1 Comment

Subtitle: "Can we build out renewable energy fast enough to avoid some nasty tipping points?"

When we take the Heinberg Pulse and the Michaux Monkeywrench into account, this question is revealed to be a very strange one, indeed. It's like asking, "Can we save a drowning man by chaining his ankles to a two hundred pound block of underwater concrete?"

For an explanation, see:

Energy Transition & the Luxury Economy


The mainstream / conventional / ubiquitous story of 'energy transition' is one of maintaining urban-industrial-technological (high energy and materials) 'civilization' in a shape familiar to those who live in the global North (rich world). It's purpose -- this story -- is to comfort the comfortable and keep us all from changing course in the direction we ought to be moving in -- which is in the direction of a dramatic and rapid voluntary energy descent (and materials descent, and GDP/GWP descent).

Industrial civilization as we know it will not and cannot continue. Nor will the luxury-dependent modern economy. And what we ought to be doing is recognizing that we're going to have to rapidly reverse the urbanization demographics trend of the last century -- moving as many of us into rural self-provisioning villages as possible, as quickly as possible. Why? Mainly because the only way most folks now living in cities will have a means of livelihood in a post-carbon, low exosomatic energy intensity economy (which is not a luxury economy) will be in a community self-provisioning, agrarian, rural village economy not dependent on the present dominant globalized luxury economy.

There is simply no possible way to maintain the energy intensity of the present dominant world economy system, and that means billions of people will have to leave cities to live in rural villages -- because cities cannot be economically sustained in the near future. They are simply too densely populated for there to be sufficient food growing land to sustain them. The future economy will be a needs based economy, not a luxury economy, and so cities will be few and largely emptied out of people.

Expand full comment