By Art Berman: Stop Expecting Oil and the Economy to Recover

This recent essay by Art Berman may be the best historical analysis of oil and its relationship with the economy I’ve read.

Here is my simplified summary of Berman’s analysis:

  • both supply and demand for oil have recently fallen
  • oil demand has fallen more than oil supply
  • this despite an all-time record amount of debt conjured to stimulate the economy
  • which means the global economy is contracting and is in serious trouble
  • the contraction was underway before the virus – the virus accelerated but did not cause the contraction
  • the problem began in 1974 when oil prices increased above the level that the economy can grow without debt growing faster
  • we’re not going to run out of oil, we’re going to run out of people that can afford oil
  • the problem being geologic and thermodynamic in nature, has no business as usual fix, and will continue to worsen

Berman’s analysis is consistent with the conclusions of the other leading minds on the energy-economy relationship: Gail Tverberg, Tim Morgan, Nate Hagens, and Tim Garrett.

The most interesting question, by far, when viewed from 10,000 feet is why do none of our political or intellectual or business leaders understand the most important influence (energy) on the thing they care most about (economic growth)?

The answer of course is that the human species evolved to deny unpleasant realities.

As an aside, recall that Eric Weinstein, the brilliant physicist/hedge fund manager whom I recently wrote about as a case study in denial believes correctly that economic growth and scientific advancement slowed in the late 70’s, but he doesn’t understand the cause despite thinking about it a lot. It’s no wonder that the much lesser intellects of almost all economists don’t have a clue what’s going on.

Berman believes that our economy, being a dissipative structure, will either collapse or spontaneously re-organize itself into a simpler form that uses less energy. I suppose the virus lockdown is a good example of a spontaneous lower energy re-organization. I put my money though on some form of collapse in the not too distant future. Despite a surfeit of entitled citizens, we could weather a significant reduction in living standards because we in the developed world consume so much more than we need to survive, however, the unprecedented debt bubble we have created by denying reality blocks a civil contraction.

Berman concludes that as the economy necessarily simplifies and we live much poorer lives, our energy mix will shift to lower productivity energy sources like wind and solar. My response to this is maybe. It’s more likely that Berman is denying the reality of his own analysis.

I can see solar panels being used for low power/high impact applications like, for example, LED lighting and pumping water into a gravity fed cistern. But it is unlikely and probably impossible that we will heat our homes, or cook our food, or cultivate and harvest our crops, or mine and smelt our minerals, or transport ourselves and our necessities with solar and wind.

When our solar panels and wind turbines wear out some decades in the future it is unlikely that the sophisticated factories and complex supply chains needed to manufacture and install replacements will exist. If some do exist to supply elite customers, like the military, most citizens probably won’t be able to afford their products.

I expect reality denial will prevent us from ever acknowledging peak oil and its offspring human overshoot. Instead, our consensus story all the way to a medieval lifestyle, at best, will likely be that there’s plenty of oil if the other tribes would stop using so much and we just need to elect someone tougher to deal with them and get our economy growing again.

Acknowledging our genetic tendency to deny reality would be a good thing because we might then focus on the best response to our overshoot predicament which is to rapidly reduce our population. Other wise responses can be found here.

Here’s the excerpted conclusion from Berman’s essay, but it’s definitely worth your time to read the whole thing for the data backing up these conclusions.

The Great Simplification

Energy is the economy. Money is a call on energy. Debt is a lien on future energy.

What is happening to oil markets and to the global economy is not because of a virus. The virus greatly accelerated what was already happening. Things won’t go back to normal when the virus ends.

The expansion of energy and debt have been leading toward some sort of reckoning for at least the last fifty years. That day of reckoning has been brought forward by coronavirus economic closures.

Oil prices had averaged $25 per barrel from the end of World War II until 1974 when average prices doubled (Figure 9). From 1979 through 1986, oil price soared to an average of $86 per barrel. These massive economic dislocations resulted in use of debt to maintain economic growth.

Excessive debt was the leading cause for the Financial Collapse of 2008. The crisis was resolved with more debt and monetary policies that ushered in the present era of central bank primacy in the world financial system.

Quantitative easing, near-zero interest rates and high oil prices led to the first wave of the tight oil boom. Over-investment resulted in over-supply and price collapse in 2014. By February 2016, WTI price reached $33 and investors rushed in to support the second wave of the tight oil boom.

WTI reached $72 by mid-2018 but by then, investors had begun to abandon tight oil as well as oil companies in general. The coronavirus economic closure brought monthly average prices to $17 in April, 2020—the lowest month on record. Unlike early 2016, investors weren’t writing any checks this time.

U.S. production may be 50% lower by mid-2021 than at year-end 2019. The implications for U.S. geopolitical power and balance of payments are staggering. It seems likely that the economy will weaken as government support for the unemployed decreases

I doubt that we are on the cusp of either a global energy crisis or the end of the oil age. It is more likely that both supply and demand will fall in tandem as the global economy contracts.

These observations are at odds with the mainstream view that both supply and demand are recovering. Some might concede that I am correct for the present but that things will improve and return to normal although it may some time.

Figure 10 shows credit growth and credit impulse for the United States from 1960 through the first quarter of 2020. Credit impulse is the change in flow of credit (debt) relative to economic activity (GDP).

Spikes in credit impulse correlate well with the oil-price shocks of the 1970s and 1980s. The extraordinary U.S. comparative inventory drawdown of early 2017 through the second quarter of 2018 also corresponds to credit impulse anomalies.

The chief feature of Figure 10, however, is that the magnitude of the first quarter 2020 credit impulse was more than twice as large as any previous increase. Moreover, GDP growth was either neutral or positive during previous spikes but was negative (-10%) for the first quarter of 2020. Also, oil prices were increasing during earlier periods but prices were decreasing in early 2020.

Ilya Prigogine was a chemist who won the 1977 Nobel Prize for his work on dissipative structures and self-organization. Dissipative structures are physical systems that release considerable heat as they consume ever-greater energy to support their growth and increasing complexity. A crisis occurs when growth can no longer be supported by available energy resources. The system either collapses or spontaneously re-organizes itself into a simpler form that uses less energy.

Empires, organizations and economies are dissipative structures. So is the human brain.

My friend Nate Hagens has applied some of Prigogine’s ideas to his own research about world energy, economics and ecology. He believes that we are on the cusp of something quite different from the scenarios suggested by Ahmed, and Goehring and Rozencwajg.

Hagens predicted a global economic decline in the 2020s and publicly expressed that opinion before the Covid pandemic. The main reason for decline, he stated, was too much debt undertaken to continue consuming and growing the economy. The virus has accelerated its timing and may result in contraction greater than the 30% drop during the Great Depression.

The Great Simplification will occur when the credit-supported part of the economy is removed. Economic activity will contract and less energy will be needed because it will be increasingly unaffordable to many parts of the population. People will be forced to adjust living standards downward and self-organize around energy with greater emphasis on local supply chains and regional economies.

I expect that the mix of energy sources will be similar initially. That will probably change as declines to meet the decreased carrying capacity of a society deprived of fossil energy productivity. Then, I imagine the world will move increasingly toward lower productivity energy sources like wind and solar. A viable economy may very well be created based heavily on wind and solar. It will, however, support a much poorer world than we have known for many decades in the world’s advanced economies.

Most ideas and analyses about future trends in energy and the economy fail to recognize that they are the two aspects of the same thing. That is why they are so far off the mark. This basic misalignment is painfully obvious because the energy sector represents only 2.5% of the S&P 500 valuation but underlies probably 95% of U.S. GDP.

That is what Hagens calls energy blindness1.

1I call it energy denial.

93 thoughts on “By Art Berman: Stop Expecting Oil and the Economy to Recover”

  1. James with his spin on the same topic.

    The truth is energy dispersal from the Big Bang spreading out and creating the universe and flowing through matter on earth’s surface via the sun. Even gravity is a phenomenon, sometimes successful, at reducing an energy gradient and dispersing lumps of energy trapped in the expanding energy matrix. Perception is a brain optimized to perceive reality in a way that optimizes energy acquisition and reproduction for the dissipative structure. Information is the basis for the cyclical rebuilding of gradient reducing forms such as humans which maintain the “eternal flame” so to speak, by reproducing and passing that information into the future. Extinction is a quenching of the “eternal flame” and loss of information. Humans functioning as RNA in technological cells are struggling to keep the “eternal flame” of their technological organizations lit (at best a few hundred years old) while putting their own organic three-billion year old lights out. And the technological flames are even based upon finite energy sources whereas life’s energy source, the sun, will last for billions of years. Homo (sapiens)?


  2. Beautiful pictures of the river. Another example of matter being animated by the sun’s energy and then trying to find its way back to the lowest energy state. An endless cycle as long as the sun shines and the atmosphere persists.

    I suppose the “Great Reset” is a planned attempt at reorganization to accommodate imminent reductions in energy flow. But it seems the money/energy spigot is being turned-off for the smaller entities and turned-on for the big tech entities that will continue to prosper as they deploy their wares to house and manage the formerly productive people in the most parsimonious manner possible. A “New World Order” will also mean turning the energy spigot off for much of the military and medical care for the elderly and infirm. Perhaps our health parameters will be monitored by the “internet of things” to make us exercise, eat properly etc. less we have our pay or UBI docked for low social credit scores. Like the CCP I’m sure the one-percent will profit handsomely by owning the mechanisms of control for managing the lives and incomes of everyone else.

    But the Great Reset is likely to be cut short by the even greater Great Reset – climate change.

    I think this Newsroom classic sums it up:

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love that clip! It’s brilliant and never gets old.

      I don’t see anything planned going on other than a Pavlovian attempt to keep growth going by printing unfathomable amounts of money and injecting it into the veins least likely to cause food prices to rise. I suspect (but may be wrong) that they’ve calculated it’s better that the price of stocks and real estate rise rather than bread and milk.

      Given that the political (non-banking) side of our leadership is not using any of the printed trillions to distribute masks and vitamin D tells me we have idiots in charge.


    1. I watched that last night too. I was going to post the link but you beat me to it. Once you understand Varki’s MORT theory the backlash against the movie really comes as no surprise. The author of damnthematrix lives just down the road. I dropped in the other day and he gave me a lesson on how to use your freezer as a fridge. Most freezers are far more efficient than refrigerators at refrigeration because they have thicker insulation. All you have to do is have an external thermostat that turns you power socket of when it gets below a set temperature. Apparently, the power savings can be quite large.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s a really good energy efficiency idea. Another reason chest freezers are so efficient is that the door is on top so when you open it the cold air does not spill out onto the floor like a normal refrigerator.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Excellent article, Rob, thank you. Nice to have a round up of dismal views. 🙂

          I’m still rather inclined to feel that it is not so much that we have evolved to deny what is evident but highly distasteful, but more that we have evolved mainly to perceive only just enough to survive and reproduce, and maybe just whine a lot about the nasty bits that impact us on a personal level – ‘The gods do this to us, why?!’

          For many years, I have been struck by how little people exactly notice about their environment.

          It’s also notable that the most primitive religions are not that consolatory, and the supreme deity is usually seen as being rather detached from what he or she has made. The personal, even loving and just, God is a rather recent invention historically. The god (or gods) which intervenes in human affairs is often merely capricious, cruel and demanding.

          It’s quite difficult to make the case that religions evolved to facilitate denial as such; but they certainly assist the establishment of civilizations, the great resource extractors. Large masses of settled people can be concentrated and manipulated, and hierarchies validated by conditioned sanctity and holiness., using mass religion. It works so much better than just enslaving them, in the same way that using treats rather than a whip is preferable with a dog.

          But really it’s just a matter of emphasis, as the end result is the same!

          Good tip about freezers. I am reinstating the old larder in my house, which will be quite as cool as a fridge in all except the most humid and hot weather, fortunately quite rare here in NW Europe. Even then it should not heat up quickly. The best low-energy design ever, just the construction. materials, lifetime guarantee -even multi-generational.

          The great problem going forward will be keeping hold of one’s property, as nationalisation and requisitioning, above all higher taxes, etc, are a near certainty as the system collapses.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hi Cynic, thanks for stopping by.

            “we have evolved mainly to perceive only just enough to survive and reproduce”
            This does not ring true to me given the many diverse complex accomplishments of our species. Our science and technology demonstrates that we evolved to do much more than the minimum required to survive and reproduce. In addition, most humans, even those without advanced education, will understand our overshoot predicament when it is explained to them, but then promptly push it out of mind and not change their behavior. If you don’t believe me, try it with your next door neighbor. It’s fascinating to watch. You can visibly see the curtain come down over their eyes.

            I don’t think I’ve ever argued that religions evolved to facilitate denial. As you point out there are many good reasons for the existence and persistence and ubiquity of religions in our social species. My point is that there is no good explanation for why every single one of our thousands of religions with their thousands of random wacky stories have only one thing in common, a life after death story, unless denial of death is genetic to our species. More here:

            I love the low tech solutions, like a larder, that our ancestors discovered. I learned how to make jam this summer. It’s quite amazing that sugar and heat can preserve a delicate fruit.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. The human brain, if it’s worth its salt, has to keep the human on the energetic straight and narrow. If energy is abundant the straight and narrow can become more circuitous. If it strays into fearful mental territory there’s always denial.


  3. COVID-19 marks the fall of the American empire, UBC’s Wade Davis writes in U.S. magazine

    Popularity of his Rolling Stone essay shows Americans want to know what went wrong, he says

    “America, he says, has “celebrated the cult of the individual with such intensity” it is affecting their response.

    “When the Americans rush out to the beaches or to the bars … they’re not really celebrating freedom, they’re actually displaying the weakness of a people who lack stoicism to endure the epidemic or the fortitude to defeat it,” he said.

    “That is one of the real sad moments.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also from Davis’ excellent essay. I agree with him, things are pretty sane here in beautiful British Columbia. Thanks be to Allah that our border remains closed.

      Americans woke up to where 2,000 of them were dying every day, a moment where … they found themselves members of a failed state, serviced by a dysfunctional government, led by an individual who was literally suggesting the use of cleansing materials and disinfectants to treat a disease … he did not have the capacity to understand,” Davis said.

      Dozens of public health officials across the U.S. have resigned or been fired amid COVID-19.

      In the essay, he compares the state of America to British Columbia’s much more effective response to the pandemic, noting on July 30, we had five people in hospital while the U.S. registered over 59,000 new cases that day.

      “We have a medical system that caters to the collective, not the individual and certainly not the private investor who treats every hospital bed as a rental property,” Davis said.


      1. The United States, virtually a demilitarized nation on the eve of the Second World War, never stood down in the wake of victory. To this day, American troops are deployed in 150 countries. Since the 1970s, China has not once gone to war; the U.S. has not spent a day at peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. California’s Climate Crisis Is Deepening as 500,000 Go Dark

    “In a matter of weeks, California has been hit with two record-breaking heat waves, hundreds of blazes, freak lightning storms and dangerously poor air quality, and now unusually strong winds are threatening to knock down power lines and ignite more wildfires.

    That’s prompting the state’s largest utility to impose power cuts for more than 500,000 people, and with dangerous conditions stretching across the West, Portland General Electric Co. has also switched off power to some Oregon customers.”


  5. What If a Collapse Happened and Nobody Noticed?

    “If what we’re seeing around us right now—especially here in the United States—isn’t a collapse, then what is? To be perfectly honest, 2020 is turning out to be far worse than I ever imagined things would get in my lifetime. There once was a time when you actually had to try and convince people that a collapse was coming. Now all you have to do is gesture broadly.”

    “The laundry list should be familiar by now to everyone who’s been paying attention: French Revolution levels of inequality; shrinking life expectancies; deaths of despair; epidemic obesity and other chronic health conditions; food deserts; automobile dependency; suburban sprawl; rising levels of depression and anxiety; drug abuse; bankrupt municipalities; crumbling infrastructure; deferred maintenance; fragile supply chains; corporate consolidation; business monopolies; stock bubbles; de-unionization; an insular, out-of-touch political class; political corruption; legalized bribery disguised as political donations; voter suppression; boarded up main streets; shuttered factories; empty storefronts; ghost malls; privatization; unaffordable higher education costs; college debt; expensive child care; failing urban schools; education quality based on ZIP code; skyrocketing housing and health care costs; financialization and asset stripping; outsourcing and automation; people lacking health insurance; hospitals closing in rural areas; underfunded pensions; unsustainable private debt levels; worker disengagement; a bloated and overextended military; endless unwinnable foreign wars; veteran suicides; police brutality; street gangs; homelessness; tent cities on the streets; gun violence; school shootings; people living in their cars; hurricanes, floods and wildfires; mass incarceration; a generation of stagnant working-class wages—the list is so long and extensive that a list of functioning institutions in the United States would be shorter and easier to compile at this point.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. An interesting comment from Gail Tverberg. If some oil exporters collapse what happens next?

    Yes, collapse is not far away from the oil exporting nations. They cannot exist on today’s low oil prices. Clearly population of this area must fall. We have read about this happening to some extent by sending migrant workers back home.

    How long before these countries start collapsing or going to war with one another? It would seem like a few months, at most.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Steve Keen on the idiot Nobel prize winning economist Nordhaus.

    Nobel prize-winning economics of climate change is misleading and dangerous – here’s why

    While climate scientists warn that climate change could be catastrophic, economists such as 2018 Nobel prize winner William Nordhaus assert that it will be nowhere near as damaging. In a 2018 paper published after he was awarded the prize, Nordhaus claimed that 3°C of warming would reduce global GDP by just 2.1%, compared to what it would be in the total absence of climate change. Even a 6°C increase in global temperature, he claimed, would reduce GDP by just 8.5%.

    The reason these mistakes are so significant is that, despite the flawed assumptions on which it is based, this work has been taken seriously by politicians, as Nordhaus’s Nobel prize recognises. To these policymakers, a prediction of future levels of GDP is far easier to understand than unfamiliar concepts like the viability of the ecosystem. They have been misled by comforting numbers that bear no relation to what climate change will, in fact, do to our economies.


    1. If Nordhaus was never born nothing would be different since the system has produced plenty of other high priests who would have preached the same sermon. Same as laying the blame for the shift to neo-liberal economics on Thatcher & Reagan. The scheming was in the works long before they were elected & the ultimate cause was declining net energy. If not Thatcher & Reagan then some other head managers would have ushered it in.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Clinical trials of disease stages in COVID 19: complicated and often misinterpreted

    “As of July 28, 2020, 1840 clinical trials were registered globally, with 1001 clinical trials recruiting patients for COVID-19 management.1
    Despite this large number, only 30 trials have been published as peer-reviewed or preprint publications.2
    Media reports and prepublications on medRxiv and bioRxiv represent the most frequent mechanism for data sharing, with wide public reach and usually with little detail. However, with inadequate details on the trials and only superficial scrutiny by the public and scientific decision makers, the consequences have had disastrous effects on other clinical trial funding, permissions, recruitment, and interpretation.”

    Given the state of global civilization, this is the outcome I expected. I’m not saying the researchers are all incompetent or corrupted, but they are working within institutions, bureaucracies & societies that are in various late stages of decline which means they must work within bloated, corrupted & ineffectual institutions & bureaucracies. Many of which are interconnected & interdependent.

    Reading media & comments tells me a great many have decided that a successfully vaccine will be a panacea. At best it’ll be a band-aid. Slow decline–>collapse to some degree. Not looking like they are having much success with a vaccine so far. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps never.


      1. So simple and intelligent a policy would attack great vested interests who contribute so much to GDP. Too inexpensive.

        It’s why they also turned a blind eye to the diesel-generated, etc, air pollution which killed hundreds of thousands every year.


        1. Your explanation doesn’t sit right with me. You might be correct for some dysfunctional countries like the US, but not every country. Leaders are desperate, for good reasons, to get their citizens back to work. If a low cost low risk solution like vitamin D and masks exists, why would they not pursue it? It doesn’t feel like denial to me. It feels more like simple stupidity.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Masks are not expensive, and those who want to wear masks already wear them. Promoting good health (D vitamin) is sound, but I guess you have the same problem here. People who don’t care about vitamins and nutrition won’t take it. Or they will take for a little while and then forget about it when the scare fades.

            The main problem of this lies in the modern western culture, we are brought up to cherish a sedentary lifestyle and that technological and medical progress will fix problems that come along. No hard choices or responsibility needed.

            You see this in every interview with public health officials, “…soon there will be a vaccine” or “…we must keep up efforts until the vaccine comes”. I think governments have painted themselves in to a corner by now, that a vaccine (no matter its effectiveness) is the only way out of this. After all the lockdowns and misery, they just can’t come out of the blue with “take some vitamins and get back to work” without losing face.


            1. There’s no need for governments to lose face on vitamin D because there’s new research they can refer to. I’m sticking with my view that they’re stupid.

              Also there’s no N95 masks available for sale where I live in British Columbia so some government help would be appreciated and useful.


  9. Earth barreling toward ‘Hothouse’ state not seen in 50 million years, epic new climate record shows

    “Because the team’s climate record covers such an incredibly long time period, the researchers also had to consider astronomic impacts on the planet’s climate — that is, how Earth’s slowly changing orbit and tilt toward the sun impact the amount of sunlight reaching different parts of the planet at different times, also known as Milankovitch cycles. When the team overlaid orbital data with their isotopic climate data, they saw that orbital variations created distinct but relatively small-scale changes to the global climate. Crucially, each big jump between climate states was tied to a massive shift in greenhouse gas levels, the researchers said.”

    “Now, human greenhouse gas emissions are causing temperatures to rise to an extent not seen in tens of millions of years. This rise is well beyond the natural variations triggered by Earth’s changing orbit, the researchers concluded. And if current greenhouse emissions hold steady, the climate could skyrocket back to levels not seen since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The transition from icehouse to hothouse won’t take millions of years, Zachos said — it will take hundreds.”

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Think 2020′s disasters are wild? Experts see worse in future

    “A record amount of California is burning, spurred by a nearly 20-year mega-drought. To the north, parts of Oregon that don’t usually catch fire are in flames.

    Meanwhile, the Atlantic’s 16th and 17th named tropical storms are swirling, a record number for this time of year. Powerful Typhoon Haishen lashed Japan and the Korean Peninsula this week. Last month it hit 130 degrees in Death Valley, the hottest Earth has been in nearly a century.

    Phoenix keeps setting triple-digit heat records, while Colorado went through a weather whiplash of 90-degree heat to snow this week. Siberia, famous for its icy climate, hit 100 degrees earlier this year, accompanied by wildfires. Before that Australia and the Amazon were in flames.

    Amid all that, Iowa’s derecho — bizarre straight-line winds that got as powerful as a major hurricane, causing billions of dollars in damages — barely went noticed.”

    “Freak natural disasters — most with what scientists say likely have a climate change connection — seem to be everywhere in the crazy year 2020. But experts say we’ll probably look back and say those were the good old days, when disasters weren’t so wild.

    “It’s going to get A LOT worse,” Georgia Tech climate scientist Kim Cobb said Wednesday. “I say that with emphasis because it does challenge the imagination. And that’s the scary thing to know as a climate scientist in 2020.”

    Colorado University environmental sciences chief Waleed Abdalati, NASA’s former chief scientist, said the trajectory of worsening disasters and climate change from the burning of coal, oil and gas is clear, and basic physics.

    “I strongly believe we’re going to look back in 10 years, certainly 20 and definitely 50 and say, ‘Wow, 2020 was a crazy year, but I miss it,’” Abdalati said.

    That’s because what’s happening now is just the type of crazy climate scientists anticipated 10 or 20 years ago.

    “It seems like this is what we always were talking about a decade ago,” said North Carolina State climatologist Kathie Dello.”

    ““A year like 2020 could have been the subject of a marvelous science fiction film in 2000,” Cobb said. “Now we have to watch and digest real-time disaster after disaster after disaster, on top of a pandemic. The outlook could not be any more grim. It’s just a horrifying prospect.”

    “The 2030s are going to be noticeably worse than the 2020s,” she said.”

    “University of Michigan environment dean Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist, said that in 30 years because of the climate change already baked into the atmosphere “we’re pretty much guaranteed that we’ll have double what we have now.”


    1. Thanks. It’s quite remarkable how everything seems to be coming to a head at the same time.

      I suppose since buried carbon helped set our climate state, humans digging it up and burning most of it to depletion in 100 years, while using the energy to consume more stuff, make more babies, and trash the planet, might explain the coincidence of calamities.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, we have the joy of living at the point of convergence of so many pernicious trends. Fascinating, if one can remain a little detached.

        On the other hand, ignorance would be bliss!

        I find myself almost choking on the words when I am expected to congratulate people on the birth of children and grandchildren. Mentally, I am congratulating them on their pleasure, and pitying the child.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Me too. My married daughter is 29 and plans to start a family next year. Unlike her twin brother ( and myself) she doesn’t care to read or learn about ecological overshoot or climate change. What, if anything, should I say? It is, after all, the messenger that wears the flak……


  11. Chris Martenson today wrapped up and summarized 9 months of almost daily reporting on the virus.

    I thank him for his hard work and for being one of the few sources of information we could trust in the early days of the pandemic.

    I agree with his concluding statement: “A profound lack of integrity has been revealed in both individuals in power as well as institutions”.

    If you’ve not already watched Martenson’s Crash Course you should, it’s the best introduction to our overshoot predicament.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I’ve watched him too. The other trustworthy source of information comes from the UK – the excellent Dr John Campbell.


  12. ” . . . the contraction was underway before the virus . . . ”
    According to T.G.C. there was no ‘contraction underway’?
    “High growth of real broad money is associated with rising asset prices and healthy balance sheets, and tends to precede above-growth trend in demand and output. In the five months to September US M3 (as measured by Shadow Government Statistics) increased at an annualised rate of 9.2%, in the context of sub-2% inflation. Real money growth was therefore unusually high, the highest in fact since 2007. In the Eurozone also recent money growth has been robust. In the six months to August the annualised rate of growth of M3 was 7.3%, with inflation at about 1%. Since the USA and the Eurozone together account for 40% of world output (in current prices and at current exchange rates), these developments argue against a recession in 2020. They suggest that, on the contrary, the world economy should start 2020 in good form. Admittedly, money growth may slow from here. (Money growth has also picked up in the last couple of months in Japan and the UK, but from low levels, and they of course matter less than the USA and the Eurozone.)
    In China and India banks continue to expand their balance sheets at not much less than double-digit annualised rates. But in both these two big developing countries regulatory officialdom is disciplining the financial system, with attacks on shadow banks in China and on non-performing loans in India. (Moreover, India seems to suffer at present from a supply-side malaise [due perhaps to the over-active BJP government], with the car industry undergoing a sharp reverse.) Overall a sensible central assessment is that during 2020 the world economy will see roughly trend growth, with inflation staying at very low levels. If money growth remains close to recent highs in the USA and the Eurozone, a more positive forecast would be justified. “


    1. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. If you are arguing that rising asset prices signals a healthy economy then we disagree. Our leaders have decided to inflate asset prices to compensate for falling income so that our monetary system, which requires growth by design, does not collapse. The short term collateral damage is rising inequality and social unrest. The longer term implications will be additional damage and chaos from the popping of a bubble much larger than it needed to be.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “the world economy will see roughly trend growth”??

      What the fuck does roughly trend growth even mean? As opposed to smoothly trend growth?

      The entire piece is a word salad.

      “regulatory officialdom is disciplining the financial system” There’s another one. Weasel words & phrases.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. “The Great Simplification will occur when the credit-supported part of the economy is removed. “?
    The credit-supported aggregate {effective} demand can be replaced by some other component of A.D.?


  14. My favorite physicist, Sabine Hossenfelder, took down today (the idiot in denial that I wrote about earlier) Michael Shellenberger.

    There are many other tipping points in climate models, that, once crossed can bring sudden changes that will stay with us for thousands of years, even if we bring carbondioxide levels back down. Like the collapse of the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheet. If warming continues, the question is not *whether it will happen but just *when. I don’t want to go through this whole list, I just want to make clear that tipping points are not fear mongering. They are a very real risk that should not be dismissed easily.

    I felt it was necessary to spell this out because I recently read an article by Michael Shellenberger who wrote: “Speculations about tipping points are unscientific because levels of uncertainty and complexity are too high, which is exactly why IPCC does not take such scenarios seriously.”

    This is complete rubbish. First, tipping points are covered in the IPCC report, it’s just that they are not collected in a chapter called “tipping points,” they are called large scale singular events. I found this out by googling “tipping points IPCC”, so not like it would have taken Shellenberger much of an effort to get this right.


  15. Shill-burger is easy – follow the money. Runaway climate change kicked in over a decade ago. If you can’t stop the planetary physics in play = runaway.

    I don’t bother listening to solutions or mitigation because I know the aggregate numbers. They all clearly show that the humans have made zero progress in stopping or slowing CC or any of their other Overshoot consequences. Going in the opposite direction in fact, or as an economist would say, “negative progress”.
    Tabling solutions is absurd & not because they wouldn’t work. Many solutions & mitigation schemes would be beneficial & economically doable, but the human’s track record of denial, rationalizing, minimizing & broken promises is identical to that of a life long junkie or drunk – I promise I’ll quit tomorrow-again (umpteenth time). I promise I’ll go to detox tomorrow-again (19th time). I promise to go to the 6 week treatment centre tomorrow-again (8th time). Sometimes they (formerly me) even believe it.

    We have long passed talk time & are well into our banquet of consequences, AKA humanity’s Last Supper.

    Oregon wildfires: Drone footage shows devastation in communities destroyed by fires

    Reminds me of aerial footage of bombed out Dresden & Tokyo.

    26 people have been killed and dozens more are missing as fires ravage the West Coast

    The death tolls are small (family tragedies). It’s the knock-on effects that’ll kill most people – food & fighting.
    As for being killed by some AGW jacked event, heatwaves are far & away the most deadly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes but it’s satisfying to know what we could have done that would have helped rather than the “solutions” we are “trying” that won’t help and will actually make things worse.

      Heavy smoke here today on Vancouver Island from the meth lab down south.


      1. Heavy smoke in the lower mainland too – day 3.

        I’m not aware of any effective solution that’s been adopted at scale. If there was we’d see the results, not every graph a hockey stick graph.

        Even some of the so called successes are merely a shell game. Norway reduces national emissions but continues extracting & selling oil on the world market & continues major exploration efforts & ff infrastructure expansion. Same for Euro countries firing their power boilers on clear cut wood pellets shipped across the Atlantic from the US. Same for Germany’s failed clean energy plan. Smoke & mirrors to gain international prestige like hosting the Olympics.

        The multi billion dollar ‘green-alt’ energy industry is as corrupt & single mindedly profit-power driven as big oil. They haven’t impacted the biosphere to the same degree as oil, but they are toxic in their own right & operate by the same business plan which means assume they are lying until proven otherwise. There’s too much money involved in the industry not to attract the parasitic financial scum.

        The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust

        Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech

        “You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world’s supply of these elements, and it’s estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world’s reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost?”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m keeping track of the influential environmentalists that call for aggressive population reduction. I exclude the ones that say all we have to do is educate woman and improve their standards of living because there isn’t enough cheap oil left for this to be a viable option, and because its too late for a voluntary one child policy.

          So far my count is zero.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Looking at the aggregate numbers (hockey stick graphs) it appears the only thing they have influenced is to get people to listen to them, fork over cash & buy their book.

            Again with the numbers – the environmental movement has been the biggest failure in the history of social movements. The first Earth Day was 1970. Look at that 50 years on any graph or chart representing reproduction, consumption, pollution & consequences.

            I’d be embarrassed to call myself an “environmentalist”…..unless I was a well compensated professional one with an expense account, first class travel & hotels, a three book contract with full promotion resources guaranteed. Oh, a juicy advance too.

            There is no social movement that can change core human behaviours. Try & force them & you have a war.

            I’ll grant they saved a stand of trees here, diverted a pipeline there & prevented (delayed?) a handful of species extinction, but it’s amounted to sweet fuck all in the big picture.

            Every year it looks more likely that humans are not going to survive themselves.

            Thanks fer trying enviro-heroes.

            “Those who struggle to change the world see themselves as noble, even tragic figures. Yet most of those who work for world betterment are not rebels against the scheme of things. They seek consolation for a truth they are too weak to bear. At bottom, their faith that the world can be transformed by human will is a denial of their own mortality.”
            ― John Gray, Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I used to enjoy listening to Alex Smith’s Radio Ecoshock podcast because it’s the best weekly coverage of climate change. Now I rarely listen and get angry when I do because every single one of his expert guests discusses bullshit solutions that won’t help. Not a single one in many years has said we must shrink the economy and the population.

              I’ve asked Alex, who understands Varki’s MORT, why he doesn’t call them on their bullshit in the interviews and he replied that he does not view it as his job to challenge his guests.

              Basically there’s no where you can go for intelligent discussion without reality denial.


              1. I hear ya.

                Unless one walks away from it all, all we can do is separate the wheat from the chaff.

                With the more honest science articles the hopey bull shit mostly shows up in the last paragraph. You know, the requisite “we must start to reduce our emissions” & “Bal bla educate the public bla bla” & ” Something something policy something something spread awareness…”

                I love this quote by non scientist, Catherine Ingram from her ‘Facing Extinction’ essay.

                Facing Extinction

                Give up the fight with evolution. It wins. The story about a human misstep in history, the imaginary point at which we could have taken a different route, is a pointless mental exercise. Our evolution is based on quintillions of earth motions, incremental biological adaptations, survival necessities, and human desires. We are right where we were headed all along.


                She nails it!

                It’s a good essay all around.


                  1. To come to terms with our predicament and accepting the inevitable collapse, one must be content with their lot (not looking, voluntarily or involuntarily, for further accumulation of stuff that enhance survival like bigger house and cars), be voluntarily or involuntarily out of the reproducing game AND have an inquiring mind about the deeper truths/meanings of existence.

                    Or as you would put it, not being in denial of death.


              2. Telling people that we need to shrink the population is like telling a dandelion not to spread its seed. Or telling water to run back upstream. This is Life(tm), survive and reproduce. Every cell in every living organism wants this. It is an unstoppable force.


                1. Maybe, maybe not. We’ve never tried it.

                  1) Our governments and respected leaders have never told people why they should not have children. Namely that the probability is high they will die horrible deaths prematurely from overshoot related calamities.
                  2) Many people chose not to have children and still have happy lives.
                  3) Many people want children but are unable to conceive and still have happy lives.
                  4) Many men want sex more than they want children.
                  5) Most citizens obey many laws that constrain their genes from doing what they’d like to do.

                  Population reduction is the only action that improves everything. Get on board and spread the word. If we fail the outcome will be no worse. If we succeed we will prevent a lot of suffering and will preserve a very rare and precious event in the universe.


                  1. “respected leaders” What’s that? I think I might have read about them in a history book 25 years ago. I thought they went extinct, like citizens, who were out competed by consumers.

                    I gotta go with Jay Hanson on this one, who nonetheless agrees with you about continuing to try.

                    “The rush to social collapse cannot be stopped no matter what is written or said. Humans have never been able to intentionally-avoid collapse because fundamental system-wide change is only possible after the collapse begins.

                    What about survivors? Within a couple of generations, all lessons learned from the collapse will be lost, and people will revert to genetic baselines. I wish it weren’t so, but all my experience screams “it’s hopeless.” Nevertheless, all we can do is the best we can and carry on… ”


                    I get that most humans need to keep trying & to posses even a modicum of hope. Life is wired to struggle no matter how bad it looks. Conversely, humans might be the only creatures who gives up & stop fighting before their last breath & sometimes much sooner. Global suicide rates are pushing 1 million annually.

                    TO THE VERY LAST BREATH


                    1. When I said respected leaders I was thinking Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. 🙂

                      The most compelling evidence that you’re right is that people who understand our overshoot predicament are mostly unwilling to advocate for population reduction. They’ll spend more energy explaining why it won’t work than they’ll spend persuading their next door neighbor.

                      It’s very strange. There’s no downside to failing. It’s all upside.


                  2. Actually, except for Africa, the average number of children NOW being born per couple in the world, is 2 – even in countries like Bangladesh. Thanks largely to the efforts of the UN, the WHO and responsible governments.
                    Africa remains the major problem in this regard, where large numbers of babies are still being born.
                    Aside from Africa, the world’s population will keep in growing because of the size of preceding generations outnumbering deaths.
                    Better Of course that the birthrate was one per couple. Or none.
                    Dogs make excellent de facto children, cost less to raise and are frequently more loyal.


  16. Not to be cynical, but nothing is more important that human freedom to reproduce an unlimited amount of replacements. Heaven forbid population control or reduction. Being mum on over population is the politically correct thing for all environmentalists. Probably just a lot of denial. Paul Erlich was right it was a bomb and now we get the consequensces of the blast going off.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. AJ, when it comes to cynicism, I’m with Lilly.

      “No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”

      ― Lily Tomlin


  17. New David Attenborough documentary released today on the usual torrent sites.

    Extinction: The Facts

    With a million species at risk of extinction, Sir David Attenborough explores how this crisis of biodiversity has consequences for us all, threatening food and water security, undermining our ability to control our climate and even putting us at greater risk of pandemic diseases.

    Extinction is now happening up to 100 times faster than the natural evolutionary rate, but the issue is about more than the loss of individual species. Everything in the natural world is connected in networks that support the whole of life on earth, including us, and we are losing many of the benefits that nature provides to us. The loss of insects is threatening the pollination of crops, while the loss of biodiversity in the soil also threatens plants growth. Plants underpin many of the things that we need, and yet one in four is now threatened with extinction.

    Last year, a UN report identified the key drivers of biodiversity loss, including overfishing, climate change and pollution. But the single biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the destruction of natural habitats. Seventy-five per cent of Earth’s land surface (where not covered by ice) has been changed by humans, much of it for agriculture, and as consumers we may unwittingly be contributing towards the loss of species through what we buy in the supermarket.

    Our destructive relationship with the natural world isn’t just putting the ecosystems that we rely on at risk. Human activities like the trade in animals and the destruction of habitats drive the emergence of diseases. Disease ecologists believe that if we continue on this pathway, this year’s pandemic will not be a one-off event.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SWIM often streams new releases from this site below to save on bandwidth.

      SWIM says make sure you have a good ad blocker installed. SWIM uses uBlock Origin & in two years of streaming from that site the worst thing to happen was another tab/hidden link would attempt to open but get crushed within a second. SWIM has a Linux OS.

      The site is one of those legal grey areas. As far as SWIM knows the only ones breaking any ‘cyber laws’ are the site owners. The viewer is not. SWIM lives in Canada where the cyber laws are lax compared to some other countries. They don’t have the Doc yet, but most likely will within days.

      uBlock Origin

      An efficient blocker add-on for various browsers. Fast, potent, and lean.

      uBlock Origin is NOT an “ad blocker”: it is a wide-spectrum blocker — which happens to be able to function as a mere “ad blocker”. The default behavior of uBlock Origin when newly installed is to block ads, trackers and malware sites — through EasyList, EasyPrivacy, Peter Lowe’s ad/tracking/malware servers, Online Malicious URL Blocklist, and uBlock Origin’s own filter lists.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good tips. I’m a long time user of uBlock Origin and also recommend it.

        Sites like amaze me. Who the hell is paying for all that free bandwidth? Anything that’s too good to be true probably is and won’t last. That’s why I download the media I want to my own triple backed up hard drives. When the SHTF and the internet goes down I’m going to charge my neighbors $0.25 to watch a movie.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’ll make a killing renting out home made DVD porn rips. Stock up on lube too. $0.25 per table spoon, BYOB – bring your own baggie.

          If you turn your ad blocker off, you’ll find out what’s generating the revenue. Redirects in new tab to sports gambling & other BS sites.


  18. I don’t think Orcas are in denial.

    Scientists baffled by orcas ramming sailing boats near Spain and Portugal

    From the Strait of Gibraltar to Galicia, orcas have been harassing yachts, damaging vessels and injuring crew

    Full story: ‘I’ve never seen or heard of attacks’ – scientists baffled by orcas harassing boats

    “The Spanish maritime authorities warned vessels to “keep a distance”. But reports from sailors around the strait throughout July and August suggest this may be difficult – at least one pod appears to be pursuing boats in behaviour that scientists agree is “highly unusual” and “concerning”. It is too early to understand what is going on, but it might indicate stress in a population that is endangered.”

    Go Orcas!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. More evidence that the virus was created in the Wuhan lab.

    Evidence presented in this part reveals that certain aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 genome are extremely difficult to reconcile to being a result of natural evolution. The alternative theory we suggest is that the virus may have been created by using ZC45/ZXC21 bat coronavirus(es) as the backbone and/or template. The Spike protein, especially the RBM within it, should have been artificially manipulated, upon which the virus has acquired the ability to bind hACE2 and infect humans. This is supported by the finding of a unique restriction enzyme digestion site at either end of the RBM. An unusual furin-cleavage site may have been introduced and inserted at the S1/S2 junction of the Spike protein, which contributes to the increased virulence and pathogenicity of the virus.

    These transformations have then staged the SARS CoV-2 virus to eventually become a highly-transmissible, onset-hidden, lethal, sequelae-unclear, and massively disruptive pathogen.

    Evidently, the possibility that SARS-CoV-2 could have been created through gain-of-function manipulations at the WIV is significant and should be investigated thoroughly and independently.

    Many questions remain unanswered about the origin of SARS-CoV-2. Prominent virologists have implicated in a Nature Medicine letter that laboratory escape, while not being entirely ruled out, was unlikely and that no sign of genetic manipulation is present in the SARS-CoV-2 genome4. However, here we show that genetic evidence within the spike gene of SARS-CoV-2 genome (restriction sites flanking the RBM; tandem rare codons used at the inserted furin-cleavage site) does exist and suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 genome should be a product of genetic manipulation. Furthermore, the proven concepts, well-established techniques, and knowledge and expertise are all in place for the convenient creation of this novel coronavirus in a short period of time.

    Motives aside, the following facts about SARS-CoV-2 are well-supported:
    1. If it was a laboratory product, the most critical element in its creation, the backbone/template virus (ZC45/ZXC21), is owned by military research laboratories.
    2. The genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 has likely undergone genetic engineering, through which the virus has gained the ability to target humans with enhanced virulence and infectivity.
    3. The characteristics and pathogenic effects of SARS-CoV-2 are unprecedented. The virus is highly transmissible, onset-hidden, multi-organ targeting, sequelae-unclear, lethal, and associated with various symptoms and complications.
    4. SARS-CoV-2 caused a world-wide pandemic, taking hundreds of thousands of lives and shutting down the global economy. It has a destructive power like no other.

    Judging from the evidence that we and others have gathered, we believe that finding the origin of SARS-CoV-2 should involve an independent audit of the WIV P4 laboratories and the laboratories of their close collaborators. Such an investigation should have taken place long ago and should not be delayed any further.

    We also note that in the publication of the chimeric virus SHC015-MA15 in 2015, the attribution of funding of Zhengli Shi by the NIAID was initially left out. It was reinstated in the publication in 2016 in a corrigendum, perhaps after the meeting in January 2016 to reinstate NIH funding for gain-of-function research on viruses. This is an unusual scientific behavior, which needs an explanation for.

    What is not thoroughly described in this report is the various evidence indicating that several coronaviruses recently published (RaTG1318, RmYN0230, and several pangolin coronaviruses27-29,31) are highly suspicious and likely fraudulent. These fabrications would serve no purpose other than to deceive the scientific community and the general public so that the true identity of SARS-CoV-2 is hidden. Although exclusion of details of such evidence does not alter the conclusion of the current report, we do believe that these details would provide additional support for our contention that SARS-CoV-2 is a laboratory-enhanced virus and a product of gain-of-function research. A follow-up report focusing on such additional evidence is now being prepared and will be submitted shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. From day 1ish, I never saw a problem with the possibility of it coming from a lab & that it was toyed with (gain of function). Why? Because unlike 99%+ of the population, I have had an interest in & done a shit load of reading the last 35 years on infectious diseases, history, science & their effects on societies, armies & humans. A bunch of it covers the modern era including bio warfare research, gain of function, thousands of incidences of lab accidents & escapes, criminal experimentation by gov, whistle blowing & a steady stream of scientists warning that gain of function + sloppy-reckless lab practices has the potential to cause a catastrophe & the same if used as a weapon. IMO, it appeared there was circumstantial evidence & cause for further investigation, but always remembering that circumstantial evidence is not ‘proof’ – just ask those hundreds of poor bastards that were convicted of a serious crime based on circumstantial evidence only to be set free 10-40 years later based on DNA proof of their innocence. A lot of humans don’t seem to know the difference & lately some highly intelligent ones that did know the difference between proof & circumstantial evidence seem to have lost the ability to make that distinction. Another thing I’m always remembering is Carl Sagan’s rule that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

        I don’t find the claim the virus came from a lab to be extraordinary for reasons I already mentioned.
        I do consider that other claim, ‘Plandemic’ extraordinary & hugely suspicious given the parties pimping it & the pretext for it.

        The vast majority of Plandemic pimps are western, white, male & conservative with the majority of them being American & there is big conservative money, political-business, funding much of the ‘grassroots movements’ (astroturfing) & leaders (shills) – like Anti-maskers fer freedum-liberty-patriotism-family values-the children-the troops-Mom-&-warm cuddly

        Most of these same people: conspiracy generators, politicians, think tanks, PR & image management firms & legion of true believer useful idiots have been denying & poisoning the water with: Climate change, industry pollution, consumer pollution, human population, mass extinction, any & all limits to growth with extra effort on energy denial. Many of them are hardcore/want violence racists too. They’ve been doing it for months, years to decades. What’s different this time is seeing doomers, who have previously debunked & dismissed these denier ideologues, join them for plandemic that is framed & sold with the same amateurish jumping to conclusions, cherry picking, false comparison et al logical fallacies, rhetoric, fear fear fear, spin & falsehoods as they’ve used to attack anyone or thing that challenges their dogma.

        I find the pretext for plandemic, steal our freedom by enacting control measures, to be very shaky. It’s debatable if most of us are or have ever been free to begin with & to put it correctly it’s enacting MORE control measures on top of the stack they’ve been enacting since we were born & immediately assigned a number. Some of us even had our prints (foot) taken, like a person charged with a crime, before we left the hospital. In recent years parents willing give the authorities their kids DNA. Ya know, in case they get abducted (mega lotto odds).

        Again it’s the same denier crew of (mostly) Americans moaning about loss of freedom & I say it’s a delusion about freedoms they never had. The major difference between now & then is they can watch & record more of what we do more of the time & corporations gather as much data as BIG GOV & share it with them. Sometimes the gov, like the California DMV sell their/your data to marketing businesses.

        Many say if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about, but free people should not have to hide things from their gov that they do that don’t hurt others. But they still need to & do.

        Back in the day, if the FBI suspected you of being a communist they would follow you, open a file on you. Check your bank records, library books, etc. They did the same thing to civil rights & anti war (Vietnam) activists in the 60’s & 70’s. & many others who crossed Power’s lines. They never stopped. Now everything is on a hard drive in gargantuan Gov and/or Corp server farms. So where’s the freedom? You’re free from being tagged & watched as long as you stay between the lines power has laid down as acceptable – go to our schools & follow our rules & we will allow you to drive a car, consume approved goods (alcohol & cigarettes OK, weed & Cocaine NO WAY). If you are born in the right class & posses enough intelligence & discipline you can choose among a variety of better paying employment & status options. You can vote, but not/never commie or socialist/never against the interests of BAU & Power.

        No doubt tptb are using the pandemic as cover to hasten their surveillance-police state plans, long in the works. Plandemic pimps are trying to spin it as some freedom losing tipping point when it’s BAU. Just a progression of what’s been happening for over a century – using the new tech for surveillance & control. The progression is usually at a slow crawl, but never let a good crisis go to waste has been in the rulers play-book since day 1. There is no singular freedom losing event, there never has been one & trying to find one is equivalent to looking for a transition species. Missing links are for narrative seekers – looking for something that don’t exist to play a part in a primitive emotionally satisfying story. This is what humans do to make sense & deal. It’s a form of control.

        I don’t have proof that there was no plandemic, but the onus is not on me, it’s not impossible, but all I’ve seen is bad evedience & twice as much emotion & dogma. If I was to believe most of what this largely right-wing American conspiracy denier crew believes then I’d be believing everything bad that happens in history that happens to challenge their ideology, didn’t just happen – IT WAS PLANNED (always by their nemesis – “The Left). To believe what they do is to believe in the mother of all coincidences, not to mention a level of self centeredness, self flattery & tribal specialness that makes them the neo chosen ones. What irony coming from conspiracists who claim most not to believe in coincidences. Ever notice they don’t have any conspiracy that exclusively fucks over the left? They’ve never been targeted? Only the right? Great underdog narrative that.

        Although Russia Gate was mostly horse shit & the left is just as bad with their own dogma protecting denial & lies, Trump is a piece of shit & leading his crew into fascism. Not because the left says so, but because Trump is a piece of shit & leading his crew into fascism. It’s obvious. The left looks to be 1 or 2 steps behind in unleashing a US cultural revolution Mao style. I guess they need the white house. Looks like a lose lose situation to me. We’ll likely catch some spill over. It happens when the house next door is a meth lab & goes BOOM!

        I’m with Carlin in that what people call freedoms & rights are just temporary privileges. I lmao at the American denier conspiracy crew because they were not just silent on what is probably the biggest plebs freedom losing piece of legislation in their country’s history, ‘Citizens United’, but many of them even supported it, which is kinda like a black slave 300 years ago cheering on the forging of his chains. The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) & The Patriot Act are two other freedom stealing pieces of legislation they were also all but silent on or supported. These were all enacted in the 21st century, but were on the drawing board in the 20th.


        1. I do love to read your writing, Apneaman. Your razor sharp wit and piercing arguments are righteous as hell. You goddamn nailed it again with this summary! I think I remember you stating you were born within the confines of “Generation X” (that gen labeling shit gets tiresome, though), as was I (1973), and this really comes through in your writing style.

          On a similar note, I feel awkward clicking the “Like” button here at un-Denial so often but I can’t help it, what with you, Rob, and others writing such great stuff that so well put into written words what I want to say about these topics. I really appreciate your work here (and on Megacancer).

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Unbelievable. I’m glad I quit Twitter and Facebook.

      On Sunday afternoon we asked how long before the twitter account of the “rogue” Chinese virologist, Dr. Li-Meng Yan, who yesterday “shocked” the world of establishment scientists and other China sycophants, by publishing a “smoking gun” scientific paper demonstrating that the Covid-19 virus was manmade, is “silenced.”

      We now have the answer: less than two days. A cursory check of Dr. Yan’s twitter page reveals that the account has been suspended as of this moment.


  20. Sorry about this off topic response to your current post, it is on topic for one of the central ideas in your blog though.

    I find the MORT theory to be very interesting but I think it needs to be linked to “The Case Against Reality”. The central idea in the Case Against Reality is that biologically evolved information processing systems do not accurately present reality. They always present a distorted “view” of reality that helps the organism reproduce.

    Now when I combine the two ideas in my mind (after it was blown apart 🙂 things get awesomely weird.
    It now becomes Mind Over Distorted Environmental Sensing Theory (MODEST) and the Africans living 100,000 years ago learned how to deny their sensory understanding of the world. And because that sensory based understanding of the world is, at the very least, a heavily distorted and very limited view of reality being able to deny your sensory understanding has the potential to be very useful and profoundly unhelpful depending on the circumstance.

    It also is not surprising that this ability to deny the “reality” of your sensory input is accompanied by the belief in unseen spirits or gods acting behind what is experienced, the question is weather or not these spirits or gods were invented or discovered


  21. Here is a link to the book the Case Against Reality

    It is also occurring to me that MORT (or MODEST) should coincide with proto-humans starting to tell stories. It seems that story telling would be crucial to developing the ability to deny “sensory reality” and modify/replace it with something else ( “described reality”?) For example permeant death becomes a cycle of reincarnation.


    1. Hi Jim, welcome. Nothing is off topic here, except vacuous politics.

      I started Hoffman’s book a year or so ago but quit because it felt like he was making a big deal about the obvious and I didn’t feel I was gaining any insight into human behavior. Now you’ve made me wonder if I was too hasty in my judgement.

      I’m trying to digest why you think denying a distorted unpleasant reality is significant for explaining our behavior. Care to elaborate a bit, perhaps linking to what you observe people doing today?


  22. There is no upper limit on denial.

    Biologists warn ‘extinction denial’ is the latest anti-science conspiracy theory

    “Biodiversity scientists are being urged to “fight the creeping rise of extinction denial” that has spread from fringe blogs to influential media outlets and even into a U.S. Congressional hearing. The call to arms came in a paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution last month by Alexander Lees, senior lecturer in conservation biology at Manchester Metropolitan University, and colleagues.

    “Many of the same individuals that routinely seek to downplay the impacts of climate change have written articles understating the biodiversity loss crisis,” Lees says. “Denialists have sought to obfuscate the magnitude of both extinctions and loss of bio-abundance.”

    The paper describes and debunks three types of extinction denial. The first, “literal denial,” argues that extinction is largely a historical problem. Arguments like this, such as contained in this article claiming that “the onset of further wildlife extinctions seems far-fetched,” ignore the conservatism of biologists in declaring extinctions, as well as actual evidence of recent extinctions and of the widespread population declines that suggest many more future losses are on the way, the authors write.

    They point out, for example, that denialists have long stated that the Atlantic Forest in Brazil has suffered no extinctions despite having shrunk in area by 90%. Yet two bird species were declared extinct there in 2019, and seven more are down to their last few individuals or have not been seen for a decade or longer.”

    “The third form of denial is “implicatory,” arguing for example that technological fixes and targeted conservation interventions — rather than comprehensive changes to socioeconomic systems — will overcome extinction.”


    1. Yes, I’m seeing this trend. Most recently I think on an episode of the Science Salon podcast hosted by Michael Shermer. The guest and Shermer agreed that the total number of wild animals is falling due to shrinking habitat but that extinction was not a problem we needed to worry about.

      Peasants are getting wealthy by moving into cities so we’ll be ok. Or something like that.


  23. Alice Friedemann explains that slavery has been ubiquitous throughout history, culture, and geography, except for the brief period that we substituted human with fossil energy slaves.

    This is a book review of “The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America” by Andrés Reséndez.

    Slavery is an important postcarbon topic because given our past history, future wood-based civilizations will certainly return to slavery, that’s the kind of species we are. Even hunter-gatherers had slaves.

    The main reason we don’t have slavery today is that fossil fuels provide each American with about 500 “energy” slaves each as I write about here.

    It’s clear that slavery has existed since towns and cities began (Scott 2013). If you read the Old Testament, it is full of slavery (Wikipedia 2020), as I discovered when I tried to read the Bible in High school. I can’t begin to express how sad and angry I was. Plus how women were treated. It’s one of many reasons I became an atheist.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. As seen on Reddit collapse

    World fails to meet a single target to stop destruction of nature – UN report (self.collapse)

    submitted 2 hours ago by Capn_Underpants

    29 comments sharesavereport

    ‘Humanity at a crossroads’ after a decade in which all of the 2010 Aichi goals to protect wildlife and ecosystems have been missed

    “I guess the solution is to have a meeting and come up with more goals to miss :)”

    It’s easy to say that the decades of missed goals is just tptb stringing the sheep along & a never ending make work project for the professional eco managerial class, but that’s only part of it. Just as important is the public demand for this institutional false hope (why else do they keep reporting it?). In lieu of results, humans demand that the various branches of authority at least pretend to care & continue to spit out empty promises. It helps the public bolster their personal denial & existential terror.

    ‘more goals to miss’ & more research so we can continue to pretend it’s badly needed to ‘inform policy makers’.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. An “aging population” is a common belief for why the economy is not growing as fast as we’d like. Notice that an “aging population” is much less unpleasant than “we’ve burned all the cheap energy” and so does not trigger our reality denial module. Notice also that growth has slowed in every country of the world, not just those with aging populations. Notice also that the solution to an aging population is to make more babies, whereas the solution to critical non-renewable resource depletion is population reduction policies.

    The solution now to the enormously ballooning debts in developed economies: Firing up consumer price inflation and let it run hot, according to the newest dogma trotted out incessantly by the Fed and other central banks, and hope that rapid economic growth will take care of the rest.

    The US federal government debt alone has ballooned by $3.5 trillion in just eight months, and by $4.2 trillion in 12 months, to a breath-taking $26.7 trillion today.

    Rising inflation and high economic growth worked during the decades after the Second World War in bringing down debt levels in highly indebted countries, such as the US, but it won’t work this time, said Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a Senior Minister in the Singapore Cabinet, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Singapore’s central bank), and Deputy Chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund).

    “It’s not like the post-war period,” he said. “In fact, after the Second World War, many of the advanced countries started at very high levels of debt – the United States, the UK, many European countries – but they brought it down dramatically over 30 years. How did they do it? Rapid growth and inflation. And both of those are not possible anymore.”

    “Rapid growth is no longer possible; these are now aging societies; productivity growth is much lower than before,” he said.

    “And inflation is not going to be tolerated by older societies,” he said. “They may be tolerated when societies are young and everyone’s incomes are going up, but it’s not going to be tolerated now. So that option isn’t there.”

    “Neither can we assume that today’s low interest rates remain low forever.” Interest rates will rise to more normal levels at some point, and this will raise the costs of this debt, she said. Governments must find a way to grow their economies without simply expanding the deficit.


  26. James on energy and denial.

    Is there any reason for the complexity we build? Are we trying to get somewhere?

    The complexity seems to exist only to entrain energy and convert it into profit and growth/reproduction in the most efficient and fastest rate possible. The tools and relationships that allow for this are saved in resilient information or templates that can be passed through time and be modified either deliberately or by chance (organic life).

    It could be that the greediest, most delusional, tribally cohesive, human RNA, politically organized to pursue unrestricted growth (capitalism), is destined to become the growth/profit winner. To achieve this growth maximization (enrichment) it is often necessary to downplay any concern regarding the finite nature of resources, waste sinks and disregard ethical concerns. The brain has undoubtedly evolved to facilitate this optimal energy dissipating function which is exemplified by the biochemically rewarding God worshiping tendency and the equally mind-altering, opposition-vilifying tribalism. Likewise, denial mechanisms have evolved to eliminate mental barriers to maximal personal and societal enrichment. It could be that a belief in “progress” or a “better tomorrow” is itself a hardwired mental bias to keep the human dissipative on the trail of ever more energy and resources to be converted into profit/growth/reproduction. The human organism obtains just enough to continue the pursuit of a dream that is always out of reach and if the dissipating engine loses steam a new dream can be distilled from the human optimism bias.

    These mental characteristics evolved in an environment where growth was easily governed by cyclical depletions of essential inputs, Lotka-Volterra cycles. Everything, including older generations were recycled to nourish the next generation’s growth. Any amount of greed could not overcome the resulting dearth of prey species which would cycle back into abundance following an equal reduction in the predatory species. But the conversion of humans into technological RNA has resulted in the production of novel tools to facilitate maximal growth in human numbers and their technological infrastructure without any compensating reduction in the will to power or growth that evolved while captive in the ecosystem and is shared by most organisms. One manifestation of this will to power, the hierarchy contest among humans, can realize its full potential in the technological system resulting in utter depletion and destruction of the environment.

    Even though humans like to think of themselves a great success as a species, nothing could be further from the truth. A few centuries of metal conduits and toys to eliminate a fossil fuel gradient cannot be compared to a multi-billion year old ecosystem evolved to capture and dissipate the energy of the sun that has been arriving in the thin gaseous atmosphere of earth for even longer. But by all means, build a faster computer, organize and educate your human RNA to be most effective in promoting GDP growth, build more roads, pipes and spaceships and increase the velocity of money. See where all of that gets you – to the end of the line even faster and in the contest of nations to “mutually assured extinction.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If James or an editor put together a collection of his essays & longer comment/rants, I’d buy it for the comic value alone, although it’d be worth having for more than that. As far as explaining his thoughts in essay & comment format the quality of his writing is as good as any I’ve come across. Amateur or pro.

      It might be a hard sell given most of the humans don’t like the hard reality, but who knows? John Grey’s ‘Straw Dogs’ & Thomas Ligotti’s ‘The Conspiracy Against the Human Race’ are not exactly bed time reading for the kids, nor would one want their kids finding and reading them, yet they are sort of popular.

      ‘Ok kids, get in bed and Daddy will read some Thomas Ligotti quotes for your bed time story.’

      “For the rest of the earth’s organisms, existence is relatively uncomplicated. Their lives are about three things: survival, reproduction, death—and nothing else. But we know too much to content ourselves with surviving, reproducing, dying—and nothing else. We know we are alive and know we will die. We also know we will suffer during our lives before suffering—slowly or quickly—as we draw near to death. This is the knowledge we “enjoy” as the most intelligent organisms to gush from the womb of nature. And being so, we feel shortchanged if there is nothing else for us than to survive, reproduce, and die. We want there to be more to it than that, or to think there is. This is the tragedy: Consciousness has forced us into the paradoxical position of striving to be unself-conscious of what we are—hunks of spoiling flesh on disintegrating bones.”

      “No other life forms know they are alive, and neither do they know they will die. This is our curse alone. Without this hex upon our heads, we would never have withdrawn as far as we have from the natural—so far and for such a time that it is a relief to say what we have been trying with our all not to say: We have long since been denizens of the natural world. Everywhere around us are natural habitats, but within us is the shiver of startling and dreadful things. Simply put: We are not from here. If we vanished tomorrow, no organism on this planet would miss us. Nothing in nature needs us.”

      “As a survival-happy species, our successes are calculated in the number of years we have extended our lives, with the reduction of suffering being only incidental to this aim. To stay alive under almost any circumstances is a sickness with us. Nothing could be more unhealthy than to “watch one’s health” as a means of stalling death. The lengths we will go as procrastinators of that last gasp only demonstrate a morbid dread of that event. By contrast, our fear of suffering is deficient.”

      “Look at your body— A painted puppet, a poor toy Of jointed parts ready to collapse, A diseased and suffering thing With a head full of false imaginings. —The Dhammapada”

      ― Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror

      G’nite kids, sleep well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. James is an amazing writer and has a lot of good work buried deep in the comments of his blogs that don’t see much love. It should be extracted and compiled.

        Good quotes from Ligotti. I’ve never heard of him. There’s quite a few people that dance around the fact that humans are the only species that understand their mortality. Varki took these dances and transformed them into a concrete scientific theory that explains our self-destructive behavior despite plenty of intelligence to know better.


  27. Here’s an interesting natural experiment on reality denial.

    Thanks to his excellent virus reporting, Chris Martenson’s YouTube channel has grown to 368,000 subscribers. Today he’s shifting back to discussing the 3 E’s (energy, economy, environment), also known as human overshoot.

    Let’s observe and see if his subscriptions grow or shrink.


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