By Jack Alpert: How the World Works

This latest video from Jack Alpert is very good.

Alpert explains why on our current default trajectory most of the global population that lives after 2050 will experience starvation and that by about 2100 our 8 billion will be reduced to about 600 million serfs leading a medieval lifestyle on a sick planet.

Alpert then describes an alternate trajectory via voluntary rapid population reduction that avoids unnecessary suffering and preserves a modern human civilization of 50 million living on a healthy planet.

Alpert remains the only person that I’m aware of with a thermodynamically feasible plan for maintaining a modern human civilization as fossil energy depletes.

His plan does require us to break through our evolved tendency to deny unpleasant realities. A few, such as the readers of this blog, have demonstrated this is possible but scaling to the majority remains in serious doubt.

You can find other work I’ve posted by Jack Alpert here.

93 thoughts on “By Jack Alpert: How the World Works”

  1. The required energy surplus for the 50 million happy campers in 2100 will come from nuclear or it won’t come from anywhere. Yet, how can nuclear energy provide any surplus whatsoever if its production, maintenance, and distribution has to be free of fossil fuels?


    1. You should visit Jack’s site and dig into the details of his plan. If I recall correctly, he assumes we get the population down quickly enough, and the new social contract kills energy hogs like air travel and automobiles, such that sufficient fossil energy remains to maintain a few hydro dams, which provide a bridge to more advanced nuclear energy, which the modern civilization continues to invest in.


      1. I will ( He admits EROEI of less than 1 for oil and uranium in 2100:

        zero use of energy resources to obtain other energy resources with EROEI’s less than 1
        (fossil or uranium energy expected to be below “1” by 2100)’

        The plan is hydroelectric in those three areas. I just cannot see yet how society cannot use concrete, steel, and glass to repair decaying infrastructure. If that’s right, it’s the same question from me: how without fossil fuels?


        1. I think the plan is to bridge with fossil energy until there is plentiful nuclear, which although inefficient, could theoretically be used for cement, steel, etc.

          After visiting his site please come back and provide a summary of his latest plan for us.


          1. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments, it’s three city states with massive hydroelectric power. The rest of the Earth is for other species. The electricity generated by these sites will provide for the maintenance of the hydropower plants and all other services. There is no trade among the three locations: Pacific NW, Three Gorges Dam area (no floods, I hope), and Brazil/Paraguay. It’s all recycled metal–no digging. It’s a different version of a Mark Jacobson all electric society, but both have no use for fissionable nuclear (for Mr. Alpert by 2100). Maybe fusion but from recycled materials. No mining allowed in the 22nd century!


  2. Jack has been a friend for around a decade. Much of his work is excellent. However, as Niels Bohr, Yogi Berra, and others have written: prediction is difficult, especially about the future. I agree that we are massively overpopulated. We might shrink in a variety of ways, with starvation being a part. It has occurred on and off regionally for millennia, and exists now. As to the number that might become somewhat stable after shrinkage occurs, there is wide disagreement. Some say 2 B, some 500M. Optimists say 8B which I think is nuts.


    1. I agree there is huge uncertainty in predicting the future. You can’t discuss a probable population without specifying its standard of living. I think Jack is in the correct ballpark because we know from ancient history what’s possible with solar only. Nuclear war and climate change are wild cards that can significantly change the forecast. There are other significant wild cards like soil and phosphorous depletion, and ground level ozone.


  3. Hi this is Jack, and the version of the video you saw (7 minutes) was sent to Rob for comment and not intended to go public) I got 100’s of good comments and in 40 hours of editing 2.5 days , a few hours after rob posted it, I posted a final version of the video, 9 minutes refecting a lot of very smart people’s comments. the old version has been taken down and this is the new version How the world works v2.0 thanks for you interest and kindness.


  4. I put this comment on Damn the Matrix blog where Jack’s video was just posted:

    A bit laboured. The average Joe in denial wouldn’t understand. No comments about the effects of climate change. Three remaining populations totaling 600 million, living in the only 3 suitable locations with hydro energy? Doubtful. Climate in those areas? Soils in those areas? Sea level rise in those areas? (they were all coastal locations). And dams silt up eventually. I think he could’ve done better.


    1. Yes, I suggested to Jack he fill in some of the blanks but for this version he wanted to keep it short.

      Hopefully in the future Jack will produce a longer more detailed version that answers your questions. I also think a future version needs to make a clear case why renewables cannot substitute for fossil energy. The majority of citizens think we can carry on with renewables and so may discount his warning.


  5. This plan has the same chance of saving the humans as the Mars colony & Singularity (cyber rapture) plans. Moreover, I have yet to hear any good reason, nay, any reason at all for saving the humans. It’s always a given.

    Why save them? What purpose?

    I would not save them even if I possessed the power. I’d use my power to make them infertile & reduce or eliminate all suffering until the last one died out.

    If any humans make it out of this century, it’ll be by chance, not by any of their planning, unless there is a workable plan to circumvent evolution & the MPP.

    Humans can’t help but plan/meddle. I get that. I suggest working on immediate problems instead of plans for saving humans who have yet to be conceived.

    I have a suggestion & it’s for Americans. How about coming up with a plan to get more of your citizens to follow a few, retard simple, tried & true, temporary pandemic measures to save your country from collapsing the day after tomorrow? Baby steps.

    One other thing regarding communication of any plans to those who would be carrying them out – millennials & Gen-Z. You need to remain anonymous & have millennials & Gen-Z do the selling, because privileged, educated white Boomers are the last fucking people they want to hear from right now.


    1. We disagree on the value of saving humans. Our brain may be the only object in the universe that has figured out how the universe works. That’s pretty amazing.

      It’s also quite plastic because we’re born mostly un-programmed which is why we’re so adaptable. Under the right circumstances we can be good neighbors, especially if there’s only one tribe without scarcity as Jack proposes. There’s no overriding the MPP but maybe a society with rules could allow MPP to operate within constraints. Maybe, maybe not.

      Regardless I think our intelligence that emerged from evolved chemical reactions is very cool.


      1. For the record, my previous comment was pre morning coffee. I keep saying I’m never doing pre morning coffee comments again, but I continue to relapse every couple of weeks. Perhaps I should attend a few AA (Assholes Anonymous) meetings.

        The Biden/politics, I’m not watching. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid it. Still see the headlines in the right side column & aggregator sites though.

        I watched every video in this Caitlin Johnstone piece.

        Stop Calling It A “Stutter” :  Here Are Dozens Of Examples Of Biden’s Dementia Symptoms

        If this doesn’t convince someone, nothing will.


    2. Apneaman, I’m also of the mind that prioritizing survival of the human species at all costs is curious. I can only surmise that the reason for even overshoot-aware folks doing so is because at root they still feel like humans are somehow special and that this specialness must continue. I don’t think we are special. At least not so special that we MUST continue to exist. We have some beautiful qualities, some of which are beautiful in ways different from that of other animals, but I’d say destructive and daft are better qualitative descriptors of our essential nature than most others.

      I think the best each of us can do is to allow ourselves to enjoy what beauty remains in our current existence, to attempt to understand reality (for its own sake, as I don’t think we can take this knowledge or understanding with us when we die; if we can, nice bonus 😉), and if possible try to lighten the suffering load for others who are less fortunate than ourselves.

      The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT) is a group that emphasizes human extinction (voluntary would be best, but is surely impossible) as a great thing for humans and everything else on Earth. I like and agree with their philosophy, but I don’t think it has the tiniest change of succeeding. So, involuntarily extinction it is.


      1. U.S. Americans will buy guns for any reason whatsoever. Black President? Need more guns. Female President? DEFINITELY need more guns. White President? Don’t really need ’em, but you never know, more guns. Neighbor bought more guns? I need more. Haven’t filled the whole basement yet with guns? More guns will do the trick. Sad? Yes, more guns. Angry? Guns.


  6. Well, at least Alpert is discussing the verboten issue . . . for all ten of us, ha!

    If Norman Borlaug and Paul Ehrlich hammered home the overpopulation problem countless times and were utterly ignored, I doubt the masters will pay any attention to these ideas. For their own reasons, they want the slave numbers to increase.


    1. Yes, samuraigardener.

      In 1970, Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Throughout his career, he emphasized the importance of population within the context of food production.  He’s just another brilliant mind who was completely ignored where it really counts.  He lived to 95; I can’t imagine his disappointment in the “rational” human being. 

      Borlaug quote: The Green Revolution has won a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation; it has given man a breathing space.  If fully implemented, the revolution can provide sufficient food for sustenance during the next three decades. But the frightening power of human reproduction must also be curbed; otherwise, the success of the Green Revolution will be ephemeral only.  Most people still fail to comprehend the magnitude and menace of the “Population Monster”. . .   Since man is potentially a rational being, however, I am confident that within the next two decades he will recognize the self-destructive course he steers along the road of irresponsible population growth.


      1. Unfortunately Homo superstitious in not a rational being. If we were (excepting ~ 15% mutants),85% we wouldn’t believe in non-physical supernaturals. Bring evidence of anything not physical to the Nobel Committee, and win a Prize along with ~ a million bucks.


  7. OMG!, me & the other BC citizens who do not own auto mobiles are about to be OPPRESSED!!. BIG GOV iz stealing R freedumb-N-liberty fer dare Covid hoaxing-N-Stuff.

    Mandatory masks to be required on all Metro Vancouver public transit amid COVID-19

    “Physical distancing is not always going to be possible on transit, particularly once more riders return to the system,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said.”

    “The change comes into effect August 24.”

    Canada & BC are dealing much better than most nations & provinces/states. It’s not because Canada doesn’t have mouth breathing, half wit citizens, bureaucrats & politicians. It’s because Canada has less of them per capita.

    Doctors, officials frustrated by anti-mask protests across Canada

    “Members of the group “Hugs Over Masks” gathered in cities across Canada Sunday, including a small group in Surrey.

    Those in attendance refused to speak to CTV News Vancouver, but the founder of the group who organized a rally in Kitchener, Ont., spoke to CTV News there. Vladislav Sovolad said he wants “to make sure that people actually know the real harm and effects” of wearing masks.

    “There (are) no studies that have shown there are harms in wearing a mask,” said Dr. Anna Wolak, a physician in B.C. “The masks just add that extra layer of protection.”

    Wolak is one of more than 80 physicians and dentists in B.C. who have penned an open letter to the province, calling for a mandatory mask mandate.

    “The Canadian Thoracic Society has come out and said there are no underlying respiratory conditions that could be worsened by wearing a mask,” Wolak told CTV News. “The asthma Canada Society has come out as well and said most people with asthma can wear a mask safely.”

    Surrey city councillor Linda Annis said she finds it “absolutely discouraging” that people are gathering to protest masks.”

    Having less mouth breathing, half wit citizens, bureaucrats & politicians. per capita does not make for a utopia, nor will it save Canada from pain & collapsing, but it does change the timing & lessen the suffering.

    I thought a great way to celebrate & brag up this modest victory is to have an unofficial national slogan, so I created one, free of charge (cuz I care). I’ve based it on that god awful American slogan/chant – USA! USA! WE’RE #1 WE’RE #1 – we thankfully have not heard for the last 5 years.



      1. You don’t use enough.

        Just come out and say what you really want to Steven. No need to play passive aggressive word games with me. I can take anything you can dish.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Occam’s Razor is my preference. The gist of your last post, and several others I’ve read were too descriptive and repetitive for my taste. Others might like it. That’s all.


  8. How human extinction would change the Earth

    If our species disappeared tomorrow, what would actually happen, and what kind of planet would we be leaving behind?

    “Well over 99 per cent of the species that have ever existed on Earth have died out, most during cataclysms and extinction events of the sort that killed off the dinosaurs.

    Humanity has never faced an event of that magnitude, but sooner or later we will.
    The end of humanity is inevitable

    Human extinction, many experts believe, is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. And some think it will come sooner rather than later. In 2010, eminent Australian virologist Frank Fenner claimed that humans will probably be extinct in the next century thanks to overpopulation, environmental destruction and climate change.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The growing homeless have always seemed like a symptom of overpopulation, not just drugs or bad luck. They already have little to lose, so expect them to move beyond petty crimes. I think people will demand stronger law enforcement, not weaker, as things get scarcer while ever-lurking criminals abuse hollow causes.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. James’ take on How the World Works…

    The main justification for our existence is the spreading, dilution and dissipation of energy, at least that which chemistry and physics will allow with a little help from our enzymatic tools. The amount of energy released from a gradient must be in excess of the total energetic cost of building the tools or system of tools that work upon it.

    All of the conduits you see around you – roads, buildings, power plants, toaster ovens etc. have the singular purpose of releasing energy to a lower state of availability. Even organisms are conduits for the release of energy from higher to lower concentration and availability. A bird is a conduit for the release of energy from things like insects and seeds. A human is a conduit for the release of energy from cattle, pigs, plants, chickens, fish and so on. A dung beetle finds the remains and makes a living from it. But the conduit only exists because it can act as a channel through which energy flows while using a proportion of it for its own construction, maintenance and reproduction. When the fossil fuel gradient or prey species of the technological system go extinct and the fossil fuels are all converted to less energetic molecular species and heat, then the technological conduits and their hapless human RNA will be condemned to death. Complex existence, structure and behavior, conserved and made possible by information, must be justified with an energy flow. You get to exist as long as the energy flows.

    The earth’s surface is overrun with technological conduits, most of it built through releasing energy from fossil fuels, but also a percentage from biomass, the hydrologic cycle, sunlight and others. Once the fossil fuels are depleted as is our primary goal, then there is no more need for the technological conduits no matter how much we believe they are a permanent fixture of our existence and regardless of our loss of previous investment. New ones won’t be built and old ones won’t be maintained. This puts Homo sapiens in a pinch since they have more or less blindly built the technological system to dissipate fossil energy and have fed their own organic systems of cells by applying novel enzymatic, technological tools to the substrate of life as if it too is of endless supply. This butchering of the ecosystem and what will likely be a grand finale of massive poisoning may make human life with simple tools impossible to achieve in the future.

    It may seem that for the technological system the “sky is the limit” or that we are “God’s special creatures” because we have suddenly in evolutionary terms found ourselves at the helm as RNA of a human-serving, omnicidal, cancerous growth. But there’s no doubt that the bell will soon toll for humankind as it has for so many other dissipatives whose energy or prey species(s) ran out. Even continued economies-of-scale in which a few corporations manage all business, concentration of humans in cities, digital currencies, surveillance and monitoring of all human activity and similar last ditch efforts, will long forestall the eventual running-down of technological civilization.


  10. Tim Watkins’ take on How the World Works…

    Here is a short excerpt from his new book.

    Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic at least, climate change was widely held as the crisis of our age. With the energy available to the economy already declining prior to SARS-CoV-2 embarking upon its world tour, however, a near-term energy crunch may prove far more deadly. That few people have even been aware of a looming energy problem is in large part because humans have never had to pay the full cost of the benefits we have derived from fossil fuels. For most people – including economists who ought to know better – energy is just another relatively cheap economic input. And since for the best part of three centuries we have enjoyed growing energy return on energy invested, most people take for granted that “clever people somewhere else” will come up with some other form of energy with which to unleash another round of economic growth.

    At the time of writing, though, such alternative energy only exists in theory or in costly and unsustainable laboratory experiments. At the commercial/industrial scale, the only energy sources currently available to us necessitate a shrinking of the economy at a rate even worse than the self-inflicted economic shutdown in response to the pandemic

    Energy is the life-force behind all human activity. As contrarian economist Steve Keen puts it, “Capital without energy is a statue; labour without energy is a corpse.” As the remainder of this book explains, the reason we should all care about why lions don’t chase mice is because it is the same reason why advanced globalised economies must collapse if the quantity of energy upon which they were built is no longer available. At stake is almost everything that we take for granted about our modern way of life.

    As we shall see, the choice ahead of us is stark. We are not facing the kind of crisis which can be solved with a different economic theory, a change of political party in government or even a new system of government. The laws we must grapple with are not like man (and woman)-made social distancing or road speed laws. They are the physical boundaries of the universe itself. It matters not one jot whether the red team or the blue team is in office when E.R.O.I. drops below the ratio required to maintain industrial civilisation. The only questions left for us to resolve are:
    – Can we do anything to increase E.R.O.I., and if not,
    – What is the least damaging way to de-grow an economy?

    By the end of this book, I hope to convince readers that there is still a window – albeit a rapidly closing one – of opportunity to achieve one or other of these outcomes. However, I would caution that so long as humanity continues to be preoccupied with greed, personal gain and the relative trivialities of the 24 hour news cycle, then we will hand the process of de-growth to Mother Nature; and we most certainly will not enjoy the outcome.


  11. My take on How the World Works…

    The singular emergence of human intelligence, and its ability to write and read this paragraph, evolved in a gene controlled machine with an unusually powerful computer, that was created by an improbable simultaneous adaptation for an extended theory of mind with denial of reality, and whose complexity was enabled by the increased energy per gene provided by mitochondria, that resulted from an accidental endosymbiosis of two prokaryotes, powered by an unintuitive chemiosmotic proton pump, that originated in an alkaline hydrothermal vent, on 1 of 40 billion planets, in 1 of 100 billion galaxies, and that planet had an improbable store of photosynthetic and geothermal generated fossil energy, that the species leveraged to understand and appreciate, the peak of what may be possible in the universe, before it vanished, because it denied the consequences of its success.


  12. There are probably more than a few readers of this blog, who like me, would generally rather read than just chime in and say, I agree too.
    However, I generally agree that denial is one of the factors making us unique in evolution. I wish (hopium addict that I am), that humanity doesn’t go extinct. Although as a species we are nothing special to the Universe, we are at the same time the personification of the Universe risen to consciousness. Truly a philosophical enigma. With our extinction the Universe again becomes mindless – which saddens me. Our greatest invention, Science (the only self correcting philosophy I have found); which we have used to gain a feeble understanding of the Universe and our relationship to it will disappear. Sad. Thanks to everyone for writing comments it makes everything much less lonely.


    1. Hi Allen.

      Humans do not posses the technological means to know whether or not they are the only hyper intelligent ‘conscious’ beings in this universe. Perhaps humans do posses the technological means, but the aliens have super advanced clocking technology that they deployed because they don’t wish to be ‘discovered’ by primitive apes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of my favorite videos of all time. I have watched it multiple times.
        However, unless there is dramatically different physics that we don’t know about (as the movie portrayed) interstellar travel is not possible for humans (cosmic radiation, etc.). John Michael Greer had the most interesting ideas in one of his books, “Stars Reach” where only communication with other interstellar species was possible. Drake’s equation and the Fermi Paradox (and our current situation with Overshoot (population, pollution, destruction of the biosphere, AND denial)) seem to suggest that we might be alone (intellectually) in the cosmos (if not physically then temporally). Sad to say I don’t think aliens are out there but if they were would they not try to communicate?


  13. Energy is the core of our modern lifestyles. Oil powers our machines and caffeine powers our brains. It can’t be a coincidence that oil and coffee are the top two most traded commodities by value.

    Someday when we’re forced to live and eat local I think I will most miss coffee.


    1. Why scientists say a global coffee crisis is imminent

      Aug. 11, 2020

      “A 2020 survey suggests that four out of five Americans are convinced they can’t function productively without it..”

      “Climate change is threatening the existence of the very plant where our all-important daily brew begins.

      If you’re still wondering whether climate change is real, ask Colombian coffee farmers. They told Vox just how a warming climate is threatening their way of life. Coffee is a very high-maintenance plant. It thrives in a very narrow temperature window: too cold, and the berries will freeze. If it’s too hot, the berries don’t grow properly. Farms in Colombia and other coffee-producing countries tend to sit at a particular elevation where this ideal temperature range can be sustained. But the temperature in Colombia’s coffee region has increased more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1.2 degrees Celsius) since 1980. Climate change has also made rainfall patterns less predictable and created favorable conditions for coffee rust, a fungus that can devastate an entire crop

      Read More:

      Read More:

      I’ll miss you when you’re gone my sweet little buzzy beans.


  14. There are many different opinions on what will happen to our economy.

    Some people think that governments can print unlimited money without consequence and that as robots and AI take our jobs we will implement a Universal Basic Income and continue our modern lives. Other people acknowledge we have too much debt in the system and predict a global reset after which we will resume normal growth with some form of new monetary system. Others think we will experience multiple discreet steps down as energy depletes and the economy reconfigures itself to become simpler and more local.

    Today Charles Hugh Smith argues we will experience one big economic extinction event.

    h/t James @

    We’re already in a post-normal world because the expansion of globalization and financialization needed to fuel the Old Normal has reversed into contraction. This reversal is an extinction event for all sectors and institutions with high fixed costs: air travel, resort tourism, healthcare, higher education, local government services, etc. because their fixed cost structures are so high they are no longer financially viable if they’re operating at less than full capacity.

    Only getting back to 70% of previous capacity, revenues, tax receipts, etc. dooms them to collapse.

    And there’s no way to cut their fixed costs without fatally disrupting all the sectors that are dependent on them.

    What do I believe?

    The only thing I know with certainty is that as non-renewable energy depletes we will become poorer because we use energy to multiply the ability of our brains and muscles to produce wealth.

    There are many different ways to become poorer. We can have less money (deflation). We can have money that buys less goods and services (inflation). We can destroy our wealth fighting for a bigger slice of a shrinking pie (war). We can become poorer slowly (good luck and good government), or we can become poorer quickly (bad luck or bad government).

    All of these scenarios have a significant non-zero probability. I assign the highest probability to a few closely spaced deflationary steps down, followed by one big inflationary step down, then stabilizing for a decade or so at about 50% of our current wealth and food.

    I expect the fall to be quick and unexpected because we have created an unstable situation by using so much debt (now about $4 debt for every $1 growth) resisting the inevitable outcome.


  15. Nice comment by JT Roberts at OFW.

    Insightful post

    ‘Between 2012 and 2020 the oil revenues of the Arab producers fell from $1 trillion to $300bn, down by over two-thirds.

    A question that was asked was what happens when they pass peak production? Arguably they will spend more on less productive fields to maintain production. That’s what we’ve seen already. We’ve been living in an era of unaffordable oil. The peak was behind us. 2005-2006. Since then every oil producer has been cannibalizing there industry in one way or another to stay alive. Sure we can say that the production increased during the period since 2006 but not without accounting tricks and a ton of debt. Remember oil used to include only oil now it includes BOE barrels of oil equivalent. You the kind of stuff you can burn but won’t fuel your car. Conventional oil has been flat or declining. Now the production bubble has truly burst. Unconventional oil, mostly shale, is pretty much shut in. We forget what a mammoth undertaking that was. Nearly 1000 rigs drilling two wells a month 3-5miles long with 1000 truckloads of materials per well. 60million lbs of very specific sand per well twice that in water. The US has never undertaken a project of this magnitude in its history. Not the Apollo project or Manhattan project or Eisenhower highway system. That was the Hail Mary pass. Not one well ever produced its projected EUR and most only produced 50%.

    Now the system is in contraction airlines are cutting none profitable routes to peripheral airports. This will not only affect the periphery but also the hubs as volumes declined. The feedback is increased ticket prices which will impact demand. Wash rinse repeat. It’s already happened the FED just printed enough paper to cover it over. It isn’t just the Middle East that will be displaced. It will be the rural population here in the US. And as proud as they are in their “independent “ way of life in their Red states they will discover that it was the Blue states that made it possible and vise versa.

    As I’ve said money is not a store of value it’s a flow. That’s why printing is not going to fix it. Once the velocity declines the money simply disappears. Sure it looks like it’s there but it’s not. Don’t believe it? Try to lump sum cash out. You’ll discover quite quickly it simply was an illusion. Try to sell your retirement for face value on projected life span. Can’t be done with out debt. Because the money isn’t there.

    It’s been a bag of holes and shear futility. The gates at the concentration camps expressed it best “Work Will Set You Free”. Ah yes the Golden Years. Same Fascist message

    Add to it the political entertainment that makes people believe they live in a democracy. A two party system is no different than a single party system. Particularly when it’s the corporations who effectively choose the candidates. Does anyone remember what the economic policies of Fascism are? Direct government economic involvement perhaps? The American Dream how true it is. But the world has chased after it. And it has come this. An empty gas tank.


    1. I know those industrial chimneys as ‘stacks’. When made with steel they fall under Boilermakers jurisdiction. I’ve only ever worked on one & it was a few hour repair on one already built. It also had a ladder cage (law) with a 5/8ths wire rope running through it, top to bottom, to hook your fall arrest harness lanyard to.

      The scaffolding he’s erecting reminds me of the scaffolding we’d erect (on the inside) when building a new tank, except we’d weld brackets on the tank to slide in the angle brackets the planks sit on.


      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m standing at the bus stop earlier & when it pulls up my brain does a WTF?? because the entire bus has been painted Dayglo pink with images of masks plastered all over. The latest in BC social engineering.

    Not all social engineering is bad. Whatever gets the sheeple in line. If it was up to me, I’d go retro & bring back the pillory. Half dozen of them in the middle of every bus loop with baskets of rotting fruit & veg to hurl at the mask cheaters.


  17. Tim Watkins, JT Roberts, MegaCancer James & Undeniable Rob all in one thread – 4 of the most intelligent, hard-working & insightful thinkers I’ve come come across in the Doom-O-Sphere.

    My bucket list is fulfilled. I am now prepared to join my forefathers in Valhalla.


  18. Great post. Jack and I had discussed his latest video and the final version is solid. Your blog feeds onto our website I was going to post Jack’s video once finalized but you beat me to it! Terry Spahr 610-420-1787


  19. Mac10 tactfully explains the subtle nuances of our economy.

    The Big, Fat, Moron Bubble

    Full Retard asset managers who sold at the bottom are now fully back to locked and loaded at the top again. Don’t let anyone tell you that fund flows don’t matter – they do. When everyone is hitting the bid or heading for the exits at the same time, that moves markets. To extremes.

    Let’s step back to the economy for a moment. We now know that the vaccine won’t work on fat people which is about 80% of the U.S., ballpark estimate. Throw in the anti-vaxxers who are 1/3rd of the country, i.e. every Faux News viewer. Throw in young people who won’t get vaccinated, don’t respond to polls, and don’t believe in forced celibacy. Which means I (unscientifically) estimate that only a small subset of the population will be vaccinated and/or immune one year from now. Which means the forced economic lockdown will continue.

    In addition, summertime is peak economic activity in the travel and leisure parts of the economy. Bars and restaurants have the use of outdoor patios to further distance their customer load. However now we are going back into the dark months amid a virus spike and sans a viable vaccine. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that this economic implosion is going to continue for at least another year.

    Meanwhile, policy-makers are still FAR behind the curve on providing adequate fiscal stimulus to keep the economy afloat. And even if they eventually do, under the current lockdown regime what part of the small business service economy exists one year from now, is unthinkable.


    1. I would very much like to interact with mac10, but can’t find his coordinates. Name, email… I first studied technical analysis with Ralph Acampora (the godfather of TA) in the 70s. I’ve followed a momentum system (months -years) of a longtime friend (35 yrs) who was awarded Currency Org of the year several times by a major Pension magazine, and also a top TA who is more short term. (weeks-months)

      If you can help re mac10, please email me at my alt address:


  20. A couple of things about Jack surprised (bothered) me — 1) Given the stunning claims made in his work, I’m surprised that he has not published any papers in peer-reviewed periodicals. In checking his CV at ( he lists just one “Academic” paper (on learning), which was presented, not in a professional journal, but at a conference in Reno Nevada back on Jan. 10, 2003.
    2) In a April 29, 2018 interview with James Howard Kunstler, Jack claims that while working as an engineer at GM Research Dept, “I put seatbelts in cars … in 1968.” But according to Automotive News (June 1996) “Automotive safety reached a turning point in the 1964 model year. That was the year front-seat lap belts became standard equipment in passenger cars.” (See “Jack Alpert on Unwinding the Human Predicament” )
    Jack makes much of the fact that he is “very careful to do my calculations in joules and mass.” It would be reassuring for untutored readers to know that his logic and calculations, as convincing as they appear to be, have been peer reviewed and substantiated by fellow scholars.


    1. Can’t speak for Jack but I do know from my experience as an electrical engineer in the tech industry that it’s possible to do good things without having any peer reviewed papers. I do wish he had one document that pulled together all his ideas.


    2. Dear Frank, Sorry if this got double posted. The video derives from work posted at Let me point you to The Plan for unwinding the Predicament – SKIL This URL is in the video on the slide with social rules. If you need more information of how I derived the script for the movie see SKIL notes specifically notes 80 through 110 If the text is too tiresome check out the video library When summing up 50 years of work in a 9 minute movies it’s hard to include details.

      As a learning theorist I know I am not going to change anyone’s view of reality, without letting the listener satisfy himself with his own computations or logic. If all he has is two experts with different numbers choosing the correct expert/number is like a person with two watches with different times. You need to know how to do a noon site or you can not choose between them. Similarly in choosing to believe one of my video’s I try to give the listener a way of doing his own calculations. Frank you are not having trouble believing what I am saying, so you must be making some calculations. You just want someone else to tell you your commonsense is not wrong.


  21. The answer to the fermi paradox, why we are the chosen ones, and the meaning of life

    Thus the purpose of life seems to be to maximize entropy as quickly as possible, to bring the universe closer to thermodynamic equilibrium.

    Furthermore, it seems that dissipation driven adaptive evolution should ultimately converge to create the most efficient energy dissipater. The perfect entropy maximizer.

    The natural and inevitable consequence of any Dissipation Driven Evolutionary Apex is the Ultimate Annihilator.

    Self-annihilation has been one of the proposed answers to the Fermi paradox for a while, but not as a natural consequence of the laws of nature. Now DDAO explains why this might be inevitable.

    But having to re-evolve life from scratch to the level of perfect annihilator each time for every galaxy, star system etc. is probably an intense amount of effort for the universe. It’s not very efficient. An even more efficient maximizer of entropy would be one that manages to blow up planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies without wiping itself out. Instead, the same species would spread, destroy, spread, destroy, spread, destroy etc.

    And perhaps that’s where we come in.

    View at


  22. I watched tonight the recent documentary “I, Pastafari: A Flying Spaghetti Monster Story”.

    It’s about a new religion that combines humor with an important and wise message. I wish them well because pasta, unlike celibacy, is unlikely to cause men to rape little boys. Unfortunately I didn’t see any denial of death in their beliefs so I predict it won’t last long.


  23. The first few minutes summarizes the wealth gains of billionaires during the pandemic. It’s staggering and disgusting.

    Over 30 million people lost their jobs between mid-March and mid-May, while the wealth of America’s 600+ billionaires ballooned by $434 billion. How did this happen?


    1. I wrote this comment on Wolf Richter’s YouTube channel:

      I wonder if there is a different possible explanation for the actions of the fed? What if they are decent people with good intentions that have calculated that a widening wealth gap is a lesser evil than an economic collapse? The design of our monetary system requires the money supply to grow or else it collapses. Real growth is now constrained by too much debt, demographics, rising energy cost of energy, and the virus. What to do? If they allow the market to correct the money supply and economy will collapse. If they print money and give it to the lower and middle classes it will be spent which will cause inflation and rising interest rates which will collapse the economy. If they print money and inject it into the markets the wheels stay on, at the expense of a widening wealth gap, which perhaps they’ve calculated is the lesser of evils.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The usual reply to “why” the Fed doesn’t let the market reset, amongst us that are aware it is a problem, is either thy are clueless bureaucrats infected with group think or they are paid apparatchiks in the employ of the 1%. I think your explanation makes much more sense. They see that printing more money keeps the wheels on the system and that is preferable to a collapse of the economy. Thanks for the insight.


        1. Thanks. There are quite a few examples of denial causing us to attribute bad intentions to bad outcomes. For example, governments have spent a lot of money trying to find a breakthrough in fusion energy. And a few governments, like Japan and Germany, have made an honest attempt to lower their CO2 emissions. It’s those pesky laws of physics that have blocked success, not commitment or good intentions.


    1. The Fed wants maybe 2.5% inflation. I think there’s an argument that QE for the masses would put inflation in the 15-20% range


      1. My opinion: All a matter of quantity. Velocity of money is what drives inflation, and as there is so much consumer debt that will suck up a lot of the helicopter $s, that velocity won’t rise much. If the QE to consumers is adequate to pay down arrears and leave a surplus, and if the buck has dropped ~25% more making import prices rise a lot, then maybe 5% inflation could be reached in a couple of years.


        1. But if QE dollars are used to pay down debt then won’t the QE be ineffective at inflating the money supply? Meaning they’ll have to do more and more QE to citizens until there is enough to cause inflation?


    2. The Fed’s notion of inflation is different than that of citizens. The Fed wants the money supply to inflate a few percent per year because that is required to prevent the banking system, and thus economy, from collapsing. By printing money and funneling it into assets they achieve their goal of stabilizing the banking system at the expense of a widening wealth gap.

      The average citizen thinks of inflation as rising prices. If the Fed prints money and gives it to people who are just making ends meet they will spend it to improve their quality of life which will inflate the price of consumables, especially food and energy. As purchasing power falls, lenders will demand higher interest rates to ensure they make a real return on their loan. Higher interest rates will collapse the economy because we have so much debt and lenders cannot afford to pay more to service it.


      1. Interest rates at the short end (spot -1 year) can easily be kept low by the Fed. Longer dates get more difficult as time lengthens. It is highly likely that longer rates have bottomed. (10-30 yrs) The Fed now prints and buys longer term bonds in the aftermarket. Thew more they do this, the weaker the buck will get. (Reserve currency or not!) Foreigners will not eagerly buy bonds in a declining currency. The Fed can try to pressure foreign CBs to print their own currencies, then sell them for dollars, and then buy US bonds. I doubt that will succeed.

        Re prices of food and energy, they will likely rise no matter what according to the charts I follow. Food first. Energy later. I have 8% of assets in DBA now. I expect to increase that. I also expect the economy to collapse as domino defaults are likely. This was setting up pre Covid. I’ve had physical yellow coins since 2000. Added until it hit 1400 last decade.
        I forget if I posted this guest piece I wrote in 2001 for the most successful investment letter in Canada. The first few paras are their intro. Note that it about the end of growth!


        1. Wow! I’m very impressed that you wrote that in 2001. You were way ahead of your time.

          With respect to energy, I expect abundance to fall and prices to oscillate with a downward trajectory as citizens become too poor to afford the remaining energy as per Gail Tverberg’s thesis.

          With respect to food, I expect abundance to fall and prices to rise. The norm for most of civilization has been to spend about 50% of income on food, and for there to be periodic famines.

          I once had a dream to buy a small farm but I did not follow through. Instead I have built a close relationship with a local organic farm in which I provide volunteer labor in exchange for future food security.


          1. I’ve followed and interacted with Gail for at least 5 years. Re heating oil and diesel, prices are getting relatively stronger compared to gasoline/petrol. Moving food, chemicals, ores, manufactured stuff (trucks/trains/ships) isn’t going away. Private IC autos are slowing down growth, with EVs growing %-wise. Electricity is highly unlikely to decline in price IMO. Govt subsidies and fiddling with taxes are likely for all energy. US states do that independently as well as the Federal govt.

            Re my 2001 awareness, I read people like Bill Rees (a friend since we met presenting at conferences in Toronto in 2000) Vaclav Smil, Reg Morrison (met 3 yrs ago in Sydney), Catton, Jay Hanson…And had interacted with Garrett Hardin in the 90’s. So I merely synthesized that with my currency and commodity derivative career and philosophy academics 63-70. I know many in the field, mainly overpopulation focussed. Email me for links to reviews of The Spirit in the Gene (Morrison), Our Final Century (Martin Rees), and paper on population given to the World Congress of the System Sciences.(2000)


            1. Must be nice to have met some of the pioneers in person. I’ve only read some of their work. I’m a fan of Bill Rees and have several papers and talks by him in my library. I own Morrison’s book “The Spirit in the Gene”. I used to participate on Hanson’s site until he blew off Varki’s MORT without understanding it.

              In case you missed it, here is the only interview I’m aware with Jay Hanson:


  24. People who advocate returning to a gold standard are another great example of reality denial and/or stupidity.

    The essence of their argument is that a gold standard prevents governments from printing money to fund deficits and therefore stops these evil people from debasing our currency, thus making us all better off with sound money.

    So why then does every country in the world use a debt backed fractional reserve monetary system, rather than an asset backed full reserve system like the gold advocates want?

    The answer is that our debt backed fractional reserve system makes plentiful credit available which allows us to enjoy more government services than we pay for, and funds large investments in new companies and technology, and allows us to buy expensive items like homes and cars that make our modern lives pleasant.

    If we returned to a gold backed currency it is very unlikely that we would have a high tech economy, nor healthcare and pensions, nor be able save only a 5% down payment to purchase and enjoy 100% of a home or car.

    So why then do I think a wise society would transition to an energy backed monetary system?

    Because our current monetary system requires exponential growth in perpetuity which is impossible and is destroying our finite planet.

    By backing our currencies with energy it would force us to downsize our economies in lock step with energy depletion, rather than the path we are on which is to deny reality with a giant debt bubble that will eventually explode eliminating any chance of a civil power down.

    In other words, a valid reason to return to an energy (or gold) backed monetary system is to constrain economic growth, but of course gold bugs deny both the rational and the outcome of this reality.

    I wrote more about this issue here:


    1. I agree. Eliminating the Federal Reserve would cause a lot of economic pain but bring down emissions drastically and give the rest of Earth a chance. Without a reserve currency backed by a central bank, activity would crater. Commercial banks create money, but without the backstop of the Fed, loans would be extremely rare.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I listened to that interview with Jay Hansen. It’s interesting that you said he denied MORT as he did talk about denial for several minutes.
    Nuclear war really is a bit of a wildcard. If it does come to pass civilisation as we know it would be over for good. They’d be no coming back. I hope he’s wrong.
    Jay Hansen wrote some really interesting stuff. It’s sad that he’s gone.


    1. Hanson understood denial to be one of several human behaviors that has caused us to go into overshoot, but the essence of his world view was that we are governed by the Maximum Power Principle and there is no free will. While true this view applies to all species and does not explain the uniqueness of the human brain.

      Hanson aggressively rejected (without first understanding) the MORT idea that the simultaneous evolution of an extended theory of mind with denial of death are what enabled the emergence of the unique human brain.

      My hunch is that he prided himself on being an expert on human behavior and couldn’t handle the possibility of a new idea upending his life’s work.


  26. Lidia17 @ explains why Trump will probably win again, assuming the stock market does not crash first.

    A good number of people voted for, and will vote for, Trump because of who he *isn’t* (HRC/Biden). I think they are not voting so much for a false prosperity as much as they aren’t wanting to lose what they have to globalists and infinite immigrants (not that Trump is very reliable on the latter). No one seems to be giving him any credit for not starting the new wars Rachel Maddow wants in Syria and Iran. I guess we still have a couple months left for that, though.

    The Democrats cut a terrible figure (imo) when they put illegal migrants ahead of citizens and other countries (China, Russia) ahead of the US. To actually defend or represent America or Americans is generally viewed by liberals and the MSM as reactionary, embarrassing, deplorable, and gauche. NOCD. People get when they are being held in contempt in this way, and so anyone appearing sympathetic to their plight will be somewhat appealing.

    If that’s what you mean by “divide and conquer”.. well… ok.. whatever! The pro-Americans vs. the anti-Americans, you must mean. If Trump exploits this, it’s because it was ripe for him to exploit. Why vote for people who openly declare they want to undermine your existence?

    I’m actually kind of mystified as to why the Democrats have abandoned even a pretense of caring about the middle and working classes over the problems of -say- transgender illegals from Guatemala or doing God’s work in remodeling the Ukraine or giving our IP to China. Even Bernie who had been a staunch supporter of labor and had been anti-immigrant scabs jumped on the globalist bandwagon in his pathetic successive performances in the tank for first HRC and then Biden. Really shameful.


  27. A company that makes phones and computers is now worth two thousand thousand thousand thousand dollars. And worth every penny.

    With the “magical number” at $467.73, which is the price per share at which Apple will reach a $2 trillion market cap based on its current shares outstanding of 4,275,634,000, moments ago AAPL hit an all time high of $467.97, representing a market cap of just over $2 trillion.

    This means that while it took Apple 38 years to hit its first $1 trillion in market cap in August 2, 2018 since its December 12, 1980 IPO (at $22/share which on a split adjusted basis comes to $0.39), it took just two years to go from $1 trillion to $2 trillion, largely thanks to a unprecedented 59% gain this year, with AAPL’s market cap hitting $1 trillion during the mid-March crash.


  28. Oh oh, Varki’s MORT theory is in jeopardy.

    Joe Rogan thinks aliens visited our planet and manipulated the human genome to create our unique intelligence, which explains why scientists are baffled by the unusual evolution of the human brain.

    I’m thinking that the few of use that do not deny reality may be descendants of the intellectual elite that were attractive enough for the aliens to have sex with.

    He also thinks some aliens are still here.

    Good thing Rogan’s already on my list of polymaths in denial.


  29. Since 1970, the total U.S. debt per capita has increased a stunning 38 times. It turns out that every American now holds enough debt to nearly purchase a quarter-million-dollar home. So, it’s no secret that the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates to almost zero because the ability to service $77.6 trillion in debt would be impossible.

    In 1970 (estimated based on 1973 data), the U.S. total debt was $246 per barrel of oil consumed. But, over the next five decades, it ballooned to $10,348 per barrel by Q1 2020. This is by far the most important chart that should concern all Americans and the U.S. Government. The U.S. Debt to GDP and the rising total debt are just numbers on a page. However, when we compare the total U.S. debt to a barrel of oil consumed, we can provide a PHYSICAL METRIC in the real world run by ENERGY, not FINANCE.

    Again… the main driver of the World’s Economy is ENERGY, not FINANCE.

    The total debt per barrel of oil consumed increased since 1970 due to the rising oil price and Falling EROI – Energy Returned On Investment of oil. If the U.S. shale and global oil industries were able to continue increasing production for another 50 years, then debt levels could also increase. Unfortunately, we are now heading towards that Energy Cliff, with no PLAN B.

    When U.S. domestic oil consumption falls regardless of declining demand or supply, the GREAT DEBT BUBBLE will POP. At that point, you would certainly be unwise to hold most of your funds in STOCKS, BONDS, and REAL ESTATE.


  30. This will be my last comment for a week as I head out for a motorcycle camping adventure. I leave you in the good hands of Tim Morgan who published a nice big picture essay today.

    Critically, a genuine ‘v-shaped recovery’ can’t happen, because you cannot ‘recover’ a situation that didn’t really exist in the first place. The authorities can – and probably will – create a simulacrum of ‘recovery’, by pouring yet more newly-created liquidity into the system. They’re already doing this, of course, by monetising a large proportion of the deficit financing that has been used to support incomes during the first six months or so of the pandemic.

    As well as providing support in the form of income replacement, though, governments have also operated policies of deferral, giving interest and rent ‘holidays’ to households and businesses. Though lenders in the United States have been allowed to book non-payments as ‘revenue’ – whilst various jurisdictions have adopted some pretty odd definitions of unemployment, and of rent and debt arrears – nothing can take away the real and extreme strains that these deferral programmes are inflicting on lenders and landlords.

    This makes it likely that, probably by early autumn, the need for rescues will force governments into massive interventions, of which the almost inescapable corollary will be the indulgence in monetisation (through money creation) on a gargantuan scale.

    Let’s put it like this. If governments were to take away rent and debt ‘holidays’, and to cease supporting the incomes of people idled by the crisis, they would not only inflict grave hardship on huge numbers of people, and destroy very large numbers of businesses, but would also deal a huge blow to demand in the economy.

    On the other hand, though, if governments carry on providing this ‘support and deferral’, they will rapidly exhaust the resources of lenders and landlords, forcing the authorities into rescues that would certainly involve enormous levels of government borrowing, and very probably lead to correspondingly enormous exercises in monetisation.

    This means that we can be pretty sure that the real test of monetary efficacy – and the corresponding challenge to monetary credibility – is likely to occur in the coming months.

    At the same time, government interventions are supporting demand whilst supply cannot be similarly supported. This implies that the prices of consumer essentials can be expected to rise, with the reverse happening to the prices of non-essential or discretionary purchases. The balance of probability strongly favours inflation over deflation, and the authorities might even be tempted to make a virtue of a necessity, recognising that the ‘soft default’ of inflation is the only way out of existentially dangerous levels of debt accumulated by years of ‘trying to get a quart of economic “growth” out of a pint pot of surplus energy value’.

    Even in extremis, it’s highly unlikely that governments will undergo a Damascene conversion to an energy-based interpretation of economic reality. To be quite blunt about this, any attempt to persuade them otherwise would probably be a waste of effort, conforming to the proverb which says that “he who washes his ass’s ears wastes both his time and his soap”.

    For those of us who understand the energy basis of economics and finance, the wise course of action now seems to involve intellectual and interpretative preparedness; a willingness to put our interpretation at the disposal of those committed to limiting environmental degradation; and keeping a weather eye for the opportunities which fundamental, widely-misunderstood change almost invariably provides.


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