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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Do It Yourself World

Paywall Blind,​

While the IEA got a lot of coverage for its World Energy Outlook 2018 (WEO 18), there might be a little snippet that got way underappreciated.
On page 159 of its Outlook, accessible only behind a payment barrier, the following graph can be found:
It is clear to see that Peak Oil will be hit well before 2020, while demand keeps on rising, unless the world’s Oil Majors and State Owned Oil Companies would massively invest in new exploration, according to the IEA.
However, the Oil Majors did already heavily spend on new oil exploration in the years after 2000, where a fossil fuel hype with an accompanying coal boom lead up to an oil price of over $150 in 2008. While this oil price proved unsustainable for a crashing world economy, this oil exploration boom lead to very little new findings in the big scheme of things:

So what does that mean?
It means that a collapse of oil supply to half of its current size within only six years simply cannot be compensated by new oil findings and certainly not by unconventional oil sources like oil sands and fracking. That the Oil Majors did not pick up with new oil exploration after the oil price rose again to $100 per barrel in the years after 2008 is another sign that the world is already “overexplored,” as geologists put it. Instead the Oil Majors concentrated on a stock buyback, knowing full well that further exploration would be a waste of money while they are sitting on oil that will become very valuable even though the amount of oil they will extract will decline significantly.

Capitalism as we know it is over. So suggests a new report commissioned by a group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The main reason? We’re transitioning rapidly to a radically different global economy, due to our increasingly unsustainable exploitation of the planet’s environmental resources.
Climate change and species extinctions are accelerating even as societies are experiencing rising inequality, unemployment, slow economic growth, rising debt levels, and impotent governments. Contrary to the way policymakers usually think about these problems, the new report says that these are not really separate crises at all.
Rather, these crises are part of the same fundamental transition to a new era characterized by inefficient fossil fuel production and the escalating costs of climate change. Conventional capitalist economic thinking can no longer explain, predict, or solve the workings of the global economy in this new age, the paper says.


Greece is being used by global capitalist institutions to test some experiments on how the initial stages of failed-capitalism might play out, so as to be foreseen and managed in the event. Current experiment: Make 14 rounds of cuts, and give one back before elections.
New Democracy (ND) accused the government of increasing taxes and handing out benefits from budget revenues to win votes. “You are wearing the mask of the philanthropist just to tip people from their own savings”​,​ ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Tsipras in parliament.  

French drivers are required to carry yellow vests in their cars, to signal an emergency situation, so...
​T​axes also reminded the French people of how much they are already overtaxed everywhere else, how the elderly can barely survive on their pensions, and how workers, even middle-class ones, are watching their livelihoods shrink. For the poor, they are sitting idle and helplessly unemployed.
On top of that, they watch Emmanuel Macron tell them there are no problems with the economy. If you’re out of a job, just walk across the street and get one! In fact, Macron actually said this to unemployed workers who questioned him as to what he was going to do to remedy growing unemployment in France, furthering his reputation as a lofty limousine liberal vastly disconnected from the population.
Macron himself is an interesting component of this whole situation, having been chosen by power broker Jacques Attali and given a run at a Rothschild bank before assuming the Presidency to impose austerity measures, continue France’s foreign adventures, and essentially destroy the nation with more immigration.
The protests now seem to be about the general situation of the country, not about the fuel tax specifically. This is relatively obvious since, soon after the protests, the French government put the tax on hold yet the protests continue.


​Charles Hugh Smith observes the early post-capitalist economy, I guess...
A family member who has lived in France for decades summarized the source of the gilets jaunes protests in one sentence: "The government stopped listening to the people 20 years ago...
The cultural elites reckoned their ceaseless depiction of working-class dissent as racist-fascist populism would continue marginalizing the commoners, but the worm has turned: the financially, politically and culturally marginalized classes are fed up.
Despite the usual squabbles between factions, the ruling class has long been united behind a simple tool of control: buy complicity with government benefits. Should dissent boil up in a broad-based movement, the solution is buy the protesters off with some new state subsidy or benefit.
This is one of the essential dynamics of Neofeudalism which are:
1. Debt penury and wage-slave loyalty to the New Nobility that owns the debt.
2. The financial-political nobility maximize their skim and justify this exploitation with airy assurances to the politically impotent debt-serfs that this systemic predation magically offers up the best possible outcome for the peasantry.
3. State benefits are used as bribes to buy the complicity and passivity of the wage-slave debt-serfs.
4. The New Nobility offer politically correct cover stories for their exploitation and predation.

​The French state has a plan-B, of course, "Preventative Arrests":
The number of people arrested since the beginning of the massive popular protests that have gripped France for weeks has surpassed a staggering 4,500, with critics calling the actions of the authorities crackdown on democracy.
The French police have detained a total of 4,523 people in connection to the so-called Yellow Vests protests that united tens of thousands of people across the country discontent with taxes polices and fuel prices hikes. Of those almost 4,100 still remain in police custody, the French BFM TV broadcaster reported, citing police sources...
Part of those arrests seemed to be a preventive measure as they occurred before the protests. And the practice alarmed many.

​Jim Hightower can't get the newspapers who usually print his stuff to take this story:
A two-panel cartoon I recently saw showed a character with a sign saying: “First they came for the reporters.” In the next panel, his sign says: “We don’t know what happened after that.”​...​
It was, of course, a retort to Donald Trump’s ignorant campaign to demonize the news media as “ the enemy of the people.” But when it comes to America’s once-proud newspapers, their worst enemy is not Trump – nor is it the rising cost of newsprint or the “free” digital news on websites. Rather, the demise of the real news reporting by our city and regional papers is a product of their profiteering owners. Not the families and companies that built and nurtured true journalism, but the new breed of fast-buck hucksters who’ve scooped up hundreds of America’s newspapers from the bargain bins of media sell-offs.
The buyers are hedge-fund scavengers with names like Digital First and GateHouse. They know nothing about journalism and care less, for they’re ruthless Wall Street profiteers out to grab big bucks fast by slashing the journalistic and production staffs of each paper, voiding all employee benefits (from pensions to free coffee in the breakroom), shriveling the paper’s size and news content, selling the presses and other assets, tripling the price of their inferior product – then declaring bankruptcy, shutting down the paper, and auctioning off the bones before moving on to plunder another town’s paper.
By 2014, America’s two largest media chains were not venerable publishers who believe that a newspaper’s mission includes a commitment to truth and a civic responsibility, but GateHouse and Digital First, whose managers believe that good journalism is measured by the personal profit they can squeeze from it.

​I most humbly offer you this story that Ray sent, which tunnels into the incomprehensible vastness of what we think of as "farming", but which is very different in scale and outcome, from how we evolved, tending vegetables and fruit trees as a species. It kills now, and will ultimately sterilize California for an eon. The people who do this are not bad critters, and they seek to be kind and do well when it comes to their attention that things are going badly for somebody, like their workers. Many of them just look away, though, as they have been trained. This took 90 minutes of my morning, and was somehow worth it. I will be prayerful as I go out to prune two plum trees and one peach tree on a sunny morning, before bike commuting to work at noon. 
I cannot comprehend the scale at which "Cuties", "Halos" and pistachios are produced, but this is where they come from, for the moment, for now.
​ Resnick isn’t of this place. He’s never driven a tractor or opened an irrigation valve. He’s never put a dusty boot on the neck of a shovel and dug down into the soil. He wouldn’t know one of his Valencia orange groves from one of his Washington navel orange groves. The land to him isn’t real. It’s an economy of scale on a scale no one’s ever tried here. He grew up in New Jersey, where his father ran a bar. He came to California in the 1950s to remake himself. Welcome to the club. He remade himself into a graduate of the UCLA law school, a cleaner of Los Angeles buildings, a vendor of security alarms, a seller of flowers in a pot, a minter of Elvis plates and Princess Diana dolls, a bottler of Fiji Island water, a farmer of San Joaquin Valley dirt. He purchased his first 640-acre section in the late 1970s and kept adding more sections of almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, and citrus until he stretched the lines of agriculture like no Californian before him.
At age 81, he’s gotten so big, he doesn’t know how big. Last time he checked, he told me he owned 180,000 acres of California. That’s 281 square miles. He is irrigating 121,000 of those acres. This doesn’t count the 21,000 acres of grapefruits and limes he’s growing in Texas and Mexico. He uses more water than any other person in the West. His 15 million trees in the San Joaquin Valley consume more than 400,000 acre-feet of water a year. The city of Los Angeles, by comparison, consumes 587,000 acre-feet.
https://www.google.com/url?q=https://story.californiasunday.com/resnick-a-kingdom-from-dust&source=gmail&ust=1544790893919000&usg=AFQjCNFfOiRO8SaOwU14KJGMTqT3PX5oYw

​Baffled Ape​

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