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

Sunday Open Thread

by In Wales Sun May 25th, 2008 at 11:21:39 AM EST

Early lazy Sunday Open Thread


Display:
Hello there.  I'm in recovery from a loooong week. Training, 3 days of conference, a wedding and a Eurovision party is more than enough for me. I can't believe it is sunday already.

And Happy 50th Birthday to Helen (for those of you who haven't seen the salon today.)

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 11:24:43 AM EST
Hi In Wales, nice to see you are back. Sounds you had a really full week. Hope you had a nice Sunday for recovery. :-)
by Fran on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Fran :)  It's been a miserable day but I haven't felt like going outside anyway!  Been processing wedding photos.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:45:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you and to everyone who wished me well. I'm not going anywhere tonight so I'll be around. Tho' I may be getting a little squiffy later on.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:22:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't see the Salon, but Happy Birthday!  Many happy returns.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Squiffy?

Hopefully that's not like Raikkonnen's stupid shunt which ended Adrian Sutil's fine race.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can assess a culture by the number of words they have for slightly dissimilar things. Eskimoes are supposed to hve 27 different words to describe snow. The Brits have many words to describe varying states of being drunk. Squiffy is another.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 01:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
better get practising typing "You're my besht mate" for later then.

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 May 25th, 2008 at 12:29:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean you've not noticed all my previous similar contributions.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Birthday Helen!!

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:21:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Birthday Helen!



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

by ATinNM on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:47:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol that's excellent. thank you.

ps How did they know I'm getting fatter ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
whew!  (Wiping brow)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:12:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As soon as I posted the above realization hit the humor may not translate from American to English and could easily be misinterpreted.

Please troll-rate into oblivion.

Thank you

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

by ATinNM on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was going to toggle it but Helen overruled you.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:55:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've got an early meeting tomorrow and was not too keen to get up at 5am to get my plane. I should have access to the net later tonight, and probably during the day tomorrow, but my focus on ET will be light...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 12:51:07 PM EST
You've got the iPhone.  Don't you commies over there have WiFi on all the planes nowadays?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Pemex Says April Oil Output Drop Biggest in 12 Years

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said April crude production fell the most in more than 12 years as output at its largest field declined faster than the company forecast.

Crude oil production fell 13 percent to 2.767 million barrels a day in April, Mexico City-based Pemex, as the company is known, said today on its Web site. Output a year earlier was 3.182 million barrels a day. The decline was the largest since October 1995, when output fell 29 percent.

(...)

Output at Cantarell, Pemex's biggest field, fell 33 percent to 1.07 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Ministry. That was the lowest output since March 1996 at the field, which peaked at 2.192 million barrels a day in December 2003 and once accounted for about 60 percent of the company's output.

The company forecast output at Cantarell would fall 15 percent annually until 2012.

Exports fell 14 percent to 1.439 million barrels a day. Pemex, the third-largest supplier of crude to the U.S., has said it will cut exports as output falls so that it can refine more of its own oil.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 01:00:27 PM EST
The wheels are coming off the cart faster than politicians can blink.

Maybe Bush better make friends with Iran while he still can.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 01:03:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow.  That's a pretty startling drop.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ja und?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
33 %?! That just has to be becuase of either bad management or because the nitrogen is being diverted to the KMZ complex.

And to gloat a little... It seems investing in Pride was a good idea. :)

Have any of you taken any financial steps to preapre yourself/profit from your foreknowledge of where we are going?

Jerome has slipped that he is completely out of the market except for some holdings in EdF, but what about the rest of my socialist ET friends? ;)

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

by Starvid on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:57:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't have the money to do investments. I think the maxim is never gamble with what you can't afford to lose. Well, I've never been ahead enough to afford to lose anything.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:13:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've had some market shorts going for a while.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent has a pretty good article on the global oil crisis

With this tidbit:


Last week. the embattled Gordon Brown - "incredibly focused" on oil, according to his spin-doctors - began playing the blame game. "It is a scandal," he said, "that 40 per cent of the oil is controlled by Opec and that their decisions can restrict the supply of oil to the rest of the world."

Someone should tell him that he should be blaming geology - or God - and that, as oil production peaks, Opec countries simply will not be able to pump more.

I'd say the  rea lscandal is that we still don't have all-out policies to wean ourselved off of oil.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 a 'scandal'?

as in a morally objectionable event?

strewth, how much further down does he need his numbers to go? it's hard to think of a more clueless thing he could say, under the circumstances.

how dare they have the oil and have to make respectable, decent people have to go cap in hand to them to get as much as we want to continue wasting?

hello gordo, it's a new century.

keep the aspidistra flying!

 

'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 Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:43:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, the cluelessness is embarrassing, especially as it echoes George Bush going cap in hand to Saudi. I wish I could be in a state of "nothing to do with me", but there's a part of me that can't divorce myself and I just feel so desperately humiliated by his craven stupidity.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[rant]

Could the UK possibly have had more incompetent and useless civil servants and politicians than most of the ones we've had since WWII?

Whitehall has consistently gotten everything it touches spectacularly wrong.

When we should have been investing wealth from North Sea oil it was handed over to the oil companies with generous tax terms.

When we should have been planning for a future without oil, Whitehall was building more roads and airports and making the railways impossibly complicated, wasteful and expensive.

When we should have more streamlined management of public services, Whitehall has pushed a cynical and corrupt consultancy culture which reliably fucks over the taxpayer by handing cash to the City, and which spends more time and energy making sure pecking orders are maintained and exaggerated than in getting the job done.

When we should have been joining the Euro, we tied ourselves to a boat-anchor currency called the dollar.

When we should be pointing the finger at the guilty and giving them a good slapping, we get misdirected attacks on immigrants, terrorists, unions, and poor people - none of whom are even a hundredth as dangerous as the slack-jawed pimply-arsed paper pushers who know nothing about anything, but who, for some inexplicable reason, are being allowed to make the most important decisions in the UK.

And now it finally starts to percolate into Westminster that perhaps things are not quite as they should be.

Well Mr Brown, you with your love of reading and history have had thirty years to notice there's a problem.

And you missed it.

Can you explain why we should be paying you, or the rest of the talentless irrelevancies in Whitehall and Westminster, any money at all for your time and effort?

[/rant]

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well Mr Brown, you with your love of reading and history have had thirty years to notice there's a problem.
Don't be unserious, everyone knows The Club of Rome's Limits to Growth was thoroughly debunked when it came out 30 years ago... oops!

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you explain why we should be paying you, or the rest of the talentless irrelevancies in Whitehall and Westminster, any money at all for your time and effort?

Because if you don't, they'll all wind up here.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True.

Our lot may be useless, but it's a mediocre kind of useless.

Most of them aren't actually mad in the Washington sense.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could fix that for you.  A US-UK bureaucrat exchange of program of some sort.  We can all be served by mediocre sociopaths.

Everybody wins.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've put several articles together for DailyKos: So, how are you getting ready for $200 oil (or more)?


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:57:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any reaction from Metatone at Doncaster's promotion in the League 1 play-off final ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 01:23:06 PM EST
[redacted]
I can't [redacted] believe it!
I'm [redacted] speechless.

5 years ago we were still in the Conference.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 01:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, what will England do during the Euro 2008? Will there be domestic matches? Will there be support for other teams (other than from immigrants)? If so, whom? Or will there be more negative rooting against some teams? (Can you remember the time of Euro 84 and World Cup 1994?)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:14:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there's a couple of friendlies lined up. We're playing the USA at Wembley on wednesday. Which isn't exactly relevant, but just a canny way of filling Wembley (lots of USians here)

I can't speak for anybody else but I'll probably watch most of the games and enjoy them. I have no view on who'll win and couldn't care less. Course, if one of the big teams gets a kicking by an outsider I'll laugh, that's the fun of it.

Certainly more interesting than the drug championships in Beijing later on.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, interest will be less, but that's a good thing, as many of the casual fans who are motivated by nationalism won't bother. What remains will be the people who really appreciate football.

My memory of 94 is that naturally enough the Irish attracted a lot of support/interest, because they were local and also underdogs.

As Helen notes, the underdog will get some support, whoever they are, but my memory of 84 is that because most people who bother watching like football, it will be the best exponents of "the beautiful game" who people will be cheering for. Who will that be? I think we'll only really find out once the competition gets underway.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:51:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hereabouts, with WC/EC participation a distant memory, pre-set fixed symphaties are widespread. Italy, Brazil and England being the most popular (of which now only one plays). Myself, I cheer for France and the Czech Republic, and - sorry de Gondi, melo etc. - againt Italy :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enjoy. Sounds like it could be a good night in Donny tonight.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 02:27:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely you mean [redacted] ((*redacted)) without the [redacted] asterisk.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:00:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[redacted]

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Designing a web site.

Discovering that the design looks almost exactly like a bad copy of Apple's web site.

Now redesigning a web site.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 03:44:03 PM EST

StatoilHydro to build first full scale offshore floating wind turbine 

StatoilHydro has decided to build the world's first full scale floating wind turbine, Hywind, and test it over a two-year period offshore Karmøy. The The company is investing approximately 400 million NOK. Planned startup is autumn 2009.

The project combines known technology in an innovative way. A 2.3 MW wind turbine is attached to the top of a so-called Spar-buoy, a solution familiar from production platforms and offshore loading buoys.

The rotor blades on the floating wind turbine will have a diameter of 80 metres, and the nacelle will tower some 65 metres above the sea surface. The floatation element will have a draft of some 100 metres below the sea surface, and will be moored to the seabed using three anchor points. The wind turbine can be located in waters with depths ranging from 120 to 700 metres.

It will be a good thing to have a full scale prototype demonstrating the technology and its attractions (or problems).

This is likely to make sense in sea depth or more than 100m, which means, given that connecting to the grid is very expensive the further off you are from land, that this could be useful for countries that do not have a continental shelf like in the North Sea.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:30:37 PM EST
I can't write about this now, because Annie (und ich) want to watch a movie.  But let me say in the most crazy visionary way, floating wind turbines are the survival of civilization.

  1.  There is no place else anywhere in the world like the "pool table" of the North Sea.
  2.  The wind on the seas are so much stronger, and so less turbulent, that the extras cost is more than compensated.
  3.  If you want to make hydrogen, you go where the water is and the energy is cheapest.
  4.  And we do want to make hydrogen.

To put this in perspective, the "father" of windpower in the US (whose students inhabit the higher echelons of ALL companies and research institutes) proposed that we make hydrogen from sea winds... in 1973!

Europe doesn't have to worry about this, because there is so much area >40m depth that turbines only need the increment of a bit more expensive foundation to make gigawatts without end.  But the rest of the world better begin thinking about floating turbines, to make hydrogen, or they should forget about having good sound systems in their caves.

We have been working on floating design for three decades,and none of it has been released.  But that's 'cuz we're focused on hydrogen production, not electricity... even though we can do that cheaper as well.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or they should forget about having good sound systems in their caves.

there's a man with a values system i can relate to! LOL!

enjoy the movie crazy horse, and take care of that hip, as it heals...

'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 Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, chacun voit midi à sa porte, as we say in France.

If you want a visionary, how about Edward Teller? He was warning about CO2 and global warming in 1957.

Not stupid, the fossil fuel industry saw immediately the threat coming from the nuclear industry and started denying any effect from CO2.

Nothing is new.

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:41:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arrhenius was writing about CO2 and global warming back in 1898.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:17:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but he had no solution.
by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:29:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It hasn't been proven conclusively that Teller did either.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:27:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France France France France nyah nyah nyah nyah.

:)

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:31:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of us think long term. :)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1 - See Jerome's sig.
2 - "Long term" is not an alternate spelling for "procrastination".
by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 09:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And on a global scale.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mmm

Because solving the problems at home is just too simple and will be left as an exercise for the reader?

Or is it that when a problem is too complicated, you must enlarge it as ... darn, who was it that used to say that? Ah yes, now I remember. That guy.

:>

by Francois in Paris on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. But because pushing that solution on a global scale would eat up reserves real fast, to be more precise: high-grade reserves; and because it would give power into the hands of all sorts of unreliable managers in other countries.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 03:46:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pfffffffaahhh !

Dodo, if uranium goes durably over 600 euros/kg U metal, extracting uranium from sea water becomes profitable (and that's the pessimistic estimate, the optimistic being at 150 euros/kg U metal).

And nuclear power is not even very sensitive to those price levels. At ~130t U metal/yr needed for a 1 GW reactor in modern once-through cycle, 600 euros/kg, that's 0.00975 euros/kWh in raw material costs, not even one cent per kWh.

by Francois in Paris on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 11:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
extracting uranium from sea water becomes profitable

LOL, and what would be the extraction rate?

Oil sands mean no peak oil, anyone?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 02:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you bother reading the brief?

At 2 g of uranium per kg of adsorbent with 60 days cycles, it involves farming 11,000 t of absorbent to fuel a 1GW reactor, farming meaning to let the adsorbent soak in sea water for 2 months on its own and then, every two months, haul the absorbent braids out of the water, wash them to collect the uranium (130 t a year) and put them back in the water. Replace with fresh braids every year and recycle the old ones (they are made of polyethylene, green and easy to recycle).

For comparison, fueling 1 GW of coal plant involves shipping about 3.35 million tonnes of coal a year (figures derived from Cockenzie, Scotland - 1.5 million tonnes of coal for 3.563 billion kWh). For brown coal, it's even more.

Tell me objectively, which one of those two operations seems the most difficult from a logistical point of view?

So, sorry. I don't know if nuclear will take the place I'd like it to have but, if it doesn't, I know it won't be for lack of fuel.

by Francois in Paris on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 03:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So did France in the 1970's.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, Teller, that old crook :-) I vividly remember when I was a young physics student, and our whole faculty was assembled for a presentation of his (Great Hungarian Returning Home [for some adoration] syndrome). It happened that a bunch of students (me not, I was clueless about the whole affair) chose to unfurl a banner against nuclear arms behind him. When he noticed, he became very outraged, and wouldn't continue his lesson. Was quite a fun scandal :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is the point of taking Teller as an example.

Prophets... Burn them.

by Francois in Paris on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:34:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That wasn't quite the power relationship.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 03:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding Teller as prophet, my (later) astronomy department was [depending on mood] having a good laugh/creeped out by his idea of stationing nuclear arms in space for an eventual close encounter with an asteroid.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 03:50:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

A happy 10th anniversary, Emu

European monetary union is a bumble-bee that has taken flight. However improbable the celestial design, it has succeeded in real life. A decade ago, critics predicted financial disaster when 11 European countries agreed to fuse their currencies. That some economists are today seriously - if prematurely - debating whether the euro can overtake the US dollar as the world's reserve currency underscores Emu's hard-earned credibility.

The Emu's technical achievements are striking. Inflation expectations have been firmly anchored with the eurozone inflation rate averaging just over 2 per cent in the past decade. Yet interest rates have fallen to their lowest levels in a generation. Monetary union has stimulated intra-area trade and financial market integration - albeit not as successfully as many had initially hoped. Some 16m jobs have been created in the eurozone over the past decade (2m more than in the US over the same period), partly redressing Europe's shameful employment record.

As the ideological stepchild of Germany's Bundesbank, the European Central Bank has proved conservative in monetary outlook yet innovative in operation. Its consensual style of decision-making and real-time explanation of policy via press conferences were necessary, if risky, experiments for a multinational central bank that has since expanded to embrace 15 members. Yet these experiments have worked well in practice. After a clumsy start, the ECB has effectively responded to the credit crisis too.

Funny to note that the eurozone (pop. 317m, but with very little population growth) created more jobs than the US over the past 10 years - despite including rotating-sick-men-of-Europe France, Italy and Germany... whoddathunk?

And the editorial concludes with a regret that Britain is unlikely to join soon.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:37:36 PM EST
"seriously, if prematurely, debating whether the Euro can overtake the US dollar"

Won't even comment.  But thanks, J.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:52:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
talk about grudging...

Some 16m jobs have been created in the eurozone over the past decade (2m more than in the US over the same period), partly redressing Europe's shameful employment record.

i don't get the 'shameful'... an affected moralism that reeks of colonial-era superiority complex.

is this another clue to the psychological underpinnings of anglo disease?

it's immoral not to have a work ethic, it's a matter of _pride to have as high employment as possible, it's shameful to have unemployed people.

what did they want, the state to simply pull jobs out of its ass and create make-work for millions?

or is the hidden message that europe had the gall to try and value workers' rights as much as corporate profits, and should be hanging its collective, sinful head?

that we should have 'sold out' more, in other words.

if britain doesn't join soon, it might find itself on a lower rung than the 'basket case' nations you list above, jerome.

have a nice flight and here's hoping you get a chance to come check in to your unruly brood once in a while!

'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 Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the editorial concludes with a regret that Britain is unlikely to join soon.

More's the pity. It would be good politics from the tories to propose it as it would be welcomed by the business community. Now is a good time as the pound sinks like a stone. Sadly the xenophobic tendency of Murdoch and the fee-grabbing of the City would prevent it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:19:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I diaried in Of monsters and presidents how the German figurehead president's comments about financial markets developing into a "monster" are really part of his re-election bid. Also said how internal pressure and clumsy strong-arming from right-wing politicians forced the Social Democrat (SPD) leadership to get a spine and consider nominating a couter-candidate.

Newspapers now report that the SPD will formally decide tomorrow to nominate Gesine Schwan.

The CDU is responding in quite shrill tones, they say "the SPD made itself the puppet of the Left Party"... (ex-anti-communist Gesine Schwan as the dark horse of the Left Party, LOL)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:55:52 PM EST
There were elections today. Local elections in the northernmost federal state, Schleswig-Holstein. Big losses for the Grand Coalition parties (they're ruling together in ruling that state, too). Current summary projections:

  • CDU 40.1% (-10.7)
  • SPD 25.7% (-3.6)
  • Greens 9.6% (+1.2)
  • FDP (liberals) 8.3% (+2.6)
  • Left Party 7.3% ("new")
  • SSW [Danish minority] 3.0% (+0.5)

Coalitions of course matter only locally, but the main left/right voter blocks compare: 45.6% : 48.4%, still a right-wing majority. I believe detailed results come only at midnight (as always I want to check how the far-right fared; but hope most of the remaining 6% are independents and ecologists)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ach. preliminary result looks in parts even better:

  • turnout: 49.5% (-5...)
  • CDU 38.6% (-12.2!!!)
  • SPD 26.6% (-2.8)
  • Greens 10.3% (+1.9)
  • FDP (liberals) 9.0% (+3.3)
  • Left Party 6.9% (+6.7!)
  • SSW [Danish minority] 3.0% (+0.5)
  • NPD (far-right): 0.4% (didn't run in 2003 to support other far-right and xenophobic-populist parties)
  • independent groups and individuals: 6.2% (+2.5)

So voter blocks are left-to-hard-left 46.8% right-to-far-right 48.0%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:17:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
via, unexpectedly, Christopher Caldwell:


Network power that works too well

At the heart of globalisation is a basic, and politically explosive, mystery; globalisation proceeds through the breaking down of boundaries, the unfolding of diversity and freedom of choice - so why is it experienced by so many people as a constriction, an oppression and a loss of freedom? In a brilliant and subtle book*, a Harvard graduate student has solved this mystery - even if he has not solved the problem. David Singh Grewal believes the answer lies in something called "network power". Networks are the means by which globalisation proceeds. All networks have standards embedded in them. In theory we can choose among the standards and become more free. In practice, Mr Grewal shows, our choices tend to narrow over time, so that standards are imposed on us.

Here is how it works. Networks tend to grow. As time passes, one of the most attractive things about a network will be simply that a large number of people have already chosen it. This is network power. Once a network reaches "critical mass", Mr Grewal says, the incentives to join it can become irresistible. Certainly some standards are intrinsically better than others. "But as the network power of a standard grows," Mr Grewal writes, "the intrinsic reasons why it should be adopted become less important relative to the extrinsic benefits of co-ordination that the standard can provide." People defect from alternative networks. Eventually those alternatives disappear altogether. The choice of networks becomes a Hobson's choice. You remain free to choose your network, but the distinction between choosing to join a network and being forced to join one is less evident.

(...)

Mr Grewal nails his own anti-capitalist colours firmly to the mast. But his political engagements never outrun his diagnoses. Network Power leans on Marx, Keynes and the Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor, to examine the more general problem of "power structures" - how power can be exercised over people even when no one is visibly giving orders. But he avoids attributing network power to "false consciousness" - the Marxian idea that people are easily fooled out of knowing their own interest. Indeed, he grants that most standards are the product of consent, although of a funny kind. "One of the interesting things about globalisation is the extent to which people consent to structures that are consciously and explicitly viewed as undesirable."

This is a patient and powerful argument. The book's concepts are presented with such extreme theoretical clarity that all readers, even those who do not share Grewal's commitment to trammelling global capitalism, will be able to deploy his insights to other ends.

(...)

Mr Grewal calls for a reassertion of democratic sovereignty to counter the unintended (and undesired) consequences of network choices. But he admits that the political solutions to network power are not yet obvious. Networks are transnational, while politics remains national, and Mr Grewal does not consider global government either feasible or (as far as one can tell) desirable.

Sounds like must-read book.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 04:58:07 PM EST
Eric Smith posted on that Naked Capitalism.

It sound to me that like yet another convenient "it's nobody's fault" exculpation, a nicely abstract way to blame the effect of very conscious and deliberate decisions that hurt the largest part of the population (and which are meant to do that) on some vague, emergent property that just happened to appear auto-magically on its own.

By the way, everyone should read Naked Capitalism.

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:52:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You might well be correct, but I think it's useful, because it's a framework that explains one way (and psychotic-autistic economists need "rational explanations") how "free choice" can devolve in oligopolistic lack of choice.

It's not news to people who think about "power relations" but there aren't many of those in economics and finance...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not either/or. I wouldn't see this kind of network theory as a primary driver, but it's a useful amplifier of homogenisation which makes the primary driver more effective.

It also suggests that - unfortunately - diversity is inherently weak unless it's protected and nurtured explicitly by strong social contracts and laws.

And it's another way of suggesting the quasi-theocratic character of neo-liberalism. As in all religions, an effective motivation is a sense of amplified personal power and effectiveness through symbolic identification with something greater and more inclusive than the individual.

Any proposed ideology has to be able to create at least some of the same feelings if it's going to propagate itself.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
anyone have any tips on how to make the extreme left hand side of the page visible?

most times when it happens, i just reload the page, but tonight it's being really stubborn. it means i can't reply to a comment, or see the title of the comment.

the internet connection has been very poor these last few days, often crashing every two minutes or so, and even slower than the usual dialup torture....sigh

oh well, at least it works a little bit.

thanks telecom

'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 Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:04:27 PM EST
The Libertarian National Convention is live on CSPAN right now, and I'm watching with interest to see if Bob Barr is nominated as the presidential candidate.  His opponent now is Mary Ruwart.  It's the 6th Ballot, with others, including Mike Gravel, having been knocked out.  Ruwart says Barr doesn't share their values, since he voted for the PATRIOT Act.  Barr's case is that he's with them on most issues, and that he can get a larger share of the vote than any Lib in history.

As he's polling around 10% in the region, Barr is potentially Obama's ticket to upset victories in the Deep South come November, so here's hopin'.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:20:25 PM EST
And Bob Barr wins!  54-46%.  Better buy St John another box of Depends.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barr won.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:34:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.  Great stuff.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 05:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he can cobble together the Libertarian Party, the Libertarian wing of the GOP, and the Ron Paul people a 50 state win for Obama is a distinct possibility.  Barr may even have enough pull to pull some money from the GOP bucks-machine.  

Meanwhile, the Clinton faction is getting ever shriller as the nomination slips from The Hillary©.  

Crimminee but this is one weird election year.

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

by ATinNM on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I see Bubba is losing his shit again.  I keep telling people that I think Obama has some kind of magical power over Bill Clinton.  The moment Clinton opens his mouth to talk about this campaign, he says something incredibly stupid.  It was sad for a while to see him be reduced to this, but, hey, he's done it to himself.

I still think the Ron Paul people are going to Obama generally because of the war.  Obama seems to be nabbing 15-20% of GOPerdom, which is pretty impressive.  If he can consolidate the Dems, it'll be good for another five to seven points.

None of Paul's people will go to McCain.  Paul, himself, seems determined to ensure that.  Some will write in Paul's name.  Some will go to Barr.

A 50-state win?  Nah, it's never been done.  In fact, I don't think anyone's run the table since Washington.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:56:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
James Monroe apparently won with one electoral vote cast against him in 1820, as a kind of protest by an elector who should have voted Monroe. Ah, the wonders of wikipedia.

Realistically, 50 states is just not going to happen for Obama, but he should aim to compete in every single state to keep McCain off balance, underfunded and on the defense. Wouldn't it be great if McCain spent his time campaigning in Texas, Colorado and North Carolina?

What Barr's nomination will most likely do is make New England a lot more secure for Obama, and perhaps make a few north-western states easier to pick up.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, okay, good point on Monroe.

You're right, of course.  He's going to compete everywhere in an effort to bleed McCain to death, just as he's done to Hillary.  McCain's going to have to campaign in Texas, North Carolina and (especially) Colorado anyway, unless he wants to write Colorado off.  Obama's been showing solid leads in the state ever since the caucuses there, and Dems will likely catch some votes for the convention, assuming Hillzilla doesn't try to wreck it.

Barr potentially steals enough from McCain to hand us back New Hampshire, but, beyond that, I don't see a huge influence in the Northeast.  And that's solid Dem territory anyway.  Obama getting New Hampshire makes life a little easier, but the state has a strange thing for McCain.

Barr's main damage to St John -- mark my word -- is going to come from Appalachia.  He matches up with those people, ideologically, and those people are not going to be wild about McCain.  There aren't really any Obama votes to steal there, outside of liberal cities like Asheville and a handful of college towns.  And those people aren't going to like Bob Barr.  Barr could potentially tip the balance in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

He might -- might -- do enough damage to sink McCain in Montana, Nevada and North Dakota, and he might lend Obama a buffer in New Mexico and Colorado.

Now, in addition to Barr, I'm interested in seeing what Chuck Hagel does.  All the noise from him seems to suggest a willingness to become Obama's non-sleazy answer to Joe Lieberman.  I'd like to see if Hagel can get out there and hammer the Reps over the war, putting states like Nebraska within reach.  Hopefully Obama's already got that in his back pocket, and perhaps we make Hagel the SecState or something else important that isn't SecDef.

Plus, the press loves Chuck Hagel.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 12:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see what the drumbeat about Hagel is about. He's not a good fit. I think it's probably best for Obama if he picks a new-ish centrist dem like himself first and foremost and then perhaps balances the ticket a bit geographically.

I liked this comment by Zathras on Steve Clemon's blog:

May We Never Confuse Honest Dissent with Disloyal Subversion - The Washington Note

If Steve Clemons' acumen with respect to domestic American politics did not so completely reflect his preoccupation with American foreign policy, he might pause to reflect on a more likely place for Sen. Hagel in an Obama administration: the Tokyo embassy.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I maintain that his top-three picks are Richardson, Kaine and Sebelius.  Richardson is more conservative than Obama, but he has the clearest geographic advantage.  Kaine probably gets us Virginia, because both he and Obama are very well liked here, but I'm not sure Obama needs Kaine in order to win it.

Sebelius is the most progressive of the three from what little I can gather so far.  Probably the best stump-speaker, too.  She'd have to be good in order to get elected governor of Kansas with such ridiculous margins.

I know many are asking for Webb, Clark, Bayh, Rendell, or Warner.  Neither of those appeals to me, especially Clark, who's too comfortable with the idea of beating the Iranians senseless.  Webb isn't popular, and he might actually drag the ticket down in Virginia.  Bayh is an asshole and Al From's second most expensive corporate whore, trailing only Hillary.  Warner is another DLCer, so he's out, and we need that Senate seat anyway.  Rendell is every bit the asshole that Bayh is, with the added bonus of being just another generic greaseball from the Philly machine.

The one that I'm suddenly keeping my eye on again is John Edwards, and the reason is very simple, as I've said: Look at the polling done on an Obama-Edwards ticket.  It's ridiculous.  It beats any McCain ticket by double digits in Ohio, Virginia, and others.  Again, as I've said, that may merely reflect name recognition, but because of the fact that it polls so well, it's worth keeping an eye on.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:28:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My two picks are Richardson and Edwards.

Richardson puts Arizona, Texas, and Florida in play and ensures New Mexico.

Edwards for the reasons you've already stated.  Tho' I really think he would be better as Attorney-General so he is my second pick.

Sibelius is too lightweight for the Veep spot.  Plus it would be hard-to-impossible to keep the governorship in Kansas if she left.
 

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

by ATinNM on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:45:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arizona? - Not a chance. A purple-red state so high odds to begin with, and with a local running as the Republican nominee we should just write it off. Florida... I'm not sure if Richardson helps - Cubans, Blacks, Jews, Rednecks, generic sunbelt whites none of which are Richardson constituencies. He might help in Texas but who cares if we lose by 20 or 10 there.  New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada are the only in play states where I see Richardson helping. And he's a gaffe prone campaigner with a rich history of womanizing for Repub oppo researchers.  Edwards - I'd like him (worked my ass off for him), but I don't think he helps that much. Kaine would be good for tipping Virginia from toss up to solid Dem, that's about it (and that does matter).

How about Strickland - I think he'd help a lot in the rustbelt states and if we can sweep those, plus the other Kerry states we've got it. Especially with Obama likely to outperform Kerry in the upper midwest and the southwest, the only Kerry state outside the Rustbelt where McCain has a chance is NH with a grand total of 4 electoral votes. Strickland's wishy washy on civil liberties and foreign policy, but he's not a Liebercrat and he's pretty solidly left on domestic stuff, plus he's a major Clinton supporter which could help unify the party.

by MarekNYC on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 09:29:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed on Arizona.  I did see the only poll out of it had Obama down only seven or eight, but until I see another like that from a reputable source, I don't buy it.

The problem is that Strickland is a doofus.  It would be like putting a half-witted John Kerry on the ticket, except that I'd add -- and this is a problem -- that Strickland was the idiot standing behind Hillary, clapping, while she did that bizarre "Shame on you, Barack Obama" performance.  Strickland's probably no better than Sebelius in Ohio either.  She's the daughter of a popular former governor of Ohio, and she's infinitely more talented than he.

Read those polls on Edwards that SurveyUSA ran, though.  Those shocked me, even though I was expecting better polling on him due to name recognition.  Edwards 2.0 seemingly has pull out there, after earning some cred on the populist shtick, in places where decidedly-yuppiefield Obama does not.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 10:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think Richardson does much for us in Florida, if you're thinking of it as a targeting of Cubans.  The exile community is a special kind of crazy.  The non-Cuban Latinos in Florida -- Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Guatemalans mainly -- are all Democrats anyway.  His appeal for me is primarily in Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.  With Richardson, we've got New Mexico.  Right now it looks like Obama is good in Colorado, so Richardson is gravy there perhaps.  But if Richardson could help put Texas in play -- shit, now we're really talking about something.

I think Sebelius is term-limited out of the governorship, but the right fit for her might be the Senate.  Similar story to Warner perhaps.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 09:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally, I'm betting on Gavin Newsom.

OK, I'm not. But it would be awesome.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 05:04:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talking of Naked Capitalism, Eric Smith points to a very interesting piece (warning PDF!) by Jim Hamilton (Econ. dept. UC San Diego) on oil pricing and pricing signal response. I went through it this morning. It's fairly concise and accessible.

How would one go about explaining what oil prices have been doing and predicting where they might be headed next? This paper explores three broad ways one might approach this. The first is a statistical investigation of the basic correlations in the historical data. The second is to look at the predictions of economic theory as to how oil prices should behave over time. The third is to examine in detail the fundamental determinants and prospects for demand and supply. Reconciling the conclusions drawn from these different perspectives is an interesting intellectual challenge, and necessary if we are to claim to understand what is going on.

In terms of statistical regularities, the paper notes that changes in the real price of oil have historically tended to be (1) permanent, (2) difficult to predict, and (3) governed by very different regimes at different points in time.

From the perspective of economic theory, we review three separate restrictions on the time path of crude oil prices that should all hold in equilibrium. The first of these arises from storage arbitrage, the second from financial futures contracts, and the third from the fact that oil is a depletable resource. We also discuss whether commodity futures speculation by investors with no direct role in the supply or demand for oil itself could be regarded as a separate force influencing oil prices.

Take-home messages:

  • Short term pricing is all over the map and completely unpredictable.
  • Scarcity rent seeking by the producers is a new and very important factor in oil markets.
  • Developing countries have historically a much larger demand elasticity than developed countries and likely still have.

Regarding the last point, don't see it as a superior "virtue" that "poor, frugal countries" would hold against "rich, wasteful countries". It doesn't mean that poor countries are more adaptable to high oil prices, quite the contrary.

It means that they are far more dependent on oil, oil purchases representing a much larger share of their GDP, and that, as a consequence, prices have a much larger effect on their activity, a rise creating a much larger demand destruction aka recession. They don't have a output "surplus" they can reallocate to oil purchases that would allow them to weather a price increase for a long time while they switch to other sources by infrastructure changes as developed countries can do.

If oil prices stay high, we must expect a very, very deep recession in the bottom half of the world economic ladder. We'll hurt too but it'll be nothing compared to them.

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:14:36 PM EST
Regarding the last point, don't see it as a superior "virtue" that "poor, frugal countries" would hold against "rich, wasteful countries". It doesn't mean that poor countries are more adaptable to high oil prices, quite the contrary.
It means that they are far more dependent on oil, oil purchases representing a much larger share of their GDP, and that, as a consequence, prices have a much larger effect on their activity, a rise creating a much larger demand destruction aka recession. They don't have a output "surplus" they can reallocate to oil purchases that would allow them to weather a price increase for a long time while they switch to other sources by infrastructure changes as developed countries can do.
I was thinking about this the other day and bouncing ideas off kcurie... Then last night I spent some time getting my hands on data.

The idea was to look at net oil imports as a fraction of a country's GDP, as a measure of "vulnerability to oil price shocks". Also of interest would be a country's currency reserves as they can be used to access the oil market in an emergency "auction" situation. Nationmaster truly sucks as they don't seem to have updated their GDP data since 2005, so I partly resorted to wikipedia (NM's oil import/export data is still better, though). Of the countries for which I had net oil import data, the most vulnerable were Guatemala and Panama. So this confirms the idea that it will be poor countries that will suffer the most, as they don't have the resources to compete in the global oil auction that is upon us.

My contention to kcurie was that I expected south-east asia to fare worse than Europe or the US because they are now going through a phase of oil-based industrialization and they won't have time to complete it and reduce oil's share of their GDP before peak oil starts biting. For instance, Indonesia recently announced its intention to quit OPEC as it can no longer expect to be a net exporter. So I expected China to be more vulnerable than the US - the data seems to indicate that they're about as vulnerable, though. I also expected India to fare worse than China...

By the way, does anyone know an up-to-date and as complete as possible list of countries' net oil imports?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would depend on how essential the industrialisation is.

Also, I wouldn't expect it to be a linear relationship. Beyond a certain point essential services stop working, so catastrophic social failure is more likely than linear degradation.

For example - beyond $200/bl a small but significant proportion of commuters in the UK will no longer be able to afford to drive to work. Beyond $300/bl that starts to become a serious problem, and at $400/bl fuel costs for an average 10,000 miles/year - which is less than many commuter runs - will be between £350 and £1000 per month, depending on efficiency.

Which is not a good thing when the median income is around £24k.

For many of these runs, there's no alternative transport. Trains certainly aren't an alternative because they're already more expensive - never mind in the future. Buses are too intermittent or unavailable.

So - some people will buy hybrids or very efficient cars, some will buy motorbikes, some will buy mopeds.

And many will stop coming in to work altogether - which will happen all over the world, proportionally.

So a more realistic model would look at critical paths in the economy, rather than GDP as a whole.

I'd guess that's going to reveal some essential dependencies which aren't being considered seriously yet.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Trains certainly aren't an alternative because they're already more expensive - never mind in the future.

Why would their prices increase? Relatively speaking, they will soon look a lot cheaper.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of diesel trains, and lots of fossil-carbon electrical power in the mix feeding those trains.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:49:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What proportion of the running cost is that?

Anyway, aren't the UK railways due for renationalisation soonish?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, but your argument about carsharing suddenly makes trains look unaffordable in the UK.

From earlier discussions (granted, of high-speed rail, not of commuter rail) it appears that as soon as you have two or three people per car they may become more energy efficient than rail. If all the energy is fossil carbon anyway...

Re: renationalisation, you'd need an Old Labour government. Give it 10 years, at least?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 04:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah. Watch the Tories re-nationalise it when things get a bit sticky coming up to re-election time. You forget that re-nationalisation - with compensation - is a bonanza for their base.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 04:04:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Cameron, you never know.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 04:33:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The railways are already semi-nationalised. They're run centrally, and there's a thin veneer of privatisation. But this isn't about making them more efficient - it's about maintaining the fiction that the private sector is a good thing and the public sector is a bad one.

But the DfT literally has no clue about managing a railway - or anything else. Whitehall is full of neo-liberal drones, and I'd guess renationalisation is about as likely as Boris coming clean about being a secret Socialist Worker's Party mole.

The specification for the replacement for the UK's High Speed Trains - which are thirty years old, but a relative success - still includes a diesel option.

Whitehall doesn't believe in electrification. Electrification has been talked about for more than fifty years now, and it's still patchy and not planned for areas where it hasn't already happened.

But Whitehall does believe that hydrogen will save everyone. Since this is the same Whitehall which is costing its plans on the basis of oil costing $50/bl into the far future, competence doesn't seem likely.

As for car sharing - it's not a panacea when you have both workers and employers spread over a wide area. People often live on estates, and employers often live on trading estates and business parks, but there's no neat mapping between the two.  

You'd get some savings that way, but it's not magically going to make the problem go away. It would also cause a lot of extra last-mile congestion as people swarm around dropping each other off.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:28:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the DfT literally has no clue about managing a railway - or anything else.

Why not? Don't they all have "management" degrees?

On the driving thingy... how long do you have to drive to your nearest supermarket?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
all the people I've met who have come straight from college with management degrees are just about competent to make the tea, if you're lucky. Heads full of theories that will quickly result in your business grinding to a halt, and frequently with an I know everything attitude, because they've got a management degree. Usually the shop floor manages to correct this fairly quickly, but the ones that are insistent tend to get promoted to where they have more people carrying them and able to repair their mistakes.

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 May 26th, 2008 at 07:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's about seven miles from here to the nearest supermarkets.

It's doable by bike if I'm feeling energetic and it's not cold and wet outside.

When I was without a car for a couple of weeks last year I did the public transport thing, and it reliably added a couple of hours to a round trip - about the same time for a bike, but not as wet.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:26:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anybody know how New Zealand has managed to reverse course and renationalise the railroads? What makes them so different from everywhere else?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:35:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being ahead of the curve?

  1. they started the foolishness earlier,
  2. they don't have that many railways to "hide the problems in the network",
  3. they privatised passsenger transport more consequently (no high hidden subsidies and de-facto bailouts),
  4. the resulting problems included multiple bankrupcies and service collapses,
  5. investors themselkves realised they'd burn their toes real fast if they meddled there.

From what I read, in effect, they had no other choice faced with public anger.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 12:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean the mix feeding the other trains.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 04:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ot they'll car-share effectively and cut their bills by 75%. How many of those four or five seat cars are currently single-occupancy? Or they'll do something else that you haven't thought of. Employers will run buses.

I think that at this point you are selectively filtering evidence in support of a conclusion you've already arrived at.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there's also a big push around flexible working - which impedes use of car share or using employer run transport if the times are fixed.  The difficulty that many working parents have is getting childen to nursery/school and then getting onto work, especially if that needs to be done by public transport.  The EOC did a really interesting report on transport and gender a couple of years ago.

I did a car share thing in one of my old jobs, I was always the one driving and it had to be done otherwise 2 of my colleagues would have been consistently late every day.  So it worked in that sense but only because largely we did all need to be at work at the same time.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:10:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman:
I think that at this point you are selectively filtering evidence in support of a conclusion you've already arrived at.

No, I think you're the one who hasn't made any effort at all to think this through.

The evidence is the stats which show that you'll get something like a 15-40% ride reduction with car pooling because it's impossible to get everyone from where they want to be to where they need to be without adding extra journeys and creating congestion at each end. And there are some journeys it doesn't work at all for. The real figure is likely to be around 30%.

Expecting 75% has no connection with reality, because the probability of someone near you doing a journey close enough to the one you both need to make it worth sharing - assuming perfect communication which guarantees you can find each other - isn't anywhere close to 1.

You can increase the probability by allowing larger 'compatibility areas' at each end, but as you do you're making the total journey longer, and the saving smaller.

Likewise with busses, which I'll leave as an exercise for the reader. (M4 corridor - 150 miles long - more than a million commuters a day - how many busses are going to be needed, and how will they be scheduled and organised?)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:18:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Likewise with busses, which I'll leave as an exercise for the reader. (M4 corridor - 150 miles long - more than a million commuters a day - how many busses are going to be needed, and how will they be scheduled and organised?)
Take your typical M4 traffic jam. Replace 30 cars with one bus.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I think you're the one who hasn't made any effort at all to think this through.
Maybe you could write a diary to enlighten the rest of us.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The evidence is the stats which show that you'll get something like a 15-40% ride reduction with car pooling

Could you give us a link?

it's impossible to get everyone from where they want to be to where they need to be without adding extra journeys and creating congestion at each end.

Congestion at each end? How in the hell? As for 'impossible', I'm no expert on car-sharing at all, except remembering occasions when one car transported both my parents to work and me and my two siblings towards three different schools; so I will only say I believe that car-sharing efficiency is a matter of organisation. Planning of the route, and coordination of how people spend their time. In the era of cell phones, that should not be difficult at all. (Thinking of more recent experiences, I don't drive nor have a cell phone, but on the rare occasions I hitch a ride, I was never left stranded...)

Likewise with busses, which I'll leave as an exercise for the reader. (M4 corridor - 150 miles long - more than a million commuters a day - how many busses are going to be needed, and how will they be scheduled and organised?)

Well, as a start, as Migeru said: this is ridiculous, buses have a much larger passenger per route mile density... To continue, I don't think buses should take the bulk of it. (I'm of course thinking trains, and not a single line.)

But as a comparison for this traffic load: the 988 buses of the main Hungarian long-distance bus company Volánbusz carried 97 million passengers for a traffic load of 1708 million passenger-km in 2006. That's average trips of around 11 miles, and on average [weekends, holidays included] 266,000 daily passengers. I don't see a requirement of much more than 10,000 buses for the M4 as you describe from this.

As a high estimate, let's assume that all commuters have to be taken into town over the duration of the shortest bus trip, thus no round trips. With articulated long-distance buses (50+ seats), you'd need 20,000 buses.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 01:08:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't talk about linearity of effects, I was considering a measure of vulnerability to see whose wheels will come off first, and it won't be ours.
For many of these runs, there's no alternative transport. Trains certainly aren't an alternative because they're already more expensive - never mind in the future. Buses are too intermittent or unavailable.

So - some people will buy hybrids or very efficient cars, some will buy motorbikes, some will buy mopeds.

And many will stop coming in to work altogether - which will happen all over the world, proportionally.

And some local authorities will buy a few more buses. Sheesh.
So a more realistic model would look at critical paths in the economy, rather than GDP as a whole.
No debate from me on that point. I was just relaying version 0.0

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would depend on how essential the industrialisation is.

My point is probably that The West™ is largely post-industrial already, and Francois just pointed out that still largely pre-industrial countries will not suffer much. But there is a large franction of the world's population who is now living in a bout of oil-fuelled industrialization and if that screeches to a halt, they-re the ones who are going to hurt.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 04:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The West is certainly not postindustrial, even if the UK is.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:56:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What fraction of the workforce in Sweden is in the service sector?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that a lot of what is now labelled "services" are functions that used to be internalised in industrial groups and are supporting the "real" productive (ie industrial) activity.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 08:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't recall the fraction, but is higher(!) than 30 years ago. This in spite of the fact that many integrated service jobs (security, administration etc) which used to be counted as industry jobs are now done by external firms specialising in those things, and are hence counted as service jobs.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue May 27th, 2008 at 08:10:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The WestTM is certainly not post-industrial, except in the fevered minds of neo-libs, left and right alike, and in the few countries that actually drunk the kool-aid aka. the UK. This article this morning is to the point on that matter.

The real difference is in the infrastructure (in the largest meaning, physical, intellectual) and in the modes of productions, which are CAPEX intensive in the WestTM - lots of money upfront but highly efficients on inputs (particularly, labor and energy) - and OPEX intensive in emerging/newly industrializing  economies - cheap on upfront investments but very expensive on inputs, including oil, the way the WestTM was 50 years ago.

by Francois in Paris on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 07:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't know about China.

The country is so heterogeneous in conditions. A good part is not better off or even worse off than it was in the 80s and somewhat comparable to an India average while the other part is more in the situation of South Korea in the 70s, right smack in the eye of the cyclone of oil-fueled hyper-growth. So, which part of the country are we talking about?

But they also have a tradition of central planning which is actually a good thing for adapting infrastructure quickly (if the planners are smart) and a lot of cash reserves to burn through to smooth things out in the transition. So they may be OK at the cost of a huge trade deficit with oil producing countries.

And, of course, whenever talking about China, there's always the incoming great demographic clusterfuck.

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, as you talk about India and to qualify what I wrote above, observe that at the very bottom of the development scale, oil prices are not an issue. You don't care that much about the cost of diesel if you don't have a water pump or a tractor to burn it in the first place. Same thing if you started to use pumps and tractors only very recently. The old non-oil dependent infrastructure is still in place and reverting is easy.

I've read something very funny a few weeks ago about the booming comeback of camels in India as draught animals for farming. Replaced by tractors over the last decade but suddenly very much back in fashion. Long-scorned camel raisers are doing like bandits*.

My hunch is the vulnerability vs. development curve is more or less a bell, skewed towards high vulnerability in the middle half of the scale, with probably some bumps in the middle, with various stages where adaptation is more or less painful because of more or less invested in existing infrastructures so less or more to adapt.

I think overall Europe will do among the best: already adapted to high fuel costs through taxation, dense, highly industrialized hence capable to invest and rebuild its infrastructure where it needs to. I'm not too worried about the US either, no matter what Kunstler bleats about.

(* a good thing 'cause camels are just great, nearly as great as giraffes).

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:26:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My hunch is the vulnerability vs. development curve is more or less a bell, skewed towards high vulnerability in the middle half of the scale, with probably some bumps in the middle, with various stages where adaptation is more or less painful because of more or less invested in existing infrastructures so less or more to adapt.
True, but you would expect this middle-development peak to manifest itself already in the "oil consumption as a fraction of GDP" measure - if you're barely industrialised your per capita energy use is very low which compensates for low productivity.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I got ahold of the IEA 2007 Key stats (2005 data) and this is the result... Puts a whole new spin on "Russia's energy weapon".

The other two unlabelled points above the line are microstates: Gibraltar and the Netherlands Antilles

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 10:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm... that line looks fishy.

I'm not saying that you are necessarily wrong, but I would dearly like to see a somewhat more convincing figure, because all that this one seems to show is that there is a powerlaw relation between GDP and oil imports.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 10:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That line is not a fit, it's to guide the eye, and it serves as a cutoff.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 10:47:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but I am not convinced that the examples you highlight are systematically or structurally different from the others. If I didn't know better (and based on the graph alone, I don't) I'd say that they are simply at the unfortunate end of the noise.

Now, as anyone who has ever played poker will know, being on the unfortunate end of the statistical noise can be rather painful, so in that sense that observation is relevant. But I think that there are more convincing arguments to be made than a bad roll of the demographic dice, if we want to draw geopolitical conclusions.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 11:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They all happen to be former Soviet republics without their own energy resources.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 11:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can also compare the net oil imports to a country's currency reserves. It turns out that US and some European countries don't have a very thick cushion to protect themselves form rising oil prices, but the economic impact (a function of GDP) is not too dire. However, Belarus and Tajikistan are vulnerable both because they import a large amount of oil relative to their GDP but also relative to their reserves, so they can't shield the blow and it's going to hurt. I'll leave the geopolitical implications to you...




When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 12:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The third of my plots derived from the IEA 2007 data report (with data from 2005) relates import dependence (defined as the ratio of net oil imports to GDP) and reserve cushion (defined as the ratio of currency reserves to net oil imports). I have removed the axes since the units are complicated ratios.

The upper-left corner contains countries spending an unusually large fraction of GDP on energy imports, and having relatively small currency reserves. These countries are not only exposed to the higher oil price risk but also don't have the hard currency to buy oil in the open market in an emergency. This category includes Moldova, Tajikistan, Eritrea and Luxembourg.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are countries with a relatively small fraction of GDP spent on energy imports, as well as relatively high currency reserves. These countries not only have a low economic exposure to oil prices but they have the reserves to shield the blow if necessary. This category includes China, Peru, Brazil and the UK (though I think since 2005 the UK has become more dependent on oil imports because of the decline in Scottish North Sea production, so it has moved up in the chart.



When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Pressure grows on airlines as fuel suppliers demand cash in advance

Airlines are being forced to pay cash in advance for jet fuel as the major oil companies tighten the screws on an industry that is being crushed by an extraordinary surge in the price of crude oil.

Sources within the airline industry indicate that credit is being denied to most of the leading American carriers and the practice is moving to Europe and Asia. So uncertain is the cash solvency of the industry that jet fuel suppliers insist on prepayments into special bank accounts.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:31:07 PM EST
The airlines have to buy fuel through escrow???!!!

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is gonna be a real hurt on the cheap flight industry of europe. I hear several companies are already struggling.

Sadly RyanAir is the least likely, I hate flying them but their business model doesn't worry about fuel prices at the moment.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:44:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear rumblings in some aero rumour circles that Ryanair is perhaps more affected than they are letting on. They could be seen as trying to brazen it out for now though (which is quite a common tactic for O'Leary.)
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:53:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Ryanair go down, the whole industry crumbles and a lot else besides. I hope EasyJet survive but I dunno.

An awful lot of stuff is unravelling at a rather unseemly pace.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:00:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you kidding? They just raised their baggage fees to something insane like £16 per bag on the excuse of rising fuel prices.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was that the reason ? I just thought it was grasping tactics by a seriously nasty company.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently when they introduced it at £2.50 per bag back in 2006 it was already because of fuel prices, but anyway it seems my memory was correct...
Guardian: Fuel costs could end cheap flight era (April 29 2008)

· £16 a bag on Ryanair as airlines add surcharges
· Soaring oil prices bring fears of more bankruptcies


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tha's bound to hurt, having to spring for last months fuel that you've already had, plus the next months in advance. that's got to be a severe bump for anyones business model

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 May 25th, 2008 at 06:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, wonders!

The end of the low cost airlines! Less congested airports! Fewer British drunkards in Greece!

Rising fuel costs will equalize the cost structure of the "low cost" airlines with that of full service airlines. The cost of service will become a minute part of the fares. In that case, why save a few dozens bucks on a $1,000 ticket and be treated like shit when just paying a bit more will, at least, make the rip-off comfortable?

I predict two things:

  • Most airlines will go for a race to the bottom. Try to scrounge every last pennies they can by tacking arbitrary fees on everything, up and including the breathing air in the aircraft. It won't make a difference. Their cost is in the fuel and there's jack-s**t they can do about it no matter how they slice and dice their fares (and their passengers).
  • Some airlines will understand that problem and escape by the top. Flying is expensive but it can be pleasant. They'll concentrate on services at the ground and comfort on board to justify their slightly higher prices.

Also, let's not exaggerate the problem. AFAIK, the fuel consumption under normal operating capacities for long-distance flights is around 4 liters of jet fuel per 100 km per passenger. Airbus brags about less than 3 l / 100 km for the A380 but the figure is admittedly a bit skewed.

On a long-distance flight like SFO-CDG (that I take quite often), that's about 400 liters of jet fuel per passenger per flight, 800 liters for the round-trip. Even with a oil barrel at $160, that translates in $1/liter of feed-stock costs, may be $1.25/liter including refining and transformation losses. So, $1,000 for SFO-CDG round-trip. Ok, big deal. The fare is already well above $1,500 even for the cheapest (practical) travel dates. So, it it goes to $2,000 or $2,500 on fuel costs, it doesn't make that big a difference.

Where it's going to hurt more is on short one-hour flights where the fuel consumption pattern is much more sensitive to take-off and landing conditions and to taxiing and holding delays. Those parts of the flight are a much bigger part of the overall fuel consumption on a short flight and a big uncertainty for fare pricing.

Nicely enough, short flights are the part of air travel we can easily do without.

by Francois in Paris on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:34:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, no more flying for the proles.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 05:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicely enough, short flights are the part of air travel we can easily do without.

Unless you live on a island on the periphery of Europe with astonishingly inefficient sea and land links. Dublin to London is a full days work by surface travel. Should be half that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dublin is only about 140 miles form Liverpool - how expensive does air travel need to get for a fast ferry connection to be economical, and how fast can it be? I've seen claims that ground-effect aircraft can do 80 knots, but how expensive is that?


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is adding a fast train link to London. The other problem is that fast ferries seem to be unreliable - I doubt they're running today.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:55:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right, Liverpool-London is at least 3h nowadays, but it should be half that with proper high-speed rail.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 06:59:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, I take a look at NoQuarter to see how Hillary's remarks on political assassination were playing out in a parallel universe, and I found some discussions of the difference between the proportional-representation dynamics of the Democratic primary and the winner-take-all dynamics of the electoral college in the general election. A couple of weeks ago, I had visited electoral-vote.com and found the following
On electoral votes, he gives Obama 237     McCain 290     Ties 11 and Clinton 280     McCain 241     Ties 17.
Today, he gives
Obama 266     McCain 248     Ties 24 and Clinton 319     McCain 202     Ties 17
So the trend is that McCain is losing against both Democrats, and the most noteworthy thing that Obama has gone from losing by 53 + / - 11 to winning by 18 + / - 24 in two weeks.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 06:47:07 PM EST
I hate to say I told you so....

Well, okay, not really.  I told you so. ;)

I think those numbers are too generous to Hillary as well, because we don't know, if she had been able to overturn the outcome, how voters would react.  I only say one or two polls on it, but both suggested that a large majority of Dems would not view her as legitimate in that case.  How it translates at the polls, who knows?  But it's worth considering as an obvious comment to NQ.

And, again, Electoral-Vote.com isn't exactly a fantastic site.  Poblano's work is easily superior, in my opinion, and note that his stuff doesn't swing wildly with each new poll.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 07:23:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poblano's work still gives A virtual tie for Obama - McCain and a clearer win for Clinton - McCain.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 03:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but it's been moving in the right direction for both Dems.  Similar to EV.com, but not as silly a starting point or dramatic a swing.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 26th, 2008 at 11:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ABC NEWS | Senator Clinton Still Calling for a Debate

"I was informed that Univision will sponsor a debate between Sen. Obama and myself about the issues affecting Puerto Rico," Clinton said. "I accept that invitation. Anytime, anywhere. That is the best way for the people of Puerto Rico to have their questions asked and answered and for the rest of the United States to learn more about Puerto Rico."

Clinton reiterated her claim that she feels as though she has been a senator for Puerto Rico, because she represents so many of them in New York.

"I feel as though I have been your senator and now I want to be your president," she said.

Because Puerto Ricans in New York are the same as those in Puerto Rico?  "I represent wetbacks just like you lot back in New York.  I'm your gal!"

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 25th, 2008 at 08:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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