It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Monday, January 24, 2011

Post-Growth Progress

I have never really expressed the core problem that well, despite having thoroughly convinced myself of it.

And to be honest, I've always preferred stellar, gonzo, Taibbi - Sterling - Tom Wolfe - Andrew Sullivan - type nonfiction writing to the careful, prosaic and accessible. But some ideas are important enough that they need to be expressed in the simplest possible terms. Lester Brown is not in the gonzo category at all. Here is how he explains the cruel hoax:
Today, China consumes more basic resources than the United States does.

Among the key commodities such as grain, meat, oil, coal, and steel, China consumes more of each than the United States, except for oil, where the United States still has a wide (though narrowing) lead. China uses a third more grain than the United States. Its meat consumption is nearly double that of the United States. It uses there times as much steel.

These umbers reflect national consumption, but what would happen if consumption per person in China were to catch up to that of the UNited States? If we assume that China's economy slows from the 10 per cent annual growth of recent years to 8 per cent, then in 2030 CHina's 1.46 billion people will need twice as much paper as is produced worldwide today. There go the world's forests.

If we assume that in 2030 there are three cars for every four people in China as there now are in the United States, China will have 1.1 billion cars. The world currently has 860 million cars. ...

By 2030 China would need 98 billion barrels of oil a day. The world is currently producing 85 million barrels a day and may never produce much more than that. There go the world's oil reserves.

What China is teaching us is that the western economic model - the fossil fuel based automobile-centered throwaway economy - is not going to work for China. If it does not work for China it will not work for India, which by 2030 may have an even larger population than China. Nor will it work for the other 3 billion people in developing countries who are also dreaming the "American dream". And in an increasingly integrated global economy, where we all depend on the same grain, oil, and steel, the western economic model will no longer work for the industrial countries either.

The overriding challenge for our generation is to build a new economy - one that is powered largely by renewable resources of energy, that has a more diversified transport system, and that reuses and recycles everything. We have the technology to build this new economy, an economy that will allow us to sustain economic progress. Can we build it fast enough to avoid a breakdown of social systems?
Well, I question "an economy that will allow us to sustain economic progress", actually. What does that mean? If it means "growth" in dollar value without inflation, it's sort of inconceivable. Although socialism is notoriously hard to get right, parks are in principle better and cheaper than lawns (ask the French), trains are in principle better and cheaper than cars, and in a growth economy BETTER AND CHEAPER IS WORSE. That's why, although socialism is notoriously hard to get right, lots of people still pitch in to make it even harder.

But it doesn't matter. I'd rather you blame Bush than Obama for the sheer abruptness and disarray of the thing, but in the end it was coming, and every president since Carter gets a slice of the blame, along with most other world leaders. The growth thing has to end, and as the Club of Rome figured out, that would happen sometime in the first half of the 21st century. So we're a little early; that may actually help make it look more like a fizzle than a crash.

But we can't fizzle indefinitely. At some point, we take sustainability seriously or we fail to sustain. One way or the other we reach the zero-sum world. Oil I burn is oil you don't get to burn. Carbon I emit is carbon you don't get to emit. Fish I eat, water I drink, fertilizer that I cause to be consumed... you get the picture.

One of the numerous disasters we have to look out for is a world where cynical colonialism re-emerges; where some countries prosper explicitly at the expense of all the others. This may be obviously unethical put in such raw terms, but we are seeing anew how populations can be riled up to hate and blame each other.

But we can't just put up a world of constraints as an alternative. We need to repair the gap between inventiveness and sustainability. We need to drop the cultural caricatures and explore less consumption-crazed ways of valuing our lives and competing with each other. We need to revive the notion of progress.

"Economic progress"? If that means "full employment" or "recovery" or "growth" or ever increasing "wealth", no. We have reached peak wealth. Half our economic activity cheapens and trashes the world. We need to lose that half, and preserve as much of what we've got as we can.

(Thanks to Marc Roberts yet again, with a hat tip to Hank in the comments.)

So, like Bruce says, let's have a positive vision of the future, because we really have no choice.

We have to continue to offer excellent rewards for creativity and productivity, to encourage the best possible thinking from the best minds. But we can no longer punish unemployment. Many of our "jobs" are not helping. There is plenty to go around, but in our mad rush for growth we are damaging it, not preserving it.

Progress is progress toward a world where work is optional, where we can retire modestly but safely at 35 after a few years of grunt work, where we get to learn to play the fiddle, where we are not driven by hostility and jealousy, where we have time to take the slow boat to China, where perpetual student is not an embarassing career.

No? And, exactly, why the hell not?


PDA said...

Well, I'm starting to wonder if your reputation as a Cassandra will survive these past couple of posts. The vision of a sort of "leisure economy" certainly turns the dour sustainabilist caricature on its head. Weren't the hunter-gatherers called the "original affluent society," after all?

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks Paul. I was very taken by Bruce's essay.

Everybody says you have to have a positive message. They are right about that.

Let's stop moping and grumbling. We'll have to cut back on a few fun things. But a sustainable world can be much better than this one. Let's consider how.

Marion Delgado said...

Growth is so not a panacea anyway.

It's like the difference between living on coffee all week and getting enough sleep.

A no-growth economy is just fine for a population that's also not growing. The culture of buying cheap plastic junk and thinking you're doing fine as you go deeper in debt to buy things distinguished only by their brands is not utopian.

And alternatives therefore don't have to be utopian either - just less dystopian. Nor do they have to be fixed. Nor is everything some sort of bizarre dichotomy of competing economic cults.

The less we have to grow, the better.

We will indeed have to do without some things that are objectively good and useful, in my opinion. But that's about 1/3 of the stuff people buy.

Neven said...

Let's consider how.

On a personal level, and I'm speaking mainly for myself here:

Try to get more independent from the system, while not severing all ties with society (despite the symbiotic relationship the system is not society and culture).

You get more independent by growing a percentage of your own food and needing less energy by becoming more energy efficient or by purchasing things like solar panels.

This is good for you, because you have more leisure time (lower costs) and the food you eat is the healthiest there is, which in turn makes you a more positive person (food has an enormous impact on how we feel and act; which is also one of the reasons the western world is so f***-up).

And it's also good for society at large because you are less complicit in the system of power and abuse, and because you have more time to do all kinds of volunteer work.

This takes a lot of time to achieve if you don't have a large amount of money, but it can be done step by step. It helps if you have a job that doesn't tie you to a city or something (I'm lucky in that respect).

continued below...

Neven said...

On a societal level:

Right now I still believe that the only thing to do is repeat (ad nauseam even) the message that practically all global problems are caused or made worse by the irrational economic concept of infinite growth. Every organization that busies itself with one global problem or other should mention the influence of this economic concept.

All you can do is draw attention to this relatively simple connection (nothing can grow forever and eventually bumps into limits) and then hope that when global problems become undeniable people make the right assessment (instead of pointing at each other) and the critical mass becomes big enough to ditch the economic concept of infinite growth. Of course, it is critical that the critical mass starts to strive for more independence from the system en masse (see personal level above) at the same time. A very big problem is that people theorize a lot about solutions, but don't do much themselves. It has to come from the bottom. It probably won't happen, but this is the only possibility that I see.

And of course it is very important that the fight is taken to the departments of economy on universities and business schools. That's where all the trouble starts. It might be sensible to look at denialist tactics to see how we can get economy teachers and professors to 'teach the controversy'.

I've tried discussing with economy students, but it was scary to see how Friedmanized they had already become. Of course, I don't know much about economics (working on it), so that didn't help either.

So in short:
- start gardening and buy solar panels
- get ngo's and media to show the tie between global problems and the economic concept of infinite growth
- force a change in high school and university curricula; see this piece on the CASSE blog

Alexander Ac said...


I think most of the intelligent people understand most of this, just as alcoholic understands his problem.

But what if the question is different? What if most of us rather DIE than live sustainably? May this be the case?

Neven said...

I'm sorry if I'm being overly simplistic here. I know it's not that simple. We can even make it as complicated as we want. Go to the Question Everything blog for instance and read about Sapience.

But complicated solutions will not work. It has to be so simple that everyone gets it. And I think showing that nothing can grow forever, and that a growing global economy leads to all kinds of global problems, potentially resonates with everyone.

Tom said...

And so the abandonment of science and the other pillars of Western Civilization is now complete in this quarter. Likewise any hint of sympathy for the poor who cannot progress without economic growth.

Well, I guess to hell with them--they've never read Sterling anyhow.

Lou Grinzo said...

I think this all real boils down to a simple enough, if unpalatable, concept: We have to be adult enough to accept the reality of our sustainability situation and then find the optimal path forward.

This will require us to make a lot of decisions we would prefer to dodge, and, in fact, have dodged for the most part until now. It's so easy and comforting to immerse ourselves in the short-term, personal minutiae of modern life and not think about big, long term, and often scary concepts, that leads many of us to do just that. We've even become very good at casting it as an issue of "minding your own business" when someone dares to suggest that we don't need a Hummer or a yearly vacation on the other side of the planet or a smart phone upgrade every 3 months.

As long as Americans are wedded to the rugged individualism, don't tread on me, I've got mine go screw yourself mindset, this is one country that won't change significantly.

The worst horror is what will happen when places like much of Africa are crushed by climate change in the coming decades, even as the "developed" countries are wrestling with their own adaptation and mitigation costs. How generous will we be with aid then?

ed-davies said...

Tom, I think you must have read a different blog post from me.

Science, art and sport are just the sort of "leisure" activities which should boom in a society which is no longer obsessed with being "productive".

Similarly, a society where people spend less time on work is less likely have such wide inequalities: sort of the corollary of this comparison of laundry in New York and Sydney.

Tom said...

Ed Davies, it is exactly the material progress that Tobis rejects in his post that has lowered inequality so dramatically over the past generation. It is exactly what has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.

But what is vile in Tobis' argument is its implicit condemnation of billions to eternal poverty so that he can do whatever is the Texan equivalent of communing with nature and philosophizing in his own internalized mud hut.

But what the hey--it's a post-normal world, so anything that preserves his own private status quo is acceptable.

Michael Tobis said...

Tom is sort of a straw man expert.

It is exactly the imperative to develop the less developed world that means we can't sustain growth in the advanced economies.

If he wants to argue against what I didn't say and don't believe, all I can say is I agree with him about the nasty Tobis he is busily imagining.

It ain't me, Babe, it ain't me you're looking for.

As for improving on silence, sigh...

Moderation is back on. Apologies for moderation delays.

manuel "moe" g said...

I agree : "some ideas are important enough that they need to be expressed in the simplest possible terms". I also like the idea of plainly stating the facts, and letter the matter rest of what words from an out-dated economic vocabulary fit or don't fit.

Collapse was a regular feature of human society. A huge store of fossil fuel let us pretend we left the idea of collapse behind and we could grow out of any problem at our leisure. That we made the planet uncomfortable for a creature that uses a large part of its available energy for internal temperature regulation just pushed the date forward.

Those who claim that their heart bleeds for the less fortunate, are showing their true colors with regards to the Pakistani and Australian flood victims and the Russian fire victims - if these today are under-served while we have a fortunateness bounty of fossil fuels, what of the future victims? Whether they are victims of global climate disruption or now, they are most assuredly victims. I guess aid to the less fortunate is best left as an abstract concept - fossil fuels have an infinite capacity to alleviate suffering, but one must stay vigilant to make sure this never actually happens.

Can one of the goals of moderation be familiarity and comprehension of the post and previous comments? As a loudmouth blow-hard, I would bet that I would lose some of my own comments to moderation, but overall the comment threads would be more enjoyable.

Tom said...

Ooh, yeah, that's the ticket--someone disagrees with me so moderation is mandatory.

Tobis, you can tell me to go away and turn moderation back off--ever thought of that?

All this recycling of Lester Brown's decades-old fantasies--you do realise that what you quoted from him is regularly recycled as the expiration date passes for his doomcrying, don't you?

Michael Tobis said...

Tom, I don't want you to go away if you don't want to go away, but I don't want you starting flame wars, nor putting inflammatory words in my mouth.

Tom said...

You should check your posts to see who is starting flame wars.

Brown is wrong and you are praising him for the wrong reasons. It's not that the Western economic model isn't working for China--it most clearly is. The problem (for you) is that it is working too well for them and going against your wishes for how the world should be.

Energy is the key to poverty reduction. It has been graphed a thousand times in a thousand different ways. If you want the poor to be less poor you have to provide them with energy. If you want to ration energy usage, then it is the poor who will suffer, as the rich can afford to buy up what's available.

Peak wealth. What a joke. In order for the world to continue emitting CO2 at the rate the IPCC considers problematic, we are at the beginning of the wealth curve, not the end. IF we do not get wealthy, we will not emit the CO2 you fear.

That is the only issue worth talking about. The IPCC projects that Chinese farmers in 2035 will be as wealthy as Spanish city dwellers are today. So does the U.N. So does Nicholas Stern. Our emissions and energy usage have stabilized. All of the growth is expected from the developing world. If you want to stop growth, you want to stop the developing world from developing.

Michael Tobis said...

For the millionth time, stabilized emissions (never mind stabilized "intensity") doesn't help. Emissions must either stop, or they must drop enough for sequestration to rise to meet them.

Some people seem not to be able to remember that, but it is the main inconvenient truth.

"Peak wealth. What a joke. In order for the world to continue emitting CO2 at the rate the IPCC considers problematic, we are at the beginning of the wealth curve, not the end."

Well, that's the whole question isn't it? The **measures** of wealth may well keep going up in that scenario, but actual utility appears to some of us to already be going down.

Tom said...

That's because you already got yours.

Michael Tobis said...

I wish that were true, but it ain't. I'm really not in a happy state financially. What makes you think I am?

Hank Roberts said...

> Half our economic activity
> cheapens and trashes the
> world. We need to lose that
> half, and preserve as much
> of what we've got as we can.

Tom said...

You live in a house with heating and electricity. You have access to the internet. You have a car.

You're rich. Richer than Louis XVI. What--you got bills to pay? You're richer not only than 95% of the world today, you're richer than 99.9% of the people who have ever lived on this planet.

Michael Tobis said...

Correct on the small house and the small car and the big internet pipes.

You didn't hear me complaining. I'm comfortable. But it's pretty shabby and on the wrong side of the tracks, and I don't have any retirement savings worth mentioning.

Tom said...

Four years out of date, but I think the point is clear:

"October 7, 2007

There are 6.7 billion people on earth, and the global economy is now measured in the tens of trillions of dollars each year. Worldwide, what is the average income per person?

A. $1,700 B. $7,000 C. $18,500 D. $35,000

B. $7,000 is correct. The world's average income - total world income divided by total number of people - is about $7,000. Still, only about 19 percent of the world's population lives in countries with per capita incomes at least this high.

Countries with an average income near $7,000 include Mexico, Chile, and Latvia. They rank about 40th in the global income table.

As of 2005, people living in rich countries had an average income of about $35,000. The high incomes in these countries make the world average income four times larger than the world median income, which was $1,700 that year."

Hank Roberts said...

I can't stop and swim in any creek I happen to pass by. I can't walk into the woods under the big trees. Never saw a passenger pigeon or a full grown American chestnut tree. 90 percent of the big fish are gone.

Shifting baselines. You're always better off than most people, if you can read and type.

You don't know what you've lost til it's gone. And you'll never, ever, understand what your grandparents took for granted.

Michael Tobis said...

Sounds realistic to me. So we should move toward a per capita impact level comparable to that of a resident of Mexico, so that the rest of the world can do so as well.

I would love to let go of my car but the public transportation to my workplace sucks and the decent grocery stores are too far away. So to some extent my relatively high impact is enforced by the way Texas infrastructure is arranged.

My wife and I shared a car in Chicago and most days we did not use it. That was better.

Phila said...

Fuller's approach to third-world poverty is typically blinkered in its assumption that "the poor" are an undifferentiated, essentially passive mass who will be lifted up, or condemned to squalor and disease, depending on whether wealthy first-worlders listen to Bruce Sterling or (say) Hayek.

In the real world, of course, many poor people do have some agency, do take a passionate interest in local and global environmental issues, are interested in alternative forms of development (e.g., leapfrogging) and measures of wealth, and are not quite so reliant on the Great White Father for their intellectual and social development as Fuller would like to pretend.

Which is not to say that our actions don't affect them. Obviously, they do. Which is all the more reason not to put words in their mouths, or treat them as some rubberstamp for our own ideologies. Instead, we should make an effort to find out how specific populations actually feel about issues like deforestation, pollution, climate change and so on. In other words, we should try listening to them, instead of treating them as a ventriloquist's dummy.

I agree that our wealth gives us enormous responsibilities. Humility, and a willingness to listen, are a couple of the biggest ones.

PDA said...

I'll ignore the sideshow, which is even more banal than usual.

I'm in agreement with Neven's general drift, though I think my own personal hobby-horse of scale comes into play. I'll wave my hands around a bit and analogize it to emissions: it's not enough to merely stop growth, it needs to be reversed. Large institutions - be they governments or corporations - have their own goals and values, which are quite often inimical to the 'little people' who are the voters and stakeholders. A human-scaled economy could be more focused on quality rather than quantity... something corporations are literally prevented by law from considering.

John Stuart Mill (of his own free will) is quoted by the steady-state folks as saying:

It is scarcely necessary to remark that a stationary condition of capital and population implies no stationary state of human improvement. There would be as much scope as ever for all kinds of mental culture, and moral and social progress; as much room for improving the Art of Living and much more likelihood of its being improved, when minds cease to be engrossed by the art of getting on.

I, too, am taken by Sterling's thoughts, and have been since the Viridian days. I think there's an irony (or something) in how much the whole bright green movement partakes of a genuine techn-optimism that Kloor, Revkin & Fuller, inter alia, would otherwise find inspiring. One might wonder why they do not.

+1 for the Hitch-Hiker's Guide reference in the moderation note...

Michael Tobis said...

Tom Fuller's latest post is rejected because it includes the phrase "Tobis wants to" followed by something I do not want to do. As I get better known I have to put up with this sort of thing elsewhere, but I don't need to do that here.

Further, he is invited to call me "Michael" or "mt" per my preferences. This is my blog and I can at least control what I am called here.


Better, "Michael, would that imply that you favor X?" than "Tobis wants X". That at least would manage a veneer of constructive discourse.

Anna Haynes said...

re this post:
One step toward, is to make sure everyone's had a chance to read Your Money Or Your Life, by Robin & Dominguez (link). I just bought a copy to give to one who needs it.

re the comments:
We need a Bore Hole for InIt, please.

Phil said...


Inequality has increased over the last generation, not decreased.

manuel "moe" g said...

Question to Neven and PDA:

I am inclined to agree with your views, but I have some questions.

[1] The Roman Empire collapsed, more or less, because of the expense of standing armies and entitlements outstripped income from available conquerable territories. They could have recognized it and moved to steady-state - but they did not. Has anything really changed? [My answer: yes, some things have changed so that a subset of civilization can maintain western thought and science, by renouncing anxiety-driven consumerism. But it will somewhat resemble a stand in a post-apocalyptic world, which is grim.]

[2] If one has no confidence in the world to move to steady-state, is it ethical to contrive to secure selective advantage for a genetic/social/intellectual legacy - admitting that this will lead one to an over-consumption of finite resources? [My answer: Yes. Actually, if lay-people see those that posses clear vision making preparation, it may stir political support for rational collective action, which is obviously preferable and less costly in resources. But I need to think this through more.]

Phila: thank you for remarking this: "In the real world, of course, many poor people do have some agency, do take a passionate interest in local and global environmental issues." A good reminder.

Neven said...

They could have recognized it and moved to steady-state - but they did not. Has anything really changed?

Yes and no.

Yes, we know much more now. Another change is that this is about the whole world now, not just an empire.

No, homo sapiens still hasn't evolved to an upgraded version with more wisdom.

If one has no confidence in the world to move to steady-state, is it ethical to contrive to secure selective advantage for a genetic/social/intellectual legacy - admitting that this will lead one to an over-consumption of finite resources?

Yes, if you truly have no confidence in a way out of this mess, then I guess that from this viewpoint it is ethical to consume those finite resources to improve your chances (and of your progeny). But I think you should still do it in the most efficient way possible. You don't go building a concrete bunker and stock up guns and cans. Besides, everything will run out one day if it really comes to a serious contraction/collapse.

From my ethical viewpoint I believe the aforementioned tactic of co-opting out of the bad part of society (the 'system') by becoming more, not totally, independent on the level of food and energy, cuts both ways. You show that there is another way that is better for you, for society and the globe. And if things don't work out, at least you have something to fall back on (whatever that's worth).

There are enormous amounts of information on this in the Peak Oil-corner of the Internet, such as the Archdruid Report (I believe mt has referred to it in the recent past) and many other places.

Neven said...

Coincidentally, John Michael Greer just has a new post up on catabolic collapse:

The usual result is the stairstep sequence of decline that’s traced by the history of so many declining civilizations—half a century of crisis and disintegration, say, followed by several decades of relative stability and partial recovery, and then a return to crisis; rinse and repeat, and you’ve got the process that turned the Forum of imperial Rome into an early medieval sheep pasture.

manuel "moe" g said...

quoting Neven: "Yes, if you truly have no confidence in a way out of this mess, then I guess that from this viewpoint it is ethical to consume those finite resources to improve your chances (and of your progeny). But I think you should still do it in the most efficient way possible."

Actually, I am convinced living healthfully and investing time in raising children and community service is sufficient to secure selective advantage for genetic/social/intellectual legacy, which is a happy result. I wanted to frame the question in the least sympathetic way to sharpen the question.

Thanks for the answer. Cheers!

Michael Tobis said...

I have essentially no skills that would be of use in a postapocalyptic society. So I pretty much don't plan for it.

David B. Benson said...

In its own way, relevant to this thread (including comments) is
Dogun's Instructions for the Cook.

manuel "moe" g said...

Quoting MT: "I have essentially no skills that would be of use in a postapocalyptic society. So I pretty much don't plan for it."

*Nobody* has skills that would be of use in a post-apocalyptic society. We are coming up upon the eye of the needle, and who knows what is on the other side.

Or, it could all turn out just ducky. Or it could be some half-baked mix of nuclear, coal, throwing reflective mist into the air, flooding, even greater disparity as the poor get flooded and starved, etc. Every poorly thought out idea to turn the ocean liner around, all tried at the same time, with the lower classes thrown out with the stowage.

That is why I bitterly laugh at the posturing of these great "humanitarian" fossil fuel burners.

EliRabett said...

The energy cost of operating an old tube radio and a modern one based on a couple of monolithic chips is?

Eli much prefers the concept of elegant living, living based on solutions that waste little and do much. Tom is one of those old Russian Coal and Steel guys running around with his fifty kilo boom box and his Plymouth Fury

adelady said...

Thank you Eli, that's always my view.

I can never understand why contrarians go on about us being thrown into smelly unlit caves by abandoning unnecessary emissions. If we do it right, the main achievement will be that currently developed countries will throw off the shackles of dirty polluting industries.

Developing countries should be able to avoid most of that filthy smelly stage and go straight for simple elegant solutions to their economic and technological problems.

gryposaurus said...

The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100.
- Barack Obama, January 25, 2011

I can't believe a president of the US, in charge of preserving the liberal economic model, actually said it. To that, I say, Technocracy Now!

joe said...

I'd highly recommend Thomas Homer-Dixon's "The Upside of Down" for readers of this thread.

His thesis (from the webpage): "The Upside of Down sets out a theory of the growth, crisis, and renewal of societies. Today's converging energy, environmental, and political-economic stresses could cause a breakdown of national and global order. Yet there are things we can do now to keep such a breakdown from being catastrophic. And some kinds of breakdown could even open up extraordinary opportunities for creative, bold reform of our societies, if we're prepared to exploit these opportunities when they arise."

Kooiti MASUDA said...

I think that the works of Robert Ayres (web site) are important in demostrating that economic growth is crucially dependent on growth in energy resource consumption in the current economic system. I wonder why his works are not included in the reference list of CASSE. Perhaps because they are analyses of the current system and they do not show visions of sustainable systems.

In economic modeling, there has been efforts to express production (GDP) as a function of labor and capital, but those had very large residuals that has been considered something to do with technology. It seems that economic growth depend more on this residual than on labor and capital. Ayres and Warr examined data on energy resource consumption of the USA and Japan in the 20th Century, and found that the residual is largely explained by the amount of energy resource effectively used.

(I was introduced to the works of Ayres and Warr by the book on the oil peak by Strahan (2007). I do not buy the conspiracy theory about the Iraq war in the Chapter 1 of Strahan's book, but I like the rest.)

Robert U. AYRES and Benjamin WARR, 2005:
Accounting for growth: The role of physical work.
Structural Change and Economic Dynamics,
16, 181 - 209. (I found a PDF file at the authors' web site previously, but I do not find it now.)

Robert U. AYRES and Benjamin WARR, 2009: The Economic Growth Engine: How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity.
Cheltenham Glos. UK: Edward Elgar, 411 pp.

David STRAHAN, 2007 (paperback 2008): The Last Oil Shock -- A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man. London: John Murray, 290 pp.

Kooiti MASUDA said...

It seems that this PDF is a preprint of "Ayres and Warr 2005".

Robert U. Ayres and Benjamin Warr, 2002: Accounting for Growth: The Role of Physical Work. INSEAD Working Paper 2002/70/EPS/CMER.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Tobis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Tobis said...

Content free contribution by Fuller deleted. My content-free response also deleted with apologies.

Hank Roberts said...

An update of "you don't know what you've got til it's gone" -- there is no "gone" -- nothing goes away:

Eräs Henkilö said...

million / billion error in china's future oil need.

Rafis said...

I had said this in the previous post where Michael dissects Fuller's arguments, and I want to repeat it here:

Cornucopians and people poo-pooing sustainability have not understood the difference between finding ways to get more money per day from an ATM, and figuring out how to get a higher income. They talk like the idle kid that, after inheriting a fortune, thinks his finances are going swell because he figured out how to convince the estate administrator to let him spend more and more of the fortune every year, to have an increasingly lavish life style, while never looking at the balance of the bank account, and never worrying about finding a job.

King of the Road said...

Doesn't matter, our worries are over. Plenty of energy in the form of electricity, and with a byproduct of copper to conduct it to boot, with no emissions at all.


Michael Tobis said...

Dean. please resubmit.

New rule: no sniping at Fuller on a thread he's been kicked off of. Seems only fair.

John said...

When we (5% of the world's population) are successful in convincing the other 95% to adopt our brand of "economic" system, which clearly requires infinite physical resources, our central, suicidal inanity is revealed when we only THEN begin to be concerned.

John Puma

EliRabett said...

Masuda San, go back and read John McCarthy on sci.environment, perhaps the first of the cornicopians, who, when you got to the bottom of it was basing everything on zero energy cost