Labour Party top economist doesn't understand "Nett Ene

What can we do to change the minds of decision makers and people in general to actually do something about preparing for the forthcoming economic/energy crises (the ones after this one!)?

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kenneal - lagger
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Labour Party top economist doesn't understand "Nett Ene

Post by kenneal - lagger »

I went to a CUSP conference on The Nature of Prosperity in London yesterday and was lectured to by an economist who was an economic adviser to Tony Blair's government and has just been part of a group who have bought out a major report on the economic future of the UK in this time of climate change. The CEO of the New Economics Foundation was also talking and they were waffling on about how we could maintain our prosperity as the climate changed and we worked towards a "no growth economy".

After their talk I asked a question along the lines of "Did their research take into account the drop in nett energy available from fossil fuels as Hall and Klittegard in "Energy and the Wealth of Nations" and Kate Raworth in "Doughnut Economics" all said that the current austerity and loss of gains in productivity and output could be put down to this?" His answer was that we had plenty of energy available from the sun and we just had to tap into this so there was no problem. I interjected that nett energy was very different from available energy but he just waffled again.

Meanwhile I was getting enthusiastic nods and the thumbs up from another economist on the table who has spoken at a previous CUSP conference and afterwards Tim Jackson, Director of CUSP and chair of the meeting, said that I had made a very good point.

I went up to the speaker during the break and tried to explain that available energy and usable energy were different things and that it took energy to convert available energy into usable energy and what was left was nett energy. Having explained to him that EROEI in fossil fuels has fallen from 100 in the 70s to about 25 now and that renewables were at a similar level so that instead of having a nett energy of 99 to use for things like growing food, supporting the NHS and education and art we only had 24 units of energy now. He kept asking about why the nett energy of renewables had fallen!!!

Tim Jackson said after that "He is an economist!!!" And this bloke is a top economist. No wonder we're in the shit if this is the level of advise that governments are getting.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Kate Raworth tells in her book that economics students across the world are not quite rioting about what they are expected to learn but are definitely taking their tutors to task! There is hope for us yet!
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

Ken I am curious as to what CUSP is as nothing likely comes up on google.

Spending time amongst economists should come with a mental health warning. Usually what they say sounds superficially convincing until you think about it for a bit. I wonder if you managed to glean any ideas of current economic thinking on the nature of prosperity and how these square with your own ideas?
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

The Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity is run by Tim Jackson, an economist with a great understanding of our current predicament. They are still trying to find a definition of sustainable prosperity I think but underlying their thinking is a definition that would include a large chunk of "way of life" rather than monetary wealth.

I've had a few conversations with Tim Jackson and I think he is conflicted over whether we can have any future prosperity, let alone monetary prosperity, given the challenges of climate change, declining nett energy and economic meltdown, unlike many of the other conference attendees who generally have no inkling of the possible ramifications of the above challenges. I get many a blank stare when I start off about "the future".

Prosperity in the future will, I think, be like prosperity in the past based on land ownership which gives control of or influences your food and fuel supply, the extent of which influence depends on your level of land ownership.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Clive Lewis MP gave me a political description of myself which I can espouse - a Modern Conservative. That is a conservative who also believes that the state should ensure the health and basic well being of the population.

He was going on about nationalisation and him not wanting to be a leader. I suggested that what we needed at the moment was leaders and someone in his position shouldn't give up that mantle. I also suggested that nationalisation hadn't worked last time we had it in the 60s and 70s and also that business ownership, as currently constituted wasn't working either so what was needed was a new model of ownership and/or control which included the employees. I also suggested that Labour might get wider support if they dropped the word Nationalisation and went for something that included employee ownership. He told me that Labour had written a paper of different ownership models so I must get hold of that and read it.
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Post by adam2 »

I have met several left wing politicians, and supporters thereof, who seem unable to grasp basic facts about oil depletion, declining EROEI, and the laws of physics.

"all working together"
"make peace not war"
"public ownership"

And the like wont alter the laws of physics and are very unlikely to increase either EROEI or total supplies of fossil fuels.

Quite a few don't even believe that supplies ARE depleting ! but consider that stories of oil depletion are all a scam to extract EVEN MORE money from the down trodden consumer.

And not to be unduly partisan, those on the Right often hold equally daft though different views. Donald Trump is a good example.
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Post by fuzzy »

Almost all problems can be solved by having 2 or less kids. A solution that will not be accepted by the city, every crown dependency, the Grosvenors, The Cadogens, the Duke of Buccleuch, The Saxe Coburgs, the LSE, anyone doing PPE or the US MBA, and all the other parasites.
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Post by fuzzy »

Did I forget to mention Wall street..?
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Post by Little John »

Both Capitalism and Socialism, as they are currently formulated, are fundamentally unfit to address the limits to growth embodied in the multifaceted crises of peak industrial resources, climate change and ecological degradation in the form of the biggest mass extinction since the end of the Permian.

The reason being that both ideologies were forged in the crucible of the industrial revolution and both have, as an underlying implicit assumption, the conceptual framework of perpetual economic growth. The differences between them merely laying in how such economic activity is organized and how the the wealth generated from it is distributed. These differences matter, of course. That's why I am still, at some level, a socialist.

But, they do not save us from the Long Emergency. Nothing can do that now.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

fuzzy wrote:Almost all problems can be solved by having 2 or less kids. ....
That problem was solved long ago, Fuzzy. The birthrate of indigenous people in the UK and, indeed, most of Western Europe has been below replacement rate (2.3 children/couple or thereabouts) since the early 1950s. This was why organised mass immigration was started to keep continuous economic growth going.

The population of the UK has gone from the 42 billion of the early 50s to the 64 billion of today entirely on the back of immigration. TPTB will keep immigration going as long as they possibly can to ensure the growth that the economic and banking systems are addicted to continues.
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Post by RenewableCandy »

Can I just put in a word for lots of countries you wouldn't expect to be joining in on this: for example Iran 2.1 children, etc.

Every country, bar those currently at war & where lawlessness is an issue, has had dramatically falling family sizes during my lifetime. The only reason the population as a whole is still rising is the presence of all the pensioners - myself (very nearly now) included.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

RenewableCandy wrote:.......The only reason the population as a whole is still rising is the presence of all the pensioners - myself (very nearly now) included.
That's not quite true Candy, it is the large number of young children who have yet to procreate that is driving the population increase over the next few years. Most of us pensioners have stopped having children, apart from those rich buggers who can afford to divorce the older model and bribe a young one to keep his ego going.
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Post by BritDownUnder »

I am still waiting for a hard-leftist to proclaim the Laws of Thermodynamics (or proponents thereof) to be 'fascist' when told that the Laws won't adjust to make state owned power conversion systems more efficient and equal than privately owned ones.

Interesting fact about Iran's birth rate and apparently true. Apparently the first Ayatollah (I believe the work means 'flower of God' BTW) Khomeini said that economists are donkeys and wanted a high birth rate. When told that this would cause economic and ecological disaster they had to wait for him to meet God. His more enlightened (relatively speaking) successors apparently issued the relevant religious judgments to contraception legalised and made widely available in that country.
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