Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Gibberish. If you want to show that lower energy consumption leads to bad outcomes you need to show the causality. Showing that civil wars, embargos, and austerity tend to educe energy consumption is an utter trivial result that tells us nothing. The idea that Venezuela's problem have anything at all to do with renewables is riseable. And look at the plot he has for Syria: according to him energy consumption per capita remained high, though stagnating until the country collapsed into war. None of his first 5 examples are connected to his central thesis in any way. I stopped reading after that.
If you want to look at societies that had to adapt to lower energy consumption I suggest Cuba and North Korea after the USSR's collapse.

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.

by generic on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 07:29:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
None of his her first 5 examples
by generic on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 07:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know? Can't ask? Go with what you know.

Gail Tverberg's; Tverberg's

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Apr 14th, 2019 at 10:28:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She is looking at what it will take to maintain our current level of activities. At least her claims [1] and [3] are worth serious attention: The impact of alternative energy sources is smaller than commonly believed. Energy consumption plays a bigger role in our lives than most of us imagine. If you won't imagine anything new without seeing Laplacian causality, you won't notice anything before it is too late. Everything is moved by energy, we are just positioning ourselves in its way. Also look at water supply limits in Yemen, Syria (and even Florida).

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.

by das monde on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 05:24:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Therefore penises rule.

<just fucking stop>

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 09:47:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being crushed by monopoly power does not equal insufficient energy, unless you want to metaphorically link finance with energy, in which case the whole discussion becomes irrelevant.

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.

by Zwackus on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 05:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is how good times end: everyone is demanding, not many are really supplying.

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.

by das monde on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 06:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not exactly a theory since those have to be testable. For those we can at least demand that causes should precede results.
by generic on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 08:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a theory since those have to be testable
Not a true statement of facts.

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.

by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 12:31:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
also defined "observed", which is a whole other kettle of ... METACOGNITION!!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 12:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I plead lack of sleep.
by generic on Thu Apr 18th, 2019 at 04:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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

by eurogreen on Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 02:20:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check East European countries. You can google for "energy consumption romania" or such, and get World Bank graphs.
by das monde on Fri Apr 19th, 2019 at 02:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tverberg's thesis is that to save the global economy, we must ramp up energy consumption.  Leave it to an insurance actuary not to see the forest for the trees.
by rifek on Mon Apr 15th, 2019 at 06:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series