We are a clever, ambitious species who for hundreds of thousands of years (or more depending on the model) lived off of current/recent solar flows. We eventually puzzled out how to access stored sunlight in the form of fossil fuels. The population and growth trajectory that ensued eventually latched on to a series of assumptions/rationales that would fuse into the system a belief that more is better and that there would be unlimited substitutes for finite natural resources like oil and water. The change from using solar flows to the energy gain contained in a barrel of crude oil was and still is, indistinguishable from magic in the larger scheme.

Eventually (1970s), some cracks in the assumptions underlying this model appeared. Real wages then peaked in the early 1970s and have been declining ever since. Globally, though the poorest people in the world earn more than they did a generation ago, the fact that over 2 billion people don’t have a toilet doesn’t really sound like an equitable global playing field. Oil peaked in the world’s largest oil producer (USA) in 1970. In 1971 we discontinued the gold window and the worlds economic system had no natural tether to real assets. Without such a monetary speedbump, debt skyrocketed over recent decades and became every bit as important driver of economic growth as cheap energy.



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