Posted by: graemebird | March 26, 2007

No Upper Limit To The Dollars And Human-Years Lost.


November 2009

In science a lot can be discovered by just extrapolating a few general principles and “KNOWN-KNOWNS” (Taken from Rumsfeld’s majestic Venn-diagram carve-up, of categories of knowledge, for the purpose of sound decision-making). In a sea of murky known-unknowns, and shark-like unknown-unknowns, still there are reliable known-knowns, that come in the form of general principles. And an outline of a possible future can be made by taken the subject of known-knowns that are general principles, picking out the strongest of these that clash with eachother, and finding out how the clash is likely to resolve itself.

We want to take the general principle of the Austrian doctrine of the lengthening of the structure of production. That principle is a known known and it will be reliably true until such time as we start treating our buildings the same way as chip-makers treat their transitors. That is when we are building arrays of large pyramidal and conical buildings joined by multiple “roads” at different heights, and piping of all appropriate industrial producer goods into this array. Only at that point will some aspects of the lengthening of the structure of production change. Actual distances travelled of components from raw materials to the final consumer goods may shorten at that time, but not before. And so for a time, we will reach real limits to growth. Since the general Austrian principle will not be denied.

Now we put this Austrian principle slap blam up against the principle of the geometric progression. To whit:

Growth rates when talking about a period of 93 years.

1% 2.5 times larger economy
2% 6.3
3% 15.6
4% 38.4
5% 93.5
6% 225.7
7% 540.4
8% 1283.5

In the early decades we are looking for a population growth rate of maybe 3% per year. A drop in GDP by maybe 20% up front with all sorts of reforms. But thereafter a growth in GDP of about 5% per year. A growth in energy production and consumption of about 7% per year. And a growth in GDR of about 8% per year. This is realistic. Although until we get serious about the city layout then sometime this century we would reach a sort of gridlock. Where it would be pointless and wasteful to keep growing GDR at a faster rate then GDP. Thanks to the congestion charging argument being split into the very stupid and the very evil we have no way of having a free enterprise solution to city layout. Thanks to the moronic economics fraternity, on both sides, left and right and Austrian, failing to recognise that Henry George had a point, and that we needed to take some of his arguments into account, even if it is the case that we reject his land tax….. well thanks this bloody-mindedness on all sides …. we don’t have the other half of the equation that would give us the city layout that we need.

So anyway the solid known-knowns so far:

1. The lengthening of the structure of production

2. The reality of the geometric progression.


3. The fact that subsidies are destructive of the long-term prospects for new technologies.

4. The fact that long-term tax-exemptions are NOT destructive of these prospects. (5 years as compensation for rapid change. 15 years (under conditions of growth-deflation) to make sure there is plenty of capital development to speed to drop in prices for the new technology.

5. The foolishness of expecting any technology, or any group of technologies to grow at more than about 20% compounding per annum.

6. That technological progress is embedded in capital accumulation and particularly in the rate of capital update.

7. Capital accumulation and update are in an of themselves energy-THIRSTY activities. Much more so in the energy production business.

8. Any subsidies to energy production of any sort inevitably lead to wasted (literal) energy resources. This is such a proven empirical fact that it hardly needs going into further. Tax exemptions of 15 years do not have this feature if the competitors are exempted also. This will be also the case for the subsidised insulation program we have on the fly now. You might not believe so. But its just a matter of someone doing the numbers. However a tax-exemption for stand-alone companies providing energy-saving investments (such as insulation) need not, and would be unlikely to cause the same wasted (literal) energy.

If we bring these 8 general principles together and let them fight it out, we will see that the cap-and-kill will slow the rate of CO2-Emissions ONLY BY REDUCING THE RATE AT WHICH THE ECONOMY PROGRESSES. If you don’t believe me do the maths yourself, with all 8 of these general principles in mind. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is just a fucking fact.

Supposing you say HO HO Graeme. Still talking about pyramids ho ho. And thats your whole fucking argument well that cannot change anything. Suppose you are saying that we are going to double heliostat solar energy every year. HOW????? By a subsidy??????? I’m telling you it cannot work. By a 50 year tax exemption funded by closing down ABARE and a string of other bureaucracies?

Now thats better!!!

But its still going to take time to get up a head of steam. Because the heliostats must be manufactured USING HYDROCARBON RESOURCES. So early on, even if we can push growth of non-CO2 emitting energy sources up to 20% per annum, this will INCREASE and not decrease emissions. Maybe not for France. But for US this is just a fact.

Hence the cap and kill will work no question. But only by paralysing growth. If you don’t believe me do the maths. But you must take the 8 realities above into account when you are setting up your maths assumptions.

We are hearing certain folks playing down the cost of what the energy-deprivers want from us.

Some folks can be compromised with. But we can never compromise with utopian-eschatologists because there is no upper limit to their demands or the costs that they will wish to impose on us.

From time to time you’ll hear a leftist economist say something like:

“Cost estimates are between 8 and 24 times the cost already spent on the gulf war… Not insubstantial… But clearly affordable”


And lets not forget that this action won’t change the weather a skerritt except out of sheer serendipity.

And lets not forget that even if it did work it would change the weather FOR THE WORSE!!!!

“Cost estimates are between 8 and 24 times the cost already spent on the gulf war… Not insubstantial… But clearly affordable”

Affordable to whom?

Have YOU got the money? I don’t have the money. The Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt. Who has to die so that we can have this money FOR AN INVESTMENT IN FRAUDSTER EGO???

Affordable to whom?



This deal is driven by the contempt of taxeaters for the rest of us. For our taxpaying friends, for the days of our lives.

Only the taxpayer has to pay for this vandalism and the bills never stop. Only a taxeater could have uttered these words surely.

But getting sidetracked into debates over whether its affordeable (every serious amount of spending kills-someone… somewhere… sometime.. now-or-in-the-future)…


Lets just point out the ridiculously low estimates these fellas are giving us. 8-24 Times the Gulf War is a lot of money for anything at all. But its a shitload of money for nothing at all and to the extent that that nothing at all aproaches some-small-thing that some-small-thing is only bad.

8-24 times the cost of the Gulf War is an enourmous amount of money.

But as huge as that is…. As many people as the spending of that for no reason at all … As many people as that would kill, or ruin, or break their hearts, or as many people as that put-upon would stop from ever really feeling alive.

As much as that amount of money would fuck people up for no reason whatsoever….. the fact is that its a ridiculous UNDERestimate.

There is simply no upper limit to what the energy-rationing-ideologues might wind up costing us.

For me to show this…… lets project out future economic growth rates. We will look at what a 1% growth rate means in terms of the size of the economy in 93 years time. That is to say the size of the economy in the year 2100.

As I explained in my criticisms of the SINGULARITY concept (search this site): its the things we do WORST not the things we do BEST that determine the constraints on our growth. Just as in Chemistry.. the rate-determining-step is the SLOWEST and not the FASTEST step in any complex cycle.

So we have to get rid of all the constraints years in advance of THOSE CONSTRAINTS rearing their ugly head….. We have to get rid of them years in advance to ensure that we can experience unimpeded economic growth.

That being said our main constraint is always and forever capital accumulation. And energy is massively imbedded in this capital accumulation and turnover.

Here is the outcome for various rates of economic growth over 93 years.

Growth Rate/Outcome with 93 years of Growth

1% 2.5 times larger economy
2% 6.3
3% 15.6
4% 38.4
5% 93.5
6% 225.7
7% 540.4
8% 1283.5

The fact is that there is just no upper limit to what these energy-deprivation-crusaders could be costing us.

We are bound to be underestimating what they will cost us by trillions of dollars and billions of human-years of life-lost.

And if you want to save human lives and bring the good things quickly to the poorest people in the world…. A wealthy country.. in pursuit of LIBERTY for its own people…. ought tend to become a massive exporter of capital goods…

And the recipients of this capital, in terms of both loans and physical equipment…. needs powerful amounts of energy to use all this gear, pay back their loans, and release for all time, the vast majority of its people from life-shortening-labour and life-destroying-poverty.



  1. Best damn post I’ve read anywhere for a while bird. Great description of the energy limiters by the way. It’s terrifc.

  2. A really interesting post but i wonder why you go to the trouble the green hysteria is based on the convergence of two things: the conservation romantics who can’t bare to see a blade of grass cut and the communists who need some fresh ammo to fire at the Capitalist system. As far as I can see climate change is probably inevitable and just part of the process of a technological species transforming its own planet before heading off to do the same to other planets. By learning to control the Earth we will be able to geo-engineer Mars and the rest. In the process there will probably be the ultimate ideological war and that will come soon.

  3. But your wishing away the problem by suddenly jumping to a far-flung future that you can only speculate about.

    Its like the leadership of the Byzantime Empire… There they were within the walls of Constantinople.. furiously debating about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin while the Turk was out there meaning to destroy them.

    The realities of industrial production mean that we will surely have to put up with this planet for a very long time.

    No other planet is worthwhile setting up on. And the capital and energy that you would use to start a city with all amenties on another planet would be such that everyone who had that sort of snap would rather stay a multi-millionaire here on earth.

    Its true that there is likely to be giant factories in space. But these will be very close by. They are unlikely to be further away then the moon.

    But that too is a long way off and only if we survive the forces trying to weigh down and rip apart our civilisation right now.

    The chief such force being White leftists with a weird grudge against CO2.

    That this nonsense continues is a sign of a society wherein the elites no longer give a toss about their unborn great grandchildren. Where the unmarried blokes no longer give a toss whether the sheilas in their country are going to be pack-raped by and invading army.

    For the first time since prior to Reagan its beginning to look like the Fall-Of-Rome.

    And the fact is we aren’t transforming our climate in any clear direction. I think that lately we’ve been cooling it a tad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: