Posted by: graemebird | May 27, 2007

What If Energy Gets More Expensive: The Plight Of The Worker


All sorts of factory processes would become unviable with energy more expensive.

Which means of course that you wind up needing to use more physical energy.

Instead of tapping a pallet-holder that will automatically rise up a bit with each tap as one lifts the bags off. ………so you are always lifting at the optimal height for your the health of your spine…

…. instead of that we’d have pallet-holders on springs.

…….Or worse we’d still just be lifting crap right of the floor and wrecking our backs good and proper.

In a highly capitalized factory you can have guys in their 60’s or even 70’s working three shifts a week at least no problem.

But under strict safety regulations and work-cover and so forth, and in the context of expensive energy, we would have to make them redundant at not much over 40.

They wouldn’t keep up with the pace. They would be accumulating injuries. So without massively expanding energy consumption and capital goods these guys aren’t that useful to us anymore and we lose their superior accumulated skills.

It would amount to trashing humans.

I got put on cleaning duties awhile back.

In the past I remember all my life this has been a low-status, annoying, shit-kicking job.


We had just awesome gear for cleaning.

We had this thing that we called the GERNI.

I think we only call it that since its got a Gerni trademark on it.

You suck in detergent (hydrocarbons), you attach it to water from the hose (precious water using energy to put it under pressure) you fill it with diesel and the diesel heats the water.

And you wind up with high-pressure steaming-hot water with strong cleaning liquid in it.

And it makes cleaning almost fun and enourmously productive.

The alternative would be not to clean so often and live with caked on crap on the machines. Leaving an unhygenic working environment and products that contained on average more bacteria.

But it would also mean hard scraping and warn-out elbows and a job that only the youngsters could do with great productivity.

We also subcontract out a shit-load of cleaning.

Subcontracting out these services is basically a way to get more energy usage happening via the outsiders having invested in massively powerful cleaning gear.

Most spending and production in an advanced economy isn’t household its business-to-business.

But our economists are trained not to see this. So some of them fantasise that we can do this all with solar and crap.

You hear a story with some fantastically expensive solar plant that maybe can serve 3000 households.

Big fucking deal.

Can it run modern industry?

No chance in the world. And we don’t have that sort of capital investment.

Brought up on Keynesian crap you will find most economists around here are totally flippant about capital formation.

So what if solar power takes three times the capital? No pressure? Nothing wrong with a balance of trade blowout?

They imagine that they can get this capital by rigging the monetary system. You get less and not more capital that way but by that stage their eyes would have glazed over and they will be piling on the smugness.

We’ve just got to get back to reality


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