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Industry heavy enough to create turbines and multi-GW solar arrays is no more energy-demanding than other industries that were localised a century ago.
It's not the energy demands that make me call it heavy industry. It's the fact that we're talking about rotor blades the size of large aircraft wings, and of advanced materials in the case of photovoltaics. Both of those require large, complex facilities.

But your point on energy is important also in another respect: modern industrial technology is way more efficient in its use of energy and material resources than "traditional" production methods. That's what technological progress is about. It's not only improvements in final products but in every intermediate step of production.

And that, my friends, is why rolling industrialization back is definitely not the answer to resource constraints.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 24th, 2014 at 04:20:15 AM EST
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modern industrial technology is way more efficient in its use of energy and material resources than "traditional" production methods.

I'm not convinced this is true if you consider the resource cycle as a whole.

You can cherry pick items like electronics which look small and cheap, but the complete cycle includes ripping stuff out of the ground and shipping it around the world.

And you not only have to refine the stuff you're shipping, you also have to refine the stuff to build the things you're shipping it in. And fuel them.

And then there are the various levels of repetition and recursion involved in putting it all together.

A truly efficient technology would do this with no mess. We're a long way from anything like that - so far away that on a planetary scale, it's not obvious we've moved on from the 19th century.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 24th, 2014 at 05:12:01 PM EST
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A truly efficient technology would do this with no mess.

That's not an argument for returning back to "traditional" production methods, nor an argument that these would be more efficient, but only an argument that the current state of industrial process and the intermediate steps of production can be further optimised.

by Bjinse on Wed Jun 25th, 2014 at 04:58:46 AM EST
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Migeru:
rolling industrialization back is definitely not the answer to resource constraints.

Who says it is, the straw man with his candle-lit romantic atmosphere?

It's about en -rolling industry into maxing out negative entropy

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jun 25th, 2014 at 12:00:47 AM EST
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Migeru:
"traditional" production methods.

What are these, and who is advocating them?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 25th, 2014 at 05:09:57 AM EST
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