Posted by: graemebird | June 11, 2008

Mark Hill And The Catallaxians/Pathological Inability To Understand The Peak Oil Concept.

Mark Hill has posted an article and said “This one for Graeme” or some such thing. And all it does is show that no matter how often we go over the same subject the Catallaxians are simply unable to understand the peak oil concept. Trying to instill any understanding into these dumb buggers heads is truly a Sisyphysian undertaking and I have not yet been successful in this matter. Mark Hill links an article that begins this way:

“There is more than twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say, according to a former industry adviser who claims there is widespread misunderstanding of the way proven reserves are calculated.

Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked ………”

It doesn’t matter how many times you go over it.     Some people are sort of congenitally unable to understand that peak oil doesn’t say anything about reserves. And that its only about daily output. Peak oil is a supply and demand concept. And yet no-one at Catallaxy appears able to comprehend the concept except for Steve Edwards. We are not talking about a disagreement here. The problem is not that the Catallaxians don’t agree with the concept. I myself only agree with it in a limited sense.

The problem is they seem unable to UNDERSTAND the concept. Or if they manage a glimmer of understanding it isn’t going to hold as far as next Wednesday.

The author of the article may not be as much of an idiot as a Catallaxian. After all I haven’t gone over and over and over and over again, like 20 or 30 times, trying to explain this concept to the author of the article. But I have done this with Mark and the other Catallaxians. And they are simply too stupid to understand the concept. They keep on getting it confused with running out of oil. The peak oil concept has nothing to say about running out of oil. Except to the extent that the peak oil concept assumes that we will never run out of oil.

Pretty much all the economists in this country are idiots. Don’t doubt it.



  1. Holy crap! I get what you’re saying.
    Due to the rise in consumption in China and India (and world growth in general), not only does the price rise due to demand but the product it’s self become more limited due to more people using it and having the hippies whinge about opening up new production sites keep production stagnate.

    On Objectivism Online there was a thread about peak oil which was mainly criticising the methods used to measure the oil deposits. Have you any thoughts on these methods of measuring?

  2. Not really but the volume of stocks isn’t the main point. Peak oil is really just about the daily output.

    With the volume of stocks the problem is serious with OPEC. Because that was the metric by which each of the countries got given their quota in the old days. So they all kept slyly upping their supposed volume of stocks. They’d be depleting them every year but their totals stayed the same or went up. So the figures are not to be believed.

    One fallacy that everyone tends to make is that they treat the situation as if we were under pure Austrian economics. Which is a blatantly wrong implicit assumption because we are somewhat far from that situation.

    So they assume that all these substitutions will be made with some expeditiousness even though the taxeaters and environmentalists are obstructing all serious adaptive measures.

    The energy-deprivation crusade has been going since the late 60’s and were that not the case King Hubbards model would be of not much significance to your average Joe. The canals would have been revived in Europe and North America. We’d have ports springing up all down the Victorian and NSW coast. And where the trainlines and canals met the buildings would grow very tall. The nuclear power plants would be springing up all over the place and a liquified-coal plant next to them. And by now we would be using the same methodology to rework all our trash.

    Even the lack of homesteading of resources is hurting us. The way our gas gets so easily sold off is partly to do with the way they auction these massively bundled leases. Leaving an excessive rush to get the stuff out of the ground and develop a cash-flow. Hence they wind up pissing away their equity position and locking themselves into long-term contracts. It like their selling the cow for some magic beans. Except the beans aren’t magic like Jacks.

    The gas is the most valuable product we have. Because it supplies the hydrogen atoms to liquify our vast solid hydrocarbon resources.

    Good to see you drop in Clinton. I understand that you are an acquaintance of Prodos.

    You see the problem here is that people aren’t happy with having a lot of small models in their heads. So that if the peak oil model isn’t perfect in every respect they just write it off as a greenie myth. I’ll bet a lot of your objectivist correspondents have this lone-paradigm-curse going as well, as powerful as their ideas are.

    Peak oil is to do with the basic nature of the oil well that you find and the oil is under pressure. And if you want to calculate whats happening next you first sort out assumptions about what the inner core of shallow-ocean and land wells are likely to do. And then you add on the other stuff afterwards. With the environmentalist movement doing all it can to obstruct the other stuff the peak oil model then takes on a validity and predictive nature that it would not otherwise have.

  3. I think it’s time for a JC post Graeme. He’s fully gone native.


    When good people go native.

  4. Yeah he’s just being a fucking idiot. And now JohnZ is back and its the implied lie all the way through.

    You leftist know you never need to show up with evidence. You just do the AS-IF routine. The AS-IF routine is where you talk AS-IF the lie is the truth. And eventually conservative types like JC just caves in one lie at a time.

    Ifs fucking dissapointing but what can you do?

  5. Catallaxy has become an absolute cesspit of Communist-degeneracy since you left Mr Bird. While you were there you at least keeping some of these spineless fairweather conservatives on the relatively straight and narrow. Soon does not know what a free gift he lost.

  6. Don’t I know it. Its turned into a commie-sewer and a CO2-bedwetters sanctuary. JC has fallen completely into line and is goose-stepping away with the absolute certainty that CO2 is a serious problem. Yet he knows full well he’s never seen any evidence for this. That he knows full well he cannot find anyone with evidence for this. And that he doesn’t know anyone who could find anyone who could track down someone who has any evidence for this.

    I used to think Catallaxy was a forum for the creative dispersal of innovative ideas. Now its just turned out to be a sell-outs convention.

  7. I did some campaign work for Prodos, keep missing his cafe/pub meetings though.

    While your concept of peak oil is all very well and valid, you must accept that oil doesn’t come from a magical vortex in the Earth’s centre and that one day it will run out. When we are getting close to running out, this concept of peak oil must also be addressed because this is what the doomsayers believe is happening now and they are crying about it and must be shut down. Between 2004 and 2037 they say is when we will hit it. Not only is this a long range, they are not taking into account new technologies to get in deeper. I believe they’ve calculated this by predicting how much is under a single drilling site, subtracting how much has been removed, then using math to tell us how much is left. I can’t seem to find the exact instruments used to PREDICT the depth… maybe it’s dipstick 1000’s of miles long… or they ring a psychic hotline…

  8. Well the peak oil concept is not about stocks of oil in the ground. Its about daily output.

    It pretty important to sort out what “peak oil” is and what it is not. Its not peak energy. Its not peak oil substitutes. Its not the end of oil. Its a not a whole lot of things its really just one thing and it doesn’t apply to anything but traditional wells.

    It applies to individual wells, individual regions and the way its added up is to try and get data on all the wells. What happens with a single well is that you drill into it and the oil is so much under pressure that it gushes out. And then the number of barrels per day increases as the investment continues. But once that oil well peaks its going to take more and more energy and cost to prevent a precipitous drop-off in the output of that well.

    This happens with each well. Its just the make-up of the well and the fact that it starts under pressure.

    The next step is to survey all the known wells and see their output growth and suss out if they are at peak or past peak. And then you can make a prediction from all that when the lot of them ought to peak.

    Now its silent on oil-shales, tar sands, and its pretty quiet also on wells that heretofore have been out of reach.

    We already pretty much reached peak oil in May 2005. In that it would take an immense amount of effort and expense to beat that daily output. Absolutely nothing to do with how much is still in the ground.

    There must be a great deal of deep-sea stuff but it will take a whole new generation of capital goods and technology to get at it.

    You see people have trouble with models that aren’t perfect. They have to say its all not true or its all true. Its a myth or the gospel. But what the peak oil model says, properly interpreted, is that things will be tough. Not that we perhaps might not beat the May 2005 peak if we try really really hard. But that it will be immensely tough going. And that we better treat this as an emergency. Since in the field of energy we don’t have the property rights to just imagine that things will work out for themselves.

    Like you think how much nonsense you’d have to go through to open up a nuclear energy plant and put a coal liquification plant besides it? When you consider the barriers to getting that up you can see that the passive-libertarian assumptions won’t work here. It has to be an aggressive-libertarian approach. Like never compromising with these global warming liars and all that.

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