Joules and the Knowledge Economy
Click on any cartoon
Chapter Five - Land of the Other- Genesis of weather at Genesis Energy
Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy: All content on this site is copyright 2001 and you are free to use it with care.
Blog by Dave McArthur 28 July 2008
This week the New
Zealand Reserve Bank Governor declared war. In doing so he joined
Central banks around the planet that are setting the stage for a
catastrophic global war within a decade. Are we in 1933?
came in the form of the
announcement of a rates cut though even a rates rise would
have increased the risk of war. I say a catastrophic war because the
bulk of our 6.6 billion human beings are urbanised now where as in 1933
there existed only about 2.1 billion humans in all. Our food and health
systems are far more vulnerable to catastrophic collapse with many of
the ecosystems that we depend on stretched beyond their capacity to
support us. If war suddenly plunged us back to the pre Cheap Oil/Gas Age
(1900-2000) then over 6 billion people could well perish.
Here are a few
facts supporting my suggestion that the Reserve Bank Governor’s action
is a declaration of war and that prompt reminiscences of the 1931-33
period immediately prior to World War 11.
Principle of Energy is the nearest to a natural law as humanity has and
is the repository of great wisdom. We ignore it at our peril.
is not energy. It is just one of myriad forms of energy and is strictly
limited in quantity.
neutrality does not exist. Mineral oil/gas takes profound amounts of
energy to form and took eons to form. When you and I burn it we destroy
the resource. It no longer exists for our children or for eons of
Human beings have
a great capacity to deny the reality of the Conservation Principle. We
can develop very sophisticated systems to deny our mortality and our
roles as stewards of finite resources.
Our culture makes
the fatal flaw of calling mineral oil “energy” and consumes it as
though it is as bounteous as energy. Fact: it is not energy!
Fact: one greedy,
greedy group of a generation of human beings has squandered most of the
cheaply accessed mineral oil in a brief 40 year binge.
This group, a
minority of about 15% of humanity, including most New Zealanders, has
done and is doing the bulk of the squandering (we destroy about 38
barrels of mineral oil daily per 1000 people compared to the bulk of
humanity which destroys maybe 3 barrels daily per 1000 people.
group, especially we of the Anglo-American culture, denies our roles as
stewards of the resource and place a personal value of zero on mineral
oil, leaving it to an abstract psychotic structure we have created
called The Market to determine its value. (The much-hyped Emissions
Trading Strategy is simply a classic extension of this psychotic
Thus during the
1980s and 1990s this group rejected the lessons of World War I and World
War 11 and dismantled many of the mechanisms put in place to avoid
another such catastrophe. Thus they destroyed on scale the mechanisms
put in place to conserve our electrical, carbon and solar potential. New
Zealand experienced this destruction as the Economic Reforms in which
our rail, community electrical grids, Civil Defence and social
structures were demolished for the benefit of a few while devices
designed to promote waste such cars, trucks and jets were given huge
subsidies. Our nation’s carbon emissions effectively rose 39%
subsequent to 1990.
nearly all the US Congress backed the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act
and President Clinton effectively created a credit system based on
mineral oil being about $US9.98 a barrel, which The Market at that time
dictated was its value. New Zealand is now effectively ruled by the same
merchant bankers who promoted the Glass Steagall repeal and adopted this
mineral oil =zero value = unlimited credit facility.
The fact is
mineral oil is worth thousands of dollars a barrel and, for instance,
currently provides about 5 out of every 6 calories required to put a
calorie of food on the plate of every one of the 6.6 billion humans on
Earth. It also underpins our health systems now. It is so integral to
the food chain that, because of the callous vagaries of The Market
structure, every time so one starts a car they cause people to starve
for days and every time some one climbs on a jet they cause a village of
people to starve for many days.
The fact is
people don’t like starving and some become very aggressive, even
murderous. They even put car tyres around the necks of their neighbours
and set fire to them – the ultimate metaphor for our culture?
people who commit these atrocities are not generally the groups that
trigger world wars. In fact the people that most trigger world wars do
not tend to ever touch a gun’s trigger or to slaughter miles of
homeless refugees in case they contain “the enemy” or to push
bayonets through children or to kick the food bowls of babies away
though some of them do actually press key board buttons that set off
rains of bombs on people, food supplies, water supplies, electrical
support resources etc.
mind I may seem to have digressed, for I was explaining how we have
created a credit system based on mineral oil at $US10 a barrel. It is
important to be clear of how wars start though.
is a unique and extraordinary resource. Estimates
vary but it is possible that each 42-gallon of mineral oil
contains the equivalent of 25000 man-hours of labour. Assuming about 672
cups in a barrel, that is about 37 man-hours of labour per cup. And
don’t forget a barrel can provide us with a fantastic array of plastic
and precious fertilisers.
fact- you find these statistics stultifying, even very inconvenient. You
are not alone. Our education system and our media go to great lengths to
avoid confronting and communicating this awesome truth. Here’s a quick
In 1999 many of
us gave ourselves, via the seeming benevolence of this thing called The
Market, the equivalent of tens of thousands of servants a year at
$US10/25000/man-hour of labour to do almost all our lifting (keeping
jets aloft is a very arduous job) push and pulling (try pushing your car
by yourself – or better – try pushing a large tractor with a plough
on it across a field by yourself). Then you will understand the facts I
speak of and the nature of our current credit system.
(Just in case you
find this exercise exhausting, here is a pick-me-up funny thought.
Imagine if the world’s Reserve Bank Governors had to push their cars
to work in front of all the media on the days they pronounced on the
state of their nation’s resources. Most would be gasping their
profound utterances from cardiac resuscitators.
Imagine if at every meeting of the G8 the whole assembly had to gather
and lift one of their jetliners aloft above them – and the wheels are
withdrawn in a symbolic gesture of how dependent their economies are on
mineral oil. It would be
the ultimate team bonding exercise, a huge media rating hit and we might
even catch glimpses of the humanity behind their fixed smiles. Human
labourers might even become our heroes.)
Fact - this
construct called The Market does not care whether you or your children
live or die for it is only the reflection of your and my denial of our
role as stewards of the finite resources on this planet. The
Conservation Principle of Energy means nothing to The Market. The fact
is, despites the insane attempts of our media to deny it, the Market has
no sense of meaning.
imagine that because of the vagaries of The Market that 90% of those so
very cheap servants suddenly are burnt out and die between 2000–2008,
as manifest in a new cost ratio of $US120/25000/man-hour of labour.
Suddenly the fight is on for the ownership of the remainder of those
servants with the most power-crazed people effectively working to retain
the hundreds of thousands of servants they are each accustomed to so
they can continue to fly and drive cars, run huge estates etc.
those cheap servants come from? The middle class – both directly and
indirectly. It becomes the direct source of cheap servants and adds to
the pool already used in the so-called Third World Countries. How do
they become cheap? The process is very simple even if a trite indirect:
increase their taxes directly through consumption and compliance taxes
and indirectly through student loans schemes, larger house mortgages,
Kiwisaver superannuation schemes and car/jet/speculation subsidy schemes
plus the sale of quality state owned assets plus a good does of
inflation. The asset sales are easy to organise – just reduce general
taxes a few cents and the resulting “national budget deficit” makes
the sale imperative “to balance the books”. That is a sure “out”
on any election promise to retain the public’s assets.
So where are we
now? The credit system based on servants at $US10/25000/man-hour of
labour is imploding as I write as they cost $US120/25000 i.e. 12 times
as much. That still works out at only at half a cent an hour of man-labour
against the previous 0.04 cents an hour. However because the 0.04 cents
an hour school-food-job-entertainment-communication-etc structures are
so vastly inefficient suddenly even the middle class cannot afford their
servants anymore. These folk are now desperately attempting to retain
them to push their cars and lift their jets by increasing their debt
The Governor of
New Zealand’s Reserve Bank responds to their plight by reducing
interest rates as he did this week. However this does not alter the
situation in the slightest and the Principle of the Conservation of
Energy remains inviolate – the huge masses of cheap mineral oil
servants are no more. They are burned/destroyed/gone phut! The mineral
oil is an ex-resource! (More synonyms for dead can be found in the Monty
Python Dead Parrot sketch.
As you can see
from the quote below, even NZ SCOOP, who more than any other media
organization in New Zealand has consistently presented the above facts,
is missing the plot.
By Alastair Thompson in the Reserve Bank Lockup
The Reserve Bank has this morning cut interest rates for the first time since July 2003, and alongside recent petrol price falls, brought some much needed good news to NZ household bank accounts .
repeated shown himself to be streets ahead of our other mainstream
journalists and I have very considerable respect for him. The truth
however is that the NZ Reserve Bank’s announcement is very bad news
for the average household. In fact it is probably the death sentence for
many as it is effectively a declaration of war and hastens that war. In
that it is no different to other central banks around the world. This is
because Reserve Bank Governor’s decision effectively reinforces our
unsustainable use of mineral oil/gas and the credit structure based on
If you check back
you will see that it is the rising price of mineral oil that has
consistently taken inflation through the mandatory 3% upper barrier
since 2003. The resulting higher interest rates effectively meant the
transfer of tens of billions of dollars of wealth out of NZ’s 1.4
million households for the benefit of a few merchant bankers and those
that make the most extravagant wasteful uses of mineral oil.
The fact is our
middle class has been shrinking this century as a whole new generation
failed to get a foothold in it, thus becoming some of the new cheap
servants I spoke of. The truth of their situation is only now dawning on
them as they find themselves debt ridden and home ownership now
Why the Reserve
Bank Governor’s decision is so dangerous is that he fails to identify
the real problem and encourage us to confront the reality: the Age of
Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas for 6.6 billion people is over. He failed to
confront reality, tell the New Zealand people the truth and say, “ I
am powerless within the Reserve Bank Act to stop inflation and the
erosion of your wealth while you insist on investing in wasteful uses of
confronting reality and presenting the facts he has decided to let
inflation surge. Effectively he is saying the status quo is OK – the
undervaluing and wasteful use of mineral oil/gas can continue even if it
means depleting the wealth of the average citizen so a few people can
temporarily retain their customary equivalent of hundreds of thousands
There is however
a problem with this gigantic transformation. As their sense of wealth
and power dissipates history suggests that the middle class tend to do
one of two things:
Attempt to implement legislative structures such as occurred in
the 1930s to prevent excess usury, wealth extremes and wastage
Go rabid and attack those in weaker positions than themselves.
very rich are in a position to benefit from inflation because they can
gut remaining pension funds and investment vehicles in general as well
as ensure they benefit from massive hidden state subsidies. They oppose
the pressure for legislative reform (1) and exploit the fear response
perfectly natural to them that their vast power is retained and they
shrug off the probable death of billions as just one of “nature’s
acts”. They are The Market incarnate and in their minds “The Market
is a heartless place and a human life has no value” and “When the
going gets tough the tough get going.” Note how their recent decision
to convert food resources to transport fuel on scale has devastated the
lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Hence it is easy
to predict that if current policies continue then, as access to cheap
mineral oil/gas reserves dwindles, the credit system based on 25000/US10
will implode in an explosion of inflation as the price of our “mineral
oil servants” rises. As we saw very clearly in 1930s Germany,
inflation is war and the more it impacts the middle classes the sooner
the war. Check out history for (1) and (2) –these were the twin
pressures about 1933 as the German middle class perceived their wealth
and power similarly evaporating.
Of course it is
very possible to avoid catastrophic war but that requires all
individuals to personally place a high value on mineral oil. The above
rough sums indicate that rich countries like New Zealand need to value
the resource at least the equivalent of a thousand dollars a barrel. In
the USA terms that is $US1000/25000 = 4 cents a man-hour of labour. That is
still unsustainably cheap for such a superb and non-replaceable resource.
catastrophic war depends on nations promoting the intelligent uses of
their solar and electrical potential and alternative uses of their
Alas the Reserve
Bank Governor does not understand this and never has. Nor does our
parliament. Nor do our so-called business leaders. And not does New
Zealand’s Retirement Commissioner who I will devote a blog too soon.
Her promotion of investments like the KiwiSaver scheme is a sure fire
way of ensuring people do not even live to a retirement age. The scheme
basically uses taxpayer’s often hard-earned money to promote wastage
and military investment while destroying the capital required to create
the intelligent structures I spoke of.
If I heard the
Retirement Commissioner correctly over the shrill whine of the
industrial vacuum cleaner on my back this week she claimed on NZ Radio
National that New Zealand has “an excellent education system”. She
also talked of her office promoting “economics ” in our schools. She
did not explain: “What is so excellent about our schools”.
I suggest she
would be lest confident if she applied the ultimate test and ask, “Do
New Zealand schools produce sustainable human beings?” One test is to
ask: “How many planet Earths does it take to sustain the typical
individual that an education system produces?”
Less than one
planet = excellent education system.
One planet =
education system gets a pass but just as already humans have demolished
Two planets = a
chronic under performing education system
Three planets = a
dangerous education system that puts humanity at great risk
Four planets = a
lethal education system that produces a murderous society.
out the optimumpopulation.org for a sample of the thinking
behind this evaluation.
According to this
real rating system NZ is off the scale because even conservative
estimates rate us at 5 planets. In other words our education system
rates as a massive liability to global humanity. The Commissioner,
clearly a product of such an education system, rates it excellent.
measures such as this it is apparent our education system produces a
population seriously lacking science and remarkably ignorant of the
geopolitics of mineral oil/gas.
And hence, also,
the poor quality of our journalists. This is not just my opinion. Polls
consistently indicate the general public holds them in very low esteem.
One journalist on NZ Radio National recently sniffed and dismissed one
such poll indicting her profession thus by saying journalist’s are not
esteemed because they tell unpleasant truths. This is denial of the
Fact: We may deny
truths within ourselves but deep in our psyche we experience disrespect
for others who fail to tell the truth – especially those who are paid
lots of money to tell the truth and pride themselves for telling the
truth. Proof? Without that inner sense of the value of the truth the
human species would have died out millennia ago.
Thus my own
bullshit detector went up last week when I heard a Radio NZ National
panel of our top journalists tut-tutting righteously recently and asking
how household could have been so ignorant into being conned into
investing in the now collapsing credit companies. The truth is the
panellist’s own lifestyles are excessively based on a much more
gigantic lie which is that mineral oil/gas = energy. Living that lie
enables them to place almost zero value on the several barrels they burn
On the same
programme we heard, for instance, that some people can travel from New
Zealand to London on Air New Zealand flights for fares that are even
less that the $NZ3000 price of the fuel destroyed by the fare holder.
Let us be generous and assume the jet burns fuel at the rate of 50 miles
per gallon per person. Then each person destroys about 250 gallons of
mineral oil. (Source of $NZ3000 statistic: Air New Zealand on NZ Radio
National- over vacuum cleaner).
of education system produces journalists who cannot ask questions and
calculate that a passenger on a jet flight New Zealand to Britain to
London destroys a minimum of one gallon of mineral oil every 50 miles of
the 12000 mile trip i.e. about 5.7 barrels of oil i.e. uses the
equivalent of upwards of 140,000 man-hours of labour. That’s a
powerful amount of food potential. Our children will be the main
inheritors of the bulk of the 140,000 man-hours of labour debt caused by
the jet traveller.
Why is not such
gross wastage the stuff of constant headlines? Why don’t airline ads
come with health warnings?
It is this inner
sense of truth that I spoke of that triggered in me a sense of respect
for Jane Clifton on NZ Radio National this week. Jane is described as
one of the most respected and influential of our doyen of
"political journalists". Jane admitted that New Zealand
journalists had been “blindsided” * by the seeming public swell of
support for the truckers who briefly blockaded our streets protesting
against the removal of some of their subsidies and the rising price of
diesel. At least she was honest about their failure.
Jane also argued
that journalists do not have time to be engaged in conspiracies. Of
course they do. We all live conspiracies.
Conspire means to
share the breath (com =together + spirare = breathe) and it would seem
our journalists are part of a conspiracy formed from sharing the
confined atmosphere of an education/media system in which mineral oil is
given zero value and the air is so fetid with combustion engine fumes
that they cannot see the danger of their lifestyles. It has addled their
The same week of
the New Zealand truckers blockade Chileans around the world celebrated
the centenary of the birth of President Allende who died
in 1973 in the Presidential Palace as it was being attacked by
heavily armed Chileans – nominally the Chilean Defence Force. Many
celebrated the centenary by watching a recent movie containing
remarkable archival film of the period and recent interviews with
witnesses who detailed how the truckers in that country were funded by
powerful overseas corporations to strangle the Chilean economy with
soared the Chilean middle class went rabid and the slaughter began.
There are many parallel examples of The Market in operation in other
It should have
been no surprise to our journalists that the NZ truckers blockaded our
cities the week the NZ Government announced that it was buying back the
national rail system in an attempt to prevent the country going
completely broke as access to cheap mineral oil/gas disappears. The
sight of people turning out to cheer the truckers is simply a reflection
of the Cheap Oil is Forever ethos promoted by our schools and media
these last few decades.
are not even at 101 in the brutal geopolitics of our current use of
mineral oil, which is pity because they could be useful in helping us
avoid the collapse of humanity instead of promoting it.
And I reiterate
the fact: this looming catastrophic war is still avoidable – even
we are at the equivalent of 1931-33 now. I live with much hope
even as I sense the despair around me.
My own website
provides wonderful insights into how this event can be avoided and most
of the time it is simply a matter of reminding ourselves of the ancient
wisdom that sustained humanity these past millennia. A grasp of the
vital nature of democracy and science is essential too.
Footnote 1 Writing this I have been astonished and entertained by my own inability to confront the reality of my own use of mineral oil. In my original letter I consistently inverted the price per barrel per 25000 man-hours of labour. Finally I twigged to how I was fooling myself. Even then when I expanded the letter into this blog I still insisted on inverting this ratio so valuing a barrel at $US1000 valued each man-hour at $US25. It, of course, values it at 4 cents a man-hour of labour. I suffered similar problems understanding how the atmosphere works until I junked the "greenhouse" symbol and adopted the "trace gas" symbol. Part of my just does not want to understand my impact on the world!
Footnote 2. Do
not be fooled as our Reserve Bank Governor and our journalists are by
the current vagaries of The Market. The geopolitics of mineral oil
suggest The Market price will now drop for a period, which will work to
enhance the risk of a global war sooner.
The price drop does not mean the Conservation Principle has been
breeched and humans can now suddenly “produce” mineral oil, rather
than just extract it. The fact is the resource continues to shrink by
over 80 million barrels a day. It is helpful to be aware that the US
presidential election campaign is underway:
Footnote 3. The references to Radio NZ National may be
inaccurate as they were heard over a backpack industrial vacuum cleaner.
This article is provided free with all the research expenses and
Internet costs paid from my wages as a school janitor. It receives no
subsidies such as funding from the advertising tax on most of the
commodities you buy.
The cartoon strip that accompanies this blog is the third of series
created in 2001 as I sought to expose the destructive impact on our
education system of the Genesis Energy (and the NZ Royal Society) Spin.
Genesis Energy operates huge fossil fuel burning plant and naturally
seeks to obscure the scale and impact of the corporation’s pollution.
Photo of Genesis Energy education module on my computer.
Defenders of the module said this was impossible to portray
and so in this cartoon panel I show that its own education module proves Genesis
Energy is very capable of showing cloud, sun and wind effects if it wishes to.
The module was
removed about two years ago and I was informed by a Genesis Energy
manager that it was because,
“The module was not working”. Their new education module is even
more destructive of science and democracy. Its flaws can be revealed in a future cartoon strip
or Utube expose.