The problem is hitting limits in the extraction of fossil fuels
We know that historically, many economies around the world have collapsed. We also know that there is a physics reason why this happens. Growing economies require a growing supply of energy to keep up with a growing population. At some point, the energy supply and other resource needs cannot grow rapidly enough to keep up with population growth. When this happens, economies tend to collapse.
In their book Secular Cycles, researchers Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov found that economies tend go through four distinct phases in each cycle, with each stage lasting for quite a few years:
Based on my own analysis, the world economy was in the Growth Stage for much of the time between the Industrial Revolution and 1973. In late 1973, oil prices spiked, and the world was put on notice that the energy supply could not continue rising as rapidly as in the past. Between 1973 and 2018, the world economy was in the Stagflation Stage. Based on current data, the world economy seems to have entered the Crisis Stage about 2018. This is the reason for saying that headwinds are beginning to hold the economy back in the title of this article .
When the Crisis Stage occurs, there are fewer goods and services per capita to go around, so some participants in the world economy must come out behind. Conflict of all kinds becomes more likely. Political leaders, if they happen to discover the predicament the world economy is in, have little interest in making the predicament known to voters, since doing so would likely lead them to lose the next election.
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