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School children strike/protest over climate change.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
Posts: 7548
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Little John wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
Again you are considering all consumption as energy. In fact energy is a portion of most consumption but only a fraction of it. Reducing that fraction does not reduce the total consumption.
All consumption either entails the direct consumption of energy and other raw resources (primary economic activity). Or, it involves leveraged, abstracted activities who existence depends on primary consumption having occurred further down the chain of economic dependencies (secondary/tertiary economic activity). Primary economic activity comes first and, without it, all other secondary and tertiary activities no longer have an economic foundation on which to exist.
Apparently labor, planning, supervision and other overhead does not exist in your economy. Is the computer you are sitting in front of just a couple of gallons of diesel? What about the food you ate for breakfast? Or the clothes on your back?
And what do you think provides the energy for Labor, planning and overheads and, indeed, food and clothes in terms of their industrial scale production and distribution in a large complex industrial civilization such as ours?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
Posts: 5573
Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
Little John wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
Again you are considering all consumption as energy. In fact energy is a portion of most consumption but only a fraction of it. Reducing that fraction does not reduce the total consumption.
All consumption either entails the direct consumption of energy and other raw resources (primary economic activity). Or, it involves leveraged, abstracted activities who existence depends on primary consumption having occurred further down the chain of economic dependencies (secondary/tertiary economic activity). Primary economic activity comes first and, without it, all other secondary and tertiary activities no longer have an economic foundation on which to exist.
Apparently labor, planning, supervision and other overhead does not exist in your economy. Is the computer you are sitting in front of just a couple of gallons of diesel? What about the food you ate for breakfast? Or the clothes on your back?
And what do you think provides the energy for Labor, planning and overheads and, indeed, food and clothes in terms of their industrial scale production and distribution in a large complex industrial civilization such as ours?

If you read and comprehend I said energy was a fraction of all these activities. You seem to think the fraction is 100 percent. It is not. And again you can reduce the energy fraction of an activity without decreasing the units produced.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And if you read and comprehended what I have written you would see that I am suggesting the fraction you speak of lies at the bottom of an economic food chain.

What happens when you remove the bottom of a food chain V?

It seems to me you fundamentally misunderstand the difference between primary, tertiary and secondary economic activity. The kind of activities you have mentioned, whilst incredibly important in terms of leveraging up the economic wealth initially created in primary economic activity, are a form of tertiary/secondary wealth "creation". But, tertiary/secondary wealth "creation" is actually merely the recycling of primary wealth. Or, rather, at best, it may, to some extent, as I said, leverage primary wealth in a way that is analogous to higher order life forms recycling and leveraging the primary "wealth" of plants. But, such activities do not create primary wealth by themselves. Sure enough, they may appear to create it in a particular, isolated part of the economic system. But, that is only because that wealth has been taken from some other part of the system. In short, a loss has to be incurred elsewhere in the system.

The only kind of wealth creation that cause a net increase in wealth at the whole economic system level is primary wealth creation. This is because the "loss" is incurred by the Earth itself. Either in geological terms or in terms of some loss to another part of life on Earth. In other words, there no such thing as a free lunch. Or, if we want to be more technical about it, all human economic activity must ultimately conform to the first law of thermodynamics. For a profit to be made (which is what wealth creation is), a loss of some form must be incurred by someone or some thing somewhere else.

To put it another way, take any money and follow its transactions backwards and you will end up in field somewhere, at least in terms of the wealth it is supposed to represent. And if you don't end up in a field you will end up on a bank's accounting ledger which has a built in promise of some primary wealth being created in a field somewhere at some indeterminate point in the future on the back of that money being lent into existence (I am using the specific example of a field as a metaphor. But, I assume you get the picture).

Money is, in the end, nothing more than an accounting system for tracking economic transactions and economic transactions are merely highly abstracted energy transfers. Thus, money is, ultimately, an accounting system for tracking energy flows. Past, present and future (in the case of lent into existence credit). Which, again, explains much of the problems facing the world economy today as we hit the limits to (primary) economic growth. This means that the future growth that is implied in the interest payment requirements of the money supply that has been almost entirely lent into existence by the banks will not happen. In turn, meaning the debt can never be repaid. In turn, meaning our existing global economic system is living on borrowed time.

Anyway, this little exchange has caused me to drift off topic quite a bit. But, necessarily so.


Last edited by Little John on Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fact of energy underpinning our whole economic system is bought into sharp focus by the fact that we use five or more calories of oil to produce one calorie of food. No other animal alive gets less calories from its food than it puts in to getting it. Any animal that did would die very quickly.
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Vortex2



Joined: 13 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The fact of energy underpinning our whole economic system is bought into sharp focus by the fact that we use five or more calories of oil to produce one calorie of food.

Not wanting to be rude, but so what?

If we can get energy from oil, gas, nuclear, wind, solar, whatever then we can have food.

We are a technical species - even we had to use just nuclear we could feed a substantial (but maybe reduced) population.
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
.But, that is only because that wealth has been taken from some other part of the system. In short, a loss has to be incurred elsewhere in the system.

That you believe this shows me you are a lot dumber then I thought you were.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
Little John wrote:
.But, that is only because that wealth has been taken from some other part of the system. In short, a loss has to be incurred elsewhere in the system.

That you believe this shows me you are a lot dumber then I thought you were.
What do you think money is V? It has little if any material value in itself. So, clearly, it represents something other than itself that does have value. What do you think it represents?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
Little John wrote:
.But, that is only because that wealth has been taken from some other part of the system. In short, a loss has to be incurred elsewhere in the system.

That you believe this shows me you are a lot dumber then I thought you were.
What do you think money is V? It has little if any material value in itself. So, clearly, it represents something other than itself that does have value. What do you think it represents?

As I said Dumb.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolute bullshit. You have not addressed/contested a single one of the previous points made by me other than to make a vague appeal to intellectual authority in the absence of a single piece of evidence to back up that appeal. I have since asked you to provide a basic explanation of your understanding of the phenomena of money and you have refused to do so. Instead, repeating your infantile appeal.

Yeah... right... Laughing

Is this all just a bit too complicated for you V?
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vtsnowedin



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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Location: New England ,Chelsea Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Little John wrote:
Absolute bullshit. You have not addressed/contested a single one of the previous points made by me other than to make a vague appeal to intellectual authority in the absence of a single piece of evidence to back up that appeal. I have since asked you to provide a basic explanation of your understanding of the phenomena of money and you have refused to do so. Instead, repeating your infantile appeal.

Yeah... right... Laughing

Is this all just a bit too complicated for you V?

When you make a valid point I'll address it.
Quote:
What happens when you remove the bottom of a food chain V?

I did not say remove energy. I said reduce the amount used per unit of production.
Your polysyllabic BS rant above is full of errors in logic. For one though energy can be considered money not all money is energy. Two the earth is not a zero sum game. It is awash in new solar energy constantly. The value of intellectual property the results of thinking ,experimenting and research does not trace back to a field or mine.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
..........The value of intellectual property the results of thinking ,experimenting and research does not trace back to a field or mine.


Those things are pretty valueless until turned into something concrete which then is reliant upon an energy input. Also thinking requires the input of energy in the form of food which, at the moment, requires more energy to put in than we get out from it. So even thinking is not a sustainable process now!
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PS_RalphW



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Education has only ever been an option in societies with a large energy surplus, be it food or slaves. Ancient Greece would never have invented democracy et al without slavery to power the thinking time needed

Twisted Evil
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emordnilap



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Location: Houǝsʇlʎ' ᴉʇ,s ɹǝɐllʎ uoʇ ʍoɹʇɥ ʇɥǝ ǝɟɟoɹʇ' pou,ʇ ǝʌǝu qoʇɥǝɹ˙

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS_RalphW wrote:
Education has only ever been an option in societies with a large energy surplus, be it food or slaves. Ancient Greece would never have invented democracy et al without slavery to power the thinking time needed

Twisted Evil


Quite. And further back, our big brains developed once we started using energy - in cooking. The amount of time and internal energy required to chew raw food and chemically break open the cells is enormous compared with when we release nutrients in those cells and soften the food using external energy, leading to far more time for socialising, thinking etc.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
...The value of intellectual property the results of thinking ,experimenting and research does not trace back to a field or mine.


Given you appear to believe in the economic equivalent of anti-gravitational levitation, here's a little thought experiment for you V;

Someone writes "amazing thing" on a small piece of stone. As a consequence, they value that piece of stone, independent of any other material good or service in the real world, as being worth many thousands of pounds.

Let's assume, even, that they manage to get other people to agree with them that this piece of stone is worth many thousands of pounds and so they begin to buy and sell it on that basis.

Do you think the value of that stone is sustainable? Where did the money come from to pay for the stone? Do you think it all came form other people who had similarly decided, independent of the material world, that they also had small pieces of stone worth many thousands of pounds.

Do you think wealth is just pulled out of people's arses?
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw somewhere that a human being can only, though their own labour, produce enough food for 1.8 humans. So if you have more than one child per person that other child has to work to grow its own food rather than go to school. Even the one child has to spend part of its time growing its own food.
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