Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Countdown to $100 oil (49) - peak oil and libertarians

by Jerome a Paris Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:31:18 PM EST

I posted a link to a libertarian site about peak oil in opus (47) of this series, to note their ad hominems against a fellow Oil Drum contributor, and take that as a sign of increased desperation.

But that thread over at the Mises website has grown to several hundred comments, and someone was kind enough to point me to it and to send me their own contribution to that thread, which I find worth discussing.



Posted by: Bastiat at September 27, 2007 7:07 PM

A- Peak oil is real and may be sooner than later

While there is a lot of denial of climate change in the thread I linked to, there is almost none of peak oil per se amongst those that see themselves belonging to the Austrian school. Most of them readily admit that it is a finite resource and that its use is likely to decline.

Where they disagree with the "peakers" is in the relevance of that event. To them, it's just a background fact that is no more relevant than any other, and which will be best dealt with by free individuals and not by government meddling.

Any attempt to "prepare" for peak oil in any way is seen as a socialist attempt to tell people what they should do instead of letting them react as they see fit to reality.

To wit:


B- Under a pure free market, peak oil is a non-event. It is a non-event because each individual can still choose when HIS oil will peak. HE can decide if having 2 extra cylinders on his next car is valuable enough to HIM to work several overtime hours per week in order to pay for it. As long as HE values food more than travel, he will let the farmer overbid him for the diesel needed by the farm tractor. And if people were really obsessed with oil (they are not) then eventually all 7 billion people will be in the oil industry and a lot of oil will be found. Peak oil timing is not determined so much by geology as by expectations of the future demand for oil versus alternatives, including voluntary powerdown.

There's a number of more or less explicit assumptions there that are worth deconstructing:

  • one is that the reality of peak oil is something that will hit at some point, that we don't control (or, as these guys prefer free markets, shouldn't control, and let happen as the individual preferences of people bring them to use oil at the price it is at any time). Then the question is only one of adaptation to the event, in which case, as in any other, individual choices should prevail. The argument that we might want to control when (or how) peak oil hits is seen as an unacceptable socialist or elitist attempt to tell people how they should behave, and thus freedom- and value) destroying. Society doesn't exist, and shouldn't exist; there are no collective preferences, and no goods that have importance beyond the value that individuals give it. And that's true, for these guys, for oil too. Its specific qualities as an extra-dense and convenient energy carrier and its dominant role in our current economy are simply not relevant factors for them - or anyway, they consider that individual ingenuity will provide as required;
  • the last sentence, about 'powerdown', is, in that particular context, revealing. The underlying concept is that of demand destruction (i.e. someone choosing not to consume the good rather than paying the asking price), and it is presented as an individual choice that each of us will have. But the reality of the "free markets" is that supply and demand must balance out - the price beign the mechanism to do that, by encouraging new producers to come in, and some consumers to get out. In a supply-constrained world, this will happen via demand destruction, i.e. people choosing not to - or unable to afford to - buy oil anymore. And the price for oil will go high enough that the appropriate volume of demand is eliminated. "Powerdown" means enough people going without oil. In an ideal world, that means people choosing to telecommute, or carpool, or manage to switch to another, slightly less convenient, form of energy. In the real world, that means, ultimately, people doing without energy.

    I usually write this about food: "famine is an efficient market solution." People dying destroys demand and allows the market for food to clear - you just need a price high enough that the right number of people cannot afford to eat at all. It's the same with oil: it will eventually be priced enough that people are pushed out of the oil economy. and it will be their choice to do so, so those that still remain in the economy at that point are blameless - hey, they're willing to pay the price for that oil, whereas the others aren't.

    For some reason, that particular assumption of the libertarians (and it is a fundamental one) is rarely acknowledged properly. I wonder why...

  • another assumption to note at this point is that those pure markets presuppose a perfect enforcement of rules and contracts. People that have no choice than to ruin themselves or do without a vital commodity are expected to accept that situation meekly (it's their free choice, remember). People that can no longer afford food will let themselves die off peacefully - or the law will be enforced mercilessly on them, thanks to (government-run?) police and justic systems? At what point does the disorganisation from demand destruction spill over into the real world?


C- The oil market is far from free. In particular, there are some entry barriers to drilling and especially, hoarding underground oil, in several countries if not every one of them.

D- To convince an Austrian economist Peak Oil is an issue, you NECESSARILY have to show that the current oil price is LOWER than it would be in a pure free market. You can argue that OPEC countries have unstable regimes and therefore an incentive to dump oil on the market faster than a capitalist owner would. However, the overwhelming evidence is that the price is HIGHER than it would be in a pure free market.

Of course, all these grand theories can never be tested because reality always intrudes, and prevent the perfect markets condition from ever being fulfilled, for some reason. This is a most convenient excuse never to have to explain why your theories never ever seem to work. Hypotheses were not all fulfilled. Which begs the question (beyond that of the relevance of a theory that can never be applied) as to why, for instance, consumers should agree to play by market rules if suppliers don't - or more generally, why some should be bound by market discipline in the face of obvious manipulation. Ah, but individual choice is always better, whatever the circumstances.


E- If Peak Oil is indeed an issue, the most intelligent way to coordinate the planning of a solution by 7 billion potential inventors is still the free-market solution. Some will succeed, and the others will imitate them. Governments have a much smaller number of brains, and just can't do that.

cf my last sentence above. Humans are all investors. How cute is that?


F- Under a free market, the absolute worst case scenario is when no new energy source can be shown to have a net return on investment. Then, you can expect an exponentially decreasing depletion of the remaining stocks, at a rate roughly equal to originary interest, which is a matter of individual preference (you will have to read von Mises to get that one). People would simply find it a bit expensive to feed children, and would choose to have less. Economic growth would still occur because it is a subjective concept. If I telecommute by choice, I am not a "Peak Oil refugee", but actually switching from a less desirable to a more desirable living arrangement, therefore increasing my standard of living.

Kudos again to that person for at least acknowledging the point that peakoilers often make: we may simply run out of accessible energy, because the EROEI (energy return on energy invested) is trending down. Oil has the advantage of a huge EROEI - it's nicely concentrated, and easily captured, energy. Running out of it means running out of cheap energy, forcing us to go back to less convenient forms of energy (like human labor). But the fact that we "choose" to deal with such new circumstances via individual free choice makes population decrease ok - it's a choice, and thus it can still look like "economic growth", because prices for what's become incredibly rare will increase enough to make GDP look good.

And as the price of oil (or other energy forms) at this point will have been brought about by individual choices, it is by definition an efficient situation, and thus one's choices in that context should be the same. Life is wonderful.

Many comments in that thread by the self-proclaimed libertarians and/or 'Austrian economists' were in that same vein - individual choices will always be better, any claim ot the contrary is totalitarian socialism, with a strong whiff of climate change negationism (not by all, though). Human ingenuity is infinite, and thus substitutes will be found to oil from other sources - and governments or self-proclaimed elites are certainly not the best placed to say what these are.

Maybe I should title my series "Countdown to a symbolic non-event"... which, as things go (new record highs pretty much each day in the past 2 weeks, the $90 line reached on Friday, the euro and gold going up along, suggesting deep structural weakness of the dollar in addition to oil strength) could take place pretty soon...

Earlier Countdown diaries:

Countdown to $100 oil (48) - 85, 86, 87, 88, ...
Countdown to $100 oil (47) - Malthus, Mein Kampf and ostriches
Countdown to $100 oil (46) - what's a dollar worth?
Countdown to $100 oil (45) - time to bet again (eurotrib)
Countdown to $100 oil (45) - time to bet again (DailyKos)
Countdown to $100 oil (44) - oil industry admits it cannot save us
Countdown to $100 oil (43) - IEA boss denies and confirms peak oil in same breath
Countdown to $100 oil (42) - IEA predicts shortages within 5 years
Countdown to $100 oil (41) - oil more expensive than it appears
Countdown to $100 oil (40) - Undulating plateau
Countdown to $100 oil (39) - BigOil running out of oil
Countdown to $100 oil (38) - Who gets Champagne edition
Countdown to $100 oil (37) - OPEC says peak oil (and $100 oil) is near
Countdown to $100 oil (36) - Free game! win champagne! no risk! (eurotrib)
Countdown to $100 oil (36) - Free game! win champagne! no risk! (DailyKos)
Countdown to $100 oil (35) - peak oil: the last skeptics capitulate (CERA)
Countdown to $100 oil (34) - Oil major CEO calls for demand reduction
Countdown to $100 oil (33) - Below zero
Countdown to $100 oil (32) - peak oil is, like, so over. Not!
Countdown to $100 oil (31) - $15 oil? The cornucopians are fighting back
Countdown to $100 oil (30) - senior politico fears looming oil wars
Countdown to $100 oil (29) - Alaska joins axis of evil (unreliable oil suppliers)
Countdown to $100 oil (28) - New records suggest more to come
Countdown to $100 oil (27) - 'Mission Accomplished' - High oil prices are here to stay
Countdown to $100 oil (26) - Time to bet again (eurotrib)
Countdown to $100 oil (26) - Time to bet again (dKos)
Countdown to $100 oil (25) - Iran vows that oil prices will not go down
Countdown to $100 oil (24) - What markets are telling us about future energy prices
Countdown to $100 oil (23) - Running out of natural gas in North America
Countdown to 100$ oil (22) - gas shortages in the UK - 240$/boe
Countdown to $100 oil (21A) - The 4 biggest oil fields in the world are in decline *
Countdown to 100$ oil (21bis) - long term vs short term worries (dKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (21) - 8-page extravaganza in the Independent: 'we're doomed'
Countdown to 100$ oil (20) - Meteor Blades is Da Man in 2005
Countdown to 100$ oil (19) - Your bets for 2006 (Eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (19) - Your bets for 2006 (DailyKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (18) - OPEC happy with oil above 50$
Countdown to 100$ oil (17) - Does it matter politically? A naked appeal for your support
Countdown to 100$ oil (16) - We'll know on Monday
Countdown to 100$ oil (15) - the impact on your electricity bill
Countdown to 100$ oil (14) - Greenspan acknoweldges peak oil
Countdown to 100$ oil (13) - Katrina strikes / refinery crisis
Countdown to 100$ oil (12) - Al-Qaeda, oil and Asian financial centers
Countdown to 100$ oil (11) - it's Greenspan's fault!
Countdown to 100$ oil (10) - Simmons says 300$ soon - and more
Countdown to 100$ oil (9) - I am taking bets (eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (9) - I am taking bets (dKos)
Countdown to 100$ oil (8) - just raw data
Countdown to 100$ oil (7) - a smart solution: the bike
Countdown to 100$ oil (6) - and the loser is ... Africa
Countdown to 100$ oil (5) - OPEC inexorably raises floor price
Countdown to 100$ oil (4) - WSJ wingnuts vs China
Countdown to 100$ oil (3) - industry is beginning to suffer
Countdown to 100$ oil (2) - the views of the elites on peak oil
Countdown to 100$ oil (1) (eurotrib)
Countdown to 100$ oil (1) (dKos)
* added to the series after the fact

Display:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/10/21/151023/90

Hopefully the discussion with the libertarians over there should be lively...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:33:55 PM EST
Mmm...

When hearing the Mises arguments I'm reminded of what Sir Thomas Bingham had to say:

 Justice, like the Ritz Hotel, is open to all


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:52:46 PM EST
European Tribune - Countdown to $100 oil (49) - peak oil and libertarians
And if people were really obsessed with oil (they are not) then eventually all 7 billion people will be in the oil industry and a lot of oil will be found.

Maybe if they stopped masturbating with Adam Smith's invisible hand they'd start to understand that even if they don't believe in physical reality, physical reality still believes in them, and is going to come knocking on their door whether they're ready for it or not.

Idiots. I hope they get wiped out in the crash. (Not in a nasty way. More in a being forced to grow vegetables and deal with their own crap kind of a way.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:20:31 PM EST
Right, as if these clowns would have a clue as to how to grow vegetables.  I've generally found that these idiots haven't worked a day in their lives.  Most Misesians I've met have been trust-fund babies.  (Not that I'm God's gift to hard work, granted.)  Why do you think they're all about bringing the Mexicans in to pick their lettuce for them (and then, strangely, all about bashing illegal immigrants)?

You've gotta admit, though:  The bit on lots of oil being found if people were sufficiently obsessed is quite funny.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:34:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've gotta admit, though:  The bit on lots of oil being found if people were sufficiently obsessed is quite funny.

I'm sure that they would equally complain if the six billion people who at the moment aren't that interested in oil decided that having found it they wanted to keep their share. ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and I'm sure it would be all Hillary's fault, of course.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Death, destruction, peak oil.

Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study

· Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
· Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel.

"The world soon will not be able to produce all the oil it needs as demand is rising while supply is falling. This is a huge problem for the world economy," said Hans-Josef Fell, EWG's founder and the German MP behind the country's successful support system for renewable energy.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:57:46 PM EST
Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year...

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030

well if it falls by 7% a year, then it hits 50% in about 9 years not 23

for it to halve by 2030, then it would fall by about 3% per year.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
2.9687% -- to be exact

(Didn't see your comment before I started mine.)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and we don't all have fancy financial calculators ;-)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the pretty pictures I have seen on peak oil it would appear to follow some form of bell curve. Not sure of the foundations that model rests on, but I would guess that they would be using something like that.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well in the pretty pictures here

then you're looking at the oil supply halving by 2040, which still isn't good.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:43:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To a first approximation, it follows a logistic equation. It is "a" bell curve, but not "the" bell curve.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a 3% decline is 7% less than the current IEA forecast, or something?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking-out my trusty HP 12-C financial calculator ... and let's see ...  

Negative 7% is a decline to 48.3982% of current production at the end of 10 years?

Jeebus criminey, that is Not Good.

How reliable is the Energy Watch Group?


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well looking at their website they appear to be linked to the German Greens, and a pile of alternative enrgy companies. If they have a bias, then you'd expect them to be exxagerating the problems with oil.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
could be that existing production declines by 7%, but total production (i.e. including new fields put on stream) declines less quickly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 01:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EWG makes rather detailed research papers, so I don't believe they made such a gross error. This could be a journalist quoting out of context. I go look at what it said in the original.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On page 67 of the now posted report (pdf, 101 pages!):

According to the scenario calculations, oil production will decline by about 50% until 2030. This is equivalent to an average annual decline rate of 3%, well in line with the US experience where oil production from the lower 48 states declined by 2-3% per year.

However, it must be noted that this is a moderate assumption as today a large fraction of the oil is produced offshore. Offshore fields are produced by very aggressive modern extraction methods, e.g. injection of water, gas, heat and surfactants - in order to increase the pressure and decrease the viscosity - and horizontal drilling - in order to extract the oil faster. These methods allow the faster extraction of the oil for a limited time. The horizontal wells allow to extract more oil per time, but as soon as the water level reaches the horizontal well, oil production switches to water production almost within several months. These production methods lead to decline rates after peak of 10% per year or even more (e.g. 14% per year in Cantarell (Mexico), 8-10% in Alaska, UK and Norway, more than 10% in Oman and possibly 10% or more in Ghawar, the world's largest oil field in Saudi Arabia).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I have went through the actual report, the executive summary, and the press report -- I nowhere find 7% therein, only 3%. Methinks the Guardian made some big error...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The journo probably misread "several" for "seven", in the Executive Summary (pdf!):

Conclusion

The major result from this analysis is that world oil production has peaked in 2006. Production will start to decline at a rate of several percent per year. By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:27:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Libertarians are existentially deranged.  They refuse to cognize things can, and do, change when lots and lots of individual actors decide to alter their behavior.  This change has been called many names: Catastrophe, phase transition, tipping point, punctuated equilibrium.  The various names indicating the diverse and widespread actuality of the phenomena.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:51:35 PM EST
These fools have been unable to deal with the concept of aggregate activity being disastrous even with rational or near-rational behavior at the individual level for the better part of thirty years.  Why would they get it right on this?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
basic games-theory notion of "smart for one, dumb for all" has been understood for a lot longer than thirty years...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for example the many historical cases in which passengers on a crowded shallow-draught vessel have rushed to one side of the boat, each individual person making a perfectly rational self-interested attempt to get a better view of an interesting sight, or to escape some real or imagined peril...  whereupon the combined weight of the people massing on one side of centreline caused the vessel to capsize, killing all or nearly all of the passengers and crew.  still happens periodically in lower tech maritime areas.

smart for one, dumb (and lethal) for all.

consider the biosphere as a ferry, the Western Industrial Way of Life as an entrancing pier and amusement park off the starboard side, and watch enough passengers trample and bite and swarm their way to stbd for a place at the rail or a chance to be first ashore...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as they are doing that those of us on the port side helping each other into and lowering lifeboats will have a greater chance of success.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:10:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
although you know they will be the first ones there, wearing a dress and yelling "Women and children first"

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:22:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
actually in a capsize no one's in a guaranteed advantageous position: the "high side" as it goes over may be more lethal than the low side, depending on how fast it rolls and how you fall, dive, or get flung.

cheery thought for the day.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:40:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I know.  I'm was speaking to the issue as it relates to business cycles, post-Lucas.

But you're, of course, right that the basic premise has been around much longer.  Just taking the environment, they've been wrong for as long as they've existed.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:28:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
business cycles, post-Lucas

Please elaborate.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a non-event because each individual can still choose when HIS oil will peak. HE can decide if having 2 extra cylinders on his next car is valuable enough to HIM to work several overtime hours per week in order to pay for it.

Uh... Working several extra hours of overtime per week to maintain your standard of living is a non-event?

Mad as hatters, or possibly workaholics.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:39:16 AM EST
Uh... Working several extra hours of overtime per week to maintain your standard of living is a non-event?

well how much choice do you have when the cost of fuel pushes the ammount of time you need to work over twenty four hours in a day?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you can't afford it, you don't need it. Sort of like food: if you can't buy enough to live, die.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Traditional response of the populace in times like this dosn't cause them to think that there might be some holes in their theory?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgive me, but I think we've at it longer than that.

Background

Before the 14th century, popular uprisings were not unknown (e.g., uprisings at a manor house against an unpleasant overlord), but they were local in scope. This changed in the 14th and 15th centuries when new downward pressures on the poor resulted in mass movements of popular uprisings across Europe. To provide an example of how common and widespread these movements became, in Germany between 1336 and 1525 there were no less than sixty phases of militant peasant unrest.[1]

Most of the revolts were an expression of those below who desired to share in the wealth, status, and well being of those more fortunate. In the end they were almost always defeated and the nobles ruled the day. A new attitude emerged in Europe, that "peasant" was a pejorative concept, it was something separate, and seen in a negative light, from those who had wealth and status. This was an entirely new social stratification from earlier times when society had been based on the three orders, those who work, pray and fight, when being a peasant meant being next to God, just as the other orders, now peasants were seen as almost sub-human.

Causes

There were five main reasons for these mass uprisings including 1) an increasing gap between the wealthy and poor, 2) declining incomes of the wealthy, 3) rising inflation and taxation, 4) the external crises of famine, plague and war, and 5) religious backlashes.

History teaches nothing?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 11:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just got bored of hunting down links, so just threw up ones that people would indtantly understand.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 11:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand, life is short, and it's tiring hunting down links.

I do think that in the long term it's important to denaturalize these things, and recognize that the same sort of popular revolts that occurred in the Russian Empire and Chinese Republic have important historical antecedents in the "developed" countries of the West.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 01:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I don't spend too much time on people that can't see the physical layer functioning below the abstract "money layer," unless I think I can convince them that reality matters.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 01:49:22 PM EST
And actually I don't mean that in true snarky fashion. I knew better, in some sense, but I still had to beat that framework out of myself of the course of a few years which coincided with studying peak oil. None of us (unless there are 3rd world lurkers here) grew up in a world where energy and raw materials were hard to come by for any reason other than political (ie man made).

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 05:35:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if people were really obsessed with oil (they are not) then eventually all 7 billion people will be in the oil industry and a lot of oil will be found.
Sheesh, economist-think really assumes people can will natural resources into existence! Let me rephrase...
And if people were really obsessed with low-entropy forms of matter (they are not) then eventually all 7 billion people would be in the perpetuum mobile industry and a lot of low-entropy forms of matter will be found.
At this point, my interest in reading anything in that forum is inversely proportional to the number of people not disagreeing vociferously with the poster.

Please read Asimov's The Last Question.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:14:22 PM EST
To convince an Austrian economist Peak Oil is an issue, you NECESSARILY have to show that the current oil price is LOWER than it would be in a pure free market.
I don't get it. Can someone elucidate this for me? Is it even worth trying to understand what this means?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:16:38 PM EST
If the price is lower, it means that there is more supply than there would be in a free market, i.e. that someone is manipulating the market by providing more oil than would be warranted, and thus bringing about a potential undersupply later than market players are expecting.

Otherwise, depletion is supposed to be a known fact, and prices will reflect the increasing scarcity of the product.

(Yeah, this is a theoretical construct)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 04:07:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but individual choice is always better, whatever the circumstances.
E- If Peak Oil is indeed an issue, the most intelligent way to coordinate the planning of a solution by 7 billion potential inventors is still the free-market solution. Some will succeed, and the others will imitate them. Governments have a much smaller number of brains, and just can't do that.
cf my last sentence above. Humans are all investors. How cute is that?
Am I missing something here? Investors = inventors?

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:19:26 PM EST
I can't help but get the impression that Austrian Economics and Libertarianism basically reduce Political Economy to "shit happens".

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 05:20:49 PM EST
..."And," they add (when they're drunk) "If you get shat on, that's your stupid fault (or nature, or fate, or some other ineluctable reason) for being underneath something when it was shitting."

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 29th, 2007 at 06:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]

Top Diaries