DrumBeat: March 30, 2008

Those who control oil and water will control the world: New superpowers are competing for diminishing resources as Britain becomes a bit-player. The outcome could be deadly.

In this round of the Great Game, energy shortage and global warming are reinforcing each another. The result can only be a growing risk of conflict. There were around 1.65 billion people in the world when the last round was played out. At the start of the 21st century, there are four times as many, struggling to secure their future in a world being changed out of recognition by climate change. It would be wise to plan for some more of history's rhymes.

Peak oil? Consider it solved: It won't be easy but we can fix our oil and climate problems at the same time.

March 28, 2008 | For more than a decade, a fierce debate about peak oil has been raging between those who think a peak in global oil production is at hand and those who think the world is not close to running out of oil. The debate is moot for two reasons. First, the growing threat of global warming requires deep reductions in national and globaloil consumption starting now, peak or no peak. Second, relying on unconventional oil like tar sands and liquid coal to make up a supply shortage, as the oilmen say we must, would be climate catastrophe. More supply is not the answer to either ouroil or our climate problem -- reducing consumption of oil is. And right now we have two feasible solutions: greatly increase our vehicle fuel economy and find alternative fuel sources that are abundant, low-carbon and affordable.

We left it all to become farmers
Getting back to the land has changed our lives, say Laurie Bostic and Kim Martin
Sunday, March 30, 2008

According to The New York Times, more and more young adults, tired of just reading about organic food and sustainable farming, are heading out to the land to make a go of it themselves. Unlike the baby boomer back-to-the-land-ers, today's fresh-faced farmer wannabes actually have a decent shot at making a living, thanks to cultural and economic changes that have created a market for locally grown produce from small farms. We say: Come on in; the farming's fine.

We left our jobs as engineers and went into business together, establishing a Rockwall County farm that grows flowers, herbs and produce for the Dallas-area market. We find the work to be both extremely hard and fantastically rewarding. We started out primarily as specialty cut-flower growers with a small percentage of total planting space in vegetable and herb crops. But due to the overwhelming demand for local, fresh, healthy food, we have done a complete turnaround. Even now, we have a long way to go to meet demand. We have never advertised. Other than a few newspaper stories and mentions in regional magazine articles, our customer base has grown strictly on word of mouth.

Point is: There is a fast-growing demand for the kind of agriculture we practice.


This is an interesting case history. I view these small farms on the edges of cities as win/win/win propositions: (1) They make business sense; (2) They will provide a source of food close to major population centers and (3) They will provide critically needed jobs, as we transition from an economy focused on meeting wants to one focused on meeting needs. My long time advice:

ELP Plan (April, 2007)

Jeffrey J. Brown

Was thinking recently that most of the larger cities like Atlanta grew larger at the expense of surrounding farmland. What if those subdivisions were reverted back to farmland. Imagine some entrepreneurs buying up connecting subdivisions, removing most of the houses- leaving some strip malls or schoolhouses or suitable and suitable spaced buildings for warehouses and equipment sheds, retain some of the existing roads to move equipment and produce, modify the existing water systems for irrigation and developed vegetable farms. The existing subway systems could be used to transport workers from their new homes in the city. Each morning folks could hop on the subway and go to work as vegetable farmers and then return to their home in the city.

I assume that your plan for the greater Atlanta area rests on a return of normal rainfall amounts to the South East? Dry land farming is a different beast than truck-farms with normal rainfall, supplemented when necessary by limited irragation.

Second question: How would the 'city fathers' in Atlanta and surrounding counties feel about rezoning land to ag from residential?

How would the 'city fathers' in Atlanta and surrounding counties feel about rezoning land to ag from residential?

Like growing old, it may beat the alternative. A good first start would be to permanently ban outdoor watering of ornamental plants and lawns.

What should be done and what will be done? The 'city fathers' are going to take a look at property tax collections on residential vs potential taxes on ag and say...'no brainer'! After all, the reason the properties were changed from ag to residential, not so long ago, was more property taxes could be collected.

If the owners of residences are forced to move and abandone their homes by lack of water or because they cannot pay their mortgage payments after resets or for some other reason, then the city fathers might move to condemn homes and bulldoze them, rather than let homes become free shelter for who ever.

In other words, the city fathers, like almost all US governments, will put off making a decision untill there is no decision left but the obvious one. Heaven forbid the city fathers take initative and fall victim of accusation that they made the wrong decision...and, since decisions can be interpreted or challenged, in hindsight, that is probably what would happen.

Meanwhile the citizens are caught in the web that was woven by...the citizens. We had a choice of voting for azz-hat one or azz-hat two. :)

Interesting story from Florida:

They’re Going To Have To Give Them Away In Florida

The Herald Tribune reports from Florida. “The crowd filed in to the large white tent behind the Bahia Mar resort for Friday’s real estate auction organized by Sotheby’s and Daniel DeCaro Auctions as a four-piece jazz band played a peppy rendition of ‘I Feel Good.’ Only a handful of the properties would be selling absolute, where any bid would be accepted. The rest carried a non-disclosed reserve, or minimum bid. The auction, which was anticipated to take four to five hours, wound up clocking in at barely two.”

“The first property out of the gate was not a good omen: auctioneer Daniel DeCaro tried opening the bidding for 1850 South Treasure Drive in Miami Beach, a waterfront lot, at $1 million. There was no response.” “He then tried to get something started at $500,000, but again, no dice. $250,000? Still dead air. $100,000? Silence. At that point, DeCaro threw in the towel and passed the property by.” “‘Please come see us afterwards,’ he told the crowd.”

“By the time it was over, 67 of the 99 properties on the block had no bids. ‘This was a disaster,’ said Fort Lauderdale broker Paul Merlesena following the auction. ‘They’re basically going to have to give them away now.’”

Yes, they will have to give them away...or, bulldoze them. Another big problem are the huge condo projects that were started during the housing boom that are now nearing completion...Or, in some cases, work on the condo towers has ceased in mid construction.

Since local banks provide a lot of the construction loans for contractors to build these high rise condos, local banks are left holding the bag.

In some cases the new condos are being converted to rentals but that is not good for banks that were expecting the loans that they provided to be paid back in a lump sum upon completion of the condos.

Due to budget constraints in Volusia County seven school closing have already been announced...and that is merely the tip of the iceburg.

As Rosanne Rosanna Danna would say 'It's a real mess.'

I say they should bulldoze the ones near the coast and try to re-create the natural area's to give some better protection to the inside of the state till the rising sea floods it out. Though thats not going to happen in any real world, what will most likely happen is the area's will become the slums of the 21st century letting the rich move to higher ground.

Ayup - spittin' distance from where I live. Come on down - there's lots more of 'em too.

The crane accident in Miami last week? Still building those high six and seven digit condos on the shoreline. Mayeb we can use them to start the seawall we're gonna be needing.

Too lazy to grab the link, but a few weeks ago there was an article about how the population was declining in Broward County (one county North of Miami) and the same in general in Florida. Couple that with talk about - ahem - property tax reform (FOR THE THIRD TIME) only this time it's really about moving some tax sources from property tax to sales tax. Now population decline is not necessarily a bad thing to a Peak Everythinger - like me - 'casue after all we aren't exactly swimming in potabale water down here (we pump good rainfall - when it happens - into the freaking ocean. But the impact on (sales) taxes...

And we ain't even started to hurt...wait until the cruise line industry collapses. Airlines are already cutting back. Long time "bigger" industry like Motorola will shrink even more if not disappear all together.

Even Shaq left!


Those of us living in Florida 'Are Freakin' Doomed'. We are represented in Tallahasse by a bunch of usedtobe realtors and real estate promoters. Now that RE is dying they don't have a clue. Yeah, raise the sales tax...again...That'll fix everything. My guess is their next move will be to legalize gambling casinos anywhere in the state...It would have already happened if not for the various hard shell protestants protesting.

Ptommes, I noticed recently that lots of cruise ships have moved from S Fl ports to Canaveral Seaport. Reason given was to be nearer Dizzy World and take advantage of people visiting Dizzy that want to go on a cruise. The cruise ship operators might want to consider drilling holes to the keels and stepping masts for sail power.

Daytona Int Air Port is losing flights almost daily. Meanwhile the kids at Embry Riddle AU are flying their little Cessna 172s to death, trying for enough hours to solo cross country and take their FAA written. I wonder how many of the students will ever get a berth as pilot of a major airline? The airlines are howling for more pilots but only because they fired the well paid senior pilots to hire younger lower paid pilots. Now passengers are being flown around by greenies. Not me.

Meanwhile, shrub and vader seem to think an attack on Iran will solve all problems for the US. I shouldda' built that bomb shelter.

It seems to me the state legislatures are typically populated with developers. In a shrinking economy that is going to be entirely *illegitimate*; they won't be representative of anyone.

cfm in Gray, ME

Florida is on the path to soon be a Dead Zone. I'm outta here ASAP. If you stay, keep the Zombies south of Georgia please.....

The World turns, with or without U.S.


"Meanwhile, shrub and vader seem to think an attack on Iran will solve all problems for the US."

Is this some recent news over the last week or so, or are you referring to past comments? Any links if recent?

According to General Petraeus, Iran may have been behind the Green Zone attack on March 23.

US military option on Iran is back on the table.

Saudi newspaper warns to protect against radioactive fallout from US nuclear attack on Iran.


Once most municipalities have gone bankrupt, they might be restructured to continue operations, but it will have to be at a much lower level than previously. They just possibly might be able to maintain a minimal building inspection department at best (re-engineered from a "nit-pick mode" to a "what really matters mode", i.e., just keep the structure from collapsing or catching on fire, otherwise pretty much anything goes), but zoning will have to go by the wayside. Regardless of whether the ordinances remain on the books or not, they will be unenforced and increasingly unenforceable.

Municipalities might very well shrink and de-annex territories that they can no longer economically service. If there are large swaths of depopulated land around their periphery that they are not actually managing to collect any property taxes on, then why bother keeping it in the city limits? Many municipalities might have to limit themselves to that extent of territory that their police force can patrol on foot - fuel for police cars being too expensive to use except for calls for backup, and certainly too expensive for drives way out into the boonies. The same considerations apply with fire departments.

Water utilities will be increasingly expensive to operate and maintain, and cities will only be able to afford to supply water to their densely populated centers, not the sparsely populated peripheries (which could, after all, supply their own water with wells).

We all know that the private passenger automobile and commutes in it from the suburbs is unsustainable, and that people are going to eventually have to go to urban mass transit (or bicycles, or feet). The trouble, though, is that in many metro areas we are talking about multiple municipal jurisdictions that mostly don't like to cooperate with each other. In only a few areas has this tendency been overcome and regional transit systems successfully established. For many places, this regional cooperation will not happen quickly enough, and once most municipalities are under severe fiscal stress, the window of opportunity to develop regional transit systems will have closed. Shrinking municipalities will look only toward serving their own citizenry, and very much on the cheap at that. The last thing they will want to do is to extend a bus or tram line out into the sparsely populated periphery. If anything, what little service already exists out into the suburbs will probably be cut back, effectively stranding the people left out there, and hastening their abandonment of the suburbs. It would actually be to the advantage of shrinking municipalities to provoke and encourage this trend, as this would create more denser (and more economically serviceable) populations within the shrunken city limits, and would likely increase the economic activity within the city limits (thus increasing tax revenues). (I wonder if Kunstler has anticipated this side of things?)

In this manner will the suburban periphery eventually become abandoned, untaxed, and suitable for restoration to small-scale agricultural use.

Removing all those houses is a lot of energy.

The New Deal is 75 years old right about now and it may be "born again". We can put demolition of all those houses on the list of things to do for the re-tooled CCC.

Suburbs will not be converted back to farmland as the topsoil is destroyed in the development process, organic production from former suburbs is even more unlikely. I have converted regular, chemically farmed agricultural land to an organic system and this takes about 10 years to get the land back to a dynamic state.

But if there are horses or cows (grazing on this vacant ex-suburban land) whose manure enriches the soil, couldn't the process of returning the land to its farming potential be done sooner?

If this scenario was true, the vast, degraded rangeland of the western US would be fertile farm land by now instead of degraded rangeland.

Western rangeland is very different, apparently the main soil turners are harvester ants, not earthworms as in more fertile areas. It can be very lush looking, but is actually very delicate. Probably what the West needs most is a lot less people and a lot more buffalo. And a lot of time to recover.

In many cases NOT since it isn't only the top soil that was ruined but the subsoil... long process of renewal. Compact the subsoil into hardpan and messing up the drainage will take for than a few years of horse poop to rectify.

I disagree with you here. Not about what your saying but your assuming a traditional field.

Inner city gardens on old building sites are quite common and successful. Generally they use some sort of raised bed intensive growing method. So although I think your right about returning to general agriculture using the land for intensive gardening and say aquaculture in old road beds is possible.

Another use case is grazing land. Burning the houses either intentionally or by accident may eventually solve some of the clearing problems and dynamite can turn a foundation to rubble that could be used for the raised beds. Although the smoke from a burning house is full of crap I'd think the residue would only be enriched with melted plastic. In general its a variant of slash and burn so you should enrich the soil from the ash. Stone and brick can of course be reused. Whats actually happening in New Orleans with the destroyed houses how is Mother Nature responding ?

I'd assume the copper would be stripped out along with most of the aluminum. So its really the remaining plastics that are problematic but not a huge deal. We are not talking about pristine organic farming but simply food.

With orchards, you only need to put good compost & organic amendments into the planting holes, the rest of the land can be left as is.

As others have mentioned, all that nice, well-tended lawn will make great grazing for livestock. Pigs don't much care what kind of soil they wallow in.

Again, as others have mentioned, raised beds and greenhouses can go in anywhere.

The basic problem with these discussion is the implicit assumption that people are going to want to start growing field crops in these locations. They are not. What we are really talking about is a reversion to the same type of orchards, dairy farms, market gardens, and other small-scale agriculture that have traditionally surrounded cities. Grains are going to be grown in the same places that they are now -- IF they continue to get enough water, and it is still possible to move the grains to the cities.

During WW II, civilian city workers were drafted for part-time farm work. They took the tram or electric RR to the end of the line, or a good stop, and then walked/bicycled to the farm that they were assigned to.

The USA does not have enough Urban Rail, etc. for this to be viable here.


Imagine some entrepreneurs buying up connecting subdivisions, removing most of the houses,

If this entrepreneur bought the houses, streets and land for about $100,000 an acre, extremely cheap considering that there are two to three houses per acre, then it would take him at least 100 years to recoup his expenses. And that is not even counting the $10,000 to $20,000 or so per acre it would cost him to remove the houses, driveways and streets.

Ron Patterson

Things sho can change fast. Look up above at the post by Westexas about a housing and land auction in Fla that fizzled altogether.

Oh, I don't know: "Come and get it!" might get the job done in a few weeks, if not days or hours.

Appliances and copper would be gone in hours. Bricks and concrete would take just a leeetle bit longer to disappear.

Kinda depends on how far along we are in this deal.

Anyway, it was kinda tongue-in-cheek... but it would help to get some of it gone.


I am predicting that eventually there will be people in the demolition and salvage business. They will have teams of people that roam the country from one worksite to another, living in RVs. There will be a good market in the cities for salvaged building materials from the suburbs, as city housing densities need to increase. Single family houses will be remodeled into duplexes, or accessory apartments built in to basements or attics or garages or in the back yard. Infill development will take advantage of every empty lot. All of this will require building materials, and new ones will be extremely expensive; used materials will be much less costly, and thus in high demand. I'm not sure that it will be necessary for the property owners (banks or municipalities) to have to pay very much for this demolition service - these entrepreneurs might do the work for very little, or even pay for the opportunity, making most of their money off of the resale of the salvaged materials.

The future career opportunity for a lot of people presently working in the construction industry will be working in the de-construction industry. In some cases, guys might end up dismantling the same houses they built a few years ago.

Imagine some entrepreneurs buying up connecting subdivisions, removing most of the houses- leaving some strip malls or schoolhouses or

Ok - so you have an economic model that has land and food SO valuable that housing would be taken down, then rebuild the soil to farm it?

Exactly HOW will these numbers work out?

Bill Mollison, co-founder of the Permaculture concept, has stated that there is great potential in suburbia for partial local food self-sufficiency, as it represents a unique environment where the majority of individuals own enough land to contribute significantly to their food needs. Without doubt, there are massive problems associated with suburbia and its more recent relative "exurbia," but there does seem to be *potential* for a seamless transition between an urban hub and a true "rural" farming periphery. Suburbanites can realistically grow a significant proportion of their food requirements, and given the sunk cost of infrastructure and housing in this zone, there may be sufficient incentive to get Americans and suburbanites elsewhere to actually do so in the relatively near future. Even something as "simple" as a dozen semi-dwarf fruit and nut trees, something possible for most suburbanites, can contribute a sizable chunk of a family's food needs. Exurbia, while currently even more problematic from an energy descent perspective, has even greater potential for small commercial farming. Right now, expensive labor and cheap energy & transport is the key impediment to viable commercial farming on areas as small as 5 acres, but as this article shows, that is already changing to some degree, and will likely continue to change. There may always be some crops and regions (e.g. wheat or ranching) that don't translate well to small acreage, but it seems *possible* that America's currently unwieldy urban/suburban/exurban/rural mix could transition to a seamless and sustainable food production geography.

"Possible" and "likely/easy" being entirely different things, of course.

Jeff - I have never heard the term "Exurbia". When I searched for it in Wikipedia it re-directed me to Commuter Town or Bedroom Community. This means essentially that the people who live there commute to where they work. I thought that was what suburbia was. Am I wrong?

I'd define "exurbia" as that area beyond the suburbs, essentially people living on 1 to 5+ acre "ranchettes," but where the vast majority still commute into the city every day for work. I think it's differentiated from "Commuter Town" or "Bedroom Community" in the sense that it has a superficially rural look, but not the rural (ag-based) economy to match. I'm sure this manifests differently in every location--in Colorado where I live this would be "Castle Pines" or "Black Forest."

Basically, if you raise llamas or keep a few horses on your property but work in the city, you live in "exurbia."

Thanks - Got it.

That's EXACTLY what this is here. Pure unadulterated Exurbia. Horses, llamas, 25 miles min to get to jobs, yeppers.

It's great, your kids can grow up learning to barrel-race, and rope steers. Everyone can have a horse. But the money, food, everything's coming in from somewhere else. Actual self-sufficiency would be very hard here - the population would have to go down to 1/20 or even 1/50 of what it is now. There'd be droughts and possibly famines. In fact true sustainability here is a problem probably worked out best by the original inhabitants, who were wide-ranging hunter-gatherers, with a few precarious settlements that had a tendency to fizzle out.

My definition is similar but a bit more general in that I extend yours to include anyone living on a acre or more that does not make a living off the land. I'm concerned that a lot of people trying to ELP may be misguided because they will end up with a few acres of land with a long expensive commute to a job that may not exist in the future.

Basically you have three sustainable ways to live in the country.

1.) Own a productive profitable farm.
2.) Work on a farm as a laborer potentially owing your own smaller plot nearby.
3.) Retired/Wealthy or a few people who can work at home. Writers/Artists/Programmers etc.

Now we have a diverse group of people living in the exurbs that depend on daily commutes.
For some the cost of gasoline and job loss will cause them to leave. For others such as doctors who probably and absorb the rising costs the decline in road quality and housing deflation will cause them to leave. Generally this is what I call the horse farm crowd.

Now the denser suburbs have problems with conversion back to agriculture but the exurbs have a lot lower density normally 1-5 acres for each house. Conversion back to farmland makes sense.

For most of the US, a good delimiter between "suburbia" and "exurbia" is a county line. Most large cities are in the center of their county, but occupy only a part of that county. Much of the remaining space in the home county is taken up with suburbs immediately adjacent to the central city or to each other. Things tend to thin out as you approach the county line. Once you are in the next county, you tend to be mostly in what was farm land, dotted with small towns. It is those small towns that have become exurbia, along with increasing conversions of the farm land into residential developments. People discovered bak in the 80s and 90s that by driving just a few more minutes on the interstate, they could find much cheaper property values and taxes the next county over; this is what started to transform these places from traditional rural areas into "exurbia".

The above doesn't apply to every city, of course, especially not the largest ones. For example, while the above might have worked for Chicago & Cook county back a half century ago, you'd probably have to go out past one more tier of counties to find Chicagoland's exurbia today.

I think the word was designed to represent Extreme Suburbia. If the usual commute is farther than what was considered normal in the 80s then the area is Extreme Suburbia, or Exurbia.

Hello BrianT,

I like JHKunstler's metaphor for Exburbia: the asteroid outer orbit of the urban core!

Toto - you put it well. There are jobs out here, some aerospace, a bit of ranching and farming, mainly hay and alfalfa, but this is a very difficult place to garden without a greenhouse able to put up with EXTREME weather and hence, pricey. I'd love to be a farmin' fool out here but it'd be SO much easier right smack in most urban areas.

This economy is taking a real hit. Boomers are being convinced to retire here, and since they have their money coming in from elsewhere, that can work for now. A spread out warehouse for people, lol. The economy on the basic street level is kinda showing signs of "drying up and blowing away" it's still a kind of fun place because of some tourist flow, but I'd rather bet on a place that can be self-sustaining.

At least phoenix has a bus system, I've used it!

I remember encountering the word exurbia in connection with Princeton NJ vis-a-vis NYC. People who work in NYC and live in Princeton don't really 'work'. They are members of an ownership class who like to put in a daily appearance at the office, but seldom arrive before 10AM. It is very much a life-style thing.

Exurbia is further out than suburbia.

Well, that's exactly what we're doing! We just bought 13 acres of black dirt "muck" soils 60 miles from NYC and are growing organic vegetables and selling via CSAs and a produce stand in New Jersey. Our only advertising has been on the localharvest.org website and we are well on our way to 50 core members for the first year. Some people are familiar with the CSA concept, but most are new to it and have just tuned into the "local food" concept.
Now, if it would just warm up so we could get some peas planted.

Oh God! I hope that is not municipal sewage sludge. It is my understanding that sewage sludge is specifically forbidden in Organic cultivation - if the produce or product is to bear the "USDA Organic" label.

That is why I always chose brand-names when buying organic, because
(1) Corporate entities have deep pockets and can be sued
(2) Employees are trained to follow all existing laws and usually asked to sign legal documents saying that they are doing so
(3) Employees are not owners and someone will squeal if procedure is not followed

That is My Opinion and not a plug for corporate Organic produce - though it sounds like it :-(.

Your mileage may vary.

Muck (soil)
your right, it sounds like a plug for corporate organic
to para phrase Michal Pollen
We are one legislative move away from an organic happy meal.

No, it's not sewage, it's from the end of the last ice age.

"Ten thousand years ago, a glacier left behind a shallow lake in southern Orange County, drained by the Wallkill River. The Wallkill runs, most unusually for an American river, northward; but it does so only reluctantly, and its sluggish flow often spills out over its banks to this day despite numerous attempts to contain it. The lake, soon choked with reeds, slowly disappeared as the rotting vegetation built up. In time it became a seasonal swamp dotted with the limestone uprises that had once been islands.

The soil created by this lost lake is almost wholly organic matter. Left undisturbed, it would have become a peat bog and eventually a coal seam. At the stage it is in now it is known, technically, as muck soil. Orange County, with a total of twenty-six thousand acres, had more of it in one spot than any place else in the United States except the Florida Everglades."

It's a wonderful freak of nature that is fun to farm on -- like cutting soft butter with a knife.

At one point, because the black dirt fields are so incredibly expansive and flat, the powers that be were considering the land for an international airport! Now, it's zoned only for agriculture, lucikly for NYC.

That sounds awesome - fertile - and Organic

Good Luck.

I think that if Local farms are also willing to let customers take a tour and a first hand assessment - that may get in a solid discerning clientele.

Thanks for your comment...and support. I am hoping for a "core" group of members who will feel a connection to the farm. In fact, several of the people who have signed up so far has expressed a strong desire to visit the farm (especially those with children) and many have said they would work on the farm in exchange for extra produce. I just talked to my 19-year-old nephew (a sophomore engineering major who is peak oil aware) to encourage him to work this summer on the farm. It's amazing how much a few acres with a few people with a little John Deere and that precious oily stuff can produce. When I watched my husband disc the five-acre field in less than three hours with not much more than 5 gallons of diesel fuel, I thought, this is what the stuff is for.

where is your produce stand in NJ?

Those who control oil and water will control the world
New superpowers are competing for diminishing resources as Britain becomes a bit-player.
The outcome could be deadly
John Gray
The Observer, Sunday March 30 2008

History may not repeat itself, but, as Mark Twain observed, it can sometimes rhyme. The crises and conflicts of the past recur, recognisably similar even when altered by new conditions. At present, a race for the world's resources is underway that resembles the Great Game that was played in the decades leading up to the First World War. Now, as then, the most coveted prize is oil and the risk is that as the contest heats up it will not always be peaceful. But this is no simple rerun of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, there are powerful new players and it is not only oil that is at stake.

This subject compels me to recommend this title again...

When the Rivers Run Dry: Water - The Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century
by Fred Pearce

For a condensed summary, click here for a radio interview with Pearce on NPR's Fresh Air program.

Thanx Pedal - I listened to the broadcast (a bit tame) but I guess that's typical for British stiff upper lip understatement.

How can bulk water be exported efficiently?

via grain

To elaborate, industrial production too. The "virtual water trade", where products and services that require lots of water are done elsewhere - typically where the water is. Tar sands in Canada come to mind.

cfm in Gray, ME

Rain clouds?

How can bulk water be exported efficiently?

Put it in a plastic 1-litre bottle, slap a label on it with a fancy, foreign-sounding name, and price it at over $1.00?

Gore Tells 60 Minutes That Doubting Global Warming Is Man-Made Is Akin To Believing Earth Is Flat

Self-avowed "P.R. agent for the planet" Al Gore says those who still doubt that global warming is caused by man - among them, Vice President Dick Cheney - are acting like the fringe groups who think the 1969 moon landing never really happened, or who once believed the world is flat.

I am a passive researcher of climate change - too much other stuff to stay on top of. I'm inclined to believe that humans have accelerated a natural warming trend and that in a BAU environment we will change the planets climate/oceans/species dramatically in the next 100 years- perhaps in the next 20. But Peak Oil is going to cause social upheaval in the next 5-10 years, possibly 2.

I wonder what % of climate scientists/advocates understand the magnitude of Peak Oil, the way readers of this site do...? 5%?

Global warming is a fantasy AND an excuse to implement a global socialist government. Therefore implementing said government can be claimed to have been "effective in preventing global warming", since every action will be effective in preventing global warming.

Peak oil is reality AND a potentially very good reason for everyone to make their own decisions (since we honestly don't know which decisions will prove effective).

I don't know, Tom..

This 'Threat of a Global Socialist Government' sounds like a fear-fantasy spun by the 'Global NeoLiberal Government' to keep conservatives looking behind the wrong curtains.. pay no attention to where we're sending your jobs, industries and equity, no .. it those Socialists! Go git em, son!

You sure you don't just despise the Global Warming warnings because they're something the Left champions with its other 'Conservationist' causes?


I posted the other day that this rebuttal, of a trojan horse for world government, is rapidly gaining ground, becoming a mantra. It seemed inevitable.

But it will be a tougher nut to crack, for all evidence-based arguments are off the table. GW deniers realize they have lost the scientific rebuttal over the last generation. I fear the trojan horse will become much more pervasive, as all, right and left, become even more disillusioned with government, our inablity to effect it, and the dissolution of personal liberty since 9-11.

As an aside, this last winter plays into their hands. Our local ski hill is boasting over 4 feet of new snow in 4 days. And down below, we wonder when we'll ever have the grass start, won't be seeing white. Most all of us have run out of hay, are forced to pay dearly for poor quality shipped from afar.

Talking with the real old timers reveals a different story. This winter was the norm, that we all have forgot, and only prepared for the banana belt variety of winter. That this winter was pretty warm, no real cold snaps like was typical, that most of the snow came in that narrow window around freezing that could have been rain. So it was a snowier winter, it is lasting longer, but it will be interesting to see the climate records for the season. I bet they aren't far off the warming mode, a small deviation to argue in the variability of weather, as we march to an ice-free Arctic and melt of permafrost stored gases.

All evidence-based arguments are off the table ? You have to be kidding.

Talk about the stupidity that is carbon credits for one example ... they become the first portion of "global law" (obviously terrorist states, nor china are obliged to participate, after all, they're already socialists).

And about GW. I don't know if there is GW or not. I don't care about 2 degrees over 100 years, which is the "normal" prediction, it has ZERO consequences. Yes some people may have to move. Then again, agriculture will become easier, so it's like all of nature, a mixed blessing or a mixed disaster. However painting it like a disaster justifies this global law (which is, like almost all law, stupidity itself, see below).

Also I know my chemistry and IF there is GW, it isn't due to CO2 (which makes the "carbon trade" even more dubious). CO2 MAY cause warming until it reaches 300 ppm, which we passed in the 1920's (LONG before I was born). So CO2 limits make exactly 0 sense.

I have sufficient intelligence to see where this is going. And people are starting to talk about "birth limiting" as "the only long term solution". This is WAY too short a step from mandatory sterilizations.

The average temperature of the planet is about 13 degrees centigrade so a 2 degree rise is about a 15% increase in average temperature.

13 C = 286 K
100*(2/286)= 0.699%

The datum for temperature is absolute zero. In a physical sense, 0 C is pretty unimportant. 2 degress is less than 1% rise in temperature, but thats less important. The total heat energy that planet retains from the rise is the important figure. And it's alot of heat energy. It's that extra energy that can change weather patterns or power massive cyclones.

The datum for most life forms is 0 to about 40 degrees. With sufficient water. I don't think we'll breed or genetically engineer ourselves out of that.

Take a small trip. Note the change in life forms, survival strategy in 2 C average annual temperature bands. Or the changes dictated by 5 inch annual precipitation intervals.

I'm glad you know your chemistry.

You probably missed that chemistry class -- Lyndon Larouche officially changed the IR spectrum of CO2 back in 2002. Those pesky absorption lines were moved out into the UV; the change in sky color was hardly noticeable.

What should come, in the not too distant Future, is Mandatory Birth Control until each Male and Female on the Planet reach the age of 21. Then, and only then are you off the Juice. After you either Father 2 little Humans, or give birth to 2, you then get permanent prevention....no exceptions.

All the Relious/Technology Mumbo Jumbo on the Planet will not save us unless we stop the Population growth and put it in decline.

It's the only way.


I thought that Tomc had pretty much shown himself to be a bit of a nutcase, until you jumped in and rescued him. I would have thought "forced sterilizations" was up thaere with the black helicopters stuff, but maybe not.

Tell me, tomc, what was the average global temperature during the last ice age. Don't know? Well guess what? The global average was 5 degrees centigrade lower than right now.

Yes, a mere 5 degrees centigrade global temperature difference defined the last ice age. So what does that make a 2 degree centigrade rise? Pretty significant if the difference between the last ice age and now was just 5 degrees globally, wouldn't you say?

Of course, you don't care. Such a lovely, ignorant attitude! You are a prime example of what is wrong with this country, sir.

I note the complete lack of scientific support for your position. Got links? No?

Not a surprise.


/sarcasm/ nice self fulfilling circular logic there /sarcasm/

you have been mistakenly believed the propaganda of the extreme right that socialism = evil. but in reality a socialist government is one that takes care of it's people. ref, see France, england before thatcher, etc.

Yeah dude, socialism is wicked. Look at Soviet Russia, Cuba, or Venezuela. Or check out pre-WW2 Germany, these are all good examples of socialism at its best! (facism is socialism's cousin, brothers of similar mothers). As a Canadian, I see the ill effects of socialism everyday. The middle-class is getting wiped out, and at least Canada is not as bad as the US. I find it ironic that the poster for Michael Moore's recent movie on healthcare had him sitting in a waiting room with skeletons. Although he was trying to point out that America should model their healthcare system on Canada, I think the picture of the skeletons applies equally to our country.

In a truly free-market republic (the US is not even close), you will find more economic equality and overall wealth than any socialist paradigm one could dream up.

"A free market can cause a recession, but it takes a government to create a depression" - unsure of origin

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” - Milton freedom

In a truly free-market republic (the US is not even close), you will find more economic equality and overall wealth than any socialist paradigm one could dream up.

Speaking of "evidence-based" beliefs, where (on what planet?) can we find this

truly free-market republic.


more economic equality and overall wealth than any socialist paradigm one could dream up..

On the planet where I live (Earth), the countries with the most income equality and overall wealth are the the "socialist" social welfare economies of Europe. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient if you want to deal with evidence, instead of blind fact-averse belief


14 of the top 20 countries on the 2008 GINI index are also on the top 20 for the 2008 Index of Economic freedom. The 6 countries that didn't make it onto the list are; Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Estonia, Mauritius and Bahrain. According to the IMF, the following GDP growth rates are expected for these countries; 5% for Chile, 4.7% for Hong Kong, Singapore at 5.8%, 2.3% for New zealand, 6.5% for Bahrain, and 4.7% for Mauritius. Considering that expected World Growth is 4.1% for 2008(IMF), these countries have above average growth and have the potential to move up on your GINI index in the future.

It's interesting that the countries you deem to have the greatest wealth and income equality are also those that great economic freedom. Although these Western European countries are socialist in some aspects, its not due to Socialism that they are wealthy, but rather because they have strong economies (rich in natural resources), and do NOT have the government control every aspect of their lives.

Check this article out - http://www.forbes.com/global/2001/0319/034.html

This is hardly sounds like a Socialist country (Sweden) -

"By 1991 the voters had had enough. They threw out the Social Democrats for the first time since the war and installed Carl Bildt's Conservative government. Bildt set about liberalizing important state-monopolized or dominated markets, notably telecommunications and banking. As competition in telecoms cut telephone and internet access charges, Sweden became a hotbed of technology experimentation, with some of the highest penetration rates for mobile phones and internet access."

Consider the following countries; South Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela all came in the bottom 10.

Cuba was 51 on the GINI index, Venezuela 74, and North Korea didn't even make it on.

My question to you is, if Socialism is so great, why aren't the most Socialist countries at the top of both these lists? It seems to me that the greatest countries in overall income and income equality are more likely great because they are free, not because the government controls everything.

What do you think?

"the following GDP growth rates are expected for these countries; 5% for Chile, 4.7% for Hong Kong, Singapore at 5.8%, 2.3% for New zealand, 6.5% for Bahrain, and 4.7% for Mauritius."

what is so damn wonderful about gdp growth ?

What is so damn wonderful about GDP Growth? It might be cool to think GDP growth is overrated until you give up all your possessions and move to a developing nation. GDP growth in itself is not necessarily good, but it can lead to substantial increases in living standards for people living in poverty.

What is so damn wonderful about GDP growth? Consider that the countries that got to the top of the GINI index did so through economic growth I would say that its pretty important to pretty much everybody who wants a higher standard of living. If you don't think growth of income is so great, feel free to send me any future pay increases you receive, I would be more than happy to dispose of that terrible income for you.

GDP tells us little about where that growth is going. In a mature economy such as exists in the US, precious little of it is going to any but the rich. You are trumpeting empty promises. This is particularly true when one considers that under current conditions few, if any of the currently 2nd or 2rd world nations will ever have any realistic shot at growing their GDP in a way to bring their standard of living anywhere near to the current developed nations.

It's a mirage and a false promise.

The world on the same amount of energy (oil) the US uses = 476,000,000 mb/d.


I agree with you that in a mature economy such as the US, precious little of it is going to any but the rich. Your probably aware of the recent takeover of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan with a $30 billion dollar loan from the Federal Reserve. That $30 billion dollars belongs to every citizen in the country. This is a prime example of socialism at work and the end result is poverty. Sure a rich nation can get away with having some socially orientated policies, but often they can only be afforded if the nation is economically strong.

One important thing to consider is how we arrived at peak oil, even a basic understanding of economics tells us that when the price of something goes up, demand is reduced. This is the case for oil as well, as supply has been unable to keep up with demand, prices should rise accordingly. Unfortunately, through government intervention in the free-market, oil producers and consumers in many countries, including the US, receive massive subsidies and tax breaks. This works to artificially suppress oil prices and encourages the rampant consumption that has us in the situation we are now. And unfortunately, there is nothing our Central/Socialist banks can do about it.

um................................i think you missed the point of my sarcastic post........gdp growth is not the solution(to peak oil) but the problem.

GDP growth is not the problem. GDP growth coupled with truly free-markets would have ensured that as oil became more expensive due to its scarcity that the Western suburbia lifestyle would have died long ago and other energy forms would have become suitable replacements.

Look at ethanol for another example of misguided intereference; ethanol is probably one of the biggest wastes of human effort and natural resources this planet has probably ever seen, brought to you in part by heavy government subsidies.

What do you think?

Your supporting "evidence" has the structural integrity of a wet noodle.

Sweden had a Social Democratic Gov't longer than anyone else in the world, for two generations without a break (41 years ?) and has alternated back and forth with fine tuning since then.

And their wealth is the result of "natural resources" ? Sure works for Nigeria !

Sweden is the archetype of s Social Democracy. They define the archetype and experiment with a little more economic freedom now and then (depending on the latest election), but Magnus (a member and policy worker of the "Conservative" party in Sweden), would be VERY comfortable working in an Obama Administration on policy. But not in the GWB Administration.

Sweden is Socialist at it's core.


During the first half of that era Sweden had low taxes and we had both plenty of raw materials, world leading industry and almost unlimited growth by export to a war damaged europe.

Some good ideas has their roots in that era such as district heating wich partly were implemented to make the people running small boilers available for other jobs. We had a large migration of workers from for instance Finland, Italy and Greece. People believed in rational planning such as bulldozing town centers to build easier to manage stores with parking lots for the common workes new car. Good and bad things were made in a hurry, these were the modern times! And there were plenty of people alive from the 1800:s who remembered when we were poor and had what today would be thirld world standard.

Those socialists had broken with the communist socialists, partly becouse of the civil war in Finland and we did not trust our arch enemy Russia, that is Sovjet. They were more or less technocrates.

In the late 60:s the technocrat socialists retired and were replaced with party career socialists that lived within and for the party and used the international 68 movement for their advantage. They started to implement more socialism and making the State very strong in all areas affecting peoples lives. Taxation went way up and the importance of school quality, military and civil defence, policework and the freedom of the municipialites went down.

I grew up during the later era and were fed propaganda about Sweden being the best country in the world, world leader in most everything untill we more or less went bankrupt. It were no way as bad as in the former communist countries since we realy had been more or less the richest in the world, equal to Switzerland and mighty USA. And we adapted to changes in technology and had growth during most of these years. But we were consuming structural capital withouth replenishing it, people who took responsibility retired and were replaced with people who knew how to be politically correct.

During most of the 90:s and early 2000:s our socialists fought tooth and nail to govern and sacrificed ideology to do it exept for a mish mash of feminism and so on since it gave good poll ratings. A lot of the economical policy were actually quite sensible and the state budget improved. But they were unable to rationalize structures full of party members and old compromises. A lot of the state buerocrazy were still healthy and efficient.

Two years ago the right wing and center opposition coalition won the election and we are more or less doing two things. Focusing on job creation and lowering taxes for low and medium incomes to unwind the policy of making people dependant on government subsidies. And doing lots and lots of reforms in all kinds of stale areas where needed change has not been done. The ecnomical part has been dramatically successfull, we are no longer the country with the worlds highest taxes, Denmark has the honours and lowering taxes for low and medium incomes will continue. Money is pouring into the state budget from new businesses and not pouring out as fast due to lots of people not being dependant on handouts. If nothing would change in the world (...) the government debt would be gone in about a decade.

And the reward for this has been extremely bad poll ratings, only during the last months it has started to pick up. My analysis of this is that change makes people weary but things must change and it is still full spead ahead. We must cultivate what is good in our culture and traditions and adapt to the modern times to handle globalization, demographics with an aging population, global warming and peak oil. Not doing that would be an invitation for disaster and I realy hope that also the socialist party gets that and changes again since they might win an election.

I dont think the core of our political culture is socialist. It is somewhat technocratic, leaders are assumed to deliver things that work in the real world and when they dont they sooner or later get ignored. The archetype is the "brukspatron", the nowadays rediculed patron of a localized business who ran everything in and around a mine / metalworks / large farm etc in pre industrial times. Fill that archetype like Ingvar Kamprad with his Ikea and people will work 200% during the 8 hour workdays. And we like having most everybody on the same prosperity level, no one should freeze in winter, on the other hand it gets hard to be above the norm.

If we had not toyed with real socialism in the 60:s and 70:s we would be at least as rich as Switzerland today. :-/

That we more or less have a sane and efficient government that among the stupidities do a lot of good investments and policy making for medium and long term problems is probably the root of my optimism on ToD. But I would violently disagree on more socialism being a good idea, its not socialism that has created the good parts.

Thanks Magnus, its nice to hear the perspective of someone who has actually lived in Sweden.

I don't see how its a difficult concept to understand that its free-markets and free people that create wealth, and the best socialist policy can do is try to spread the money around. Socialism relies on government monopolies, and a monopoly will always be more inefficient and wasteful than a competitive environment.

And we like having most everybody on the same prosperity level, no one should freeze in winter, on the other hand it gets hard to be above the norm

We lower taxes for the lower and middle incomes But not the rich.

How UNRepublican !

Both these sentiments are slightly to the left of Obama.

And Magnus has a strong sense of ethics, he would NOT be happy working for GWB (see Secretary of HUD resigning today for corruption In New Orleans, he is *FAR* from the only R).


Sorry for being unclear, I am myself not especially interested in having everybody equal in income since I like to see extreme ideas become reality. I like having rich people in society who do intresting things instead of buying a yacht and isolating themselves. The sentence were intended to describe the local culture.

It makes sense to lower taxes for poor people if your goal is to make people independant from government handouts, the well off are already independant.

We have extremely generous systems when people loose their job or get sick, so generous that the incentive to work has been hurt. Lowering taxes and the benefits at the same time recreates the incentives. This is politically hard but must be done since too manny people have adapted to free income, having generous systems withouth control worked two generations ago when people had a stricter moral. I guess this can be compared to the US system of free credit?

Overall this has resulted in more money available for the less well off and we have an increase in employment and a decrease in fake governmnet keep-people-busy jobs. More jobs that create something that people need gives a stronger economy.

The rich has also gotten lower taxes but its not enough to realy make a difference for them. The lower taxes for poor people equals 1/2 to 1 months salary per year and that is significant. There are two exeptions. The property tax system for non commerical properties has been completly redone to remove the extremely high taxes in areas that has become popular wich forced people whose capital were their house to move. This also removed the problem that insulating your house or installing a ground source heat pump increased its value and thus the taxation. And a dysfuctional wealth tax has been scrapped. This has made no difference for the realy rich since there happened to be loopholes in the system for them but it has made a difference for the well off without financial advisors and ordinary people who has saved and invested for most of their worklife.

Your position is just slightly to the left of Obama. Perhaps if you lose the next election in Sweden, you can find a job in DC ?

OTOH, you seem unlikely to want to steal from the people and give to the rich, so there is no place for you in GWB Administration. The Secretary of Housing & Urban Development just resigned yesterday after being caught stealing from the people of New Orleans.


I'm sure he wouldn't mind working for either administration as long as they were paying him enough... Besides I fail to see any material differences between an Obama or GWB presidency, the only real difference is that Obama will rob the people through direct income taxes, and Bush stole by debasing the currency (monetary inflation). At least Obama would end the endless war; that might be the only significant change.

Besides I fail to see any material differences between an Obama or GWB presidency

This blindness explains the rest of your positions and "unusual" POV.


again you are showing the fact that you bought into mis-information campaigns of over 50 years of propaganda by this government about socialism. they may be called that by the press here but in actuality they were totalitarian dictatorships. of course what do you expect from a country who at the same time tried to paint certain central American dictatorships as democracy's because they were seen as allies in what ever regional war we were in by proxy in the name of the domino theory..

Well, we tried fascism with extremely poor results. It's time for a change.

fascism ? Why don't you use the REAL name of that ideology ?

National Socialism ... oh THAT's why, it's named identically to your ideology. That doesn't look very good, now does it ? Also it's CONTENTS are similar to your ideology. You're a socialist and you need to imply that your ideology is different, without obviously presenting any real data.

So now we see why you use the term "fascism". You want to imply it's right-wing, when any kid with a passing knowledge of it sees it is extreme-left, like you.

Mussolini, who knew a thing or two about fascism, defined it as the coupling of corporate power with state power. Like GWB and the current Republican Party.


Like: "What's good for GM is good.."
(actually facism is more the other way around - what's good for the NATIONAL state is certainly good for GM. Especially when the owners are the same, like Berlusconi in Italy..)
or "Military-Industrial-Complex".

One of the biggest problems in the discussion here is trying to define "left" and "right", "socialism" vs. "communism", "liberal" and "conservative".

Had problems discussing politics here in Germany when I first got here simply because the vocabulary was different. Did you know, that when you say "liberal" in Germany, you basically mean "low restriction capitalism"? It has nothing to do with homosexuals wanting to get married or not, or passing color (gender) quotas for employment laws. And it definitely does not support the unions.

Conservatives here, on the other hand, are very socialist, at least for an American, and would in no way agree with GWB's support for home schooling..

Next problem is disecting, for instance, socialist theory with its historic reality. Communism was to come about through the socialization of capital, meaning: the workers would take over ownership of the factories/corporations, violently if necessary.

Real-life socialism/communism means, though, that the STATE owns "the means of production" - not the workers directly.

Fascism, on the other hand, has absolutely no intent of trying to own the country's corporations (except for in one or two "strategic" branches, such as oil in Russia..). "Private" capital can run as rampant as it wants - the state will even go out of its way to make it work, picking its favorites and NOT pretending that it is "fair" to all bidders. AS long as the company pursues the same goal as the regime, it will be favored when the pork barrell is being divided..

"Since the 19th century, socialists have not agreed on a common doctrine or program" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism) and include Soviet and Nazi "branches"..

"right" or "left" are silly terms anyway. It's quite cold (still-) on both of the earth's poles, isn't it?

Cheers, Dominic

One important thing with the nazis is that they mixed EVERYTHING that can invoke a strong emotional response and mass hysteria. Pride, birth and death ritulas, hating competitors, forming groups that break down limitations, fighting, sex, well sewn uniforms, nationalism, partying on beer and beef, astrology, socialism, environmentalism, 1000 year plans, immediate conflicts, veganism, made up history, loving cute children and animals, death cult, praising motherhood, and so on.

The nazis did this ruthlessly and efficiently disregardig the logical impossibility in the mixed messages since anything that could control individuals helped their cause. Socialism were one tool in their toolbox and it were probably a major one since it even were part of their name.

Other post WW 1 German socialist groups were almost as ruthless but got outcompeted.

Karl Rove (aka The Brains of Bush) uses similar tactics.


I know too little about US politics. The only person close to Bush that I have met is the Swedish ambassador Michael Wood and his project to transfer environmental technology to US gave me a very positive impression. He were of course very professional and it is intended to make money but that is not a bad thing.

Over here it is hard to understand US politics since a large part of Swedish media report everything with a leftist filter. Its hard to piece togeather a fairly unbiased view and for instance see of a failure were incompetence, evil intentions or a combination.

But you seem to have ruthless election PR and that is worrisome, I do not trust people that has no limits.

Most Americans have no idea how far right-wing their country is from a global perspective.

The US Democratic party, if it somehow could be transported to almost any other country, would fit in pretty comfortably as a center-RIGHT party. In most countries, even their center-left parties are considerably to the left of the US Democrat mainstream. The far left wing in most countries simply doesn't even show up on the map (and certainly has no presence in terms of elective office) in the US.

The US Republican party would be considered a far right wing party in most other countries. In some countries it is that far right wing that doesn't even show up on the map and has no presence in terms of elective office.

If Hitler was left-wing, why did he kill communists and liberals???
"The Party emphasised nationalism, antisemitism and anti-communism, and killed many of its opponents."
"Hitler claimed that Jews were enemies of the Aryan race. He held them responsible for Austria's crisis. He also identified certain forms of Socialism and Bolshevism, which had many Jewish leaders, as Jewish movements, merging his anti-Semitism with anti-Marxism. Later, blaming Germany's military defeat on the 1918 revolutions, he considered Jews the culprit of Imperial Germany's downfall and subsequent economic problems as well."

Not that I expect facts to have any great impact on your beliefs.

He killed communists and liberals because those groups were in competition for the hearts of the same people. The modern equivalent would be if Hillary's cronies starting killing Obama's cronies. Fascism is a leftist belief system. Read this new book for all the details:

Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning

It was number one on Amazon for a while and number one on the New York Times list.

Thanks Keith! I'll put that on my reading list. It'll have to wait though...I'm still working through Paris Hilton's autobiography.

Does her autobiography run onto the other side of the sheet? :)

open a dictionary some time.

all are universal that it's a extreme right side kind of political ideology.

Then they are wrong.

Let's look at the facts, Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was named after three radical anarcho-socialist heroes of his father: Benito Juarez, Amilcare Cipriani and Andrea Costa. Benito's father was a member of the First International along with Marx and Engels and served on the local socialist council. When Benito grew up he edited a journal called Class War, he wrote letters to Lenin (who wrote many back) and read all the communist books of the day. In the first platform of the Italian Fascists under Mussolini they wanted universal suffrage, repeal of titles of nobility, the eight-hour workday, a minimum wage, workers’ representation in government bodies, reform of old-age pensions, “sequestration” of war profits, and nationalization of arms manufacturing. Also, to quote the program directly, “a large progressive tax on capital that would amount to a one-time partial expropriation of all riches.”

Hmmm, how left-wing can you get?

But what about Hitler? There you will find a failed artist, with funny facial hair that was a staunch vegetarian. On page 435 of "The Bloodless Revolution: The Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times" by Tristram Stuart you will find that "At the very least he espoused a vegetarian philosphy and practised it much of the time. Indeed, many Nazis were either vegetarian or interested in related issues. SS supremo Heinrich Himmler believed that vegetarianism was the key to health and long life. The deputy leader of the Nazi party Rudolf Hess was such a strict vegetarian that he even refused to eat meals specially prepared for him at the Chancellery by Hitler's qualified diet-cook because he could only eat organically grown vegetables." Besides the superficial connection to lefty thinking, the Nazis platform included the real stuff:
#9: All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
#10: The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically.
#13: We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
#14: We demand a division of profits [profit sharing] of heavy industries.
#15: We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
#17: We demand a land reform sutiable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purpose of public utility....
#21: The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and the child..

Many of the other points have a socialist/communist angle too, but I just posted the highlights. Another clue that the Nazis were from the left is the fact that they called themselves Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or German National Socialist Workers' Party. Hmm, they just might be socialists.

Fascism is a leftist ideology.

Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist, on the grounds that his party was named "National Socialist." But socialism requires worker ownership and control of the means of production. In Nazi Germany, private capitalist individuals owned the means of production, and they in turn were frequently controlled by the Nazi party and state. True socialism does not advocate such economic dictatorship -- it can only be democratic. Hitler's other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle, and even held friendly relations with the Church, even though he was an atheist.

Many conservatives accuse Hitler of being a leftist

Because he was for the reasons I stated above. Don't take my word for it, listen to H.G. Wells, one of the greatest influences on the progressive mind in the twentieth century. He said in a speech in July of 1932 to the Young Liberals at Oxford that they must become "liberal fascists" and "enlightened Nazis". Rexford Guy Tugwell, an influential member of FDR's famous Brain Trust, said of Italian Fascism, "It's the cleanest, neatest most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious." Fascists sent the love back across the Atlantic. In 1934, the Volkischer Beobachter, the Nazi Party's official newspaper--described Roosevelt as a man of "irreproachable, extremely responsible character and immovable will" and a "warm-hearted leader of teh people with a profound undertanding of social needs." The paper went on to heap praise on the New Deal by declaring FDR had adopted the "National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies." Hitler even sent FDR a private letter during his first year in office congratulating him on his economic policies.

Hitler's other political beliefs place him almost always on the far right. He advocated racism over racial tolerance, eugenics over freedom of reproduction, merit over equality, competition over cooperation, power politics and militarism over pacifism, dictatorship over democracy, capitalism over Marxism, realism over idealism, nationalism over internationalism, exclusiveness over inclusiveness, common sense over theory or science, pragmatism over principle, and even held friendly relations with the Church, even though he was an atheist.

Uggh, let me work through all this.

Racism: The only current member of congress to ever be a member of the KKK is a Democrat--Senator Byrd from West Virginia. Of course, we all know that the Black Panthers support a Democratic senator for president--Obama. I won't get into the Reverend Wright here but the left has a history of racism that is still there. The worst racism is eugenics...

Eugenics: The eugenics movement in the US really took off with the leftist Margaret Sanger, whose American Birth Control League became Planned Parenthood. Sanger created the "Negro Project" in 1939 to get blacks to adopt birth control. The report that kicked off the project said, "The mass of significant Negroes still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes is that portion of the population least intelligent and fit." She did a "good" job because today African-Americans constitute about 12% of the population but have about 37% of abortions. Nationwide, 512 out of every 1,000 black pregnancies end in abortion.

Merit: See points 9, 11, 13, 14 of the Nazi platform that I mentioned in an earlier post. Hitler was a socialist through and through.

Realism: Yes, but aren't the progressives calling themselves the Reality-based community now?
Nationalism: Definitely. Isn't Obama planning on naming Patriot companies that keep jobs in the US? Just asking.

Exclusiveness or inclusiveness: Definitely not. His belief, as with most on the left, is that nothing is beyond the state. The state is everyone, and everyone is the state. In fact, the symbol of the fascists, the Fasci comprises many sticks or rods (symbolic of industries, people, nations or societies etc) being tied together. The theme being that one stick alone can be easily snapped, but many tied together tightly are unbreakable and that true strength (economically, socially, politically etc.) can be gleaned from a united nation (such as Nazi Germany). The symbol is incomplete however, without an axe head at the top, symbolising the elite group in control of the united power, traditionally coming in the form of a fascist dictator(ship). Hitler, was a collectivist like any good man of the left.

Common sense over theory: I don't know what you mean. Socialism/Fascism/communism was a principled movement.

Hitler and the church: Not friendly, he usurped their power and then ignored them or sent them to the concentration camps like the parson of the Berlin Cathedral Bernhard Lichtenberg.

Mussolini and Hitler were fascists, and fascism is a leftist ideology.

Then perhaps GWB and Cheney are leftists ?

Because they are by *FAR* the most fascist of all leading US political figures.

They believe in subordination of the individual, and individual rights, to the state, wars of aggression and the elevation of corporations to joint power with the state.


"They believe in subordination of the individual, and individual rights, to the state"

Like when they advocate:
-Gun rights
-Lowered taxes
-School vouchers for private schools
-Protection of unborn children
-Rolling back eminent domain, racial quotas
Shall I go on?

"Wars of Agression"
They might be because they are like FDR (WW2) and JFK (Vietnam)

One way to look at it is Statism vs Individualism.

Protection of unborn children

CERTAINLY the subordination of the individual to the state !

A greater control of a individual (exclusively women) to the dictates of the state, than all of the others listed combined x 10.

WW II was *NOT* a War of Aggression by the USA !

Vietnam was intervening on one side in a civil war (not wise), not that side was a legitimate half of a Vietnamese civil war.

Iraq is a naked War of Aggression to grab resources, not so different from the invasion of Poland, Ethiopia, etc.



To most people, Hitler's beliefs belong to the extreme far right. For example, most conservatives believe in patriotism and a strong military; carry these beliefs far enough, and you arrive at Hitler's warring nationalism. This association has long been something of an embarrassment to the far right. To deflect such criticism, conservatives have recently launched a counter-attack, claiming that Hitler was a socialist, and therefore belongs to the political left, not the right.

The primary basis for this claim is that Hitler was a National Socialist. The word "National" evokes the state, and the word "Socialist" openly identifies itself as such.

However, there is no academic controversy over the status of this term: it was a misnomer. Misnomers are quite common in the history of political labels. Examples include the German Democratic Republic (which was neither) and Vladimir Zhirinovsky's "Liberal Democrat" party (which was also neither). The true question is not whether Hitler called his party "socialist," but whether or not it actually was.

In fact, socialism has never been tried at the national level anywhere in the world. This may surprise some people -- after all, wasn't the Soviet Union socialist? The answer is no. Many nations and political parties have called themselves "socialist," but none have actually tried socialism. To understand why, we should revisit a few basic political terms.

Perhaps the primary concern of any political ideology is who gets to own and control the means the production. This includes factories, farmlands, machinery, etc. Generally there have been three approaches to this question. The first was aristocracy, in which a ruling elite owned the land and productive wealth, and peasants and serfs had to obey their orders in return for their livelihood. The second is capitalism, which has disbanded the ruling elite and allows a much broader range of private individuals to own the means of production. However, this ownership is limited to those who can afford to buy productive wealth; nearly all workers are excluded. The third (and untried) approach is socialism, where everyone owns and controls the means of production, by means of the vote. As you can see, there is a spectrum here, ranging from a few people owning productive wealth at one end, to everyone owning it at the other.

Socialism has been proposed in many forms. The most common is social democracy, where workers vote for their supervisors, as well as their industry representatives to regional or national congresses. Another proposed form is anarcho-socialism, where workers own companies that would operate on a free market, without any central government at all. As you can see, a central planning committee is hardly a necessary feature of socialism. The primary feature is worker ownership of production.

The Soviet Union failed to qualify as socialist because it was a dictatorship over workers -- that is, a type of aristocracy, with a ruling elite in Moscow calling all the shots. Workers cannot own or control anything under a totalitarian government. In variants of socialism that call for a central government, that government is always a strong or even direct democracy… never a dictatorship. It doesn't matter if the dictator claims to be carrying out the will of the people, or calls himself a "socialist" or a "democrat." If the people themselves are not in control, then the system is, by definition, non-democratic and non-socialist.

And what of Nazi Germany? The idea that workers controlled the means of production in Nazi Germany is a bitter joke. It was actually a combination of aristocracy and capitalism. Technically, private businessmen owned and controlled the means of production. The Nazi "Charter of Labor" gave employers complete power over their workers. It established the employer as the "leader of the enterprise," and read: "The leader of the enterprise makes the decisions for the employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise." (1)

The employer, however, was subject to the frequent orders of the ruling Nazi elite. After the Nazis took power in 1933, they quickly established a highly controlled war economy under the direction of Dr. Hjalmar Schacht. Like all war economies, it boomed, making Germany the second nation to recover fully from the Great Depression, in 1936. (The first nation was Sweden, in 1934. Following Keynesian-like policies, the Swedish government spent its way out of the Depression, proving that state economic policies can be successful without resorting to dictatorship or war.)

Prior to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, worker protests had spread all across Germany in response to the Great Depression. During his drive to power, Hitler exploited this social unrest by promising workers to strengthen their labor unions and increase their standard of living. But these were empty promises; privately, he was reassuring wealthy German businessmen that he would crack down on labor once he achieved power. Historian William Shirer describes the Nazi's dual strategy:

"The party had to play both sides of the tracks. It had to allow [Nazi officials] Strasser, Goebbels and the crank Feder to beguile the masses with the cry that the National Socialists were truly 'socialists' and against the money barons. On the other hand, money to keep the party going had to be wheedled out of those who had an ample supply of it." (2)
Once in power, Hitler showed his true colors by promptly breaking all his promises to workers. The Nazis abolished trade unions, collective bargaining and the right to strike. An organization called the "Labor Front" replaced the old trade unions, but it was an instrument of the Nazi party and did not represent workers. According to the law that created it, "Its task is to see that every individual should be able… to perform the maximum of work." Workers would indeed greatly boost their productivity under Nazi rule. But they also became exploited. Between 1932 and 1936, workers wages fell, from 20.4 to 19.5 cents an hour for skilled labor, and from 16.1 to 13 cents an hour for unskilled labor. (3) Yet workers did not protest. This was partly because the Nazis had restored order to the economy, but an even bigger reason was that the Nazis would have cracked down on any protest.

There was no part of Nazism, therefore, that even remotely resembled socialism. But what about the political nature of Nazism in general? Did it belong to the left, or to the right? Let's take a closer look:

The politics of Nazism

The political right is popularly associated with the following principles. Of course, it goes without saying that these are generalizations, and not every person on the far right believes in every principle, or disbelieves its opposite. Most people's political beliefs are complex, and cannot be neatly pigeonholed. This is as true of Hitler as anyone. But since the far right is trying peg Hitler as a leftist, it's worth reviewing the tenets popularly associated with the right. These include:
Individualism over collectivism.
Racism or racial segregation over racial tolerance.
Eugenics over freedom of reproduction.
Merit over equality.
Competition over cooperation.
Power politics and militarism over pacifism.
One-person rule or self-rule over democracy.
Capitalism over Marxism.
Realism over idealism.
Nationalism over internationalism.
Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
Meat-eating over vegetarianism.
Gun ownership over gun control
Common sense over theory or science.
Pragmatism over principle.
Religion over secularism.
Let's review these spectrums one by one, and see where Hitler stood in his own words. Ultimately, Hitler's views are not monolithically conservative -- on a few issues, his views are complex and difficult to label. But as you will see, the vast majority of them belong on the far right:

Individualism over collectivism.
Racism or racial segregation over racial tolerance.
Eugenics over freedom of reproduction.
Merit over equality.
Competition over cooperation.
Power politics and militarism over pacifism.
One-person rule or self-rule over democracy.
Capitalism over Marxism.
Realism over idealism.
Nationalism over internationalism.
Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
Meat-eating over vegetarianism.
Gun ownership over gun control
Common sense over theory or science.
Pragmatism over principle.
Religion over secularism.

I addressed these in my previous posts. Are you even reading what I wrote? I mean I went into great length to show that the Nazis were strong believers in vegetarianism.

Individualism over collectivism.

Many conservatives argue that Hitler was a leftist because he subjugated the individual to the state. However, this characterization is wrong, for several reasons.

The first error is in assuming that this is exclusively a liberal trait. Actually, U.S. conservatives take considerable pride in being patriotic Americans, and they deeply honor those who have sacrificed their lives for their country. The Marine Corps is a classic example: as every Marine knows, all sense of individuality is obliterated in the Marines Corps, and one is subject first, foremost and always to the group.

The second error is forgetting that all human beings subscribe to individualism and collectivism. If you believe that you are personally responsible for taking care of yourself, you are an individualist. If you freely belong and contribute to any group -- say, an employing business, church, club, family, nation, or cause -- then you are a collectivist as well. Neither of these traits makes a person inherently "liberal" or "conservative," and to claim that you are an "evil socialist" because you champion a particular group is not a serious argument.

Political scientists therefore do not label people "liberal" or "conservative" on the basis of their individualism or collectivism. Much more important is how they approach their individualism and collectivism. What groups does a person belong to? How is power distributed in the group? Does it practice one-person rule, minority rule, majority rule, or self-rule? Liberals believe in majority rule. Hitler practiced one-person rule. Thus, there is no comparison.

And on that score, conservatives might feel that they are off the hook, too, because they claim to prefer self-rule to one-person rule. But their actions say otherwise. Many of the institutions that conservatives favor are really quite dictatorial: the military, the church, the patriarchal family, the business firm.

Hitler himself downplayed all groups except for the state, which he raised to supreme significance in his writings. However, he did not identify the state as most people do, as a random collection of people in artificially drawn borders. Instead, he identified the German state as its racially pure stock of German or Aryan blood. In Mein Kampf, Hitler freely and interchangeably used the terms "Aryan race," "German culture" and "folkish state." To him they were synonyms, as the quotes below show. There were citizens inside Germany (like Jews) who were not part of Hitler's state, while there were Germans outside Germany (for example, in Austria) who were. But the main point is that Hitler's political philosophy was not really based on "statism" as we know it today. It was actually based on racism -- again, a subject that hits uncomfortably closer to home for conservatives, not liberals.

As Hitler himself wrote:
"The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood." (4)

"The state is a means to an end. Its end lies in the preservation and advancement of a community of physically and psychically homogenous creatures. This preservation itself comprises first of all existence as a race… Thus, the highest purpose of a folkish state is concern for the preservation of those original racial elements which bestow culture and create the beauty and dignity of a higher mankind. We, as Aryans, can conceive of the state only as the living organism of a nationality which… assures the preservation of this nationality…" (5)

"The German Reich as a state must embrace all Germans and has the task, not only of assembling and preserving the most valuable stocks of basic racial elements in this people, but slowly and surely of raising them to a dominant position." (6)
And it was in the service of this racial state that Hitler encourage individuals to sacrifice themselves:
"In [the Aryan], the instinct for self-preservation has reached its noblest form, since he willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands it, even sacrifices it." (7)

"This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture."

Racism or racial segregation over racial tolerance.
"All the human culture, all the results of art, science, and technology that we see before us today, are almost exclusively the creative product of the Aryan." (9)

"Aryan races -- often absurdly small numerically -- subject foreign peoples, and then… develop the intellectual and organizational capacities dormant within them." (10)

"If beginning today all further Aryan influence on Japan should stop… Japan's present rise in science and technology might continue for a short time; but even in a few years the well would dry up… the present culture would freeze and sink back into the slumber from which it awakened seven decades ago by the wave of Aryan culture." (11)

"Every racial crossing leads inevitably sooner or later to the decline of the hybrid product…" (12)

"It is the function above all of the Germanic states first and foremost to call a fundamental halt to any further bastardization." (13)

"What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood…" (14)
Eugenics over freedom of reproduction
"The folkish philosophy of life must succeed in bringing about that nobler age in which men no longer are concerned with breeding dogs, horses, and cats, but in elevating man himself…" (15)

"The folkish state must make up for what everyone else today has neglected in this field. It must set race in the center of all life. It must take care to keep it pure… It must see to it that only the healthy beget children; that there is only one disgrace: despite one's own sickness and deficiencies, to bring children into the world, and one highest honor: to renounce doing so. And conversely it must be considered reprehensible: to withhold healthy children from the nation. Here the state… must put the most modern medical means in the service of this knowledge. It must declare unfit for propagation all who are in any way visibly sick or who have inherited a disease and therefore pass it on…" (16)
Merit over equality.
"The best state constitution and state form is that which, with the most unquestioned certainty, raises the best minds in the national community to leading position and leading influence. But as in economic life, the able men cannot be appointed from above, but must struggle through for themselves…" (17)

"It must not be lamented if so many men set out on the road to arrive at the same goal: the most powerful and swiftest will in this way be recognized, and will be the victor." (p. 512.)
Competition over cooperation.
"Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live." (18)

"It must never be forgotten that nothing that is really great in this world has ever been achieved by coalitions, but that it has always been the success of a single victor. Coalition successes bear by the very nature of their origin the germ of future crumbling, in fact of the loss of what has already been achieved. Great, truly world-shaking revolutions of a spiritual nature are not even conceivable and realizable except as the titanic struggles of individual formations, never as enterprises of coalitions." (19)

"The idea of struggle is old as life itself, for life is only preserved because other living things perish through struggle… In this struggle, the stronger, the more able, win, while the less able, the weak, lose. Struggle is the father of all things… It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself in the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle… If you do not fight for life, then life will never be won." (20)
Power politics and militarism over pacifism.

Allan Bullock, probably the world's greatest Hitler historian, sums up Hitler's political method in one sentence:
"Stripped of their romantic trimmings, all Hitler's ideas can be reduced to a simple claim for power which recognizes only one relationship, that of domination, and only one argument, that of force." (21)
The following quotes by Hitler portray his rather stunning contempt for pacifism:
"If the German people in its historic development had possessed that herd unity [defined here by Hitler as racial solidarity] which other peoples enjoyed, the German Reich today would doubtless be mistress of the globe. World history would have taken a different course, and no one can distinguish whether in this way we would not have obtained what so many blinded pacifists today hope to gain by begging, whining and whimpering: a peace, supported not by the palm branches of tearful, pacifist female mourners, but based on the victorious sword of a master people, putting the world into the service of a higher culture." (22)

"We must clearly recognize the fact that the recovery of the lost territories is not won through solemn appeals to the Lord or through pious hopes in a League of Nations, but only by force of arms." (23)

"In actual fact the pacifistic-humane idea is perfectly all right perhaps when the highest type of man has previously conquered and subjected the world to an extent that makes him the sole ruler of this earth… Therefore, first struggle and then perhaps pacifism." (24)

One-person rule or self-rule over democracy.
"The young [Nazi] movement is in its nature and inner organization anti-parliamentarian; that is, it rejects… a principle of majority rule in which the leader is degraded to the level of mere executant of other people's wills and opinion." (25)

"The [Nazi party] should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master!" (26)

"By rejecting the authority of the individual and replacing it by the numbers of some momentary mob, the parliamentary principle of majority rule sins against the basic aristocratic principle of Nature…" (27)

"For there is one thing we must never forget… the majority can never replace the man. And no more than a hundred empty heads make one wise man will an heroic decision arise from a hundred cowards." (28)

"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man." (29)

"When I recognized the Jew as the leader of the Social Democracy, the scales dropped from my eyes." (30)

"The Western democracy of today is the forerunner of Marxism…" (31)

"Only a knowledge of the Jews provides the key with which to comprehend the inner, and consequently real, aims of Social Democracy." (32)
Capitalism over Marxism.

Bullock writes of Hitler's views on Marxism:
"While Hitler's attitude towards liberalism was one of contempt, towards Marxism he showed an implacable hostility… Ignoring the profound differences between Communism and Social Democracy in practice and the bitter hostility between the rival working class parties, he saw in their common ideology the embodiment of all that he detested -- mass democracy and a leveling egalitarianism as opposed to the authoritarian state and the rule of an elite; equality and friendship among peoples as opposed to racial inequality and the domination of the strong; class solidarity versus national unity; internationalism versus nationalism." (33)
As Hitler himself would write:
"The German state is gravely attacked by Marxism." (34)

"In the years 1913 and 1914, I… expressed the conviction that the question of the future of the German nation was the question of destroying Marxism." (35)

"In the economic sphere Communism is analogous to democracy in the political sphere." (36)

"The Marxists will march with democracy until they succeed in indirectly obtaining for their criminal aims the support of even the national intellectual world, destined by them for extinction." (37)

"Marxism itself systematically plans to hand the world over to the Jews." (38)

"The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass of numbers and their dead weight." (39)

Realism over idealism.

Hitler was hardly an "idealist" in the sense that political scientists use the term. The standard definition of an idealist is someone who believes that cooperation and peaceful coexistence can occur among peoples. A realist, however, is someone who sees the world as an unstable and dangerous place, and prepares for war, if not to deter it, then to survive it. It goes without saying that Hitler was one of the greatest realists of all time. Nonetheless, Hitler had his own twisted utopia, which he described:
"We are not simple enough, either, to believe that it could ever be possible to bring about a perfect era. But this relieves no one of the obligation to combat recognized errors, to overcome weaknesses, and strive for the ideal. Harsh reality of its own accord will create only too many limitations. For that very reason, however, man must try to serve the ultimate goal, and failures must not deter him, any more than he can abandon a system of justice merely because mistakes creep into it…" (40)

"The same boy who feels like throwing up when he hears the tirades of a pacifist 'idealist' is ready to give up his life for the ideal of his nationality." (41)
Nationalism over internationalism.
"The nationalization of our masses will succeed only when… their international poisoners are exterminated." (42)

"The severest obstacle to the present-day worker's approach to the national community lies not in the defense of his class interests, but in his international leadership and attitude which are hostile to the people and the fatherland." (43)

"Thus, the reservoir from which the young [Nazi] movement must gather its supporters will primarily be the masses of our workers. Its work will be to tear these away from the international delusion… and lead them to the national community…" (44)
Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
"Thus men without exception wander about in the garden of Nature; they imagine that they know practically everything and yet with few exceptions pass blindly by one of the most patent principles of Nature: the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on earth." (45)

"The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others." (46)
Meat-eating over vegetarianism.

It may seem ridiculous to include this issue in a review of Hitler's politics, but, believe it or not, conservatives on the Internet frequently equate Hitler's vegetarianism with the vegetarianism practised by liberals concerned about the environment and the ethical treatment of animals.

Hitler's vegetarianism had nothing to do with his political beliefs. He became a vegetarian shortly after the death of his girlfriend and half-niece, Geli Raubal. Their relationship was a stormy one, and it ended in her apparent suicide. There were rumors that Hitler had arranged her murder, but Hitler would remain deeply distraught over her loss for the rest of his life. As one historian writes:
"Curiously, shortly after her death, Hitler looked with disdain on a piece of ham being served during breakfast and refused to eat it, saying it was like eating a corpse. From that moment on, he refused to eat meat." (47)
Hitler's vegetarianism, then, was no more than a phobia, triggered by an association with his niece's death.

Gun ownership over gun control

Perhaps one of the pro-gun lobby's favorite arguments is that if German citizens had had the right to keep and bear arms, Hitler would have never been able to tyrannize the country. And to this effect, pro-gun advocates often quote the following:
"1935 will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future." - Adolf Hitler
However, this quote is almost certainly a fraud. There is no reputable record of him ever making it: neither at the Nuremberg rallies, nor in any of his weekly radio addresses. Furthermore, there was no reason for him to even make such a statement; for Germany already had strict gun control as a term of surrender in the Treaty of Versailles. The Allies had wanted to make Germany as impotent as possible, and one of the ways they did that was to disarm its citizenry. Only a handful of local authorities were allowed arms at all, and the few German citizens who did possess weapons were already subject to full gun registration. Seen in this light, the above quote makes no sense whatsoever.

The Firearms Policy Journal (January 1997) writes:
"The Nazi Party did not ride to power confiscating guns. They rode to power on the inability of the Weimar Republic to confiscate their guns. They did not consolidate their power confiscating guns either. There is no historical evidence that Nazis ever went door to door in Germany confiscating guns. The Germans had a fetish about paperwork and documented everything. These searches and confiscations would have been carefully recorded. If the documents are there, let them be presented as evidence."
On April 12, 1928, five years before Hitler seized power, Germany passed the Law on Firearms and Ammunition. This law substantially tightened restrictions on gun ownership in an effort to curb street violence between Nazis and Communists. The law was ineffectual and poorly enforced. It was not until March 18, 1938 -- five years after Hitler came to power -- that the Nazis passed the German Weapons Law, their first known change in the firearm code. And this law actually relaxed restrictions on citizen firearms.

Common sense over theory or science.

Hitler was notorious for his anti-intellectualism:
"The youthful brain should in general not be burdened with things ninety-five percent of which it cannot use and hence forgets again… In many cases, the material to be learned in the various subjects is so swollen that only a fraction of it remains in the head of the individual pupil, and only a fraction of this abundance can find application, while on the other hand it is not adequate for the man working and earning his living in a definite field." (48)

"Knowledge above the average can be crammed into the average man, but it remains dead, and in the last analysis sterile knowledge. The result is a man who may be a living dictionary but nevertheless falls down miserably in all special situations and decisive moments in life." (49)

"The folkish state must not adjust its entire educational work primarily to the inoculation of mere knowledge, but to the breeding of absolutely healthy bodies. The training of mental abilities is only secondary. And here again, first place must be taken by the development of character, especially the promotion of will-power and determination, combined with the training of joy in responsibility, and only in last place comes scientific schooling." (50)

"A people of scholars, if they are physically degenerate, weak-willed and cowardly pacifists, will not storm the heavens, indeed, they will not be able to safeguard their existence on this earth." (51)
Pragmatism over principle.
"The question of the movement's inner organization is one of expediency and not of principle." (52)

Nationalism over internationalism.
"The nationalization of our masses will succeed only when… their international poisoners are exterminated." (42)

"The severest obstacle to the present-day worker's approach to the national community lies not in the defense of his class interests, but in his international leadership and attitude which are hostile to the people and the fatherland." (43)

"Thus, the reservoir from which the young [Nazi] movement must gather its supporters will primarily be the masses of our workers. Its work will be to tear these away from the international delusion… and lead them to the national community…" (44)
Exclusiveness over inclusiveness.
"Thus men without exception wander about in the garden of Nature; they imagine that they know practically everything and yet with few exceptions pass blindly by one of the most patent principles of Nature: the inner segregation of the species of all living beings on earth." (45)

"The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others." (46)
Meat-eating over vegetarianism.

It may seem ridiculous to include this issue in a review of Hitler's politics, but, believe it or not, conservatives on the Internet frequently equate Hitler's vegetarianism with the vegetarianism practised by liberals concerned about the environment and the ethical treatment of animals.

Hitler's vegetarianism had nothing to do with his political beliefs. He became a vegetarian shortly after the death of his girlfriend and half-niece, Geli Raubal. Their relationship was a stormy one, and it ended in her apparent suicide. There were rumors that Hitler had arranged her murder, but Hitler would remain deeply distraught over her loss for the rest of his life. As one historian writes:
"Curiously, shortly after her death, Hitler looked with disdain on a piece of ham being served during breakfast and refused to eat it, saying it was like eating a corpse. From that moment on, he refused to eat meat." (47)
Hitler's vegetarianism, then, was no more than a phobia, triggered by an association with his niece's death.

Religion over secularism.

Hitler's views on religion were complex. Although ostensibly an atheist, he considered himself a cultural Catholic, and frequently evoked God, the Creator and Providence in his writings. Throughout his life he would remain an envious admirer of the Christian Church and its power over the masses. Here is but one example:
"We can learn by the example of the Catholic Church. Though its doctrinal edifice… comes into collision with exact science and research, it is none the less unwilling to sacrifice so much as one little syllable of its dogmas. It has recognized quite correctly that its power of resistance does not lie in its lesser or greater adaptation to the scientific findings of the moment, which in reality are always fluctuating, but rather in rigidly holding to dogmas once established, for it is only such dogmas which lend to the whole body the character of faith. And so it stands today more firmly than ever." (53)
Hitler also saw a useful purpose for the Church:
"The great masses of people do not consist of philosophers; precisely for the masses, [religious] faith is often the sole foundation of a moral attitude… For the political man, the value of a religion must be estimated less by its deficiencies than by the virtue of a visibly better substitute. As long as this appears to be lacking, what is present can be demolished only by fools or criminals." (54)
Hitler thus advocated freedom of religious belief. Although he would later press churches into the service of Nazism, often at the point of a gun, Hitler did not attempt to impose a state religion or mandate the basic philosophical content of German religions. As long as they did not interfere with his program, he allowed them to continue fuctioning. And this policy was foreshadowed in his writings:
"For the political leader the religious doctrines and institutions of his people must always remain inviolable; or else he has no right to be in politics…" (55)

"Political parties have nothing to do with religious problems, as long as these are not alien to the nation, undermining the morals and ethics of the race; just as religion cannot be amalgamated with the scheming of political parties." (56)

"Worst of all, however, is the devastation wrought by the misuse of religious conviction for political ends." (57)

"Therefore, let every man be active, each in his own denomination if you please, and let every man take it as his first and most sacred duty to oppose anyone who in his activity by word or deed steps outside the confines of his religious community and tries to butt into the other." (58)
Hitler was raised a Catholic, even going to school for two years at the monastery at Lambauch, Austria. As late as 24 he still called himself a Catholic, but somewhere along the way he became an atheist. It is highly doubtful that this was an intellectual decision, as a reading of his disordered thoughts in Mein Kampf will attest. The decision was most likely a pragmatic one, based on power and personal ambition. Bullock reveals an interesting anecdote showing how these considerations worked on the young Hitler. After five years of eking out a miserable existence in Vienna and four years of war, Hitler walked into his first German Worker's Party meeting:
"'Under the dim light shed by a grimy gas-lamp I could see four people sitting around a table…' As Hitler frankly acknowledges, this very obscurity was an attraction. It was only in a party which, like himself, was beginning at the bottom that he had any prospect of playing a leading part and imposing his ideas. In the established parties there was no room for him, he would be a nobody." (59)
Hitler probably realized that a frustrated artist and pipe-dreamer like himself would have no chance of achieving power in the world-wide, 2000-year old Christian Church. It was most likely for this reason that he rejected Christianity and pursued a political life instead. Yet, curiously enough, he never renounced his membership in the Catholic Church, and the Church never excommunicated him. Nor did the Church place his Mein Kampf on the Index of Prohibited Books, in spite of its knowledge of his atrocities. Later the Church would come under intense criticism for its friendly and cooperative relationship with Hitler. A brief review of this history is instructive.

In 1933, the Catholic Center Party cast its large and decisive vote in favor of Hitler's Enabling Bill. This bill essentially gave Chancellor Hitler the sweeping dictatorial powers he was seeking. Historian Guenter Lewy describes a meeting between Hitler and the German Catholic authorities shortly afterwards:
"On 26 April 1933 Hitler had a conversation with Bishop Berning and Monsignor Steinmann [the Catholic leadership in Germany]. The subject was the common fight against liberalism, Socialism and Bolshevism, discussed in the friendliest terms. In the course of the conversation Hitler said that he was only doing to the Jews what the church had done to them over the past fifteen hundred years. The prelates did not contradict him." (60)
As anyone familiar with Christian history knows, the Church has always been a primary source of anti-Semitism. Hitler's anti-Semitism therefore found a receptive audience among Catholic authorities. The Church also had an intense fear and hatred of Russian communism, and Hitler's attack on Russia was the best that could have happened. The Jesuit Michael Serafin wrote: "It cannot be denied that [Pope] Pius XII's closest advisors for some time regarded Hitler's armoured divisions as the right hand of God." (61) As Pope Pius himself would say after Germany conquered Poland: "Let us end this war between brothers and unite our forces against the common enemy of atheism" -- Russia. (62)

Once Hitler assumed power, he signed a Concordat, or agreement, with the Catholic Church. Eugenio Pacelli (the man who would eventually become Pope Pius XII) was the Vatican diplomat who drew up the Concordat, and he considered it a triumph. In return for promises which Hitler increasingly broke, the Church dissolved all Catholic organizations in Germany, including the Catholic Center Party. Bishops were to take an oath of loyalty to the Nazi regime. Clergy were to see to the pastoral care of Germany's armed forces (regardless of what those armed forces did). (63)

The Concordat eliminated all Catholic resistance to Hitler; after this, the German bishops gave Hitler their full and unqualified support. A bishops' conference at Fulda, 1933, resulted in agreement with Hitler's case for extending Lebensraum, or German territory. (64) Bishop Bornewasser told a congregation of Catholic young people at Trier: "With our heads high and with firm steps we have entered the new Reich and are ready to serve it body and soul." (65) Vicar-General Steinman greeted each Berlin mass with the shout, "Heil Hitler!" (66)

Hitler, on the other hand, kept up his attack on the Church. Nazi bands stormed into the few remaining Catholic institutions, beat up Catholic youths and arrested Catholic officials. The Vatican was dismayed, but it did not protest. (67) In some instances, it was hard to tell if the Church supported its own persecution. Hitler muzzled the independent Catholic press (about 400 daily papers in 1933) and subordinated it to Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightenment. Yet soon the Catholic Press was doing more than what the Nazis required of it -- for example, coordinating their Nazi propaganda to prepare the people for the 1940 offensive against the West. (68) Throughout the war, the Catholic press would remain one of the Third Reich's best disseminators of propaganda.

Pacelli became the new Pope Pius XII in 1939, and he immediately improved relations with Hitler. He broke protocol by personally signing a letter in German to Hitler expressing warm hopes of friendly relations. Shortly afterwards, the Church celebrated Hitler's birthday by ringing bells, flying swastika flags from church towers and holding thanksgiving services for the Fuhrer. (69) Ringing church bells to celebrate and affirm the bishops' allegiance to the Reich would become quite common throughout the war; after the German army conquered France, the church bells rang for an entire week, and swastikas flew over the churches for ten days.

But perhaps the greatest failure of Pope Pius XII was his silence over the Holocaust, even though he knew it was in progress. Although there are many heroic stories of Catholics helping Jews survive the Holocaust, they do not include Pope Pius, the Holy See, or the German Catholic authorities. When a reporter asked Pius why he did not protest the liquidation of the Jews, the Pope answered, "Dear friend, do not forget that millions of Catholics are serving in the German armies. Am I to involve them in a conflict of conscience?" (70) As perhaps the world's greatest moral leader, he was charged with precisely that responsibility.

The history of Hitler and the Church reveals a relationship built on mutual distrust and philosophical rejection, but also shared goals, benefits, admiration, envy, friendliness, and ultimate alliance.

I realize that you were incensed by Keithster's strange understanding of Leftists, but that string of monsters was overkill.

Besides, you are preaching to the doorstop.


"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts." -Strunk

Bob, I think we have to bend the rules for Trekker here. That was a tour de force. So 'Ulysses' took liberties with punctuation?
Proposed Man Rule:
In the service of handing a blowhard his head on a platter, excess verbiage can be tolerated.

point well taken-
It was overkill.
Having a degree in European History makes me sometimes run off with in depth analysis.
I will be more mindful in the future.

It is clear that you are just cutting and pasting from an old report, instead of actually debating the points I made originally. Now, would you like to actually address the points I made or not?

When you demonstrate a history of engagement/discussion then you shall be worthy of making demands of others.

Actually, after reading what you wrote, I see that some of it is even contradictory. How can Hitler have friendly relations with the church as you say right-wingers have, but "Hitler, on the other hand, kept up his attack on the Church. Nazi bands stormed into the few remaining Catholic institutions, beat up Catholic youths and arrested Catholic officials. "

No, feel free to do what you did in the future with people who use 'loaded words' with their own 'in their heads' definitions.

This is simply not true, and it doesn't explain why most of the top Nazis were vegetarian. Did Himmler and Hess lose a sister too?


This site is going downhill fast.

"..why most of the top Nazis were vegetarian"

Well clearly, their liberal principles made them feel a little uneasy about all the killing that a meat-based diet would require. All they were really doing was trying to teach the world to sing. (And dance, of course, using a Luger to demonstrate the steps)

At least according to Wm. Shirer's analysis in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Hitler wasn't very much interested in economics, and in practice was pretty much content to leave the German economy more or less as is. A few bones were thrown to supportive corporate cronies, and the economy was mobilized for the war effort pretty much along similar lines to how it was done in the US (although actually not fully until surprisingly late). Most of the "socialist" economic rhetoric in NSDAP propaganda was meant to be just that - propaganda.

The main point of Hitler's ideology was not about economics but about racism and nationalism. "National Socialism" means the orientation and control of the entire society in advancement of the interests of the nation - "the nation" being an ethnic rather than just a geographic entity. "Chauvinistc Ethnic Collectivism" would arguably be the best phrase to describe it.


Of all the unanswered questions of our time, perhaps the most important is: ‘What is Fascism?’

"an excuse to implement a global socialist government".

Tom - Do you mean in place of the global facist government we have now?

Heaven forbid!

Read the thread above, fascism is equivalent to socialism.

No, I as I pointed out, fascism (as defined by Mussolini) is the modern Republican Party under GWB & Cheney,


Fascism, as defined by Mussolini, is the "Binding" (fascism) of the State, the Corporation, and the Church.
Now if that isn't the Modern Republican party, I don't know what is?

"As Hitler himself wrote:
"The main plank in the Nationalist Socialist program is to abolish the liberalistic concept of the individual and the Marxist concept of humanity and to substitute for them the folk community, rooted in the soil and bound together by the bond of its common blood."

"The thread above" is a good reason to hope for Leanans return, and the best way to have something that nobody reads but just scrolls thru. Get a grip.

There's also the observation that whenever people try in debate to "properly" define an "-ism" (ie, give it the meaning they want and disqualify the meanings of other people use), nothing ever comes of it. I'm not one for reading political beliefs and hope people don't do it, but if you absolutely have to then do it by discussing actual real actions you do/would and don't/wouldn't approve of rather than in terms of "I don't want no stinking x-ism, it's the root of all evil, y-ism is what all right-thinking people want. I mean, you know z-ism, why that's really what x-ism is. Once you have the right understanding of what the -ism's are you'll all agree with me".

I think I'll be adding this thread to my profile so the next time someone tosses about 'fascist' I can point to the thread and ask 'so, how is this discussion different than the last?'

It would be MUCH more useful if the people tossing about the term gave an actual definition.

Is that you Rush?

I have students working on projects to research both climate change and peak oil consequences for society (along with several other human population effects). Either one by itself would be challenging to accommodate. But we are interested in the confluence of these phenomena. For example, right at a time when we will need much more power to adapt to climate change, say moving coastal populations and agricultural displacements, we will have less energy to work with.

Our research on the rate of increase in alternative energy sources suggests that these will be nowhere near enough to provide for BAU levels for the larger population and the extra needed for adaptation to climate change consequences. Most current alternative energy scenarios seem to be ceteris paribus, and driven by CO2 reduction or energy independence. I haven't seen any studies that link the two together, other than the obvious - if we have less oil to burn that means less CO2, right?

The scenarios we are seeing right now are pretty scary. I hope the techno-salvation believers are right and some bright bulb comes up with a miracle energy source.


Thank you - I think - but just curious...

...are your students politically active and for whom (are they Obamanaics)?

What is their take on the "grass roots" being able to change the political landscape?

I realize it may be entirely too late anyway, but hitting the hard stuff at 30 degree provides a chance for a hard bounce (as opposed to 90 degrees).


I have no idea as to their political positions on the candidates. Politics is not a part of our study. I would guess that most are left-leaning, but we don't spend time talking about ideology.

We have not thought about "grass roots" activism. Several of them are working on a plan for a documentary on how critical thinking plays into people's (mostly college students and professors') understanding of the two major issues. Education is supposed to impart critical thinking skills to students. But there is some question as to how such skills learned in the context of a discipline transfer to more general life situations. The students are interested in whether people use critical thinking skills in assessing common sources of information (media) about global warming, climate change, and peak oil.

Let me amend that a bit. Politics are a part of the study from an abstract decision-making and policy standpoint. I meant that current politics and ideologies that seem to assert that they know better than the science are not a part of our work.

Thank you! PLEASE keep them thinking. I am hoping one of them young-ins has a brainstorm - in addition to what older folk - like me - can do individually.


Research on Climate Change has been driven by the use of climate models to make projections of future change. One of the main inputs to the models has been projections of the CO2 additions to the atmosphere. The models don't care where the CO2 (and other GHGs) come from. I think there has always been an underlying understanding that oil as a source of CO2 would be limited at some point. The big problem is what happens next, as Business as Usual (BAU) progresses toward other FF sources, coal being the big one, but other sources like tar sands and oil shale could be expected to be turned to as well.

The projections of future climate change and it's impacts are still uncertain at some level, since the rate of emissions is actually a variable. Thus, it's easy for some to say we don't know if AGW is going to happen or if the recent variation is natural. The larger problem is the political one, that is, what are the Earth's peoples and nations going to do about AGW? The Kyoto Treaty was just the beginning, yet, there's been little if any progress toward the goals set out in the Treaty. Few nations are on track to reach the reductions back to 1992 levels which would be required. Of course, the U.S. has not signed on, so other nations can rightly claim their efforts would be meaningless, so why bother?

Energy independence has been a popular buzz phrase since the 1970's, when Nixon proposed Project Independence, but there has been little to show for the lip service by the politicians. Ultimately, politicians will decide whether the BAU growth projections will be the future or whether some other path will be followed. The same is true for a whole host of associated issues, such as population and economic growth, all of which are related. The Limits to Growth scenarios from he early 1970's were a warning and they were ignored then as now. We've already wasted 35 years without a serious effort to change course and why would one expect TPTB to stop trying to get rich? I see little hope, as the political class doesn't have the guts to stand up before a firing squad of TV cameras and tell the people the truth about the mess we are in.

E. Swanson

We complain that the the US goverment has no energy policy, which is true other than to use as much energy as possible, regardless of the cost. If local or higher forms of government try to institute energy conservation, we cry big brother. It is up to individuals to set their own energy policy for self preservation.

Yes that is true and when Cheney said "the American way of life is non-negotiable" it is now possible to see that he was speaking for himself, PERSONALLY. He won't be cutting back on his energy consumption, although millions of Americans are willing to consider it and how best to do this.

Really? I doubt it's millions. I have not seen with my own two eyes, any Americans cutting back voluntarily, other than in very small, symbolic, ways.

We are, most of us, the equivalent of the fat lady going into Burger King and ordering one of everything on the menu and then a diet soda, because we're "on a diet".

Well...maybe you can ask Dr. Sam Bodman what the US energy policy is:

Not worth the effort.

See what GWB does, not what he says (see nonsense in one State of the Union speech after another).

US Energy policy has only 4 letters, and the first 3 are Ira


Dumbya lives in an off-grid home. Now ain't that some grits and cornpone?


Good post.

The problem with anthropogenic global warming (AGW) isn't its magnitude, but is the rapidity with which it is occuring. Milankovitch scale climate change occurs over intervals of 10^4 - 10^5 yrs whereas AGW is taking place on the orders of 10^1 - 10^2 yrs. Natural selection and range shifts can't keep pace with the rapidity of climate change. The result is extinction of species.

The Ocean Planet is currently in the grip of a great mass extinction episode that has a wholly anthropogenic etiology. This 6th great die-off began in Plio-/Pleistocene Africa with the ascendency of the Homini and picked up pace as hominins dispersed around the world, impacting flora and fauna that hadn't coevolved with the ecocidal ape. The impact was especially extreme on islands but even on continental landmasses has been severe. As genetic innovations to staple food crops and massive inputs of fossil fuels and nitrogenous fertilizers to agriculture have allowed the cannibal ape to inflate its population over an order of magnitude above the carrying capacity (K) of the biosphere, the Quaternary extinction pulse has picked up pace. Biodiversity is now in free-fall worldwide.

As species become extinct, the integrity of ecosystems becomes compromised. There is some resiliency built into ecosystem structure, but this resiliency is limited. When ecosystems are stressed by loss of component species, they tend to function somewhat for a time, then suddenly collapse. The collapse of ecosystems results in the loss of ecosystem services upon which life utterly depends. This is just the simple fact of life on the Ocean Planet.

Some would hold out hope that decline in petroleum production ("peak oil") will mitigate AGW and stave off precipitant ecosystem collapse. But there is plenty of coal left and even if fossil fuel consumption were to decline significantly in the next few decades, positive feedback mechanisms have already been set into motion which will increase AGW for centuries to come. These feedback effects include reduced albedo due to the loss of polar ice, the thawing and decomposition of permafrost, and an UV induced decline in global primary production due to stratospheric O3 reduction.

With a population over a full order of magnitude in excess of K, ecosystem collapse due to the mass extinction of species will impact human societies hard. Quite likely, many hundreds of millions of people will starve outright. Mass starvation will cause social unrest and resource wars that will likely result in at least regional nuclear exchanges between nations. War, pollution, and famine will facilitate further extinction and ecosystem collapse in an ever widening spiral of decline. Relict populations of the ecocidal ape will likely persist in the Southern Hemisphere for decades or perhaps centuries. One by one these isolated population, beset by unpresidented environmental problems, will wink out until Anthropus ecocidus is completely extinct.

Is this a "doomer" scenario? Not to me it isn't. Only those locked into some repudiated early 20th century group selectionist mindset care about the fate of their own species. The wellbeing of one's children and grandchildren warrent concern, to the extent they share one's genes, but offspring must fare for themselves as each generation must. In any case, when one's life is over the world ceases to exist so far as one is concerned. Perhaps it's illogical, but my own allegience and concern transcends my own family, species, nation and times. Biodiversity typically recovers within 10^7 yrs. Once the ecocidal ape is extinct biodiversity will slowly begin to recover, ecosystems will become reestablished and oxidized carbon will gradually become resequestered in reduced form. So there's nothing to worry about, folks.

Except pain...

Pain is a given.

Excellent analysis, sigh. And again, so true. Coming from an anthropological/biological background (and being married to a wildlife biologist), I have long ago come to your conclusions. I am simply watching the sad scenario unfold now. With each new revelation/extinction factoid, I now merely sigh and feel a bit of regret. I did do my small protest when I had my tubes tied after two kids. Neither of them have kids, so I will at least be spared the agony of watching their living circumstances deteriorate dramatically.

I have recently come to the same conclusions, too. In geologic time, none of it probably matters. Our lives are colors that slip into the sky. Why? I don't know why. That means you and I are...

However, in universal time, I am still working it out whether AGW and peak oil affect anything. I'll let you know if I can reach any conclusions :)

Here we see just one more example of the daily progression of "Business as Usual":

Kaine Says Coal-Burning Power Plant Is Necessary

There are about 40 coal-fired plants planned or under construction in the United States...

Environmentalists, who have collected 30,000 signatures opposing the plan, say Kaine's support runs counter to a detailed energy proposal he put forward in September. Although the plan expressed support for the new Dominion plant, it also called for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025...

E. Swanson

From somewhere recently, ? Energy Bulletin? TOD?

At the start of the industrial revolution mankind and its livestock constituted 1% of the planet's vertebrate biomass, now the figure is 98%

I have no access to any data on this but I would venture a wild guess that even with our currently depleted fish stocks, they alone, probably still outnumber us plus our livestock, in total biomass numbers? I'll bet the total number of rodents adds up as well. Are you sure about those numbers?

Spot on commentary.

Once the ecocidal ape is extinct biodiversity will slowly begin to recover, ecosystems will become reestablished and oxidized carbon will gradually become resequestered in reduced form. So there's nothing to worry about, folks.

If only. So many advanced evolutionary lines are likely to be extinguished that biodiversity will likely not qualitatively recover in many ways. The large mammals with good-sized brains are all at much greater risk of extinction than the pyromaniac apes. We probably won't see self-awareness re-evolving in 10^7 years if all it has to work with is what's left. Maybe 10^8, but it's by no means inevitable.

So many advanced evolutionary lines are likely to be extinguished that biodiversity will likely not qualitatively recover in many ways.

Since Terran life seems to be monophyletic, all lineages are equally "advanced evolutionary lines." All have descended from a common ancestor and have evolved over the same amount of time. I'm not sure what "qualitatively" could mean in this context.

The large mammals with good-sized brains are all at much greater risk of extinction than the pyromaniac apes.

You're partially right. There are few attributes that predispose organisms to extinction during mass extinction episodes; large body size is one such attribute. Apes have large body sizes.

We probably won't see self-awareness re-evolving in 10^7 years if all it has to work with is what's left.

Primate-type "self-awareness" is what's caused the current biodiversity crisis. Hopefully the planet will never see the equivalent re-evolve.

Since Terran life seems to be monophyletic, all lineages are equally "advanced evolutionary lines." All have descended from a common ancestor and have evolved over the same amount of time. I'm not sure what "qualitatively" could mean in this context.

Technically/scientifically true, I was obviously using common-english semantics. I meant "Qualitatively" in the sense that the Pleistocene was 'qualitatively' different from the less-biodiverse, less-stable, and less-complex Anthropocene. You're making subjective value judgements in your own posts, so cut me a little slack in mine, OK? A world of only single-celled organisms is "equally advanced" by your 'monophyletic' criterion, and what a uselessly dopey comment that truly is in this context, particularly coming from an intelligent poster like yourself.

The large mammals with good-sized brains are all at much greater risk of extinction than the pyromaniac apes.

You're partially right. There are few attributes that predispose organisms to extinction during mass extinction episodes; large body size is one such attribute. Apes have large body sizes.

I'm entirely right, and I didn't limit it to "apes", did I?

Primate-type "self-awareness" is what's caused the current biodiversity crisis. Hopefully the planet will never see the equivalent re-evolve.

Another dumb comment, and gratuitously arrogant. "self awareness" as it's now generally defined has been shown in nonhuman apes and increasingly in other species. One of my projects was the first to rigorously demonstrate it in dolphins. It is an unusual but hardly unique attribute, as it turns out, and it is only in the case of humans that it has posed a problem; other primates seem to have done OK. You are quick to condemn awareness which has only been problematic in one aberrant species. Self-awareness and abstract thought long pre-dated our species, and I hope survive it.

You've done some great posts; why don't you strive to keep the quality dependably high? New rule: anyone who uses the word "monophyletic" without pressing need should be remorselessly made sport of.


I don't know why that is comforting to me but it is...

Relict populations of the ecocidal ape will likely persist in the Southern Hemisphere for decades or perhaps centuries.

It is VERY difficult to reduce the range of humans, and their ability to adapt an survive in difficult circumstances is impressive.

A post-civilization humanity is more likely to evolve into various niches than go entirely extinct.



"Energy independence has been a popular buzz phrase since the 1970's, when Nixon proposed Project Independence, but there has been little to show for the lip service by the politicians."

There was a serious political effort to energy independence during the Carter years ("...the moral equivilant of war...") but The Gipper sold America into the "Cornucopia Mentality" that will take painful and long term adjustments to ever get cured of.

"I see little hope..."

For me Mr. Swanson that pretty much says it all.


I made it thru 2 mechanical engineering degrees some 40 years ago. I've also worked on 4 Presidential campaigns and a couple of House races. I live in a solar heated house I designed and built. I would like to think I have learned something about the process and the scientific realities we face.

What's your excuse for hope?

E. Swanson

You got two mechanical engineering degrees worked on 4 Presidential campaigns and live in a solar house. That's quite impressive and you have my admiration.

"What's my excuse for hope?" Well here it is:

I turned on the TV the other night and I turned to the History Channel not looking for anything specific, just channel surfing. I came in the middle of some reality show where there were these hardhats guys on the side of a mountain working with a thick metal cable and they were trying to free a pulley that had somehow gotten hung up. I was curious what they were doing so I continued watching. What they were so intently doing was racing against time to beat another logging crew working on another mountain to strip the logs off of the mountain.

That gave me hope.

The faster we (ecocidal apes) kill everything the faster we'll be gone.

The faster we (ecocidal apes) kill everything the faster we'll be gone.

Speak for yourself and if you are you could do us a favour.

Sorry, I missed the sarcanol alert. I had thought that perhaps you were a computer scientist...

E. Swanson

You weren't asking me, but...

I went to the store last night and bought 2 and-a-half quarts of milk, six tomatos, the equivalent of 2/3 a loaf of bread, one baghette, a litre of grape juice and a small banana-flavored milk drink.

This cost me nearly $30.


how many lira did you say that was? I always forget how many zeros need to be taken off the end to see how much "money" is being spent:-)

Well, that Salon article suggests you can relax:

Plug-in hybrids and electric cars are the cars of the future, especially as a climate solution. What's more, with plug-ins and electric cars on the roads, oil peakers like Kunstler -- who has claimed that when the oil runs dry, suburbia "will become untenable" and "we will have to say farewell to easy motoring" -- can relax.

So few people seem to consider that we will need stupendous amounts of energy to rebuild the planet to address climate change. Just at the same time we don't have that energy. Looks like there will be plenty of money though.

One of the ways of pondering that makes sense to me, if we imagine all the environmental extraction/destruction we have done, subtract out the transaction costs and the fritter, then what we have left is the "wealth" we could use to repair the damage. Even if it were pure raw elements and slabs of virgin redwood, it wouldn't repair the damage. Nor is there any way a civilization's worth of rusted Prii is going to constitute a resource useful for addressing climate change. We've chewed up the good resources and have no resources to repair the damaged resources.

If there were a techno-solution, it would only push the problem down the road to a time when we were even more tapped out. Something about that logic suggests to me that the timely confluence of these crises - toxic planet, resource depletion, climate change and economic injustice - is more than random. They are all a function of unbounded growth and perhaps they've been "substituted" and pushed around a bit as economists suggest will happen, until they all happen at once. [Take that with a barrel of salt.]

cfm in Gray, ME

I think it's a given how we deal with peak oil in the near term. Demand destruction via price and military excursion. Which will fuel the gw fire through conversion to less expensive coal, exacerbating warming.

Without trying to get in a pissing match over what devil is worse, the end game of peak oil in an unresolved state leaves an earth with a much smaller human population. Unresolved climate change doesn't leave much of an earth.

One or another, we need and will get a much smaller population. We could, in the mean time, figure out a way to radically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels. None of the various options out there require business as usual. Any attempt to get BAU with no change in population is a recipe for disaster.

But our policy with respect to peak oil and climate change is a wish and a prayer. I have been working on my local government and candidates to focus on what happens in a world with way less oil. Their answer? "Better marketing" I kid you not.

When I was in college I had had a great aunt from Liverpool who professed that the world was flat and belonged to an international group that supported that view. She used to fly over to the states anually via jet. I remember once I took a world globe and showed her her flight path over the North Pole and I argued that it would be the "long way around if the world was flat". She simply smiled and told me flatly that "it is an optical illusion".

I gave up!

I now believe the world is flat.

From Spencer Weart:


Rapid Climate Change

By the 20th century, scientists had rejected old tales of world catastrophe, and were convinced that global climate could change only gradually over many tens of thousands of years. But in the 1950s, a few scientists found evidence that some changes in the past had taken only a few thousand years. During the 1960s and 1970s other data, supported by new theories and new attitudes about human influences, reduced the time a change might require to hundreds of years. Many doubted that such a rapid shift could have befallen the planet as a whole. The 1980s and 1990s brought proof (chiefly from studies of ancient ice) that the global climate could indeed shift, radically and catastrophically, within a century — perhaps even within a decade.

Given what we've seen of the ice recently, you might rethink your stance. Given the best solutions for both are pretty much the same, I don't get the dismissal.


Jan Ethanol production EIA

2,007 P/day P/Month
Jan b 375 b 11,621
Feb b 386 b 10,795
Mar b 384 b 11,892
Apr b 391 b 11,716
May b 406 b 12,573
Jun b 418 b 12,553
Jul b 421 b 13,051
Aug b 434 b 13,458
Sep b 441 b 13,222
Oct b 452 b 14,018
Nov b 479 b 14,356
Dec b 487 b 15,161
2007 b 154,416 brl
2007 6,485,472 Gal
all *1000

Jan b 510 b 15,818

some interesting data on ethanol production. Small PDF's



Given January ethanol production rates the United States will be producing nearly 8 billion gallons of ethanol this year.

8 billion gallons divided by 2.7 gallons per bushel yields a result of 2.96 billion bushels of grain consumed by ethanol distilleries projected for 2008 unless the rate of ethanol production increases or decreases.

Given 2.96 billion bushels consumed divided by a total of 16 billion bushels of annual U.S. grain harvest (corn + wheat) might result in 18.5% of the harvest being consumed for use in ethanol.

IMO corn prices will provide a feedback mechanism to stabilize ethanol production at 8 to 9 billion gallons/annum.

You may see much new ethanol plant construction halted this year and some smaller plants closed. Stocks and transportation are causing some additional cash flow problems.

Ethanol from wheat is already a money loser.

Good statistics here:

You can argue with the opinions in the report but the statistics and hard information are excellent.

I did some rough calculations in Excel starting with your data. The excel file is available Here.

The first thing I did was estimate the recent growth rate in ethanol production. THe production rate has been growing at about 2.49% per month according to your data. The exponential curve fits very well:

Then I got some data on yearly production and found the growth rate on that:

Data Source: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/feedgrains/

That data shows a 3.87% growth rate per year (0.323%/month).

For 2007 I calculated that 18.37% of the Corn crop was used in ethanol production. This correlated pretty nicely with Rainsong's predicted consumption rate of 18.5% of the crop in 2008. The growth rate in ethanol production is much higher than the growth rate for corn production, meaning that percentage should continue to increase for at least the next few years until those two growth rates match eachother.

Where the percentage use will level out is anyone's guess, but as fuel prices increase further, there will be a stronger push for ethanol and more economic incentive to switch over to fuel production instead of food production.

I have been doing similiar things with the data in XL, along with gas, corn and Ethanol prices.

Here is the source of the ethanol data back to 92.


Thanks for the data link!

The ramp up in production since 2000 is really incredible! It's really no wonder growth in corn production can't keep up with it.

P.S. The pictures may refuse to load because they're beyond my data transfer limit. In any case that'll let the drumroll load faster.

For U.S. farmland, signs of a property bubble?

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Investors who have never sat behind the wheel of a tractor are helping drive the price of U.S. farmland to record levels, attracted by its assumed safety following the meltdown in mortgage-related securities and excited by the potential of plant-based biofuels.

What do you guys think? Farmland a bubble? I suppose it may be if the cost of fertilizer skyrockets...

I can pretty much guarantee you that land prices will fluctuate--up and down--but the key point is to work toward becoming, working for and/or investing in a provider of essential goods and services. I frequently ask people what their primary requirement for retirement is (not that many of us will be able to retire anyway). In any case, I always put eating at the top of the list.

I think you're right WT. Eating is a habit I picked up as a child and I've never been able to break it.


Don't really know where to put this. Hope that Drumbeat isn't inappropriate, but I'm sure someone will cough politely if it's out of order.

I'm trying to convince our local movers and shakers (not very big fish - small pond), that we should be looking at the U.K. Transition Town movement, for two small Highland villages, in the immediate future. To that end I'm trying to prepare a brief list of the impediments that assail us, which will enable sceptical/indifferent people to see why our current consumptive lives are unsustainable, and to undertake the research that , if they are interested, will convince them that the statements given are true/real.

The list appears below, and I am looking for comments, criticisms, additions, subtractions; or, to put it another way - HELP! A further point: the document should be contained within one A4 sheet (they won't bother to read anything longer, and we don't want them to get bored).

The List.
Why we can't go on like this!

01. Peak Population. Mid 21st Century.
The elephant in the room which negatively impacts all other peaks. Rate of increase now declining. Population decline in western polities seen as problematical. Continued population growth may be affected by: disease; thirst; famine; conflict; decreased fertility; political intervention (eg. China) etc.

02. Anthropogenic Global Warming. From 1800.
Advancing much more rapidly than predicted. Effects include: sea level rise; unstable/severe weather; erratic rainfall; floods; drought; glacier/ice shelf retreat; disturbed temperature gradients; erratic/violent wind patterns; population migration; conflict etc.

03. Peak Water. Widely Occurring.
Now Affecting Developed States. Effects include: population migration; conflict; drought; agricultural failure; disputed access; increasing pollution etc).

04. Peak Soil. Variable Onset. Western Economies From 1850.
Massive topsoil loss due to: agricultural activity; desertification; salination: forestry; removal of agricultural bio mass etc. Effects include: see entries above.

05. Peak Oil. Maximum crude +condensate: Mid 2005.
Demand destruction occurring, but price is still rising and will continue to do so. Despite price rises, shortages will occur with increasing frequency. It is affecting almost all sectors of the economy. Affected sectors include: agricultural production/transport; commercial/private transport; airlines; shipping, access to resources; primary production; electricity grid; manufacturing; pharmaceuticals; plastics; electronics: domestic heating/cooking; employment etc. N/B: resource conflict (disputed) occurring now.

06. Peak Economic Growth. Now, or very soon.
Infinite growth in a finite world cannot be sustained.

Further Peaks (imminent or occurring):
Natural gas.
Other energy sources dependent on hydrocarbons (eg. electricity production/distribution).
Structural metals.
Precious metals.
Other chemical resources.
Health care.
Social care.

Thanks to all who may take part.
A further list might include the mitigating proposals we have had from correspondents in the past eg. W. Texas with ELP, among much else; Alan FBE with Rail electrification, and again, much else, and all those other contributors who have enriched all our lives with reports, insights, critiques and on, and on.

Hi, Fisheye.

The process we're using here in Marin County and the way that was successfully used by the residents of San Francisco, which eventually resulted in an official peak oil task force (in place now), is to create a small group of people and grow it. As the group grows, you'll add members who can get the attention of individuals in the local government.

It's not quick, but you could consider it like building the foundation of a building. The height a building can grow is a function of the size and strength of its foundation. Build a strong foundation and you will have the resources even past the point you've gotten the attention you're now seeking.

If you go in front of a city council (or similar) with such an A4 paper without having built the foundation, it is likely, in my experience of seeing many many groups who have done it that way, you will likely be dismissed out of hand.

Best of luck in your task,

Germany Past Peak Coal

Are you sure that Germany is past peak coal? The graph shows declining exports - and we have been importing lottsa coal (62 per cent in 2005) from all the world - because it's cheaper than mining it here. Coal plants in Germany often burn coal from Australia or South Africa, but not because we wouldn't have enough of it.

"Are you sure?"

There is not a lot of doubt.

Like Britain after the war deep mined coal was uncompetative against oil and imported open cast coal. How much there actually is left deserves a thread of its own.

what is this chart for ? UK , Germany, US ...

China's coal reserves, consumption and R/P

I had a look at the figures for China's coal reserves and consumption at the EIA site. The latest figures given are for 2004.

Recoverable reserves (however defined) in 2004 are given as 126.2bn tons. Subtracting consumption since then gives remaining reserves of about 120bn.

Current consumption is about 2.4bn and forecast to rise to 4.5bn tons in 2030. HL would be better but I'm assuming linear growth of just under 100m tons a year.

I just don't see China importing over 1bn tons of coal a year nor anyone being willing to supply it. So, ignoring imports and exports, China runs out of coal in 2038 or in 30 years time. It just goes to show that communists can fantasize just as well as capitalists!

I am close to completing a commissioned detailed study of the Chinese coal industry and find China hitting the wall on coal by the mid 2010s as import demand soars past the region's ability to supply. By 2020, import demand could reach 300-600 million tonnes, compared to the entire traded volume in the Asia-Pacific at 450 million tonnes. This mirrors the conclusion of another study looking just at demand for the power sector in the Asia-Pacific that projects a 100 million tonne shortfall in coal supply for the entire region by 2020. The only way China can avoid this problem is to grow much slower, but that in turn undermines social, economic and political stability. They have a lot of coal, but it's deep (average mine depth 400 meters), only 4% is suitable for opencast mining, and 71% of their coal reserves are in 4 provinces with only 2% of their water reserves.

Obviously someone is aware of the problem if they asked you to research it! Ok, China can't keep up 10% pa growth rates for much longer but the numbers start to look impossible the further out you go. I hope you can post some of your conclusions on TOD when you are done.

PS. I've got to go now and cook dinner.

Sparaxis, this is extremely helpful information. Please keep us informed if you have any further stats. Thanks a million.

I think the world is pretty close to peak coal. Or perhaps I should say "peak export coal". Many nations import most to all their coal. Japan is a perfect example. Japan has no oil nor coal. Oil and coal are necessary to run their massive industry. When they can no longer import coal, in perhaps five to ten years, and no oil in ten to fifteen years, what will they do?

Japan has over 127 million people, living on a few islands that could agriculturally support a quarter or less that number. And there are several other nations that are in the same pickle.

The US has plenty of coal and produce perhaps one third the oil we consume. Cutting back desperately we could likely revert to a "great depression" economy with a dieoff of "perhaps" only a few million. Japan, South Korea and many other nations would not be so fortunate.

Ron Patterson

Ron: Your scenario assumes government power is expanded and utilized to benefit the commons of each country-this is not happening in the USA yet. There is nothing to stop the scenario whereby a poorer USA with a greatly wealthier elite exports coal to China and Japan.

Brian, we are all just guessing here. You assume that the elite will gain power and hold it, exporting for profit while the poorer starve. Of course neither of us know what the future holds or what kind of government will rise out of the chaos of a seriously declining fossil fuel supply.

I believe, and it is just a guess of course, globalism will collapse and nationalism will be all powerful in the "have" nations. The have nots will scream bloody murder, riot among themselves and eventually either starve or kill each other off.

I see, in the United States, the rise of nationalism and popularism. The poorer will not be nearly as impotent as you seem to believe.

Ron Patterson

Keith David dialogue with Charlie Sheen in 'Platoon'...

'What?' 'Doan you know de rich always fuck over de poor'...'Always have, always will'...'Now, you come on aroun' to the hooch later an I'll introduce you to some of the heads'...

China is all powerful and will use quiet arm twisting or military power to get all the coal that it feels it needs.

The Han Communist government has absolute control over Chinese media and pretty good control over US media. They can easily build up nationalistic Han fervor by creating images of Tibetan's beating up Han Chinese, or Bush or Obama abusing Hu.

The rest of the world that is hoping to import coal that China may want, had better move to renewables quickly.

China is all powerful and will use quiet arm twisting or military power to get all the coal that it feels it needs.

Really now? Of China's neighbors, only Russia has very much coal. Do you think China would invade Russia, take over their coal mines and ship the coal back back to China?

The Han Communist government has absolute control over Chinese media and pretty good control over US media.

Oh! That explains it. For a second there I thought you might be someone who knew what you were talking about.

Ron Patterson

Mr.Patterson, your IP address has been logged by our 'Foreign Enlightenment' division.
Have a nice day.

The Chinese Government

p.s. Darwin was a myth

I am looking forward to being "enlightened"! Some folks around here think I sure could use some. ;-)

As far as Darwin being a myth, I think you are mistaken. I have it on good authority that the man actually existed. He even wrote a couple of books.

Ron Patterson

I wonder how many chinese understand evolution by natural selection. Clearly its an issue in pakistan (and presumably other Muslim countries). I was quite chummy with the ASPO China folks in Ireland until after my speech - they were polite and smiled and said good job and walked away which (having lived in China twice) is Chinese culture-speak for either a)we have no idea what you said or b)we don't like what you said but will smile so as not to offend..

I wonder if world history as taught in Chinese schools begins with the earliest Chinese dynasties? (not being sarcastic here - I honestly don't know)

Do we HAVE any han chinese that read TOD regularly? Doesnt look so according to the IP map, though there is a frequent reader in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

Ron, you are one of the broadest thinking, brightest posters on here. The only enlightenment you could use is on option pricing methodology....;-)
Btw, have you read the New Synthesis in Sociobiology piece by EO Wilson/DS Wilson I linked to in the Steady State guest post? Wondering your thoughts on it.

I wonder how many Americans understand evolution by natural selection.

Sadly, only about 40%:

Wow. How hard is it to immigrate to Iceland?

Information on living and working in Iceland.


You will probably have to learn Icelandic, however.

The verb forms are difficult !

I know enough to BARELY carry on a conversation with a tolerant Icelander, but everyone 50 and under knows English (and most over 50).


Wiki says the official language is Icelandic, probably required for government forms, signs, menus, etc.

* Iceland is #1 on the 2007 Human Development Index
* total population is about 313K, density is 7.5 people per square mile
* 1,007 cell phone subscriptions per 1,000 people
* traditional Icelandic food includes cured ram scrota

Why leave the US, now? To survive the collapse you will have to be smarter than your neighbors -- that should be a given if you stay.

To survive the collapse you will have to work with your neighbors, which would seem to be an easier task if they're smarter than the average American.

Except for gasoline, Iceland's renewable power for supporting 300K people is nearly inexhaustible. It's also isolated from the rest of the world.

Plus, Icelandic women are in short supply in the States. Tall, blond, curvy, striking, and liberated.

Excellent, I'll just have to keep the third point hidden from my wife.

*inflation rate/krona fall requiring central bank raise its rate to 15%

* traditional Icelandic food includes cured ram scrota

Couldn't be any worse than the Fort Worth delicacy of "calf fries".

Hakarl, rotten Greenland shark meat (poisonous when fresh) is "sinus clearing". Best followed by a shot of "Black Death".

Hint: The white meat is better than the dark meat.





Chef Anthony Bourdain, who has travelled extensively throughout the world sampling local cuisine for his Travel Channel show No Reservations, has described shark þorramatur as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he has ever eaten.

Chef Gordon Ramsay, after challenging journalist James May to sample three "delicacies" (Laotian snake whiskey, bull penis, and hakarl), finally vomited after eating hakarl. May's only reaction was "You disappoint me, Ramsay."[1]

Iceland was very expensive when I visited two years ago, and is probably more so now with the weak dollar. Holding two jobs is common.

The music scene is wonderful. Last broadcasts into space from planet Earth, if they are from Iceland's musicians, that works for me.

Yup, the latest Bork video, that would be a cool sign-off.

Interesting study results though I wouldn't put much faith in them unless the study could be replicated with similar findings. I'm curious as to the sampling methodology.

Nate, thanks for the compliment. On the list below, I think Turkey is the only near 100% Muslim nation on the list. Cyprus, third from the bottom, is only 18% Muslim. That says something about religious indoctrination. We have it worse than Cyprus but not as bad as Turkey.

The only enlightenment you could use is on option pricing methodology....;-)

Nope, you are wrong there. I understand option pricing. An option is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it if he can find a seller to sell it to him at that price. Options seldom ever go for what the formula says they are worth. But then you knew that all along also didn't you? ;-)

On the EO Wilson article. I am reading it now and will get back to you on that.

Ron Patterson

I'd venture it's a great many. China is a giant fossil record, it sometimes seems. They trumpet their discoveries all the time, unlike their sharing of candid pics from tibet and the international response.

I find it odd you'd question this. What was it you experienced in China that led to this thought?


Hello, TODers! Look at the pace of growth of russian foreign reverves based on profits from oil export:

I am a financial journalist in Moscow, and as I am informed there is a growing concern about the real value of dollar. Some people think its better to cut export - the oil in the fields rises in price faster then the foreign currency reserves (mostly dollars), which are excessive and actually depreciating in terms of the real thing i.e. oil. Russia has a strongly positive trade balance and great export surplus (12 billions a month now), but we dont really need it - we need to sterilaze the surplus by dollars and Treasuries buying. So, in fact, we are just changing appreciating oil for depreciating dollars. That's ridiculous:)

Interesting. I can see another positive feedback loop for the export land model.

Importing countries create value by importing fuel, creating goods using the energy, and exporting the goods.

As exports decline, importing countries will not be able to create as much value, and the currency of those countries will drop. As the currencies drop the exporting countries will be more reluctant to sell the oil.

This is a positive feedback loop. It does slightly impact the other positive feedback loop:

As the exports decline, prices go up. As prices go up exporters earn more money despite the decline. Earning more money makes the local economy grow. Growing economies use more oil. Exports decline.

As currencies on the import side decline, that is going to slow the rate prices increase. That will slow the second feedback loop.


I think the outcome will work like this: Those countries that have fuel sources besides oil (NatGas, Coal, Nuke, Wind) will be able to generate value and still purchase oil. Those countries without other fuel sources will suffer a decline in economy that will prevent them from paying for high priced imports.

your comment used words, but had you used numbers and symbols, your 'nested proof' would have condensed down to:

Energy = value

side note: europe (Euro), UK (pound), Japan (Yen), and China(renminbi), all have worse energy situations than US (related to indigenous sources), so if we have a national conservation ethic and some radical social changes, our currency doesn't have to slide into oblivion

I think I'd alter the equation to be this instead:

energy + material resources + usurpation = the civilized understanding of "value"

Nate: Ifs and buts. The USA didn't go from being the undisputed heavyweight champ 40 years ago to its present predicament because of lack of natural resources, energy or otherwise. The country has been broken down because it CAN be broken down, simply. John McCain is the current favorite, a guy who says BAU is just peachy. I assume you foresee the USA transforming eventually into a Germany/Sweden/France/Japan hybrid-what are you basing this belief/hope on? Why not Argentina/Mexico/Brazil only stronger?

We've been steadily diverging from the Western European model for decades, not that we got all that close. And we've been coming more and more to resemble other ex-republics in the Americas. Writer Steve Sailor has a lot to say about this, sensationalistic but I think he has some very good points, just looking at the history of "fascism creep" through the Americas, showing us as next in line.

"...looking at the history of "fascism creep" through the Americas..."

Fascism is as American as apple pie. San Diego Airport Intl is still referred to as Lindburgh Field after the famous aviator Charles Lindburgh who was also a prominent Nazi before the U.S. went in on the side of Britain. They still have Lucky Lindy's 30 foot likeness on the side of a hanger before Terminal 1.

Philip Roth wrote a novel called The Plot Against America in 2004 which showed a different history of America because Lindy beat Roosevelt. It is an historical fact that Lindburgh had been encouraged by a number of prominent Republicans of the time to run against Roosevelt, which he didn't do.

A lot of critics took the novel as an oblique reference to what has happened in America because Bush beat Gore in 2000. Roth denies this but it makes you wonder what kind of country America might have become had Gore made it.

I see clips of George Bush in Crawford cutting shrubs and cleaning up that sh*#hole of a ranch and I wonder if he gives a damn about the land. He doesn't ride a horse just a pick-up truck. That's not a real cowboy. Real cowboys love the earth and would have never allowed corporate pirates to rape it. I wouldn't be bothered about Bush being a fascist so much if he showed that he cared about the land and the rivers.

But he doesn't so for me he sucks!

Of course--once the trend of rising oil price is widely recognized, the idea that oil producers should sell oil as fast as they can to get dollars becomes obviously silly. What I'm waiting for is the recognition that flat-out production is also not in the best interests of oil importers.

Mark Folsom

Some odd events are cropping up in the commodities markets and as of now no one can explain what is going on...Moe, do you have an opinion?

'Odd Crop Prices Defy Economics'

'Economists note there should not be two prices for one thing at the same place and time. Could a drugstore sell two identical tubes of toothpaste, and charge 50 cents more for one of them? Of course not.'...snip...

'But, in effect, exactly that has been happening, repeatedly and mysteriously, in trading that sets prices for corn, soybeans and wheat — three of America’s biggest crops and, lately, popular targets for investors pouring into the volatile commodities market. Economists who have been studying this phenomenon say they are at a loss to explain it.

Whatever the reason, the price for a bushel of grain set in the derivatives markets has been substantially higher than the simultaneous price in the cash market.'...snip...

'“The market sends a sell signal, but they don’t sell,” said Kendell W. Keith, president of the National Grain and Feed Association. “So the markets are not behaving the way they otherwise would — and the pricing formula for the industry is a lot fuzzier and a lot less efficient than we’ve ever seen.”...snip...

'What is not happening in these markets is equally mysterious. Normally, price disparities like these are quickly exploited by arbitrage traders who buy goods in the cheap market and sell them in the expensive one. Their buying and selling quickly brings the prices back into balance — but that is not happening here.

“These are highly competitive markets with very experienced traders,” he said. “Yet they are leaving these profits alone? It just doesn’t make sense.”


in case moe doesn't comment here, he has done so recently at both naked capitalism and russ winter's blog.

Hello River,

Thxs for this puzzling link. I hope the experts can figure this out because it intuitively seems to me to be very important to our food supply; the hairs on the back of my neck rose when I read that the expert traders appeared to not be doing their normal job of market-making and profit-taking to make sure our food gets to the grocery store.

But what do I know?-- mostly econ-technical gobblygook to me as I know nothing about futures and the price discovery & clearing process. I have read it three times and I am still confused.

Speculation: Makes me think that there is some kind of new food fear premium entering the market that we haven't seen before, but the current grain-trading structure can't express this risk in contract terms.

Perhaps it can be explained by:

1. the futures are a 'wishful' Market-Pulling mechanism...

2. but photosynthesis is fundamentally a more 'realistic' Market-Pushing mechanism; the sunlight, climate, weather, topsoil biofertility ultimately determines the harvest yield...

3. and now that global reserves are so low--> a market-tug-of-war developed between what is real and what is wished for?

Okay, now tear apart what is probably all wrong to start with my feeble analysis. :)

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

cash in short supply?

That NY Times article is kind of ridiculous. There has ALWAYS been a basis between futures prices and cash prices in various regions of the country - there is a cost of storage and transport to the delivery location. In Wisconsin, there is a 50 cent basis on $5 corn - when corn was $3 it was about 30 cents. My neighbor just sold dec 08 corn futures for delivery to central Wisconsin for $5.10 a bushel - she waited until CBOT prices were $5.60 to get her price. There may be SOME dislocation or risk premium dynamics in the grain market basis - but a large part of this disparity is location/transport costs.

how do you know the derivative and cash contracts under discussion are not for the same delivery date and location?

well, if so it was poorly communicated. But most contracts are done locally with an ag elevator then THEY arrange for transport, etc. Im sure there is more to the story than I realize, but just wanted to point out there has always been a discount on most of the cash markets.

Nate, I think that there is more to the story than transportation costs...

'“We do not have a clear understanding of what is driving these episodic instances,” said Prof. Scott H. Irwin, one of three agricultural economists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who have done extensive research on these price distortions.

Professor Irwin and his colleagues, Prof. Philip T. Garcia and Prof. Darrel L. Good, first sounded the alarm about these price distortions in late 2006 in a study financed by the Chicago Board of Trade. Their findings drew little attention then, Professor Irwin said, but lately “people have begun to get very seriously interested in why this is happening — because it is a fundamental problem in markets that have generally worked well in the past.”

Market regulators say they have ruled out deliberate market manipulation. But they, too, are baffled. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates the exchanges where these grain derivatives trade, has scheduled a forum on April 22 where market participants will discuss these anomalies and other pressure points arising in the agricultural markets.'...snip...

Hello Nate,

Forgive me if I am wrong, but the article seems to say to me that the price distortion is greater than the transport costs and they would expect the traders to normally narrow this pricing gap, but it is not occurring. Could the traders be pricing in some risk premium for potential future 'force majuere' where the grain can't be harvested or even moved due to trucker strikes, or fuel shortages, or some other event?

Whatever the reason, the price for a bushel of grain set in the derivatives markets has been substantially higher than the simultaneous price in the cash market.

Hello NH3,

Another way to rephrase my post above is that possibly the futures market is now willing to leave cash on the trading table to help prod the JIT process along so it helps avert future force majuere [sp?]; extra cash to help keep the entire process from crumbling.

Anyone have the skinny on Bloom Energy?

I just read the Au/NZ OilDrum post following this drumbeat. Could not post any comments there, so I'm doing it here.

The Bloom Energy thing sounds "pie in the sky." 100KW units in homes? $10K/unit? Hard to believe for anyone who has actually worked the numbers.

Would love to learn more. Google search pops up no really new information.

the commenting feature has been fixed on that post

Thanks Nate

Argentina -- Six Consecutive Years of Oil Production Declines
2007 decline ===> 2.6%


Concerning the link up top to “Peak Oil: Consider is solved” The Energy Bulletin has A response to Romm on peak oil
which is really good.

Thus, Romm's assertion that "to preserve the livability of the planet, we must cut liquid fossil fuel use more than 50 percent by 2050" is simply misguided. He's off in the weeds. We need to cut our coal consumption 100% by 2050 to prevent dangerous interference with the climate. The reason we need to cut our liquids consumption now is to stave off the worst economic effects of peak oil.

Ron Patterson


Thanks for the reference to Dave Cohen's insightful article. What I found particularly thought-provoking was Dave's statement that

Reducing our oil consumption will have no effect on climate change (CO2 emissions) because someone else will burn it if we don't.


That's 'The Tragedy of the Commons' as applied to climate change. It's amazing that so little reference is made to it in the global warming literature. Perhaps Hardin's essay has simply been forgotten, or its pessimism jars with the 'can-do' mentality that still prevails ... even though the storm clouds have gathered and the sky has already darkened..

Carolus, I read somewhere, I don't remember just where however, that it simply does not matter how fast you burn the fossil fuel if you eventually burn it all. Since it takes hundreds of years for the C02 to be removed from the atmosphere, the carbon from all the fossil fuel burned will eventually wind up there.

So simply cutting our CO2 emissions by burning less coal or oil will do nothing as long as we eventually burn all the fossil fuel.

But I have given up on the problem. I simply do not believe we, or anyone else for that matter, will do anything to stem the dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We are almost past the point of no return right now and we show absolutely no signs of slowing down.

But I also believe that the consequences of peak oil will hit sooner and far more severe than the consequences of global warming. Not that the sea level won't rise, they probably will, many meters. However it will rise on a world population of half a billion people or less, probably less.

Ron Patterson

Even a 50 year delay in burning is a significant positive.

1) We may get workable and economic fusion power and never burn it.

2) A new eco religion may arise, see #1

3) Mitigation/carbon capture can balance out a fraction with enough time. One example, the Vikings released 6 billion tonnes of carbon when they deforested Iceland. Reforesting Iceland with larger trees will offset at least twice that (12 billion tonnes) and potentially more (600 y/o Sitka spruce vs. 10 m tall Icelandic birch that the Vikings cut down).

4) Slower climate change is better for humans and the ecosystem, even if the end point is the same.



Ron is right -- his logic is impeccable. There will be no 50 year delay because even a 50 day delay is politically unfeasible. And governments will continue to foster image-enhancing 'cosmeticism' (such as the biofuels myth) while we burn fossil fuels until there are none left to burn. It's happening before our eyes.

BTW you plugged the energy-friendliness of the French LGV (lignes grande vitesse) trains the other day, I think. My own personal experience with them is that they may well be a textbook example of the Jevon's paradox. I live in Luxembourg, and last year the Paris-Luxembourg TGV line was introduced, reducing intercity travel time from 3:30 hours to 2:05 hours.

So a week ago, for the first time ever, I went on a day trip to Paris -- and the train was packed, dozens of day trippers like myself included. In the pre-TGV age, a day trip would have made little sense.

So there you are -- that energy- and time-saving piece of engineering wizardry has probably led to an increase, and not to a decrease, in society's total energy consumption. More mass travel, not less. Fuel for thought ....

At least it was running on 85% or so non-carbon electricity. And the money spent on that was money not spent of other things.

I am opposed to TGV type service in the USA, we need essentials, (Urban Rail, electrified freight Rail with low or semi-high speed service (175 kph) and not luxury service.

One cannot run express freight (except mail & packages) on LGV lines, the USA needs to be able to run both people and freight on any upgraded lines. 110 mph/175 kph lines can run both, 300 kph cannot. 175 kph service also uses about a third of the electricity that 300 kph service uses, and US electricity is not 85% non-carbon !


Countries that realy try are mostly minor ones. Sweden makes 0.2 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions and even zeroing it would not make much of a difference.

In Sweden are biomass the largest source of space heating and in 2007 were 4 % of all wehicle fuels sold biofuels. I find it reasonable that it will expand past 10 % since that could be done with local biogas or local gasified wood or imported ethanol.

I hope we will build high speed trains since it is a service that has a small environmental cost. Its a benign kind of feel-rich consumption that is a lot better then jet day trips. I would not mind if it ended up with a total increase in energy use as long as the additional energy is electricity since we can make a lot of electricity withouth using fossil fuels.

I guess some US states could do as much and more.

1) We may get workable and economic fusion power and never burn it.

Hehehe. Are you deliberately trying to be funny or was that just an accident?

Ron Patterson

In half century time segments, fusion cannot be discounted.

Between now and 2020, yes I discount it. Between now and 2058, I do not.

Not certain, even by then, but certainly a possibility,


And you assume we have half a century before we encounter the consequences of peak oil? Half a century before Japan has no oil, no coal, no food to feed her people? Half a century before exporting nations stop exporting and start hoarding their oil? Half a century before the crisis hits and all government grants to labs trying to create fusion energy cease? Half a century before all hell breaks loose?

Don't think so Alan. My guess is less than twenty years.

Ron Patterson

My guess is to drop your guess by roughly an order of magnitude.

And sustainable fusion power will probably never work on anything less than a celestial scope.

The Russians, the French, perhaps the Swedes and Swiss, Brazilians and some others could keep up the research long after the USA gives up.


re: fusion

When I was in high school, in the 1960s, I read Amasa Bishop's "Project Sherwood - The US Program in Controlled Fusion", from 1958. This was inspiring, and since I was already planning on being a physicist, I thought I might well work in fusion physics ... (but thank goodness, decided to switch to computer science for grad school).

Bishop (former Chief of Controlled Thermonuclear Research for the US AEC) wrote:
"With ingenuity, hard work, and a sprinkling of good luck, it even seems reasonable to hope that a full-scale power-producing thermonuclear device may be built within the next decade or two."

Maybe I could call that economic in 30 years, or around 1990.

Around 2004/2005, local Nobel Physicist Burton Richter (used to run SLAC) gave a nice talk in our little town on climate and energy:


Page 25: "Not for at least fifty years"

So, 50 years of hard work, and it's now 50 years away.

I originally majored in physics specifically because harnessing fusion seemed the only way to me to avoid a Malthusan crash happening in the 21st century. To get a job, I switched it to geology, but I spent a lot of time trying to keep up with it. Unfortunately, the amount of time and energy we have left to build out new tech is so short now, and horizons beginning to recede so fast, that even if ITER-style tokamaks reached breakeven tomorrow, we'd never build enough of 'em to make a difference. That's why I was in communication with Bussard, because even if his approach was a longshot, it was one of the only possibilities that could have been "dropped in" to our current infrastructure.

On the Ron vs. Alan debate, I'd have to come down agreeing with Ron's logic but hoping for Alan's eco-religion. It won't happen, almost certainly, but I'll hope for it.

Except there's one ameliorating possibility which has gone unmentioned, and usually does: pre-emptive dieback to a half-billion or fewer humans in the coming decade or so. This wouldn't be any fun, but there are certainly mechanisms which could bring it about, from the teeming plague factories of Chinese agriculture to the Voice of Jesus chanting about launch codes in GWBush's cocaine-and-alcohol-ravaged brain.

Best hopes for best hopes.

If the money put into fusion was put into birth control efforts worldwide we'd not be nearly in as much trouble as we are. I read somewhere that the US won't give aid to countries that have any kind of a birth control education program in place, much less birth control.

Where's PittTheElder when you need him? (False Argument or something..)
Reducing Population "might" reduce consumption.
But I would argue that the correlation is not that high:
It would most certainly reduce aggregate demand. Which would make consuming cheaper. Which would make consumption for all us remaining (assuming that I am one of the chosen ones) rise extraordinarily. Like the rise of the SUV in the US in the 1990s because oil prices were so cheap!!! Anyway..

I work in the pharmaceutical industry and in all likelihood, diseases, bacteria, viruses are poised to run rampant once we can't respond effectively and timely to outbreaks and / or new resistant strains that we have assisted in creating. Between the development time of new drugs and the highly controlled manufacturing environment required to produce them, it won't take much at all to throw a wrench in that system.

Several on TOD have mentioned the cryosphere today website.

I just checked it out again the other day. The northern hemisphere anomaly over this past year reminds me of a forced oscillator:

The anomaly exhibited a large decrease and then shot far back up above the mean of the past few years - reminiscent of an overreaction to a large deviation from an equilibrium. If it continues to behave in that way we could see an even larger overshoot downwards.

Of course, this observation is divorced from the mechanism actually driving sea ice extent so who knows what it will do.

Note that the ice extent bounced back this winter, but still didn't quite reach the 'zero' line.

Adjustments are wonderful are they not? Check the raw fudged data it makes your stomach churn...


Try this animation. It goes month by month and you can take it back years. It's interesting to note the winters after the big melts in '05 and '07.


Daimler palnning for possibility of PO?

In case this hasn't been posted yet...(not as far as I could see)

Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche, also head of the Mercedes Group Cars, being interviewd by CNBC on 26 March "..wether because of CO2 or wether its about the limitations of petroleum altogether.....ultimately we see a move to different cars..."

Please Leanan, Come Back Soon!!!!

Al-Sadr calls off fighting (well he did win)

Death tolls are difficult to obtain, but reports from Iraqi and coalition authorities suggest more than 400 people have died since fighting began Tuesday. The fighting has been heaviest in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city and major oil port, and a U.S. military analysis of the battle indicated the government push was not going as well as American officials had hoped, several U.S. officials said Friday.

In Washington, CIA Director Michael Hayden told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that about 70 percent of Basra was under the control of "criminal elements" when the assault was launched. Though the increase in violence was disappointing, he said, the government assault "was something that we all knew we had to go through."

"This was inevitable. This had to be resolved. You just can't have the second major city in the country -- economically, the most important city in the country -- beyond the control of the government," Hayden said.

Payrolls May Have Slumped for Third Month: U.S. Economy Preview

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. lost jobs for a third month in March and manufacturing contracted at the fastest pace in five years, signs the economy continues to turn down, economists said before reports this week.

Payrolls probably shrank by 50,000, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News before the Labor Department's April 4 report. The last time the economy lost jobs for at least three consecutive months coincided with the start of the Iraq War in 2003.


Ford Motor Co., which lost $15.3 billion in the past two years, may cut more jobs in North America, Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally said earlier this month.

``The old ways of doing business are gone,'' Joe Hinrichs, Ford's manufacturing chief, and Marty Mulloy, vice president of labor affairs, said in a March 19 commentary sent to newspapers in communities where Ford has plants. ``We must continue to downsize and simply will not have enough jobs for all of our current hourly workers.''

India Turns to Angola for Oil After Losing in Energy Auctions

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- India, Asia's third-largest consumer of oil, will focus on obtaining energy assets in Angola after failing to secure supplies closer to home.

``Angola is the next country where we are going to concentrate,'' Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora said in an interview in New Delhi. ``We lost because our bid wasn't good enough'' in previous auctions, he said. ``We have learned from this,'' the minister said.

State-run refiners from India and China are among 43 companies that have submitted bids for 11 oil blocks in Angola, OPEC's fastest-growing member. India's oil shortage has spurred Deora to turn to Angola, with reserves equivalent to 11 years of India's crude imports, after losing out to China in $10 billion of auctions in three years.

India's energy independence has been threatened because it hasn't been able to increase production at home, where output from three-decade-old fields is declining while economic growth boosts demand for gasoline and diesel. India will also compete for oil in Nigeria, Africa's biggest producer, and Sudan.

Continuing speculation about possible attacks on Iran will probably ensure that oil prices stay high during the normally low crude demand in the second quarter.

Planning for Iran Attack? Mar 30, 2008

Saudi Arabia's governing Shura Council has approved plans to deal with fallout from a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran.
Some experts claim the Bush Administration is on the brink of launching an attack against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors' and is warning neighboring allies.

CIA chief: I personally believe Iran is seeking nukes Mar 30, 2008

CIA director General Michael Hayden said on Sunday he believed that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
"Why would the Iranians be willing to pay the international tariff they appear willing to pay for what they're doing now if they did not have, at a minimum...the desire to keep the option open to...develop a nuclear weapon and perhaps even more so, that they've already decided to do that," Hayden said.

We the People Warn The Time for America's War with Iran Has Arrived Mar 30, 2008

A recent Financial Attack by the US May Precede the Deploying of United States Armed Forces against the People of Iran.
On March 20th America’s FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) issued a warning to the world banking system to shut out "all banks domiciled in Iran, and their branches and subsidiaries abroad." The advisory goes on to charge Iran with state-sponsored terrorism: "Iran’s anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism deficiencies are exacerbated by the Government of Iran’s continued attempts to conduct prohibited proliferation relation activity and terrorist financing."
This builds on the FinCEN October 2007 advisory charging Iran is responsible for "money laundering, terrorist financing and weapons of mass destruction proliferation financing." The WMD allegation is reminiscent of the lies told prior to invading Iraq and is conspicuously missing in the March advisory.
So perhaps the next step is either launching of direct hostilities or a terrorist attack that the US can blame Iran for. Perhaps even tantamount to the 1933 Reichstag burning, a "false flag" attack that Hitler staged to sieze control of the German government.

I saw something today about how illegal file sharing and movie downloading is bringing the terrorists all kinds of profit, in a mainstream media source. It's in reddit somewhere, with the caption that bittorrents caused 9-11 (posters choose their own titles for their posts).

It seems pretty crazy to me, but in this context it makes some sense. An excuse to attack Iran.

I just can't figure out why the US would want to attack Iran, since they'll kick our asses.

The payoff for plug-in hybrids: 95 years?

Plug-ins, in fact, only cut gas consumption by about 88 gallons a year over regular Priuses in urban driving. That comes to an annual savings of $158 to $250 (when you factor in the cost of electricity too). With the conversion running around $15,000, the payoff would take decades.