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The Forum > General Discussion > The Economy, Oil and Debt a Significant Problem

The Economy, Oil and Debt a Significant Problem

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Here is a sample of a podcast I have just listened to and read at
the same time. Text is there as well. It is long but I feel very
worthwhile. The debt Gail Tverberg and Chris Martensen are talking
about I believe is total debt, government, business and personal.
An extract:

Gail Tverberg: Well I think the thing that people donít realize is
how closely debt Ė the growth in debt is tied to the growth in the
economy even back many years ago we needed to add more debt to try as
the economy sort of attempted to grow and what you would see very
often back then was you know, some country would add debt to fund a
war.
And if they were successful maybe they would get some increment
into the economy so that the debt made sense.
And if they lost the war then somebody got their bonds written off.

But whatís happened is that as the cost of energy has gone up especially since
about the mid 70ís the amount of debt required to find GDP growth has gone way, way up.
And I think this is because it takes so much more debt, or so
much more Ė we need a given quantity of energy in terms of BTUís or
in terms of how far can make a truck go.
And if it costs a whole lot more to do that weíre going to have to
borrow a whole lot more money in order to make the whole system operate.
So we have a seen a spiraling of debt since the mid 70ís and I think
thatís very much related to the higher cost of energy since then.

http://tinyurl.com/hwn9nch

So read it and wonder how much of this is understood by our politicians.
Posted by Bazz, Tuesday, 12 January 2016 8:34:22 AM
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Their understanding of debt is far from complete. The problem isn't too much debt, it's an irrational fear of debt (particularly in the public sector).

They also misunderstand the energy situation. The link between economic growth and energy use has started to break down.

They also misunderstand efficiency. Solar panels that are expected to produce electricity for the next twenty years or more are a good investment now when interest rates are low.
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:17:50 AM
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Dear Aidan,

If I bought you a great birthday present, say a tree that will grow in 10 years to produce great nuts that you like very much, but I told the seller (without your knowledge): "Aidan will pay you later", may I not assume that you will be upset about it?

I am proudly debt-free: what I cannot afford, I do not buy and go without, thus when I leave this world I will do so with a clear conscience and never have to return and be reborn in order to repay my debts.
Posted by Yuyutsu, Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:51:45 PM
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Tell the Greeks that debt is great.

As for solar panels being a good investment, I thought it was only the greenie fairies down the bottom of the garden, & that fool Turnbull, who actually believed that fairy story. The production rate of all I've known is below useful, long before they have earned their, & their batteries replacement cost.
Posted by Hasbeen, Wednesday, 13 January 2016 12:56:48 PM
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Hasbeen since when does solar panel's have a use by date. The pilot solar panels built in the early 60's are still in operation. Your guarantee runs out at 25 years but still none knows how long they can produce power.
Posted by 579, Wednesday, 13 January 2016 1:40:24 PM
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Yuyutsu,

I wouldn't be as upset about it as the seller would be, for I would not be liable for the debt.

BTW I think you missed my point: putting solar panels on your roof is not like getting a tree that will grow in 10 years to produce great nuts; 'tis more like getting a mature tree that will immediately produce great nuts and is likely to do so for the next twenty years.

As for debt, if nobody borrows then nobody could save, as there wouldn't be any money available to save. And nations do not die like humans.

And do you really think you're liable for debts incurred before you were born?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Hasbeen,

Your mention of batteries indicates poor comprehension.
I was referring to putting a few solar cells on your roof to cut your electricity bill.
I was NOT referring to disconnecting your house from the grid.

The former is likely to be a good investment; the latter is currently a very poor investment, though technological improvements may eventually change that if the ripoff pricing for electricity connection continues.

As for Greece, it's in the situation Queensland would be in if it took on a trillion dollar debt while refusing to raise its tax rate. Now at last its raised its tax rate but its creditors aren't letting it spend more even though tit could do so profitably in this economic climate.

Fortunately Queensland doesn't have a trillion dollar debt and can afford to borrow more (as can all Australia's states). And Australia itself is financially sovereign; it has unlimited credit. That doesn't mean borrowing more is always the best option. Sometimes it's better to run surpluses and have lower interest rates instead. But if you doubt borrowing more is the best option in the current economic climate, please carefully consider the following question:
How low would interest rates have to be before borrowing more becomes worthwhile?
Posted by Aidan, Wednesday, 13 January 2016 2:16:08 PM
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