By Jean-Marc Jancovici: Can we save energy, jobs and growth at the same time?

Thanks to Mike Stasse for finding this excellent presentation by Jean-Marc Jancovici on the relationship between energy, employment, and income.

I am not yet familiar with other work by Jancovici, but he seems to be a French version of Tom Murphy and Tim Garrett, which is a very good thing, because their quality of intellect, on the issues that really matter to civilization, are scarce.

Jancovici, an engineer, in 90 minutes, crisply demolishes 100 years of theories cherished by the “profession” of economics.

Idiots, all of them.

The depletion of natural resources, with oil to start with, and the need for a stable climate, will make it harder and harder to pursue economic growth as we know it. It has now become urgent to develop a new branch of economics which does not rely on the unrealistic assumption of a perpetual GDP increase. In this Colloquium, I will discuss a “physical” approach to economics which aims at understanding and managing the scaling back of our world economy.

Biography : Jean-Marc Jancovici, is a French engineer who graduated from École Polytechnique and Télécom, and who specializes in energy-climate subjects. He is a consultant, teacher, lecturer, author of books and columnist. He is known for his outreach work on climate change and the energy crisis. He is co-founder of the organization “Carbone 4” and president of the think tank “The Shift Project”.


5 thoughts on “By Jean-Marc Jancovici: Can we save energy, jobs and growth at the same time?”

  1. We Humans Have a Fatal Biology

    Be very afraid! Our limbic system dooms us all.

    “Yet we never lost what went before and still undergirds our overgrown frontal lobes: the mammalian brain, identified as such by Paul MacLean in the 1970s. No progress there. The mammalian brain remains the kind of brain that a cat or a dog, a lion or a bear, has. It’s good for rapid response to emotional signals of fear or rage or lust or need. No delay–just pounce.

    The mammalian brain includes the limbic system, a set of structures ringing the inner surface of the cerebral cortex and surrounding the brain stem. The thinking, planning neocortex of our frontal lobes richly interconnects with these limbic sub-cortical structures. Frontal intellect tells us how to satisfy our emotions. Limbic emotions tell intellect what feels good or right, ultimately then, what to do. We think we decide rationally, but in the end it is the limbic system that decides what seems the rational answer.”


  2. What’s interesting about Jean-Marc Jancovici is that he has on several occasions spoken to parliamentary committees (in France) on energy/economy/climate. He’s also been invited on French TV. Unusual, in my mind, given that he presents the harsh facts without any sugarcoating.


    1. Yes it is interesting. Peak oil experts have also been invited to speak to the US Congress. These facts are more evidence in support of humans having an incredibly strong ability to deny unpleasant realities. There are of course no easy solutions to these problems but I find it amazing that we don’t even discuss them.


      1. Jancovici pulls no punches. His graphs on energy use highlight how ridiculous it is to think that renewables can possibly replace fossil fuels which provide over 80 percent of our primary energy. He (and Gail Tverberg) also makes the point that in a world of diminishing resources (as exemplified by his graphs on Spain, Greece, and Portugal) there is no way for the majority to experience a rise in their standard of living. Those who can still garner the fruits of our present economic system will do so at the expense of everyone else.


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