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August 17th, 2014

Over at Crooked Timber, Chris Bertram has just put up the 10000th post. Checking my own stats, I’ve put up over 5000 posts, and the site has had more than 150 000 comments (not counting spam). Go over to CT and say Hi!

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  1. Megan
    August 17th, 2014 at 22:00 | #1

    The easily accessible archival nature of “blogs” is a great asset to discourse in a democracy.

    The establishment media loathes such scrutiny of itself, but is one of the reasons they are suffering increasing irrelevance.

    The net is at an age where it is easy to look back over the last decade and sample all sorts of viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects.

    As a single example: Peak Oil. As far as I’m aware nobody seriously argues now that the production of conventional oil didn’t peak around about 2005 – but by looking back at old posts from any number of sites one can easily find furious arguments and vitriol around the very suggestion that any such thing could happen.

  2. Sancho
    August 17th, 2014 at 23:24 | #2

    Where did peak oil go as an issue? I haven’t heard it mentioned in years.

  3. Ivor
    August 18th, 2014 at 08:48 | #3

    Sancho :
    Where did peak oil go as an issue? I haven’t heard it mentioned in years.

    It peaked?

  4. Watkin Tench
    August 18th, 2014 at 08:55 | #4

    Congrats John. I very much enjoyed Zombie Economics as well. A mind as sharp as yours is a rare thing. Thanks 🙂

  5. John Quiggin
    August 18th, 2014 at 09:18 | #5
  6. Ikonoclast
    August 18th, 2014 at 11:31 | #6

    @John Quiggin

    The really interesting and more relevant graphs would be per capita energy use for all uses and world GDP or income per energy unit. It will show improvements in both but the so-called disconnect between energy and GDP cannot happen. We can get more efficient but there are limits to efficiency.

  7. Sancho
    August 18th, 2014 at 11:57 | #7

    The peak oil-ism seems a bit like evangelical doomsdays: disagreement about whether it’s a year or a decade away, but quite certain it’s going to happen.

  8. Newtownian
    August 18th, 2014 at 15:12 | #8

    Also there is the matter of EROEI

    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EROEI and

    MURPHY, D. J. 2014. The implications of the declining energy return on investment of oil production. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 372.

    which can be applied to other forms of energy as well

    LUNDIN, J. 2013. EROI of crystalline silicon photovoltaics: Variations under different assumptions regarding manufacturing energy inputs and energy output. Uppsala University.

    not to mention indirectly to mineral resources overall

    STEEN, B. & BORG, G. 2002. An estimation of the cost of sustainable production of metal concentrates from the earth’s crust. Ecological Economics, 42, 401-413.

    All this is basic ecological economics which the neoclassicals and other mainstream economists seem to ignore of the basis that:

    1. there will always be new resources to tap into like the ocean bottom or the moon (or should that be blue sky)

    2. there will always be substitutes (which require R&D investments at a time when science and technology which has subsidized material progress for decades is now being gutted)

    3. we can always recycle (which isn’t that cheap or cost effective in many instances).

    4. exponential growth can go on forever with no penalty (forgetting the destruction of natural fisheries for example).

    5. there are no externalities adding significant costs and in the case of Climate Change CERN is part of a conspiracy to hide from us that the Sun is cooling so we need to burn more coal to keep warn – according to Maurice Newman – just guessing but this sounds like it could relate to the old problem of a ‘deficit’ of solar neutrinos which has now been solved with good science http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_neutrinos http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_neutrino_problem.

  9. Tim Macknay
    August 18th, 2014 at 17:08 | #9

    The paper by Lundin is a particularly good one. Hermit will be interested to note that Lundin endorses the figure of around 8 as a minimum EROEI ‘threshold’ for civilisation (which I recall is the figure Hermit also prefers).

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