays proven incorrect but I sure as hell wouldn’t advise that. 

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  1. Just because we have hit peak doesnt mean immediate crash, thanks to the fact we are fat effers overall in our systems and expendatures, we can (and are) cutting unnecessary oil expendatures slowly and economicly painful but we are doing it. And our first world nation status, like that of europe, means other than immigrants our population is not growing. I am expecting europe to lead the way on banning most immigration (sure you can come work and pay taxes but once you cant work or we dont need you we send you back home- or throw you in prison to work for free before forcing you at gun point into a cargo ship and -if we are feeling nice- giving you a couple of long paddles.).
    The seniors you dumped on the other day are going to die, and pretty quickly once medical care gets more expensive and rationed.
    Especially the old farts who dont have family to keep a roof over their heads.
    Those currently in their prime will find the only employment available will be more like labor and less like sitting on our arses hitting buttons- and the labour will be about resource extraction / recycling / repurposing.
    It will be a die off- but not a sudden mad max, more of a slow slide to mad max crossed with 1984 at the same time.
    The future is going to suck until a strong group can get us off this limited rock (even if just in the form of robots) and start harvesting the nearby rocks and solar energy. I just hope that we can get that strong group together somewhere sometime to do so (yes space can be expensive, but costs are getting cheaper we have gone from the canoe stage to the viking longboat stage of space exploration - we can get further if we can get enough smart people working on it - even if just part time, the risk adversion we have now will be a thing of the past soon enough).
    Of course that is the story I tell myself to keep from being completely nihlisticly depressed but it is narrowly possible, and if enough others buy into it to it might become more probable...


    1. Total mad max collapse isn't guarenteed, but I think highly probable. Best to plan for the worse, then be pleasantly surprised.

  2. Yes, but is the worst mad max or 1984? I am deeply afraid it will be the worst of _both_. Lawlessness everywhere the steel cleated boot of total tyrrany isnt stomping on our faces.
    If you are in a big city you will be protected until you are killed. If you are in an unimportant city (like say Vegas) you will find no law protecting you from the criminals only protecting the politicians and elite and criminals from you.
    If you own guns they will be taken from you- or the ammo will become so expensive you cant practice with them (and the gunshot triangulating devices will track you down if you stored enough ammo to do so with.)
    The good news is that legal hunting is at an all time low, so if you can get rural enough you may be able to hunt and trap while the collapse continues - until of course you get caught 'poaching'...