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#202. The shape of things to come

#202. The shape of things to come

As, when and if the coronavirus pandemic recedes into the past, there’s a widespread assumption that we’ll see the welcome return of a ‘normality’ defined to include “growth” in the economy. The big change looking forward will, we’re assured, be the replacement of climate-harming oil, gas and coal with renewable energy sources, primarily solar- and wind-power.

This aside, almost everything else is going to be ‘more of the same’.

In reality, this consensus narrative of the future is based on the big two fallacies of our age. One of these is that the economy is a financial system, such that we’re assured of growth in perpetuity by our control of the human artefact of money.

The other is that there are no limits to the capabilities of technology, potentialities often extrapolated to and beyond the constraints of physics.

We cannot know quite how much of this is believed by governments, or whether they ‘know, but don’t say’, that most of it is implausible. Businesses and the general public seem to have bought into this narrative.

Energy reality

The facts of the situation, as we understand them here, are that the supply and the ECoE-cost of energy determine material prosperity, and that this equation has been turning against us over an extended period.

ECoEs – the Energy Costs of Energy – have been rising relentlessly, passing (during the late 1990s and early 2000s) levels at which Western prosperity ceases to grow, and then starts to contract. The EM (emerging market) economies have now reached the ECoE thresholds at which their prosperity, too, turns downwards.

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