Tuapte Semper Ingredere Via

Community, People, Localization – a return to a human scale

Some boat work in Toronto

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Spent a weekend back in Toronto finishing off some work on an 11 foot dinghy I built last summer. Weather this spring has been un cooperative at best but finally the last coat of paint on the outside is done and its in the water. Rows quite well and room for a family ! Well a small family !

Launched and floating

Working on the sailboat always starts me thinking about energy, how we have used it and how we we will use it. I’m seeing more and more mainstream articles stating cheap and readily available oil is not in the cards going forward. Since much of western society has been built on cheap and readily available energy it suggests an interesting future.

Much of our economic growth and productivity has been built upon that cheap and readily available energy allowing those of us in the West to have a great lifestyle and carry debt fairly easy in a growing economy. I read somewhere recently that the energy it takes for a plane load of passengers to fly from NYC to Cairo is the energy equivalent it took to build the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Nowadays we seem to have the faulty assumption that energy is substitutable in quantity and quality and debt is a neutral transfer between parties. Humans have always lived off solar energy. The crops we grow and in times of surplus this could sometimes be stored in items of value such as gold and silver. The huge temporary source of fossil fuels – which is stored solar energy that took millions of years to produce – has given us a temporary burst in lifestyle – at least in the West – , food growth and population.

No one quite knows how that will unwind.

Private/public debt additions made up for limits to growth from the 1970s until 2008. Since then government has created over 20% of GDP “out of thin air” (large budget deficits and growth of FED balance sheet). Now, with fiscal stimulus a dead end, central banks have two choices: watch the economy collapse to a state far worse than its pre-QE1 outset, or continue on the path of QE…to the nth. This will end badly and with consequences not well understood or prepared for.

The risks point to a large shrinkage of financial claims (what we think we own on paper), either via increased government involvement squeezing out functioning markets, or by markets abandoning currencies in a terminus of faith in an abstraction. The resulting supply chain disruptions to a world now used to globalized just-in-time inventory input/component replacements are something that will require focused top down response in combination with individuals psychologically preparing for less, potentially significantly less.

Basically, though it’s counter-intuitive, we don’t have an energy shortage but a longage of expectations. This is actually good news, but it requires a shift in perception, objectives, and actions. Therefore, before we are able to create and implement what a better future looks like, we likely first have an appointment with the digital, financial reaper, and will have to deal with the social stability and logistical issues that accompany a large reduction in what we thought we had.

Sunset after a bbq and wine

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Written by dcveale13

June 7, 2011 at 2:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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