A truly provocative thought


Is this a truly provocative answer ?

I do believe it is Pierre.

Lack of money can limit freedom in the US, in Belgium and and most countries.

Basics include food, shelter and transportation. The providers of these like to be paid for their labours so that they can have the freedom to purchase what they need, including basic services, and other items produced by other members of society.

If the supply of some resources are constrained, they will rise in price and consumption of them will decline.

95% of the population used to produce food. Now 3% of the population does the same, especially in Europe, and they have surpluses that they cannot sell. The Malthusians and Friedemanns continue to predict that we will run out food, and other necessities. In fact, human society is very creative and adjusts.


"In fact, human society is very creative and adjusts. "

Well we better adjust, the problem is that adjusting takes a long time. As of today only a tiny, tiny fraction of our primary energy supplies comes from renewables.

What is so difficult to understand about this? We put in 10 kcal of cheap fossil fuels for every 1 we eat, that’s why have only a small fraction of the work force in agriculture. But that will CHANGE! China has just gotten started growing and wants more, classic fossil energy supplies are about to peak, no scalable alternative is in sight and you say there is no problem?

I’ve pressed you on this before without getting any concrete answer, so I’ll ask you again. How are we to provide the energy for 9 billion people against the backdrop of falling fossil fuel supplies?


People want to be paid for their job ? Ok. So you will pay more somebody who works more but if he works more maybe it is because he does not work well or as quickly as another guy.

If somebody solves an important problem in 2 minutes you will not pay him because he did not work long ?

Electricity is so cheap today that we cannot afford to produce electric power at our sawmill, although we would like to. Most alternative energy production today is subsidized or it would not exist.

Once the shortage starts to be felt, prices will rise. Solar, biomass (including from waste), nuclear, wind etc, will start to make economic sense. We will cover structures with increasingly effective solar collectors. If it becomes too expensive to drive and fly so much we will fly and drive less. Thousands of people will not travel abroad for language classes, they will join LingQ!!

Batteries will improve, houses will be better insulated, and on and on…not because these are dictated by Friedemann, but because they start to make economic sense.

From the internet:

Peak oil is based on the notion that world energy exploration will fail to solve the crisis and that we are all doomed to a future of scarcity. If history hasn’t been replete with examples of doomsayers being laughably wrong (the Club of Rome in the 1970’s predicted we’d run out of oil by 2000), I might be inclined to be more alarmed about this report.

But the essence of the free market is that once a commodity becomes more valuable, ways are rapidly invented to find more of it. And commodities that become prohibitively expensive are generally substituted for when alternatives become economically practical - or ways are discovered to use the commodity more efficiently.

Such shortages might mean we will experience the greatest spurt of entrepreneurial and inventive activity in decades of energy production - if the government is smart enough to get out of the way.

Someone who takes an hour to do what other people do in two minutes will be fired.

Democracy may have many flaws, but authoritarian rule is no substitute. The contemporary history of North Korea should be overwhelming evidence of this point. There’s simply no way to determine what China would look like if it embraced democracy. It should be noted that China’s one-party rule support among the people is predicated almost entirely upon economic growth. If the economic growth declines or slows, so to does it support erode. It is not unremarkable then that China commits gross human rights violations in pursuit of that growth or that China purposefully manipulates its economy to maintain that growth. For example, China artificially manipulates its currency to make it more competitive. China also commits massive copyright and patent fraud in order to achieve its economic prosperity.

Yes, there may be some benefits to one-party rule, but no rational thinking and clear-minded person would chose it over democracy.


@ Steve

When serious shortages are felt it will be too late to adapt. Studies like the Hirsch report point out that preparations have to be made well ahead of supply crunches (10 years +). How much money and time do you think does it take to do either of these things:

  • build a new electricity grid
  • insulate all our houses
  • exchange the entire car fleet
  • change our transportation infrastructure

The peak oil article is a joke, I almost don’t know where to start:

  • Economists cannot create a resource that is not there. Oil discoveries peaked in the 60ies, since the early 80ies we use more oil than we find. There are no new oil frontiers left. High prices in 2003-2008 couldn’t bring more oil to the market.

  • I have actually read “Limits to Growth”, I am not sure you or the author of this article have. If anything LTG has been vindicated by historic events.

Since you believe so much in the wisdom of the free market, here is an alternative scenario of how the markets may adjust to an unmitigated energy supply crunch:

  1. Oil prices skyrocket because supply cannot keep up with demand.
  2. The economy goes into a nose dive
  3. Oil prices collapse making renewables uncompetitive
  4. Consumers and governments default obn debt
  5. Global recession deepens
  6. Renewable energy companies cannot get capital and go belly up
  7. Repeat 1-7


I don’t really know whether you have run out of arguments or interest or maybe both. But if you research this topic you’ll realise that Peak Oil is no leftist alarmist conspiration, in fact the majority of major oil producing countries has already peaked. People voicing their concerns include leaders across many different industries including the oil industry itself. You are right, we will adjust, but we want to do so in a pleasant way.