Saturday, April 25, 2015

Will the Next Big Crash be the Last One?

Introduction in Norwegian:

I en sammenheng forsøkte jeg å vise Tverbergs energigraf for å ha et bedre utgangspunkt til å forberede oss for framtida. Resultatet ble himling med øynene og hoderisting. Med en gang man nevner ordet kollaps mellom de komforme, kommer bildet av gale preppere opp på netthinnen.

Dessverre er Gail Tverberg alt annet enn en gal prepper. Hun var den i verden som best forutså og forstod finanskrisa av 2008, noe hun har fått kreditt for. Sannsynligheten for at hun som best forstod den forrige finanskrisa best vil forstå den neste, er stor. Dette innser også ledende professorer innen "peak-oil"-teori, en grunn til at hun nylig ble invitert til å forelese ved petroleumsuniversitetet i Beijing.

Dessverre ble mennesket evolvert i en uendelig verden, enhver som ikke tror på uendelig vekst i en endelig verden blir derfor definert som sprø.

Slutten på den industrielle sivilisasjon har mange fordeler. Vi redder klimaet, vi gjenvinner stillheten og mørket. Stjernearkitektene, som gjør alt i deres makt for å ødelegge vår hovedstad, går i graven for godt.

Negative effekter kan være kjernefysisk forurensning som løper løpsk, en slutt på menneskelig sivilisasjon for all framtid, og i verste fall menneskehetens totale utryddelse.

Norge har et særlig ansvar, da vi avviste Terje Bongard med sitt MEDOSS, den industrielle sivilisasjons siste mulighet for å unngå det endelige krasjet og total kollaps.

Will the next big crash be the last one?

By Eivind Berge. Original text here.

As our civilization runs into limits to growth, there are several ways to analyze the situation, all with some validity in their own ways. One might for example think of limits in relation to ecosystem services, pollution and climate change, and these are certainly major challenges that I don't mean to trivialize. But surely the fatal limit we are likely to run into first is worthy of the most attention? If Gail Tverberg is right, our most immediate limitation might be described as "peak finance." She believes the financial aspect of our predicament is capable of bringing the whole system down long before anything else and probably will very soon.

Commodity prices are low now, so most people assume resources are still abundant and we can't possibly be close to the end of industrial production. But limits are manifesting in a way mainstream commentators didn't expect. It comes down to two key words which are really two sides of the same coin: profitability and affordability. In our market economy, commodities must be priced at a level which is both profitable for producers and affordable for consumers at the same time. Unfortunately, sustainable prices are by no means guaranteed by forces of nature or economics. When prices can't rise above production costs, we are in serious trouble even if it doesn't seem that way at first. This kind of unsustainable situation has in fact already arrived, if Gail's view is correct. In this comment on her blog she sums up exactly what she thinks will happen:
It depends on how quickly the failure of banks brings the whole system down. I think the most likely scenario is that the next big crash is the last one. We had a big crash in 2008, and were temporarily saved from it. The next one seems likely to be much bigger, and thus to be much harder to avoid the consequences of. 
My expectation is that oil prices will go lower than they are now, and that debt defaults will start hitting the system. Some of these defaults will relate to derivative bets gone wrong. This will start hitting in the next few months. We should be feeling the effects by late in 2015 or early 2016. Oil production will start going down in 2015, and we won’t be able to get it back up again.

I don’t see prices bouncing back up again much, expect perhaps briefly in the next few months (and probably to less than $100 barrel), as people speculate that our problems are temporary. I don’t think shale drillers will be able to qualify for more debt, and this will prevent production from increasing again. There will be similar problems with new oil sands investment.
I recommend reading Our Finite World to understand the nature of what will be the worst disaster in human history and the end of industrial civilization. Gail does not offer any solutions, though, because she does not believe there are any. If perchance there are ways to avoid or mitigate the collapse, now would be a good time to work them out, because we are running out of time.


  1. I heard a great quote today, attributed to Toby Hemenway: Permaculture can save the world -- but not civilization.

    1. Let's hope so! I suggested the same for Tverberg once, but she was not so sure about the world either, at least not a world with humans on:

      So if there will be no one to inhabit the world, not even permaculturists, the world will save itself eventually.

      But let's hope we can make some permaculture lifeboats to save our specie!


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