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Entropy production delusion

It is common in knowledgeable circles to talk about the development of civilization in terms of entropy discussion. The term 'entropy...

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Growth and senescence of civilization

Frequently Asked Questions

The assessment in the G&SC spread sheet and associated charts depicts a dire future for the Australian civilization. Are many people going to believe this?

People are conditioned to believe that money determines what will happen. They are used to progress in terms of what is happening in the operation of civilization and the benefits many people have gained. There would have to be a major change in their mindsets to accept that the economy will not continue to grow even though there has been a recession. Almost certainly very few people will believe the prognostications of the spreadsheet. The challenge is to develop its credibility and transparency so that it becomes a useful tool for emerging smart people power. It could well make a contribution to society assuming a realistic approach to living with nature rather than degrading this life support system

The assessment shows the economic growth of recent decades giving way to an abrupt transition to contraction. This is unbelievable. What justification is there for this transition?

The operation of civilization entails using up limited INMR. The rapid economic growth of recent times has entailed using INMR at an increasing rate. This could not possibly continue as the available INMR declines. That is the fundamental position. A powering down is inevitable, as society has to make do with a lower rate of usage of INMR as it becomes scarcer. That is an inviolate physical reality. The only question is how this rate can be affected by the decisions made by people, especially those in powerful positions, such as government and business. There are a number of signs that suggest the peaking is occurring now. The credit crisis is having an indirect impact on the productivity of many businesses and on the attitude of many people as regards their consumption. The developing depression will force many people to be much more frugal. The prospect of climate change is having a significant impact on the attitude of many people. The surge in fuel, food and water prices is also having an impact. This is having a flow on effect, with the crisis in the automotive industry being just one example. The mortgage crisis is affecting the buying power of quite a few. Many people are cutting back because they are worried that they will lose their jobs. A growing awareness of what civilization is doing to the environment is also contributing to a reduction in the rate of usage of INMR. It seems that all these factors are contributing to the transition from economic growth dominating the community view to ecological decline receiving due acceptance. There is still the common belief that the economy will recover from the current recession. That is contrary, however, to the reality that INMR is becoming scarce. Galloping fuel, food and water prices could well be the major indicator to all and sundry that the transition is already under way, despite what most commentators say.

INMR are irreplaceable natural material resources – so natural capital. RNMR are replenishable natural material resources – so natural income. Many materials can be recycled. Isn’t that a way of increasing INMR?

Not really. The recycled material is not INMR but it is a replacement for INMR material. It can be a very worthwhile process even though the recycling process uses INMR. WoEC (worth / ecological cost) is a useful measure of how worthwhile. The recycling of aluminum is well recognised as being worthwhile. And materials are the only components of INMR that can be recycled. The flow in the Murray River can be improved at a cost of using INMR but that is a remedial action only. It is clearly more worthwhile than using the same amount of INMR for a new freeway!

There are some items that seem to be both INMR and RNMR. How do you differentiate between them?

It is a question of judgment as to how much of the item is irreplaceable after being used. Soil fertility is commonly degraded by the removal of nutrients in the transportation away of food produced. A lot of nutrients are flushed down the toilets! This loss can be compensated to a degree by using chemical fertilizers to stimulate plant growth but the soil fertility is still decreasing in most cases. That represents a loss of INMR, but the soil will still be able to produce some food. That is RNMR.

The assessment of how classes will behave in the coming power down shows the consumption by the working class dropping quickly then remaining steady while the average rate continues to drop. It shows the elite rate dropping rapidly. This is almost unbelievable. How can this be explained?

The scenario presented follows the transition from the economic growth paradigm to the ecological degradation paradigm. It will ensure a major cultural change, as depicted, in order to cope with the inevitable powering down. There will be powerful economic, social and political forces to ensure that the poorest in society obtain sufficient to not only survive but continue to play a role as consumers. The businesses run by the elite need consumers of their product. These forces will ensure that the businesses that survive are those that provide worthwhile goods and services because they do not consume INMR at a high rate, so their WoEC is high.

Banks make a profit by changing interest on the money they lend to businesses to carry out their operations. Businesses make a profit from their operations while their workers at least make do on their wages. This ensures economic growth and it represents the wealth generation due to the know-how and skill of the persons involved. The indication from the assessment is that the economy is now transitioning to contraction. Why is there this largely unrecognized profound change in the economy and what will happen to the wealth creation process?

That wealth creation process is unrealistic because the associated depreciation of natural wealth is not taken into account. It is an unsustainable delusion that has been around for a longtime. Many claim that we have every right to use the available natural bounty. They say this without taking into account that most of this natural bounty is consequently being divested and it will run out in due course. That is the stark reality despite all the contrary rhetoric. It will catch up with us in the not too distant future. Now back to the wealth generation process. It entails the production of money. That is what is happening and the money produced can be used to buy goods and services. That is the reality of how the monetary system is working. That cannot continue as ecological forces take over control. Rising oil prices could well be the catalyst but it will be the combination of many depleting components of natural capital that will ensure the continuing contraction of the economy. Many of the operations of civilization will have to cut back through lack of fuel. The wealth generation process will die off because its foundations have crumbled. Inflation will serve to reduce the spurious financial wealth that many people have accumulated and help pay out debt. Governments will have to judiciously manage taxation and expenditure to cater for the contracting economy without losing votes by appearing to be doomsayers. ‘growth’ will disappear from their vocabulary. Banks will continue to fund industry but they will have to be more circumspect to counter the growth of bad loans. Many businesses will fold as the demand for their goods plummets while others make do by meeting the basic needs of the population but their profits will be low. Many of the population will find it hard to manage even though they cut back on consumption of stuff. Those who are well off, due in the main to the housing boom, will tend to thrive at the expense of the masses. Science and technology, however, will turn from advancing the frontiers to sustaining the foundations.

The population is shown to still be increasing while the per capita usage of INMR declines rapidly. Is that realistic?

The population issue is a very sensitive one. The conservative population profile is based on the premise that a number of political, social and economic factors will tend to reduce the birth and immigration rates from their current levels. But, even then, the population will increase for a while, even as the rate of consumption of INMR falls. There is tremendous potential to reduce the consumption of stuff and be frugal while enjoying an improved quality of living. Many of those who look at the realistic situation, like Lovelock of Gaia fame, expect that there will be a population die off. This may come about due to a plague. This examination presumes that no such traumatic event occurs. Subsequent runs could take such an event into account, if deemed a real possibility. The less realistic population profile shows that the higher population will find it very difficult to make do on the remaining INMR in the latter half of this century. They will become very dependent on RNMR for the basics. The cities and associated infrastructure will have largely disintegrated. Most businesses will have closed, often through bankruptcy and many people will have turned back to learning the basics, such as growing vegetables, to manage on their depleted income.

Society is used to using money to control what happens. It seems likely that the current recession will develop into a depression as society attempts to cope with the powering down. That will probably mean appreciable inflation so the dollar more closely represents what can be done with the declining INMR. Won’t that hurt the working class and some of the middle class the most?

That will probably be so. The only hope is that the governments wake up soon enough to implement a range of policies to encourage a more egalitarian powering down. There will be a major problem for them in managing health and benefits for the aging population. Use of the spreadsheet would help them to understand what is happening and assist them in being proactive rather than reactive. However, there is little doubt that the elite will use the leverage of their money to resist powering down as much as possible, especially as it threatens their wealth generation dogma.

Figs. 4 and 5 suggest that the per capita usage of INMR will be about 20% of the current value in 2050 and 5% at the end of the century. That really is quite unbelievable. What can be done to make this scenario more credible?

Firstly, the powering down depicted here is consistent with the views of a number of authoritative people like Georgescu-Roegen, King Hubbert, Lovelock, Trainer and Heinberg. Secondly, it is developed by a means that presents a number of credible and mutually consistent examinations of trends. The one presented here is for Australia but it does not differ materially from similar examinations for the global population and for the US and for China. The prognosis is grim but the underlying fact is that civilization has already used up much of the INMR. Numerous ecological problems are bound to grow rapidly in the years ahead even as natural resources like oil become very scarce. Climate change is already showing signs of the increasing variability that will cause many problems, especially in relation to food production. Combine that with the impact of the shortage of fossil fuels on food production, transportation and storage and it is quite plausible that many in the undeveloped countries will starve if they are not struck down by the lack of potable water and the associated diseases.

This predicted powering down with a growing population seems to indicate a lower employment rate. Using INMR at a lower rate indicates less work in producing the goods made by using INMR. Is that the right interpretation?

It certainly is but there are a number of amelioration factors here. Firstly, the forced reduction in the rate of usage of some of the INMR components will stop people from buying stuff that they then throw out whilst still useable. Lower hours of work with a lower income can actually be beneficial in many respects. It will enable many to learn the benefits of having their own vegie patch. It will also encourage the sense of community as people work together to ease the powering down. But it will still be a painful process for many, especially those whose current skills will not be worthwhile in the future. Production and selling stuff will suffer a dieoff. Workers in the automotive industry are already learning about this the hard way. The process will be easier if they understand that ecological degradation is the reality. Economic growth is not sustainable. It has produced fiat money and the delusion of progress but at an intractable eco cost.

You claim that authoritative people have been predicting something like the scenario depicted here for some time yet the general view is still that the economy will recover from the current recession and economic growth will then resume. Won’t the authorities tend to ignore the view presented here with skeptics backing the economic growth paradigm by careful use of misleading wording? That has happened with both climate change and peak oil. And look what has happened to the view expressed by the Club of Rome in ‘Limits to Growth’ and the follow up books.

That is perfectly true. But the use of the transparent G&SC spreadsheet and its associated documentation on the issues addressed makes it easier to counter arguments of the denialists. The findings of the world model used by the Club of Rome were not nearly so transparent. So, the denialists were able to put forward selective arguments that were hard to refute. The aware people will be able to use the spreadsheet to support their arguments in a manner that even the politicians should be able to understand. However, there will still be many with vested interests who will try to refute what is really the stark reality of what Tityas has done to its life support system, Gaia.

Aren’t there already numerous people who appreciate what has gone wrong, even if they do not understand the Dependence on Nature Law, and are doing something about it? The Internet seems to have been a very valuable means of communicating this concern. There seems to be many groups focusing on various aspects of what has happened and what can be done about it. Many people are striving to wake up the politicians at all levels.

That so certainly so and this movement is growing rapidly. But it is growing from a very small base. The spreadsheet will be a useful tool for this emerging people power and their followers. It should help to promote wiser use of the remaining INMR. That will not stop it being used at a high rate but can mean that it is used in a sounder fashion, so making it easier for the population at large to adapt. It might even mean that the elite will find pride in leading the population down a sound path!

There has been appreciable controversy about the timing of peak oil. Isn’t there also considerable uncertainty about the holistic scenario depicted here?

Yes, but only to a small degree. INMR consists of a number of items so the uncertainty about the aggregate is less than the uncertainty about individual items. Peak oil may be further off than many believe but a number of other factors may cause the food supply problem to head the agenda sooner. In addition, the perspective presented here is based on the Dependence on Nature Law. There is no uncertainty about INMR declining but there is some uncertainty about the rate. The spreadsheet provides a transparent means of assessing the credibility of and the sensitivity to the multitude of factors involved. But that limited uncertainty about the detail does not mean the holistic view is uncertain.

The components of INMR are listed but there is no indication there of which ones are the most critical.

The figures below show the estimates for the year 2000 in the seven aggregated components. ‘total’ is the percentage of INMR left at that time. The societal needs are included in INMR to represent skills, including farming, that past generations used to provide many of the needs in conjunction with using RNMR. These skills have been lost, so represent a draw down of INMR. Many of them will be re-learned in the future as powering down takes place. The consequential increase in that component of INMR will not offset the decline in the others.



exhaustible energy


inexhaustible energy


total energy










societal needs


The terms used are more indicative of the reality than some of the common terms. ‘exhaustible energy’ refers to the energy obtainable from exhaustible natural resources such as the fossil fuels and uranium. ‘inexhaustible energy’ is preferred to the common ‘renewable energy’ simply because energy cannot be renewed. Insolation is an inexhaustible source of energy. These figures can easily be adjusted to reflect the availability of additional data and to reflect the weighted opinions of others.

The figure of 53.39% remaining in 2000 is a crucial figure. What is the basis for that estimate of how much has been consumed to that date?

Something like 50% of the global oil stock had been consumed at that time. The availability of fuel for the mining of minerals will limit their exploitation. CSIRO has given a figure of 50% for the depletion of soil fertility. The Limits to Growth has a table giving figures of the expected limits for many minerals. The EU recently published a list in which many items are expected to become scarce in coming decades. In both cases, the limits are optimistic because the lack of fuel for the extraction process is not taken into account. The accuracy of this estimate of remaining natural capital can be improved by judgment by others as well as by access to additional data. However, it is unlikely that a refined value will differ appreciably from that figure, as it is the aggregation of a number of materialistic items. The weight assigned to the various items depends on the judgment of their worth to industry. The developing scarcity of the rare earth minerals are causing concern because of their need in the electronics industry. That is but one example of the developing problems.

The assessment gives a figure of 2.6% per annum for the rate of consumption of INMR. It indicates that rate is about the peak and will continually decline in the future. Many would question that apparent presumption. Is there a sound basis for it?

Yes, there is. That quoted rate is only an estimate but it will decrease as time goes on for simple physical reasons. Resources become harder to exploit as they become scarcer. The Deepwater Horizon disaster is an example of the problems the oil industry is having. That will be the developing situation for all minerals. Innovative technology can influence the speed at which the rate decreases but it cannot reverse that trend. A feature of the spreadsheet is the use of the comparison between constructive forces (CF) and the destructive forces (DF) to provide estimates of the rate of use of natural capital. All organisms go through the process where CF>DF during development and reaching maturity when CF=DF and then on to senescence with CFWhat went wrong? The misdirection of civilization that systems such as a house or a coal-fired power station go through the same process. I use it in the spreadsheet to identify the influence of such CF factors as political decisions, the number of cars and the amount of credit on the rate of usage of natural capital. The DF factors tending to reduce this rate include the depletion of resources such as oil and the devastation of the biodiversity by fires. This methodology contributes to the transparency by showing these factors have been taken into account.

There is talk about the possibility of substantial oil finds in the Arctic Sea. That would increase the remaining INMR. Couldn’t that make an appreciable difference to future prospects?

It does not change the principle. At best, it will give some of society more time to adapt. However, it could also increase the complacency of people so reducing the likelihood of introducing worthwhile measures. The US exuberantly wasted their abundant oil resources last century and so became dependent on costly imports. Britain subsequently made a similar mistake. The advantage of the spreadsheet is that it gives a systematic manner of examining the likely consequences of a range of policies. It will be more credible, transparent and flexible than the world model in Limits to Growth. It will be much harder for skeptics to condemn its findings, as they would have to provide detailed refutation of the factors incorporated.

Australia is regarded as one of the rich countries. Doesn’t that mean that it is in a better position to cope with the powering down that this assessment indicates?

It is regarded as being rich because so many of the population enjoy a high material standard of living. The fact that so much is bought on credit contributes to that delusion. But a bigger factor is that much of the development has come about by exploiting some of our supposedly abundant natural material resources, like iron ore, coal and uranium. I say supposedly because the exploitation is so dependent on the availability of fuels from oil. How will these mining operations be carried out when the available fuel is half the current rate? It is only now that there is growing awareness of the declining availability here of the more important natural resources, fertile soil and water. We have this high material standard of living largely because of inappropriate use of INMR. Consequently, Australians will find it harder to power down than those in quite a few other countries, like Sweden. What will happen to the cities as the natural capital essential to their operation and maintenance becomes scarce? The Americans and British are more vulnerable than we are. And it is horrifying to think of what will happen to the working classes in China and India.

The young in particular are enthralled with the information revolution and its impact on entertainment, education and communication. You talk about powering down. Does the assessment suggest that this revolution is doomed?

That question indicates the value of the spread sheet as it is a means of assessing the impact of a number of interdependent factors to provide a transparent credible assessment of specific issues like the one you have just raised. It shows the impact of the declining availability of rare earth minerals on the capability to produce many of the electronic devices being so enthusiastically snapped up. This issue will hardly show up in the principle charts but it is important for the sake of the credibility that it is clear that the issue has been addressed. An index of issues is being associated with the spreadsheet in the Issues document so that it will be easy to ascertain whether an issue has been considered and if it has, what impact it has had. I consider that will be an important part of the development of the G&SC spreadsheet. It should become a very useful credible and transparent systematic tool in due course.

You appear to be confident about the usefulness of the spreadsheet. Why is that?

I have fifty years of experience in gaining understanding of issues by means of research. I have used various tools to help me, often by recording and manipulating information on computers. The spread sheet is an advance over many of the previous computer-based methods for this systematic handling of information. I have found it enlightening in its augmentation of my consideration of numerous issues. I can think through an issue and the record the findings in the spread sheet. The record is available if I need to consider the issue again so it is not so dependent on fallible memory. In addition, it is an efficient means of having constructive discussions with others on the issues.

I gather that you believe, based on your experience in developing the prototype, the G&SC spreadsheet can help people to make sound decisions in the difficult times ahead. What do you see as being the program now?

I put it and associated documentation on this web site so interested people can access it to examine the results from runs that have been carried out, make suggestions on the estimates in cells and carry out runs for cases of particular interest to them. I have also volunteered to develop it for our political parties. I am hopeful that it will help them to wake up to realities. They still believe in the economic growth paradigm that is leading to devastation for the coming generations.

Denis Frith


G&SC Issues


Perspective... 3

Environment issues.. 3

Biogeological issues. 3

Civilization. 3

Resource issues.. 4

Return on Investment Issues. 4

Energy issues. 4

Oil industry. 5

Natural gas. 7

Coal 7

Nuclear 7

Biofuels. 7

Wind Energy. 8

Solar 8

Raw Material Issues.. 8

Ecological issues.. 9

Ecological costing. 9

Climate change. 9

Water issues. 11

Land issues. 11

Soil fertility. 11

Crop issues. 12

Toxic waste issues. 12

Natural disasters. 12

Industrial disasters. 12

Social issues.. 12

Population Issues. 13

Governance issues. 13

Social inequality. 13

Necessities issues. 13

Wants issues. 14

Operational Issues. 14

Information Issues. 14

Political Issues. 14

Misunderstandings of society. 14

Employment 15

Essentials. 15

Civil disruption. 15

Conflicting Issues.. 16

Economic issues.. 16

Economic forces. 16

Economy prognosis. 17

Investment 18

Financial issues. 18

Financial manipulation. 19

Financial crisis. 20

Hyperinflation. 20

Technological issues.. 20

Operation, maintenance and demolition of infrastructure. 20

Renewable energy technology. 21

Technological developments. 21

Technological risks. 21

References.. 21



This ArchDruid Report is a perceptive view of the rise and fall of the American Empire. It provides insight into catabolic collapse. It answers many of the questions that concerned people may raise about what is happening. It does, however, raise the question as to why American leaders are not doing more to ease the powering down. Are they blind? Are they suffering from dissonance?


provides a view of what is bound to happen. The perspective is similar to what is covered in G&SC and most of the issues in this article are addressed in detail below.


This is, however, a very different proposition in the it considers only the behavior of society.


provides biased perspective in that it covers many of the developments in society without taking into account the consequential divestment of natural wealth.

One of the CF issues is the ability to grow, which is strong early and then weakens. The behavior of bones is an example.


The New York Times article by Krugman has the common attitude towards the use of commodities to meet the needs of people and the systems that supply them with goods and services. The finite magnitude of the natural resources being used is noted but the article focuses, as ever, on the goods and services provided without reference to the on-going ecological coat.


This article provides insight into the increasing gulf between the rich and the poor in the US.


This is a discussion of tradeable energy quotas (TEQ). It makes a lot of sense, other than the fact that it focuses on energy and does not link it to emissions.

Environment issues

Biogeological issues


This article provides insight into the role of too little and too much phosphorus in the growth of organisms. There is still appreciable uncertainty but the understanding in expert circles does tend to reinforce the view that humans are being detrimentally affected by a number of innovations in the diet. However, this process could well reverse as the amount of available phosphorus declines.



This article on the nature and prognosis of African cities does not take into account the fact that cities are parasites that use tremendous amounts of natural capital for their operation and maintenance. They are like all organisms in that they grow through the input of sustaining natural resources but eventually reach maturity and then enter into senescence as their components age. African cities, as the article points out, are not growing up like European cities but the principle is the same. They will age when their sustenance becomes scarce.


India has a profound problem in the use of water for the treatment of human and industrial wastes. The article discusses the scale of the problem and how outmoded the existing systems are in the way they waste potable water.

Resource issues

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/24/3020895.htm discusses the decline in phosphorus and its importance in food production. It raises the prospect of recycling using sewerage. There are two major points missing from the discussion. Recycling entails installing systems to carry this out. That entails an eco cost for CO&M during its limited life. Secondly, even if this recycling is worthwhile, it is only delaying the exhaustion of this crucial resource.

http://www.economist.com/node/16944034 provides insight into the rare earths problem

Return on Investment Issues



These articles discuss proposed LNG projects in Queensland and the expected return on financial investment. The companies apparently foresee the proposals as being sound long-term investments. There is some basis for that assessment as the companies are able to externalize the costs of using this component of natural capital. they do not have to take into account the robbing of future generations of access to this natural wealth. However, they are making the mistake of judging RoI (Return on Investment) on financial grounds. That does not take into account that the financial cost of many of the activities could well grow exponentially. This proposal is founded on the export of LNG in special, refrigerated tankers to Asian markets. It is based on the presumption that Asian economies will continue to grow. However, it is also based on the presumption that the transportation of the LNG will continue to be economic even as the fuel price escalates. The investors in these proposed projects would be wise to examine RoI based on tangible material availability rather than on intangible money assessments. The estimates in the spreadsheet are based on the former to support the credibility of its pronouncements..

Energy issues

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-14/energy-boom-is-coming-regardless-of-slowing-global-growth-officials-say.html Energy Boom Is Coming Regardless of Slowing Global Economy, Officials Say


provides comment by Klare on China’s energy policy. However, it takes the usual view that the policy will be defined by economic, political and social issues rather than being realistic about the ecological costs. There are signs that China is hell bent on emulating the developed countries, particularly the US, without understanding that it is not a sustainable process.

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=52939 deals with the emerging problem of water supply for electricity generation


provides data on energy global developments based on the premise of BAU other than the emphasis on



promotes this proposal to install a solar system in the north African desert to supply Europe with electricity.


provides details of proposed funding arrangements in the US for connecting wind and solar to the grid.


this is a comprehensive examination of the global competition for oil and gas to power industry. It highlights the sound strategy of China in contrast to the US. It carries the implication that the supply of these sources of energy will meet the increasing demand of the emerging economies. The investment of resources to install the pipelines and other infrastructure is deemed to be worthwhile. There is no indication of taking into account the fact that oil and gas are non-renewable resources so the infrastructure being put into place will serve a useful purpose for a limited period. The US had this type of policy decades ago but they were able to go to other sources when their resources declined. Britain did not learn from the Americans and followed them down the depletion trail. The situation is different now as there are a number of countries competing for what is left. The only question is how long will it be before the reality of a limited stock hits hard. The spreadsheet can only help to provide understanding of what is happening


This Energy Bulletin article presents some comments on the future operation of civilization as the concentrated energy from the fossil fuels becomes scarcer. The perspective it presents is fairly realistic. However, its focus on energy means that it does not indicate the dependence on many other components of natural capital. There is no mention of the commitment to use some of this deleting natural capital to operate and maintain the infrastructure of civilization during its lifetime.


provides arguments and data supporting the contention that renewables can meet energy demand. It presents an optimistic scenario that needs to be clearly addressed.


This article presents a very optimistic view of the possibility for renewable energy. It needs to be considered here to provide perspective.

Oil industry

The concept of peak oil needs to be addressed because it encourages response rather than anticipation.



This article shows that oil supply is emerging in the mainstream as an issue to be addressed.


this article in the Oil Drum is a critical comment on the views in Vaclav Smil’s “Energy Myths and Realities”. It, like so many other seemingly authoritative comments, is misleading because it focuses on energy as though the operation and maintenance of civilization is governed by the availability of energy. Energy is necessary but it is not sufficient.

This NZ paper placed before the NZ Parliament is very similar to many that have been posted over the past ten years. Campbell and Leherrere provided a similar view to the S8 energy Ministers in 1998. The Australian Senate had an enquiry into the issue three years ago. The prognosis has become slightly more certain in that time and the subject is gaining the attention of the powerful at long last.


Campbell provides perspective on the historical views regarding the prospects for oil with accent on what will happen in the decline


this is another realistic view of what is likely to happen as the oil supply starts to decline. However, it is an example of a view that has not yet gained wide acceptance, so has not fostered significant remedial action. It is another example of the combination of momentum and inertia fostered by myopia (MIM).

Getting that oil out will be a real headache for the engineers in Alaska[i]. They have already started the process by replacing some of the pumps but where they will go from there must be making them think hard! Maybe they are talking to pipeline engineers world wide about what they should do as there are many thousands of km of oil pipeline that will be running on empty in the not too distant future! They may have to

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico received a lot of publicity because of its location but it is only one example of the problems that are emerging as the oil industry strives to extract oil from more difficult regions.

The big oil companies are crying foul as they find it increasingly difficult to gain contracts in foreign countries. They have yet to accept that they days when they could garner this precious resource from their owners for wasteful use in Western countries is over for good. Oil nationalism is the emerging paradigm although China, in particular, has the money to make strong bids.


Orlov provides a sound comment about how the declining supply of oil will hit industrialized countries. However, it is a selective argument.


This data on well depth is an indicator of the increasing difficulty in obtaining oil.


this just provides more data showing how desperate the industry has become.


This article indicates the type of argument amongst the powerful on the worth of extracting shale oil. It is tarnished by the statement that the oil can meet demand for a long period. This type of proposal needs to be included in the spreadsheet but supported by realistic assessment of the WoEC. It is very doubtful that it will be seen to be a credible proposal when placed within context.


The article details the hydropower issue in Chile. It is a typical story of balancing increasing energy demand against ecological damage. It is based on the premise of continuing economic growth. It lacks credibility because only some aspects of the global decline in natural capital are taken into account. These hydropower installations would almost certainly become ‘white elephants’ before the end of the century.


provides insight into the question of the viability of Colorado oil shale. However, its use of ERoEI distorts the picture. The water problem is mentioned but it is not taken into account in the assessment.



provides a wildly optimistic view on bio fuels for airliners with the focus on carbon rather than on availability

Natural gas


provides insight into the improving natural gas prospects


Finds of natural gas off Israel will have beneficial effects in the short term but there will also be the detrimental effect of fostering unsustainable development. http://www.alternet.org/story/149211/15_claims_the_natural_gas_industry_wants_you_to_believe_and_why_they%E2%80%99re_wrong?page=3

This article is a mixture of good and bad arguments about the worth of using natural gas.



This article presents conflicting views about the coming contribution of coal to energy demand. The level of reserves and the contribution of how coal is used to climate change is discussed. However, there is no mention of the dependence of the mining and transportation of coal on the availability of sufficient oil to provide the fuel.


Provides appreciable data on coal with the indication that its use is likely to peak in the near future. No assessment has been made about how the finding will be affected by the decline in the availability of oil to supply energy needed to mine coal.


This article provides information on factors causing a decline in the need for coal-fired power stations.


http://www.app.com/article/20100915/NEWS/9150349/Nuclear-waste-piles-up-with-no-disposal-plan deals with the nuclear waste issue in the US

The proposal that thorium can provide the energy source need by industrial civilization has to be clearly addressed. An article is in the nuclear folder.

China and India are leading the way with respect to installing nuclear power stations. This fostering uranium mining but the quality of the remaining stocks needs to be taken into account. The surge in investments in this mining can well be misleading.


provides details of an efficient Canadian method to obtain biofuel from algae. It may be a worthwhile process but is unlikely to do more than fill a niche role in providing a substitute for fuel from oil.


provides a view of the possible contribution of biofuels in the US.


This article warns of the problems that the EU biofuels program could exacerbate.

Wind Energy


This provides details of a proposal by Google to install a massive wing energy system off the eastern coast of the USA. The article provides some detail of the power it will provide and estimates of the costs. There is no mention of long it would last. There is just the usual presumption that when the time comes it will be replaced by some more advanced technology. The availability of the materials and energy for the construction, operation and maintenance of the replacement does not enter into their considerations.



This analysis of solar for Germany in financial terms is a conventional way of looking at the worth of this type of installation.

Raw Material Issues

A common view is that improving technology and other factors will increase natural resources. This view does not take into account that these resources are being irreversibly used. A rational way to take the possibility of improved recovery in the long term is to adjust the initial expectation for the resource. This can only apply to those resources such as oil, natural gas, coal, uranium. These estimates cover what was in the crustal store in 1850. The rate of usage of rate of hgeis interdependent


describes how Japan is using recycling to ease the problem


This article provides insight into the developing global competition to gain access to minerals. Merkel makes the point that it is not only oil and gas that are the subject of endeavors by many countries to meet their demands as the minerals become scarce.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41419.pdf provides details of the efforts being made in the US to handle the demand and supply problem with respect to helium-3.


This site contains an article on the phosphorus problem

There is a developing concern about the continuing availability of rare earth minerals because of their use in a number of electronic devices. A Google search provides links to a number of articles on the subject. These can provide a back up to the estimates in the spreadsheet on the availability of minerals.



This article explaind the use of rare earh catalysts in oil refriners and the consequent impact of Choina’s policy.

This discussion of the search for alternatives to rare earth illustrates the reduction in the efficiency of using natural capital that is contributing to the decline in material wealth of civilization. A Daily Reckoning article suggests that the looming shortage of REE for manufacture of many important items due to the Chinese consolidation of extraction and export will be overcome within a few years by opening up mines in other countries.


The Chinese extraction of rare earth minerals generates a toxic waste problem that they are trying to tackle in conjunction with economic issues.


The Germans are planning to get the raw materials for their industries from resource rich countries. It is a perspective based on the presumption of continuing demand for the goods produced and the ability of the energy and materials to mine, process and transport these raw materials. It entails the commitment to use natural capital for a process that may turn out to be not worthwhile. However, this proposal is driven by the growing competition amongst industrialized countries for access for the declining natural resources. This is an inefficient process.


This report provides appreciable detail on the extraction and production of REE. It provides perspective on this component of natural capital.


provides more constructive comment on the production of the wide range of rare earth minerals. The forecast in the spreadsheet has to be a plausible interpretation of how industry will respond to this challenge giving the constraints that will be applying. It does not have much impact on the rate of usage of natural capital but it does have an appreciable impact on the goods provided and the associated manufacturing industry.

Ecological issues


Ecological costing

The Chinese academy for Environmental Planning has been accounting for the long-term ecological degradation caused by the operation of industry. These costs do not appear in corporate balance sheets or in government budgets.

Climate change


provides evidence of the decline of North Pole sea ice and its implications


This article bemoans the fact that American politicians are lagging other countries in responding to climate change, partly because so many do not believe the science. It coveys the common, fallacious impression that human decisions can do something about the irreversible, rapid climate change.[DAF1]


It is fascinating that climate change has now become a major issue for governments and business. Business is, of course, looking for opportunities in a changing economy. Governments, on the other hand, are responding to a problem that industrialization has caused with measures that at best will slow down the irreversible, rapid climate change[DAF2] .


This is another article questioning why more is not been done to mitigate climate change. It has become a political issue without comprehension that, for example, there is no physical means for Australians to make a contribution to that objective.


provides insight into what has happened in atmospheric physics due to emissions. It provide better understanding of how fossil fuel emissions have caused global warming, so irreversible rapid climate change.


This article provides unrealistic comment on what can be achieved in relation to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.


This article provides an authoritative view of what is likely to happen as the result of climate change, even if there is a marked reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning.


This article details proposals to reduce some of the atmospheric pollutants to reduce the degree of global warming in the near future. It conveys the impression that the proposals are soundly based and can be put in place rapidly and economically. It needs to be critically assessed for its potential to make a sound contribution.


provides useful data on the contributions to global atmospheric warming and ocean absorption.


This article by Monbiot provides plenty of information on how global warming can causing the current extreme winter in parts of Europe (particularly Britain) and parts of the US.


This article puts forward the view that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has catastrophically affected the Gulf Stream so moderating its warming influence on the climate of the Britsh Isles. This could well be a Black Swan event that will have a profound influence on life in Britain.


provides an example of how climate change is having an impact on coal mining and export.



This article on the impact of flooding on coal shipments illustrates the interdependence of many natural capital items.


This article predicts global warming. Its lack of credibility needs to be addressed because the nature of the organization would tend to persuade many people.


This deals with a British proposal to mobilize the ‘home front’ to fight climate change. It conveys the false impression that climate change can be beaten. Mobilization of the community is a sound objective if they have a wise proposal in mind. Reduction in the use of fossil fuels to aid in the reduction of the severity of climate change is one. However, the more important one is to adopt measures to cope with the consequences of climate change. These would include the expansion of emergency services and changes in food production to make it less susceptible to such factors as flooding and drought.

Ocean acidification

Space junk

Water issues


Science Daily provides information on the unusual flow of fresh water into the oceans due to climate change.


provides details of some of the water supply problems

http://www.afrik-news.com/article18378.html deals with the political issues with respect to the Nile. This is only one of the major international water problems. Water supply is a component of natural income being affected by climate change while it is also a component of natural capital because so much is influenced by the installation of transitory systems for political and economic purpose.


This article discusses the economics of provision and maintenance of water infrastructure in the US. It includes details of the regulations that apply.


This article deals with financial risks due to a range of developing water supply issues in the US, including the impact of climate change. It is one of those issues that is becoming significant due to the depletion of natural capital (so DF) as well as being CF.


This is a blatant attempt to support the commercialization of water supply. Population, agriculture and industrialization are stretching the ability of this component of natural income to meet the needs of civilization. commercial interest see this as an opportunity to make money. The poor will be the ones to suffer most from this trend[DAF3] .

Land issues


provides data on land usage in the US

Soil fertility


By Lester R. Brown

provides comprehensive information on global soil fertility problems.

The sheer complexity of the IPCC examination of the climate change issue has caused the delay in addressing this issue and in an appropriate amelioration and adaptation response.

The immutable role of natural forces operating on all the systems installed in civilization (Tityas) means that they have a limited life. Their operation is inherently unsustainable.

Crop issues


The production of cocoa entails the consumption of a mix of natural income and natural capital as well as human energy and expertise. However, like so many other enterprises, money drives the process. The article explains how this mal-influence is reducing the production of cocoa. The workers are turning to more worthwhile crops. This phenomenon will have trivial impact on natural capital usage and, of course, none on natural income usage. It will have very little impact on society other than with those involved in the farming. However, it would add to the credibility of the spreadsheet to show that it has been considered.


provides appreciable insight into the growing and intractable food supply and demand problem. It is now a problem for the well off but it is bound to lead to increasing social disruption with associated deleterious consequences.

Toxic waste issues


provides an example of the potential for toxic wastes to further devastate the environment, so contributing to the reduction of natural capital.

Natural disasters

Katrina, tsunami, Pakistani floods

Industrial disasters

Climate change

Deepwater Horizon

Social issues

American society has recently acquired an addiction to visual and aural information saturation. This trend is being emulated globally amongst the well off. It is probably having a detrimental effect on mental health as well as social mores. However, the most insidious impact is that it is an unsustainable addiction amongst the young. They will find it hard to cope with the inevitable withdrawal symptoms, especially as they will have a lesser mental capability to cope.

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5838/ discusses sociopathology. It is an ill in society as described. However, there is no recognition in the discussion of the fact that the operation of civilization is unsustainable.

Daily Reckoning has an article on the monetary investment opportunity in the information revolution. There is no mention of the dependence on the continuing availability of the energy and materials to manufacture and operate this electronic gear. Youngsters are investing much of their intellectual energy in this unsustainable use of aural and visual mix of the digital realm.

Population Issues


The problem arising from population growth in Australia, including the need for additional infrastructure, is discussed in detail. The increase in infrastructure will place a growing load on the use of natural capital. however, there is no recognition of the load that the existing infrastructure places on natural capital for its operation and maintenance.


this article on Japan’s aging population provides an indication of the predicament that many countries will have to face. Redeployment from manufacturing of stuff to meeting growing service requirements of the aged will doubtless be one consequence of the contracting economy as the population ages.

Governance issues


provides insight into how communities are protrcting their right sfrom corporatins trying to rxercise disaster capitalism

Social inequality

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett are British epidemologists who have examined the impact of social inequality in the book, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality makes Societies Stronger. The rapid growth of inequality in the US is causing concern. It can be argued that it is a manifestation of a growing economy. However, now the economy is contracting while the inequality is still growing rapidly. This is an unsustainable process and its implications need to be addressed in the spreadsheet.

Necessities issues

Commercialization of the supply of necessities, such as food, water and sanitation, has been a long-standing problem. But it has expanded appreciably in recent times. The result has been the increasing depredation for the billions of poor while the increasing prices have little impact on the well off.


This article provides sound insight into the food supply issue, which is the major developing issue. Governments and business are concerned about the oil issue but the masses are concerned about the food



This article provides information on the current global food situation and the impact on prices without due consideration of the impact of the wealth bias.

Wants issues


The Beijing traffic congestion, the government regularly response and how people respond is typical of the behavior of society that has the leverage of money to do what they want rather than what is good.

Operational Issues


provides insight into the deleterious impact on people of using a car.

Information Issues


This is a proposal to censure the Internet to eliminate supposed malicious comment. It is an example of the deleterious impact of increasing complexity.

Cloud computing is coming and it really is a revolution in the way of handling information. Rather than having in house means of processing information, it is done more efficiently in a large computing centre. It is likened to having electricity generated in a power station and distributed to users via a grid. There is a loss of resilience and this is why some users, such as hospitals, have a back up power supply. The dependence on a centralized source is now causing concern because of the decreasing availability of adequate maintenance. The same principle clearly applies to cloud computing but its prognosticators can only see the short-term dollar bounty.

Political Issues


This is a sound comment on the difficulty of fostering amelioration action as peak oil takes hold because of the political agenda of those with vested interest in business as usual.


This article provides detail of how the Queensland government’s focus on developing the ‘Sunshine State” without regard to the warnings from specialists of the consequences of the expected flooding.

Misunderstandings of society


Frank Furedi discusses uncertainty and risk management in relation to how society views operations. Many would regard it as a sound assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of society’s handling of the challenges that emerge. It is the typical anthropocentric view that humans can control what happens. This misunderstanding is one of the major factors driving the use of natural capital.


Environmentalists shut down the port of Newcastle for some hours[DAF4]


The current global financial scene is discussed in this article. It takes the view that manipulating the amount of money in various currencies is becoming the developing mode of warfare. Sound arguments are presented but they cover only part of what can happen. The fact that the natural wealth that is depreciated in meeting the demand of society to operate and maintain its civilization is not taken into account - yet. Irrevocable ecological forces, such as the deletion of oil and the impact of irreversible rapid climate change, will ensure this financial warfare becomes harsher as even the developing countries strive to make do in having to use natural capital at a lower rate.


It contains the comment

This is a common view. It is unbelievable that seemingly intelligent people can so simply misunderstand what happens. The first sentence sums up the day by day operation of civilization. The economy requires more resources to operate tomorrow. It discharges more wastes tomorrow. This will be the situation even when growth ceases. The third sentence should realistically be This organization is calling for a steady-state economy, which is not possible.


Unemployment is a consequence of the uncertainty in the financial scene. The necessary adjustment in the employment mix will take time and cause appreciable concern in the community.



This comment on world food prices

Civil disruption

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/oct/01/job-market-recession-social-unrest-ilo discusses the emerging social unrest in EU countries due to the austerity programs of the governments. It takes the common view that the downturn of the economy is only temporary. However, upping the retirement age is more like a permanent response the aging population coupled to an intuitive appreciation that people have to work harder to maintain the present standard of living as natural capital get scarcer.


Paints a grim pictures of the economic, political, social and environmental situation in China. This reality is very different to what Western business like to portray a they make money out of what is happening there in industry.

The civil disruption in Greece due to the rapid change by the government from economic growth to austerity is quite understandable. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/7980291/EU-austerity-policies-risk-civil-war-in-Greece-warns-top-German-economist-Dr-Sinn.html

Provides detail

Decline in the contribution of the American masses

Conflicting Issues


There are proposals to try to restore the ecological health of the Murray-Darling Basin by cutting back on the irrigation that enables the Basin to be the food bowl of Australia. The rural communities are fighting this proposal as farming is their life blood. Little is being said about the impact on the vast populations in the cities that depend on these communities for food. This dependence on irrigation in the dry continent is indicative of the type of mistake that humans have made in their thrust for a high material standard of living – regardless of the unsustainable ecological cost.


Higher oil prices and improved techniques and technology have sparked a resurgence in oil exploration in the US. This may be beneficial for some companies and communities but have a negative impact overall.


This is a discussion of the possibility of getting arctic gas to market by installing pipelines. This is a typical short-term view driven by financial issues. It may be a worthwhile means of meeting market demands for energy. What happens to the pipe lines when the fields inevitably dry up?

Economic issues

Most current proposals are founded on the economics assuming business as usual with economic growth continuing on the long term basis despite booms and busts[DAF5]

Economic forces


provides an example of where financial considerations force an unreasonable treatment of physical matters. This dangerous handling of risk management is fostered by the oil industry in the pursuit of profits. This characteristic of capitalism is ultimately doomed but clearly not without a fight! It does raise the question, again, as to when will the response from natural forces ensure a cut back by industry.


This discussion of how industry is trying to cope with the uncertainty about how carbon will be handled provides an illustration of the decline in effectiveness of industry in the face of increasing volatility. It is another example of RoI declining due to increasing complexity. This phenomenon does not impact appreciably on the rate of usage of natural capital but it tends to reduce the effectiveness of what is produced by using this capital.


This discussion about the possible currency war does not say much about the rampant forex trading. This speculation is mentioned without comment on how it is impacting on the mercantile trading between countries. However, there is little doubt that the central bankers bear in mind how their decisions can be manipulated by the speculators.


This article brings out a problem that has grown exponentially as a consequence of the mortgage bubble in the US. The financial manipulations have created a complex web that requires the expenditure of vast amount of effort by lawyers and other highly paid people to untangle. It has effectively generated a new, non-productive, sector similar in many regards to the financial, bureaucracy and military/industrial sectors. The workers in these fields receive sufficient pay to consume more than their fair share of natural capital while providing a service that is only meeting xxxx. That is, their WoEC is very low. They do not contribute to the material standard of living nor to the quality of the life style.


This article provides insight into the emerging food production problem due to the failure of bees. It indicates how business is resisting the view that pesticide is causing the problem.

Economy prognosis


Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a dim view of the coming US financial scene with stress on the impact of an aging population. There is, however, the usual premise of the resumption of economic growth. The ecological cost of the operation and maintenance of the existing infrastructure together with meeting the needs of the populace is not taken into account.


provides insight into the global financial situation and the possible social disruption.


provides details of the financial situation in the US with particular reference to the declining infrastructure and service industries. The discussion focuses on the impact of trade globalization and corporatised government. There is no discussion of the possibility of economic contraction.


This article discusses some of the problems that will develop with the presumed growth of the global economy. Using the spreadsheet to examine this hypothetical development will be useful in bringing out the range of problems that will emerge and their interdependence.

John Maynard Keynes was wrong about practically everything. But he was right about this:

There is no subtler, surer means of overturning society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction and does it in a way that not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

This was the view of an economist. The view of a realist is

There is no subtler, surer means of overturning society than to debauch the natural capital. The process engages all the hidden forces of natural law on the side of destruction and does it in a way that not one man in a million is able to diagnose.


This article discusses the impact of the current Australian resources boom and raises the question of how it would best be handled. It likens the current boom to the Dutch disease and the consequent bust. It talks in terms of the sound approach of the Norwegians in putting some of the proceeds from their oil and gas resources into a futures fund. There was no mention of the losses this fund in the GFC. A sounder approach would be to cut back on the rate of using these resources as they represent real wealth in the crustal bank. They should be extracted at prudent rate sufficient to finance worthwhile construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure. The feasibility of implementing such a sound policy, however, is very questionable.


This provides more insight into the global financial situation. It does not provide insight into who the investors (speculators) may be but comments on the possible consequences.


This article criticizes QE as a tool to foster the resumption of economic growth in the US. Like most comments on the current financial scene, there is the presumption that economic growth can resume. Ther3 is failure to recognize that the developed economies are transiting to economic transition whilst the emerging economies are growing strongly. The reason why the developed economies are contracting is doubtless due in part to the manipulation of the financial market by banksters. However, the oil price spike in 2008 is deemed by some commentators to have pricked the credit bubble. It is possible that the recovery has been hindered by some industry tackling the emerging response to ecological forces, such as reducing carbon emissions.


Martenson looks realistically at the global credit crisis. A chart shows the borrowing requirements of a number of countries. However, it does not spell out who will lend that money. China has been doing a lot of this and private investors are also involved but the article gives the impression that there will be a major shortfall in available fiancé.



This article deals with investment in companies engaged in so-called climate change solutions! There is the usual presumption that measures can be implemented that will influence the degree of climate change[DAF6] .


This article provides a realistic assessment of the RoI to be expected from stocks. This is a measure of the real wealth generated by the production process. It has decreased because there has been a turn away from productive activities to non-productive such as financial games. This real wealth has been gained to some extent by drawing down on natural wealth. The American public is now drawing down on the natural wealth indirectly by buying stuff from China, largely on credit[DAF7] .


This article considers the investment opportunities during the transition to a carbon-based economy. This may well be the case as there will be a demand for change and some industry will grab the opportunity. However, the transition entails a non-productive cost so the overall investment opportunities will inevitably decline.

Financial issues

The current foreclosure chaos in the US has been the result of exponential growth resulting from the collapse of the housing boom. It is like a developing virus. It is resulting in the growth of a non-productive cost as well as contributing to social chaos.


This articulate article on what has gone wrong in American society under the corrupting influence of money will appear to many to be a sound diagnosis of the malfeasance. However, there is no mention of the fundamental fact that the operation of American civilization is addicted to irreversibly using limited natural capital.

There are still many worthwhile investment opportunities globally that mean people will continue to make money. Many of these are in the acquisition of land and in infrastructure development. This is consistent with banks continuing to make money. It is contributing to the growth of the divide between the rich and the poor.

Financial manipulation

The bonuses that banking and corporation managers get is the powerful incentive for writing unsound business plans to con investors. This is a widespread activity leading to ridiculous operations, including construction of systems in Tityas. It will become harder as natural capital becomes scarcer but there is no reason to believe that it will die out.


Freeman describes how the rich in America have systematically run down the middle class. There is no mention of the dependence of the operation of the country on the availability of declining natural capital. the rich could well have an intuitive understanding that the economy cannot continue to grow so they are using their leverage to endure that they continue to get more than their fair share of what remains. They do not, however, seem to understand that


This discussion of the global financial war is the central item in the agenda of governments. There is still the belief that global economic growth is possible and the current objective is to see that competitors do not get ahead by currency manipulation.


This article provides data on global housing prices and their relation to perceived value. This is an aspect of spurious wealth generation. It gives some people the capability to enjoy a high materialistic standard of living while the house prices are high but it can lead to devastation when the bubble bursts. It has little impact on the rate of usage of natural capital but it can influence social activity deleteriously.


This article provides details of the manipulation of the oil market that are, as ever, enriching an elite at the expense of the community at large as well as other businesses. The author of the article regards this as being a disgraceful activity but does not take into account that it is reducing the ability of the masses to consume natural capital so it has beneficial impact. The rich with their billions of dollars cannot use this money.


This is another article on the manipulations of the banksters. It takes the view that this elite is controlling the world. This is the type of delusion that most financial commentators have. The operation of civilization continues almost unabated by the this manipulation of fiat money. The impact of ecological forces will slowly filter up.

Financial crisis


This article provides insight into the consequences of the mortgage manipulation. Resolution of the issue between the banks and investors will put a non-productive load on the economy for a number of years. It will not have a detrimental impact on the decline of natural capital. It will result in the transfer of appreciable amounts of money with lawyers getting their share. Essentially it is like a game of monopoly being played by a few while the masses in the community try to cope with the powering down.

Debt is a reinforcing feedback mechanism as the lenders demand higher interest rate from the risky borrowers, so increasing the likelihood of default by the borrowers. It continues to grow as it feeds on the continuing pursuit of (financial) wealth by those who have money even as the total financial wealth has been cut down.

Quantitative Easing (QE) is essentially generating money, so increasing the ability to consume goods. It aids borrowers in the short term at the expense of lenders. It is a contributor to CF so to llamda but it ensures an increasing response by ecological forces in the future.


provides details of the financial crisis of US and EU cities. They have overspent by borrowing and now their taxation income if down due to the GFC they have to cut services to try to meet their loan commitments. Easier for EU cities as their borrowings are generally from banks. US cities have issued bonds.



provides a seemingly plausible explanation of why hyperinflation is likely in the US in the near future. It suggests that there will be a recovery in the long term. there is, however, no mention of the impact of depleting natural capital. It focuses on monetary matters only. It talks in terms of the credit bubble without any mention of how it came about.

Technological issues

Operation, maintenance and demolition of infrastructure


This article deals with co-operation between Russia and China on energy and includes the installation of a pipeline. This is indicative of the common belief in the continuing development of civilization. It is based on the false premise that [DAF8]

http://www.economist.com/node/17204841 provides insight into the load on industry to dismantle North Sea oil rigs when their days are over. This process will become more common as the scarcity of natural capital forces appreciable cutting back on many of the activities of civilization[DAF9] .

There is appreciable concern in Britain about the cost (proxy for eco cost) of dismantling nuclear power stations and dealing with the nuclear waste.


provides detail on South Africa’s developing problem in the supply of potable water. It provides a sound assessment of a problem that many countries are facing of the declining worth of this component of the material wealth of the country.

Renewable energy technology


This article discusses a proposal for biofuels. It may well be worthwhile and meet some of the demand[DAF10] .

Technological developments


provides sound comment on the risk of geoengineering to limit climate change

The contribution of substitution through innovative technology needs to be covered as it suggests that a problem may be solved when all that is happening is a palliative for a detail matter.


This pragmatic consideration of the reality of providing renewable energy systems raises the question of what will happen when the fossil fuels become really scarce. It doe not suggest any answers.

Technological risks

South Korea has gone very strongly for knowledge industry as their manufacturing industry is at a disadvantage compared to China. This takes advantage of knowledge to generate wealth so the apparent EC is low. This may not be so due to the dependence on the manufacture of electronics. The risks are growing. It is reminiscent of the US back in the middle of last century. However, the US was able to muddle along by usurping resources, principally oil, from foreign sources. South Korea will not be able to do so as the scarcity of natural capital is now a global problem.

Cyber warfare



Refers to a computer game similar to G&SC

[DAF1]Mot here about what to do

[DAF2]put in comment on how it is accounted in the ss

[DAF3]more here


[DAF5]Continue this with the high speed rail as an example

[DAF6]finish this one.

[DAF7]Who is responsible for this draw down?

[DAF8]Finish this

[DAF9]probably more examples here

[DAF10]Bring in the logic