An interchange with the Fourth Estate – sadly familiar.

In order here, my email to Business at RNZ, their reply, and my thoughts on the interchange:

From: Murray Grimwood []
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 8:06 AM
To: Business
Subject: incompetence or chosen ignorance?

Your interview of Brash failed to challenge him re percentile growth rates.

Something I have pointed out to you before – did you do any homework, or did you ‘laugh and know better’?

There is a Parliamentary Report on the table, re Peak Oil. (author Clint Smith).

Read it.

There is an IEA World Energy Outlook 2010 out.

Look at the dark blue part of the graph – they’ve gone from “Peak Oilers are doomsayers (2005) to “Peak Oil appears to have happened in 2006”. We were correct.

Every activity – including every economic activity – is underwritten by energy.

No exceptions.

Which leaves efficiencies, as the only way to address the decline post-peak. I suggest the result will be a net decline.

Unless you can point to an energy source capable of shouldering the load (you can’t, but it’s a side debate) you have to challenge any claims of the possibility that 2% atop whatever %. is sustainable.

Growth is compound, URR’s are finite.

Get a maths-savvy friend to explain this to you:

Note – even doubling the URR only takes it out to 2030.

You have to cease to report growth as an open-ended possibility, unless you can point to its achieveability.

Which you can’t.

It’s called investigative journalism, as opposed to parroting a group of vested interests (even if you do a yin/yang of them, it’s no good – why report who wants which part of the cake, when the supply of the cake is in question?)

Sorry, but ‘economics’, was a construct which worked when underwritten by exponentially-increasing supplies of energy. Growth doesn’t continue beyond Peak.

Which is why there will be no long-term sustained ‘recovery’ – so don’t mention same unless you can prove.

Interesting to note global longevity peaked 2007 – post energy peak 2005. We were extending life on the back of energy. Entirely predictable.

Time to do some homework – from where I stand, and with the most respect I can muster – you are peddling bullshit.


Murray Grimwood.

Here’s the reply:

thanks for the feedback, though I suspect your snide note about respect is hardly worth the effort, and has been received as such.

Your comments are as valid as Brash’s are. Unfortunately, the issue at stake was not about your obession on growth, but rather Brash’s critique of the govt and its policies given his previous position as leaders of the Nats, and head of the 2025 taskforce. Nat Rad has reported others who hold opposite views.

I’m sure you’ll feel compelled to write back and scold me once again in your patronising tone, but I would insist that you don’t. I feel this would be an exchange that would benefit from a face to face chat at some stage in the future.

cheers, Patrick


Yes, after listening to endless “an economist said/says”, and endless repetition of  “growth”, I qualified the ‘respect’ with ‘muster’. I’m running out of patience with these folk, and if it shows after all this time, well, tough. In the interim, as I pointed out to him, the IEA has gone from ‘doomsayers’ to ‘Peak in 2006’. On that basis, I reckon a little smug faith in folk like me having been proven right, would be understandable. I hope I don’t do that – I learned that lesson from Professor Phoslte, in Tintin and the Shooting Star, when I was about 8. He predicted the end of the world, and anticipated fame for having done so.

Rather than my “obession on growth”, I was pointing out that Brash was attempting to advocate a growth-rate of a compound percentile nature. Indefensible, given known energy technology/supplies.

Nat Rad has reported ‘opposing views’?  No, it’s done the Left/Right yin/yang thing, but that’s just two deck chair advocates, on a sloping deck. Their grasp of ‘balance’ is, in my view, not.

Maybe we could do a face-to-face, I don’t mind trying. I suspect, though, that they won’t get there, and I’m reminded of a Physics lecture about three years ago – where the Energy-Studies Prof started discussing cognitive dissonance. He acknowledged he was out of his field, but that the continued ignorance of the topic was so endemic, there had to be a psychological reason.

Perhaps he’s right. My take is that economics has taken the place of pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die religion, catering for those who need such assurances. I see them – and make no bones about it – as a danger to my childrens chances. I’ve apologised to my kids for taking more than they’ll get – and I put much of my time and effort into doing things to put them, and other youngsters, into a state of better-preparedness.

Most Business reporters will move in circles almost exclusively bereft of folk like me. That is their ‘norm, and with the best will in the world, It will taint with time. I remember staff in the old Mental Hospitals, who jumped the counter after too many waking hours in the environment, and a horse-racing commentator who went bankrupt having an inside flutter. One suspects that some of these folk have an inside flutter, and thus have a bias against info that might threaten the dreamed-of gains. On a human level, they will have kids they don’t want to think of as threatened, mortgages they don’t want to think of as unrepayable…..

None of which really excuses the fact that this reply doesn’t address the points I raised.

Sometimes, Jennie comes home from a day of being a school-teacher, and treats me like a pupil. (Don’t say it!!!) It’s just been her reality for most of the day. I won’t tell you what happens after I go stand in the corner………..  but if you spend your time ‘telling’, I guess you can – without realising it – end up with a cognitive feeling of superiority, of ‘knowing’. It would be understandable.

An interesting study of such, is Drew Pearson and his ‘Washington Merry-go-Round’ (Len Andersons ‘Muckraker’ book is a good read). It’s food for thought, and I’ve been thinking about it for the last few years, particularly as all we have long-foretold has begun to unfold.

All I want, at the end of the day, is that this public service – for that is what it is – divulges information in a balanced, big-picture fashion. This reply continues not to do that. It attacks the messenger, thus (presumably) relieving the writer from the inconvenient necessity of ascertaining its validity.

Then insisting I don’t push it (this is only the second such, the other perhaps 6 months ago) further.

How convenient.

This is very similar to the Finlay McDonald effort earlier in the year. I’ve watched his SST column, for any sign of having done his homework – nothing. Some good articles – the Education one was spot on – but nothing on the bigger problem facing society.

Fact? Truth? Balancing of? Bah, Humbug.

I guess the reporting of a regime (Business) which needs growth to survive, is unlikely to report the peak of potential growth.  But that doesn’t stop the frustration……


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