[ExI] FW: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Wed Sep 11 12:32:35 UTC 2013

Il 11/09/2013 01:02, spike ha scritto:

> On Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 8:14 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net
> <mailto:spike66 at att.net>> wrote:

> There is a good possibility we will not start on it until it is too late.

>>Yes Spike, please do define too late.

>>In Utah, Colorado and Wyoming, we have more fossil fuel BTUs than Saudi
> Arabia, though it does exist in hard to mine and transform rock shale form…

> Ja, all of these, but I was looking at the long term in the event that
> there is some fundamental reason why a singularity is impossible.  For
> the record, I think a singularity is both possible and inevitable, but
> there is value in mapping out a future in which it is not, or a future
> in which the singularity takes longer than we thought, analogous in a
> way to nuclear fusion power.  We have coal and we have oil enough for
> now and the next decade or two, but then what?

We build nuclear power plants like hell; we should build them now but
there is not enough pressure to do so.
Chineses and Indians are doing so, Poles are doing so (and sell
electricity to green Germans).
Westerns have this phobia for everything nuclear (or everything where
you need to dirty your hands). There are few exceptions.
It will not last much longer, IMHO, because the comfort of the welfare
state is going away a lot faster then people think.
In my line of work, I can see how many psychotic patients. It is not
strange to see them improve a lot of their psychotic symptoms when they
have some serious physical problem (for example a broken leg or need
some serious surgery).

The sirens of Climate Change, green living and so on, will not be hear
when the stomaches of the people will growl empty and they will tremble
and shriver because of the cold during the winter.

> The notion of a poverty trap is real.

But the door is open

> I have some distant cousins who
> are trapped in that now: they live way the hell out in a holler in West
> Virginia, and have only a vague notion of what a computer does.  I can’t
> even communicate with them: I have no intentions of writing on paper and
> sending stuff with stamps on it.  I did that with their grandparents,
> will not do it now.  That represents a group of people genetically
> similar to me, who are in a poverty trap.  They do not use the internet;
> they are on the other side of a chasm which I cannot or will not span.

There is no cellphone line there? No landline?
No way to communicate without using a pony or a pigeon carrier?

It happened before in some town in Italy (and other places of Europe).
The town were depopulated as the younger generations escaped the trap to
greener pastures.

If they live there, maybe they are comfortable enough to stay there.
If it happen like in Italy at the end of XIX century and the start of
the XX, entire towns emigrated to the Americas (north and south) then
Australia and other places of Europe, because there was not enough to
eat and no future there.

> We can imagine scenarios where humanity gets caught in a poverty trap,
> or a memetic trap similar to what grips much of the middle east today. 
> The collective dedication to Mormonism in those places traps both the
> believer and unbeliever alike, slowing progress and causing
> retrogression.  If we don’t get something sustainable long term off the
> ground, I can easily envision most of humanity being far more concerned
> with their next meal than advancing science.

My reading of the problem is a lot different from yours.
at the start of XX century mormonism there was on the wane, but it was
supported by external forces (like the US) to keep oil available. And
they supported the most backward regime available, placed in the most
inhospitable place of all. No one ever conquered the place because,
frankly, it is not worth the times and costs.

As the revenues from oil will wane, the demographic explosion there will
reverse itself. Already their women's fertility is falling like a rock
and it is not very difficult to imagine their fertility will fall under
replacement when oil will not be enough to subside their food, health
care and retirements.

Egypt is on a lifeline now and Saudi Arabia will be in the future. They
are full of depreciating USD, food prices are skyrocketing (thank you
Uncle helicopter Ben). Saudis are unable to produce anything, they have
a 25% (at least) of their population formed by foreign laborers that
will leave if they are not paid enough and have no love for Saudis.

It is easy to stay retrograde and poor when someone is subsiding your
lifestyle and prevent you from going from poor to starving. Then, when
starving happen, people start to question everything and have little
patience with everyone. It is then that revolutions happen and thing
radically change forever.

> Regarding oil shale, oil sands, fracking, sure we can do all that, but
> what I am looking at is a long term solution in the event that the
> singularity doesn’t happen.  These other things will work for our
> lifetimes perhaps, but what then?  Also note that oil has made us
> comfortable and conservative.

Welfare made us comfortable and conservatives.

> We don’t want to change things when they
> work so well.  But China and India are coming, and they read the
> internet too.

No poverty trap for them?
Were they poor?
So, maybe, it is not the poverty the problem but what keep you poor.

>  They want to live like we do.  Imagine that.  What
> happens to our oil reserves then?  Our coal reserves?

Their prices go up and the US start to export more stuff and import less
stuff. The US, also, will start to reduce wastes. Maybe the US also will
start to build and make stuff to be exported.

And the US people start to pay for what they consume instead of giving
out a lot of green paper.

> As an exercise Kelly, map out a future with optimistic models of current
> energy resources, and anticipating the technological rise of China and
> India.  Where does it lead?  Use top level estimates of greenhouse
> warming, just using top level first order approximations, and include
> increased radiation of heat with Boltzmann’s law.  Where does it go? 
> What happens if a billion Chinese people and another billion Indians
> want to drive SUVs?

The US government give out food stamps like the Egyptian government
subside breads and propane gas. What happen when the US government will
run out of money (or the money they print will be worth nothing) to the
people on food stamps? A lot will need to find a real job instead of
surfing and chasing girls.


There is so much waste in the system everywhere (in the US, in Europe,
in Japan, and so on) that as they will be forced to put cut it, the
economy will literally fly.

> Then a billion more middle easterners get tired of being poor?

They will start learning something useful and working for producing
something useful to others so they can commerce.


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