The economy has reached an inflection point where everything that is unsustainable finally starts unraveling.
Beneath its surface stability, our economy is precarious because the foundation of the global economy-- cheap energy--has reached an inflection point: from now on, energy will become more expensive.
The cost will be too low for energy producers to make enough money to invest in future energy production, and too high for consumers to have enough money left after paying for the essentials of energy, food, shelter, etc., to spend freely.
For the hundred years that resources were cheap and abundant, we could waste everything and call it growth: when an appliance went to the landfill because it was designed to fail (planned obsolescence) so a new one would have to be purchased, that waste was called growth because the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up when the replacement was purchased.
A million vehicles idling in a traffic jam was also called growth because more gasoline was consumed, even though the gasoline was wasted.
This is why the global economy is a "waste is growth" Landfill Economy...
Does it really make sense to expect that the human population can triple and our consumption of energy increase ten-fold and there will always be enough resources to keep supplies abundant and prices low? No, it doesn't.
Many people believe that nuclear power (fusion, thorium reactors, mini-reactors, etc.) will provide cheap, safe electricity that will replace hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas). But nuclear power is inherently costly, and there are presently no full-scale fusion or thorium reactors providing cheap electricity to thousands of households.
Reactors take many years to construct and are costly to build and maintain. Cost over-runs are common. A new reactor in Finland, for example, is nine years behind schedule and costs have tripled.
The U.S. has built only two new reactors in the past 25 years...
Many believe so-called renewable energy such as solar and wind will replace hydrocarbons. But as analysts Nate Hagens has explained, these sources are not truly renewable, they are replaceable; all solar panels and wind turbines must be replaced at great expense every 20 to 25 years. These sources are less than 5% of all energy we consume, and it will take many decades of expansion to replace even half of the hydrocarbon fuels we currently consume.
To double the energy generated by wind/solar in 25 years, we'll need to build three for each one in service today: one to replace the existing one and two more to double the energy being produced.
All these replacements for hydrocarbons require vast amounts of resources: diesel fuel for transport, materials for fabricating turbines, panels, concrete foundations, and so on.
Humans are wired to want to believe that whatever we have now will still be ours in the future. We don't like being told we'll have less of anything in the future.
The current solution is to create more money out of thin air in the belief that if we create more money, then more oil, copper, iron, etc. will be found and extracted.....Many people feel good about recycling a small part of what we consume. But recycling is not cost-free, and the majority of what we consume is not recycled.
The percentage of lithium batteries that are recycled, for example, is very low, less than 5%. We have to mine vast quantities of lithium because we dump 95% of lithium-ion batteries in the landfill. There are many reasons for this, one being that the batteries aren't designed to be recycled because this would cost more money.
The majority of all manufactured goods--goods that required immense amounts of hydrocarbons to make--are tossed in the landfill.
Goods and services are commoditized and sourced from all over the world in long dependency chains (hyper-globalization): if one link breaks, the entire supply chain breaks...
M.K. Bhadrakumar, “West at inflection point in Ukraine war” “Fundamentally, the Western economies are facing a systemic crisis. The complacency that the reserve-currency-based US economy is impervious to ballooning debt; that the petrodollar system compels the entire world to purchase dollars to finance their needs; that the flood of cheap Chinese consumer goods and cheap energy from Russia and Gulf States would keep inflation at bay; that interest rate hikes will cure structural inflation; and, above all, that the consequences of taking a trade-war hammer to a complex network system in the world economy can be managed — these notions stand exposed.” https://www.indianpunchline.com/west-at-inflection-point-in-ukraine-war/
Addendum: Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism reminds me that: “Paul Volcker made it explicit that the Fed is in the business of crushing labor. As reported by William Greider in Secrets of the Temple, when Volcker was driving interest rates to the moon, he kept a note card in his pocket. It was a record of weekly average construction wages. Volcker wanted them to go down as proof his harsh medicine was working.” https://thesaker.is/the-feds-austerity-program-to-reduce-wages/
This explanation is only semi-rational, even if you don't know that cheap energy resources and global economy are in terminal burnout. In my assessment TPTB just need a big enough war to always be a big enough emergency for whatever emergency measures they need to declare until they figure out "the new thing".
In practice, this could take the form of supporting the convergence between the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI, with its core being the “Lublin Triangle” that comprises the newly de factoPolish–Ukrainian Confederation and Lithuania) and the UK’s regional alliance plans as a structural wedge between Russia and the “Big Three” (France, Germany, and Italy). That could in turn maintain some unbridgeable differences between them (i.e. geopolitical, geo-economic, and military) so as to perpetually prevent any meaningful rapprochement in the future that would risk eroding the US’ recently restored hegemony over the bloc.
With this in mind, the British army chief’s policy statement that his island-state should prepare for fighting a war in Europe makes more sense since it’s aimed at preconditioning the armed forces and the population that funds them into expecting a sustained military deployment to CEE.
The US is also flailing for a response to high gasoline and diesel prices, and we have now seen two floated solutions: 1) subsidy cards for consumers - stymied by the US not having the chips to even make them, which speaks volumes about supply-side problems; and 2) that the US --like China-- should start a state oil refinery to reverse the 5% drop in capacity since Covid, but would still take years to happen, even if were politically ‘acceptable’, which it isn’t.
The food situation, linked to energy, looks even worse.
UK Government Approves Extraditing Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange To Same Country that “Plotted to Assassinate” Him
Netherlands Follows Germany, Lifts Restrictions On Coal-Fired Power Stations Amid Drop In Russian Gas Supplies
In addition to stealing Syrian wheat supplies, the US military has also been stealing Syrian oil
The report indicates that the US military, along with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), looted large quantities of wheat from the Al-Jazeera region and transported it towards the Al-Waleed border crossing, where it entered Iraq on 18 June.
The report noted that this was not the only convoy filled with stolen goods led by the US military. Another convoy with 36 vehicles, filled with stolen Syrian wheat, crossed Al-Waleed border from the Tal Hamis area...
Damascus considers US presence in northeastern Syria a means of stealing Syrian resources...
..The US military routinely smuggles Syrian oil into northern Iraq, in a move that is both in violation of international law and as routine practice that shows how deeply entrenched the US is in its occupation of both nations.
The theft of Syrian food and fuel supplies is taking place amid a global food and fuel crisis.
Countries like Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen are already dealing with severe economic and food crises.
Once a major wheat producer, Syria is now facing food shortages. The western-backed war on Syria as well as a recent drought has made Syria more dependent on Russian wheat. https://www.globalresearch.ca/us-occupation-troops-steal-wheat-from-syria-send-to-iraq/5784105
Today the the U.S., suffering from high inflation caused by a lack of supplies, is launching the dumbest sanction regime ever:
A new law, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, goes into effect in the United States on Tuesday and will bar products that were made in Xinjiang or have ties to the work programs there from entering the country. It requires importers with any ties to Xinjiang to produce documentation showing that their products, and every raw material they are made with, are free of forced labor — a tricky undertaking given the complexity and opacity of Chinese supply chains.
In theory, the new U.S. law should block all goods made with any raw materials that are associated with Xinjiang until they are proven to be free of slavery or coercive labor practices...
For the U.S. consumer this does not only mean higher prices but likely less access to products they need or want. The U.S. industry is not in state where it can provide on the scale that China can.
To avoid the scrutiny Chinese producers may eventually move their factories. But they will move to countries in South Asia and not to the United States.
Why the 'green agenda' Biden administration thought that this is a smart move is beyond me. (It does reduce resource consumption through economic strangulation. "Green" is a control narrative, which was somewhat compatible with physical reality , but less and less lately.)
The global ruling class is cementing into place a world where they govern without accountability, we are reduced to serfdom, the climate crisis accelerates and mass death is normalized...