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The Forum > Article Comments > How to fix America > Comments

How to fix America : Comments

By Jonathan J. Ariel, published 26/10/2011

American economic gluttony and its consequences for the global appetite

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Jonathan, I have not read the book, it is for sale on Amazon for $3.10 U.S. about $3 Australian, but why bother, you have given me enough information to know that it would be a waste of time.

Obviously Cowen does not understand economics, and sadly I feel that perhaps you also do not grasp it either.

Energy and more importantly cheap energy is the key driver of economic growth. Yes the low hanging fruit has been picked, but the most important of this fruit is oil. Oil is the key driver of an economy. The world production of oil peaked in 2005 and is now contracting at around 3 to 5% per annum. Fractional reserve banking creates credit (debt) at interest; you need continued economic growth to pay back the interest and the principle. As cheap energy declines so does the economy, no ifís no butsí.

With declining energy you cannot grow an economy. We have too much debt globally, deleveraging is occurring and there will be no return to a growth economy, although there may be a quarter here or there due to lucky happenstance.

We have literally hit the limits to growth; the modern industrial world is now heading toward a terminal decline. Some technology and economic functions will remain but the slope will continue to tilt further down as we descend the energy crunch coming.

Population remains the elephant in the room, however some sort of global die-off will occur toward the end of this century, when I cannot predict, but given our energy future it is inevitable.

You don't have to be a genius to work out where we are going if you understand energy return on energy invested (EROEI), the laws of thermodynamics and a finite planet choking on too many people, too much pollution, too much consumption, too little energy and no scalable or appropriate substitutes.

Cowen got part of his book title correct, the U.S will feel better, but not in our lifetimes or the lifetimes of our grandchildren.
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 1:36:12 PM
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Geoff, you could not have summed it up better. You must have been reading my thoughts on economics. None of today's economists seem to have a grasp of reality. This obsession with growth is the equivalent of a dog chasing its tail. Our beloved leader seems to think that free trade is the answer to the unemployment problem. Perhaps it might be for the poor nations, but it won't help the US or Australia. Like you, I won't be buying Cowan's book either.

David
Posted by VK3AUU, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 2:51:49 PM
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Another consequence of zero growth is there should be no need to pay interest on money borrowed. This would necessarily change the way that banks do business as they would be foregoing a large part of their income and would only get income by charging a fee for service. Returns on money invested would also be very low so that in generaal, the whole population would need to live more frugally, perhaps as we used to do back in the thirties.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

David
Posted by VK3AUU, Wednesday, 26 October 2011 10:33:29 PM
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