Resource constraints and the need for new economic paradigms

Energy Evolution Journal: Musings About an Ecologically Sane Human Society

Contact: rogerkb at energyevolutionjournal dot com

Eight Economic Truths: Resource Constraints and the Long Term Welfare of the Human Species

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Have you ever suspected that the
game of turning money into more
money at the fastest rate allowed
by short-term resource constraints
is inconsistent with the long-term
welfare of the human species? If
so and you think that there exists
a need for new economic paradigms
then you might want to read my
book Eight Economic Truths. Check
out the links below to download a
free PDF or to purchase a hard-

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Table of Contents

First Chapter


Matter, Energy, and Intelligence: An examination of the effect resource constraints on human productivity

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Energy, which can be loosely
defined as the potential to
transform matter, is a key
resource in economic production.
If the end of the fossil fuel
era means that we have utilize
more expensive sources of energy
what will be the impact on
economic production? This
question cannot be answered
definitively but my book Matter,
Energy, and Intelligence
explores certain aspects of the
synergistic use of matter,
energy and intelligence to
produce economic output and
reaches some interesting
conclusions about our ability
to maintain a decent quality
of life at substantially
lower levels of energy use.
Use the links below to
download a free PDF or to
purchase a hard copy

Download FreePDF

Purchase Paper Back

AI's Appetite for Electrical Energy

Steve Hanely recently published
and article[1] on entitled: "AI
Has A Voracious Appetite For
Electricity, And That’s A
Problem". The whole article is
interesting. The concluding
paragraphs are:

"And yet, trying to limit the use
of AI to endeavors that are
socially beneficial is like
trying to get people to only
drive their cars when absolutely
necessary. Not gonna happen. In
order to maximize the limits of
computer technology, we will need
to vastly increase our
electricity generating
capabilities. We don’t have
enough renewable energy as it is.
How much of it should be diverted
to power AI, or mine Bitcoin, or
support online sports betting?

Those are the sorts of messy
questions that few people want to
answer and so they prefer not to
ask them in the first place. And
so we careen blissfully into the
future using more and more
resources to amuse ourselves. If
we continue to do what we always
have, we will continue to get
what we have always gotten — a
profligate waste of resources to
keep us entertained. Yes,
friends, we are that shallow."

My reponse to the paragraphs was:

I do not think the problem is so
much that we are shallow as that
we are committed to the
predominance of a specific social
institution: private credit
markets. The Mexican poet
Ocatavio Paz had this to say
about this institution:

"The market (by which he meant
private credit markets) is
efficient but it has no purpose.
Its only goal is to produce more
in order to consume more."

As long as the rate at which
money is being converted into
more money (which is to say the
rate at which consumption rights
are being converted into a larger
amount of consumption rights in
the future) is a central and
universal measurement of social
welfare it seems unlikely that
the fight against climate change
will gain serious traction. One
step forward will be followed by
one (or even two) steps

I think that we need to create
community credit markets whose
goal is not to turn money into
more money but rather to create
and maintain infrastructure which
will serve the long term welfare
of humanity and of the biosphere
which supports us. If it is
impossible that we can create
such an institution because of
some aspect of the human psyche
which only allows short term
acquisitive greed to make
efficient decisions about credit,
then it seems likely that homo
economicus is an evolutionary
dead end that is unfit to survive
in the long term.


[1]AI Electricity Consumption