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We will NOT find an alternative to energy dense, easily transportable conventional oil in time to sustain indefinate economic growth.

All alternative energies have one or more disadvantages that do not let them compete with cheap conventional oil.

Given our industrial civilization depends on massive amounts of cheap energy, the reliance on conventional oil is enormous.

The only quick solution I see is a drastic downscaling of economic activity.

Topics: energy

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    Feb 12 2013: Suppose it depends what you want to move, where you want to move it to and how much you really want the resource or asset that is being moved. Oil is a finite resource like any other and as supply diminishes the cost goes up. So many things are made of oil-based materials as well. Drastic downscaling of economic activity is actually counterproductive though because it causes market instability and increases the gap between have and have not. Indiviidual frugality is always a useful way to regulate sustainable economic growth. Trouble is human nature. So science is always pushing at the frontiers to find alternative energy sources and until then maybe a combination of what is available may help. Community initiatives possibly useful aka co-operative movements. Crafts and artisan skills always worth maintaining.
    • Feb 13 2013: I agree that individual frugality is a useful resilience. If high oil prices encourage frugality than I do not see the how that is different from economic downscaling. Less consumption equals less GDP.
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        Feb 13 2013: 'Less consumption equals less gross domestic product' - not necessarily. Whilst individual consumption can be monitored by the individual in a 'just in time' fashion to ensure the best utilisation of individual cash flow and assets, it is a different story with the larger cash flows and assets between organisations, which are 'meta-individuals' if you like. Any local initiative that grows infrastructure is always a good way to reduce the risk of hyperinflation because a tangible asset is created. Part of the problem with the gobal financial markets is the 'selling on' of entirely non-existant products, which can lead to gross inequalities in currencies. This might also be part of the issue with an economy that focuses on services rather some kind of production of goods as well. Things like the level of taxation also influence the overall model in surprising ways. A small increase in the duty on oil based products could easily generate a substantial amount of money to be invested in infrastructure to distribute goods more effectively possibly or to 'roll out' initiatives to benefit vulnerable communities like growing fresh produce locally, like suitable daycare and early years education. This is actually hugely cost effective because it reduces the number of people who feel they need to commit crime in order to survive, promotes social inclusion and social cohesion.

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