[FoRK] When Wealth Disappears

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Oct 8 09:56:55 PDT 2013

On Tue, Oct 08, 2013 at 09:45:25AM -0700, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> >The underlying
> >reason for the stagnation is that a half-century of remarkable one-off
> >developments in the industrialized world will not be repeated.
> Talk about famous last words...  No imagination.  There are a
> variety of pending revolutions, any one of which would cause a new
> revolution worthy of a generation or two of economic steam.

All these revolutions must begin with: 
1) access to cheap plentiful
   energy, especially liquid hydrocarbons and gases 
2) keep agriculture going despite ecosystem crash 
3) long-term, breaking the link between surplus energy and 
   human fertility, or really cheap transport
   to space (one of these is easier than the other) 

As none of this will happen in the next 40 years, we've got a
long, hard slog ahead of us. This will be a surprise to
most people who do not see it coming.
> The real discussion needed is how to handle the end of work (for

Sure, the author forgot automation. And a few other things, I've
mentioned one biggie. The economists are really limited that way.

> most people).  Additionally, becoming more efficient in certain
> economic segments would help tremendously.

Improvement in energy efficiency is limited, and has no impact
on overall energy consumption.

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