The European Tribune is a forum for thoughtful dialogue of European and international issues. You are invited to post comments and your own articles.
Please REGISTER to post.
Any kind of governmental organization requires energy. Having a single leader takes the least energy, especially if the leader can continue to perform his non-leadership duties. Any kind of added governmental service (such as roads or schools) requires energy. Having elected leaders who vote on decisions takes more energy than having a king with a few high-level aides. Having multiple layers of government takes energy.
Today's view of the equality of the sexes is likely to disappear because sex differences will become much more important in a low-energy world.
But I want to comment on your first quote, because it is nonesense in an interesting way. Doing things takes more energy than not doing things. Which tells you very little about whethter they will be done or not.
The radio warnerd podcast is currently doing a mini series about the 100 year war, which is very much relevant here:
It happens around the beginning of the Little Ice Age, following a period of several hundred years of population expansion and no major famine in western Europe. So this is one example of societies having to adapt to a general decline in available resources. They did so poorly, and then the plague arrived. Now, England had a parliament and France didn't. Yet, as it turned out, the parliamentary system helped them to act much more uniformly than the much richer and highly populated France.
Gail Tverberg's; Tverberg's
Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
For relevant examples of lower energy consumption, better look at the Midwest states that voted for Trump. Or Brexit voters, gilets jaunes. Critical theorists (ever unsatisfied and more demanding) will be the last to notice that causality.
Things are either going up, or down. Apparent stability usually masks a slow decline, where the goods supply is struggling to provide bread, circus and social justice. Look at the imperial Rome, with even Augustus struggling to get grains from Egypt at times. Military triumph celebrations became a rarity, and good emperors had to be great stoics.
Nature and humans developed significant anticipation mechanisms for energy flows. These causal factors are harder to notice in complex meshes of interdependent relations.
<just fucking stop>
Conflict between elites is a thing. Class conflict is a thing. Sometimes systems do have to respond to outside shocks, but people are also capable of fucking things up all on their own in the process of pursuing their own petty agendas.
It's worth asking the question of whether the modern world is facing a situation of actual impoversihment, compared to our recent past (as the energy theory seems to be suggesting), or whether its a case of the concentration of wealth (demonstrated by both history and experiment to be largely inveitable) leading to gross distributionary imbalances. Are current problmes in the world fundamentally supply or demand issues?
I always wonder about theories like this, trying to make everything look as if a problem is the inevtible working of nature. But I am not convinced by arguments which suggest that an animal which is being bled dry by parasitic leeches is suffering primarily from reduced blood flow.
Elites do not even have to rationalize their perceptions and preferences. It is enough to rely on hierarchical primate instincts, both dominant and submissive. Incidentally or not, the discipline of those instincts largely safeguards primate populations from Malthusian perils. Not seeing this dynamics in hierarchical or territorial species is like not seeing genetic evolution beyond cell biochemistry.
Humans venture to be smarter with Keynesian or Marxist economics - but somehow the trust in greenhouse welfare is never deep. Instead, people become bitter like in the USSR. Abundance is not trusted even in r-selected species.
It is not really that we are vitally running out of resources. Instead, the fabulous bonanza of fossil fuels, technological progress, intensive agriculture, popular entertainment, mass consumption is ending. The signs are noticed by elites and lowly Trump, Brexit supporters, but not by comfort loving middle classes. The latter see either glorious progress or final destruction. Most likely though, the next 850 years will be normal Dark Ages, with populations surviving in primal ways in areas endowed with not-too-terribly-spoiled environment, modestly providing institutions, and fortunate choices of leaders.
A theory expresses belief in (probability or "faith" performance) a particular design of phenomena, or events of which intangible or tangible, natural or mechanical, or combining foregoing constituents; a fiction.
People may or may not agree a theory presented by its author; a theory may not even be available to any number of people for argument; but among those who agree a theory, the truth of the theory is self-evident in that agreement so assembled, in both the subjective and objective commitment of the decision, namely each person, enumerated.
Whether or not people other than the theory's author require argument of its principles and manifest truth, and which types of theory, as if to produce agreement among themselves is a cultural artifact of a society.
The method which the author or other people, select, by agreement, to argue a theory is also a cultural artifact of a society. Let us note, "the scientific method" advocates 100% predictability from the product of any theory, measureable.
Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
When countries have reduced their energy consumption per capita by significant amounts, the results have been very unsatisfactory.
This hypothesis is completely untested. No country has voluntarily reduced its energy consumption per capita. Various countries have encountered economic or political collapse which caused reduced energy consumption.
The challenge of the next thirty years is engineering reduced energy consumption in a sustainable and equitable manner, rather than through societal collapse.
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
And then this:
"When an economy doesn't have enough energy, its self-organizing feature starts eliminating pieces of the economic system that it cannot support. The financial system tends to be very vulnerable because without adequate economic growth, it becomes very difficult for borrowers to repay debt with interest. This was part of the problem that Greece and Spain had in the period when their energy consumption per capita declined. A person wonders what would have happened to these countries without bailouts from the European Union and others."
Yeah, no that is not it. Spain and Greece got economic problems because of the conditions of the so called "bailouts" which in reality were bailouts of French and German banks through those economies. And with austerity came lower energy consumption. The author may not know that, but you do. Right?
Effective causes in Greece and Spain were surely banking matters. But I am open to the possibility that the creditor pressure (or say, Reaganomics post the Club of Rome) were indeed blunt tools to prevent some Venezuelan mess further (or increasingly closer) down the road.
Incidentally, Turchin just posted his theory on mysteries of wealth and inequality cycles.
Howard Odum has a more conventional scholarly following since the 1970s on the energy centrality.
by ARGeezer - Aug 20 15 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 16 58 comments
by Oui - Aug 21 3 comments
by Oui - Aug 18 33 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 13 13 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 8 125 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 6 26 comments
by Oui - Aug 8 16 comments
by Oui - Aug 213 comments
by ARGeezer - Aug 2015 comments
by Oui - Aug 198 comments
by Oui - Aug 1833 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 1658 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 1313 comments
by Oui - Aug 816 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 8125 comments
by Oui - Aug 75 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 626 comments
by Oui - Aug 431 comments
by Oui - Aug 34 comments
by gmoke - Aug 21 comment
by Frank Schnittger - Aug 1115 comments
by Oui - Aug 19 comments
by Oui - Jul 3023 comments
by Oui - Jul 2823 comments
by Frank Schnittger - Jul 2711 comments
by IdiotSavant - Jul 255 comments
by john_evans - Jul 2580 comments