my email to Afternoons – apparently he read it out…..

Jim – Bernard Hickey is on the right track, but for the wrong reasons. Sure, we have overshot our ability to repay debt, but this points to physical limits, not just to greed.

Can you think of any activity – particularly any economic activity – which happens without the need for energy?

I suggest there are none. Growth, which the current fiscal system needs to survive, is therefore dependent on growth of energy supply, and/or efficiencies in energy use.

We have gone past the peak of energy supply – stand on the Moloolaba foreshore and witness the coal-conveyor belt to China to witness this, and note that we are now drilling the deep ocean, and discussing lignite-to-diesel.

Beyond peak energy, there was no underwrite for claimed ‘wealth’, and the chewing-gum had to snap between the two. Alan Bollard, for instance, notes the trillions ‘lost’, as stretching to the sun and halfway back. I suggest they never existed.

The problem is the disconnect between economists ( and those who currently comment on things fiscal) and the real world.

If all economic activity depends on energy, and currently that is fossil fuels, then the remaining energy represents the remaining wealth, and can be calculated – with one proviso: at the point of depletion, there will be nothing to buy, and no income to buy it.

What a pity they didn’t insist that economics degrees contained a unit or two pertaining to the real world. Physics, or something like that. The treatment of these folk as gurus of everything else, may ultimately be our society’s undoing.

In New Zealand, the increasing scarcity of resources – including energy resources – will see others craving that which is currently ours. Be warned.

Murray Grimwood

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