Gas Pains

According to the European Union, Russian imports accounted for 62.4% of all energy imports in 2021. Currently, the number is 58.2%. Obviously, the current figures reflect the impact of sanctions and unexpected delays in supply like the stoppages in the Nord Stream pipeline. The EU states that 58% of its energy consumption comes from outside the European Union. A little bit of math says that the EU nations get about 35% of its energy from Russia.

What this means is that a ten percent hike in prices from Russia is a three percent hike in the wholesale price to the European Union. Not all countries get the same percentage of energy from Russia and energy is a traded commodity within the European Union, so prices vary. France is far less dependent on Russian gas than Germany, but the French are not immune to energy markets. The rising tide of energy costs will swamp all European boats.

Currently, natural gas prices in Europe are roughly 300% higher for the year, but off the peak of last month. The reason for that is the EU is stepping into the natural gas markets to bring down the price. They do this through various ways, but ultimately, they will end up printing money to subsidize gas prices. In Britain, things are not quite so bad as gas prices are only 200% higher for the year. The new UK government plans similar interventions as the European Union.

Now, there are two reasons for prices to go up. One is speculators think there will be future shortages or future spikes in demand. Most energy is traded in the market with futures contracts, so it is like a casino. This is where governments can intervene in the market and impose caps. Even if you think gas will be higher in six months, you cannot buy or sell a contract to that effect. Government imposes a cap and subsidizes the utility companies for any shortfall.

The other reason prices go up is supply disruptions. Russian natural gas is the cheapest in Europe, but its availability has declined. That gas has to be replaced so European buyers must go to more expensive sources. This not only means a higher price, but it drives up prices for those products. This in turn drives up prices for the next level and the next level after that. Artificially replacing the cheap product with an expensive one alters the entire energy market.

As the figures in the first paragraph indicate, there is no way to replace Russian natural gas in Europe at this time. The global supply of LNG simply does not exist to replace Russian gas, even if the infrastructure existed, which it does not. Even if it did, the cost of liquifying, then transporting gas to Europe is much higher than getting it via pipeline from the lowest cost producer on earth. Replacing Russian gas will result in a massive spike in the cost of living and the cost of doing business.

That is the other piece of the puzzle. Much of the European standard of living depends on hidden subsidies to European business. The German government, for example, secured extremely cheap Russian gas for German industry. In the past, this gas has been purchased with euros, which magically appear when needed. The same trick happens with the American dollar. This means every time someone takes euros for payment, they are paying a hidden tax.

Now, the world must buy Russian gas in rubles. The reason for this is the West has been systematically stealing Russian assets, including their foreign holdings, in response to the war. The Russians did the prudent thing and stopped taking dollars and euros for payment. All European customers for Russian gas have to first buy rubles on the market and then buy their gas from Russia. This is why the ruble has been the best performing currency in the world.

This has another consequence. When those euros suddenly appear out of thin air, their relative value to the ruble changes. The euro is worth about sixty rubles at the moment, down from a peak of 150-1 earlier in the year. If more euros magically appear, the ratio of euros to rubles changes, unless the Russian central bank increases the number of rubles in the world to match the euros. This would then lower the value of the ruble compared to other currencies.

Russia is not obligated to create more rubles. They have inflation like everyone else, so they could choose to let the ruble adjust, which means the euro buys less gas and that means that hidden tax suddenly shifts back to the Europeans. In other words, those magically appearing euros no longer eat away at the profits of the seller but erode the purchasing power of the buy. This then drives up the cost of everything, especially the energy products purchased from Russia.

How many euros need to magically appear? Current estimates say about 1.5 trillion new euros are needed to bridge the gap. Then there is the liquidity problem that is facing Europe markets. The extra euros needed to buy energy cut into the cash reserves of industry. This impacts their credit rating, which drives up the cost of borrowing and we quickly arrive at a financial crisis. The only known solution is to make more euros magically appear.

As an aside, the United States faces a similar problem. Gasoline prices were artificially lowered through the release of the strategic petroleum reserve. Instead of making dollars magically appear, they made oil magically appear. That is scheduled to end, coincidentally, just before the November election. That means the supply of domestic crude will drop and that means prices go back up. It also means the price of home heating oil will go up in time for winter.

Putting that aside, the energy crisis in Europe is quickly becoming a financial crisis, which in turn can easily become a currency crisis. The euro has been a junior reserve currency for twenty years, but it is not the reserve currency. It can quickly decline to becoming just another currency in the world. The hidden profit, the seigniorage, that came with being a reserve currency goes away. That means more cost heaped onto the European economy in the form of inflation.

Incredibly, it does not stop with bad policy. A plan being debated is to create a mechanism for financing current energy costs with future energy profits through a subsidy system to consumers and suppliers. The first step is a cap on what utilities can charge consumers. The gap between that cap and the real cost will be met with loans from the central bank. This way it does not have to be treated as pure money creation, but as an asset on the books of the central bank.

In exchange for these forced loans, the utility will be allowed to maintain the high price when the energy markets return to normal. In other words, this is a hidden debt imposed on consumers. In exchange for a smaller increase now, they will get a small decrease in the future. That means, in theory, a much larger profit for the utility in the future when prices decline. They can now use that hypothetical profit in the future as collateral to borrow money today.

This is not a new scheme. In the United States, something similar happened with cigarette taxes imposed after the tobacco settlement. States used the promise of more tax revenue in the future to create tobacco bonds. The buyer got a piece of the future tax revenue in exchange for cash today. Of course, those tax revenues did not materialize and the states took a bath. On the other hand, Goldman Sachs made billions from the scheme so it was all good.

What all of this tells us is that the Western economic model, rooted in the dollar and American military, is something of a Ponzi scheme. Assets are sold off for quick cash, but money is created to fill the hole based on the promise of some future bonanza that never materializes. This, in turn, means more money creation through the magic of debt, which inflates the credit bubble further. Europe is going to solve its energy crisis today with a financial crisis tomorrow.

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158 thoughts on “Gas Pains

  1. Pingback: DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » Today in War

  2. “According to the European Union, Russian imports accounted for 62.4% of all energy imports in 2021. Currently, the number is 58.2%. ”

    Just a small note, probably not affecting the overall analysis.

    From the linked stats: “Energy imports to the EU from Russia as a share of total imports to the EU from Russia decreased by 4.2 percentage points (pp) from 62.4 % in 2017 to 58.2 % in 2021.” – I don’t think this means that Russian imports accounted for 62.4% of all energy imports in 2021. It means that out of all Russian imports to the EU, 62.4% was energy.

    • RE: exports – it’s been this way essentially forever. Bear in mind the charts represent volume of containers – not value. Koch volume is mainly Georgia Pacific subsidiary – which is woodpulp and paper. IP and IFP (owned by the Kraft family) are pulp & paper. Chung Nam and couple others are wastepaper.
      (Disclosure – I was involved in managing GP logistics for quite a while)

    • It occurs to me that, since there is so little made/created/fabricated here, that it means there are wide open opportunities for anyone willing to do the work necessary to produce products in this country, on this land mass.

      Based on much of the sentiments of posters on this site, it will be the only place one will be able to “get things”.

      • Zogooberment will crush you with bullshit before a shovel hits the dirt,,,,regulations ,fees, codes, fines, bribes.

        • Both Trumpton and Dennis have good points, in a legitimate environment.

          If/when things go tits up, is what I was alluding to.

          Create and develop relationships now, before anything goes sideways.

      • This site has a lot of very smart people… that said, theyve correctly predicted ~ 87 of the last 0 economic collapses. Even the famous zero hedge isnt quite that succesful.

        Remember “There’s a lot of ruin in a nation.”

  3. “This is not a new scheme. In the United States, something similar happened with cigarette taxes imposed after the tobacco settlement. States used the promise of more tax revenue in the future to create tobacco bonds. The buyer got a piece of the future tax revenue in exchange for cash today. Of course, those tax revenues did not materialize and the states took a bath. On the other hand, Goldman Sachs made billions from the scheme so it was all good.”

    This made me smile. It reminded me of Chicago’s sell off of its parking meters a few years ago. Five years of regular chimp-outs later, how many people park on the City’s streets?

  4. I see the term “inflationary depression” from time to time. Not sure exactly how that works or what it will look like. It sounds like one of those Things That Should Not Be, like stagflation.

    I think Heidegger said something to the effect that only sacrificing lenders to God money can save us now.

    • Inflation of this sort in particular is an outgrowth of naked money printing. Ideally bond yields should control this, realistically though, not, so it acts just like a tax. An economy suffering under onerous taxes would behave as such since everything is being stolen.

  5. Ha, ha, you’re a Misesian malgré lui.

    Tranching CDO’s in oil may be more liquid than real estate and the range may be more narrow as the Yellin put tries in vain to finesse the coming crack up boom. On whose face will be splotched the egg? Mine when I go to fill up the tank to go see the family at Christmas.

  6. If/when the GAE really gets backed into that kind of corner, they’ll start a war to try and force regime change in Russia to one that will provide cheap gas for printed American dollars/Euros.

    • Dad used to joke about the wombat, a mythical creature that, when cornered, could escape by running up its own rectum. 😁 Of course that’s absurd, but based upon their what they say and their actions, most of our leaders seem to have beliefs equally well rooted in reality.

        • A snipe is a real bird too (unless you’re on a “snipe hunt”!) 😀 Dad’s story probably dates to WW II era. To clarify, yes a wombat is a real animal, one of the many curious marsupials of Australia. The one in Dad’s story however, being somewhat a living embodiment of a wormhole or a Klein bottle, is most likely from the realm of fiction 🙂

          As long as I’m splitting hairs here, I don’t know about the wormhole, but a Klein bottle is “real” in the sense that it exists in math (topology) as an idea, but to construct a working model seems problematic.

          But what the heck do I know? I got “Cs” in calculus…

  7. Just filled up in LA, 5.34 gal for 87. They keep saying gas went down today by 1/10th of a cent, that makes 49 straight days in a row. I have a company truck with company gas card. Been the case for 30 years. I take my truck home. Some , most of the fellas live over 50 miles from downtown where we work. That’s adding up. All the companies are laying off and putting holds on part purchases. They want us to tell the customers the parts are obsolete and can be acquired for a premium. All The apprentices have been let go too. Same thing in 2009. Feels different this time.

  8. This the latest scheme by the German government which was just introduced a few days ago. They are sending this out to everyone through corporate email which is then distributed by the HR department to ensure everyone is aware of this new plan.

    I can’t say this will help much, especially when we are paying nearly $8.00 per gallon. And I love the idea being given my own taxes back and then being taxed on my taxes as income. Genius.


    On the basis of the measures adopted by the Federal Government in May 2022 to relieve the burden on citizens, a one-off flat-rate energy payment will be made with the payment of the September salary at the end of September 2022, to counteract the increased energy costs and the current high inflation rate.

    This energy price flat rate (EPP) is a one-time gross amount of EUR 300.00 (taxable but free of social security contributions) and will be paid via the employer for the following employees:

    – All employees (tax class 1-5, or 1st employment relationship) residing in Germany.
    – Employees on parental leave or sick pay are also reimbursed the EPP.

    The implementation of the described measure is automatically arranged by us. Employees do not have to take action themselves.

    For further information, please refer to the attached FAQ or contact us directly.

  9. An anecdote to Vizzini’s point.

    I stopped through Knoxville and had a meal with a former colleague and their family. The spouse of my former report is working at UT’s research lab on improving battery efficiency. They get a ton of subsidy money for the EEV project. He is leading the work on the computing platforms to collect all of the data for their models.

    He is fully aware that the EEV project is a scam and that the chemistry and physics of this don’t exist to create ever lower production costs. His own project is severely limited by the reality of physical space. There isn’t enough space around the battery packs to put enough sensors to collect meaningful data. That they are turning to these sorts of optimizations to eke out gains reinforces the chemist’s argument that the chemistry doesn’t exist to lower costs in a Moore’s Law like fashion.

    What is more interesting is I brought up nuclear energy and how cool it must be to be at UT where the LMS reactor’s father brought his initial research. He said that the University has given China full access to the research papers and archives. There was a mutual look we shared about the irony of our brains, (albeit mostly imported from Asia), fiddling away on making electric vehicles slightly more efficient while the Chinese are moving forward on nuclear power.

    Fwiw, I think uranium is a fuel of the foreseeable future as Asia is building a large number of new nuclear plants. Japan is making rumblings of getting back into the game. We should be positioning ourselves to profit from the stupidity of our “diversity” and “green” obsessed ruling regime. Nuclear energy starting with uranium is a very good bet that should be made as a part of the portfolios that will help fortify and fund this side of the great divide.

    We also need to think about cultivating our minds and our minds of the future so we don’t have to import them while they export the work of our previous generation’s best minds.

    • There is a related point here. This is why I loathe Musk. Musk is the promoter of the EEV project. His cachet as our leading technologist reinforces our malinvestment as the best investment possible. He is economically incentivized to continue to get us to commit economic suicide. Anyone who touts him as the great champion of America’s cause and as Yarvin’s Great Monarch, is someone we should be considering as at best well intentioned but in need of rethinking who our candidates for leadership should be.

      In the punditsphere, those who promote him as the Messiah should just be disregarded as not intellectually capable enough to warrant attention.

      • Hey, but didn’t he sort out Twitter’s propaganda and censorship issues? Oh, wait. He reminds me of Trump: lots of talk, little action.

        • Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Who knows what he is doing with this move – while he runs 3 different companies, programs robots on the factory floor while designing rocket engines at the same time.

          Something smells in Denmark.

  10. Z is right. An energy crisis is being swapped for a sovereign debt crisis. Europe will paper over its high nat gas prices with subsidies of various sorts via money printing.

    But here’s the thing: Inflation is back, baby. The days of throwing money at a problem – especially for a non-global reserve currency – are over. If you don’t let the high gas prices destroy demand, you will get inflation. If you get inflation, you get rising interest rates. If you get rising interest rates, you get business and sovereign defaults. If you do yield curve control like Japan, you watch your currency burn.

    Of course, if you let high nat gas price destroy demand, you get a recession, maybe a deep recession. This destroys profits and govt tax receipts. It also increases govt spending via unemployment and social spending. This cause business bankruptcies. It also sends govt debt to GDP dramatically higher. And, thus, you’re back at business and sovereign defaults.

    European govts and businesses don’t have the balance sheets to weather this storm. Printing Euros for nat gas is classic inflationary. Europe’s only hope would be that all of this is temporary and that the market won’t crush them before things return to normal. The problem is that Europe is looking at higher nat gas prices well into the future.

    Europe will be lucky to get out of this without a sovereign debt crisis. I’d put the odds at 50-50.

    Oh, and by the way, what do you think will happen to US nat gas prices as we ship more and more LNG to Europe? We’ll feel this as well.

    • Creating a myriad of new grifting opportunities for the Cloud People is a feature of the LNG export scam.

      • Find a way to invest in it yourself. We have to save ourselves and in any way possible strengthen ourselves. Fortified, we will be better able to do something meaningful as a force to be reckoned with on the other side of regime’s certain reckoning of legitimacy.

        • PL-

          I very much agree.

          I would only add that people need to regularly book profit and then convert that to cash, buillion, and valuable hard assets.

          The problem is that they plan to bail us in, shut off access, or simply zero our accounts on some evening or weekend when we are totally unable to move our funds to a safe harbor.

          • This is something I think about a lot.

            It is wise to trim profits. If they confiscate equities they will also confiscate gold digitally and maybe with 87K armed IRS agents.

            In the end we all have to live with the fact that this possibility exists and be willing to live with outright confiscation or confiscation through inflation and/or exhorbitant taxes. Best to own the assets that are positioned to capitalize on the crisis. Buffett will never permit his holdings to be confiscated. In this way, we can be on the same side as the regime.

          • I agree Trumpton. It will be based on your overall ESG score. Of course, those who adjudicate won’t have their off-shore accounts audited, and their jet and yacht travel will enhance their score since every activity undertaken on said transport will be done under emergency authorization exemptions for Critical Climate Action Vehicles.

          • @PeriheliusLux

            Yep. Seems obvious to me. Yet its a reflex still to assume laws will apply impartially based on something like the type of asset.

            I think the term Climate Utility Nominated Transport Services suits them better.

    • Don’t look now, but spot-market rates for LNG tankers this week set annual records as traders bid up available vessels to meet rising global demand in Europe.
      However, by virtue of the power of magical thinking which prevails in DC, Brussels, London and other capitols: Prices – we command ye, thou shalt not go up.

    • In theory, high fuel prices will cause unhappiness within the US electorate, which in turn will lead to voting harder, which in turn will lead to new RINOs being elected, which in turn will lead to changes in government policy, which in turn will lead to restrictions on the export of fuels overseas, which in turn will keep internal supplies within the country, which in turn will help lower prices. This is the pipe dream of the civnats that keeps them chasing the carrot until a collapse occurs.

      • Well it’s a slight change of topic, it will illustrate how things have deteriorated.

        The new bivalent covid booster was announced by the White House before the FDA had even approved it. The FDA approved it without the requisite recvomendation of a committee. A month before all this the government ordered a supply of the new drug. It has not even been tested on humans. They are not even pretending to follow their procedures anymore. The only objective is to loot the treasury for as long as they can.

        • A slight correction: for emergency products, the FDA “authorizes” their use. “Approved” is for “normal” drugs. Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty® is an odd exception, having been “approved” just over a year ago yet to date not offered in USA. It is, I believe, identical to the Pfizer EUA “vaccine.”

          I confess that I don’t know the backstory for this curious footnote of the Covid-19 scam; there’s probably some explanation for it, but I don’t know what.

    • Completely agree. I would argue that this has been happening since the end of WWII; now, it simply is accelerating. The gradual decrease of the purchasing power of the middle class is a continual process occasionally offset by positive jumps in of decreasing returns (think 90s boom era – or even the housing market for the past few years). The inflation continues, but occasionally an aspect of the market benefits the middle class short term, but ultimately spooling towards a long term loss.
      What we are seeing now is the issues that have been papered over for decades coming to the forefront.
      In short, tons of money has been created, and a disproportionate amount ended in the hands of the few. Inflation, as experienced, is inevitable. The average prole occasionally benefitted from this chicanery, but, again, only temporal gains versus permanent loss.
      We have seen how the rich toss away money now in order to buy assets at (from our perspective) insane prices. The era of the fiat, post-Keynesian era seems to be either at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning. What rough beast, its hour come round at last….

    • Europe will have an energy crisis (as intended), a currency crisis (as intended), major depression (as intended) and a sovereign debt crisis all at the same time.

      They will then do a massive wealth tax on real assets and kickstart a new digital euro to see in the new economic normal.

      • How typical of the grifter class. Here behind enemy lines in the Peoples Republic of New York, we are now hearing rumors that if that Succubus gets elected in November and her party holds both of the state houses, one big facet of the fallout from that will be how they adjust for property taxes. Example; one of my next door neighbors has a detached garage that is two stories high. The second floor is completely empty, not even electricity, just a sub-flooring. His property is also a little over an acre in size.
        If Albany gets it’s way, someone from the state will assess his property in the following manner; “You could have an apartment on the second floor of that garage and you could easily put a small home on that part of your property, if it were subdivided. Seeing as how you could do that, this is what we believe your property is really worth and here’s your new tax bill. Oh, you can’t pay that? We’ll just have to take that property off of your hands, thanks.”

        The other thing they’ll try to foist on the rest of us is the “Housing is a human right” crap. Meaning that if you own any rental property in the state, you will never be permitted to evict any tenant, no matter what they have done to the property, or how much rent they owe.

        • A brief aside: You know things are getting bad when even disgraced ex-Gov. Cuomo says : “DOJ must immediately explain the reason for its raid [on Trump] … or it will be viewed as a political tactic and undermine any future credible investigation.” (Source: today’s Epoch Times)

          I credit him for masterful rhetoric. The phrase is very diplomatic, yet could easily be translated into rather plainer English something like: “You’d best be able to justify what you did, or you just fucked up really, really bad.” 😀

          On the NY real estate lunacy, I agree doesn’t sound very encouraging for property rights. The old saying (70s or earlier?) was “Everything happens first in New York or California.” That doesn’t bode well for us in flyover country.

        • If you still live in a Democrat Shithole State, then you are the fool. No one living in any of those places can’t say they didn’t see it coming, and should have got out right after the COVID scam calmed down enough to boost property prices.

  11. Everything outlined in the post is accurate. The same mechanisms described in relation to energy also show how the U.S. has been quietly exporting much of its inflation across the globe since 1946. At first, a little, then over decades, a lot. As big of a basket case as we are, we’ve been shielded from the true cost of our bad decisions since the end of the war. To the victor went the spoils. But one day the world will look around and say, “why are we taking these beatings again?” No one will have a good answer.

    And then what? We have to rely on producing goods and services that the world actually needs? We’re not set up for that anymore. Not even close. And with a fragmented culture that looks like the Star Wars bar scene? Wow. I just see massive conflict here on every level.

    • If you’re the global reserve currency, you have to run a trade and govt deficit. If your reserve currency is based on energy, i.e., energy is only sold in dollars, you have to run a trade deficit with countries that import a lot of energy, i.e., heavy manufacturing economies.

      The system is designed to screw over American manufacturing. As long as the dollar is the GRC and as long as that status is built on oil and nat gas being sold in dollars, American manufacturing will lag. The system won’t allow us to have a manufacturing sector that doesn’t run a deficit.

      • One thing people forget is that signidicant offshoring began with the advent of the Korean War as certain types of production was moved to a reindustrializing Japan, ostensibly to shorten supply lines to Korea.

        Plenty of the right people also made bank on that exercise.

      • That’s the whole point though. What do we have? Something that’s been quietly destroying our society from the inside for decades? Since we’re a degenerate society of short term thinkers who put big homes on credit above all, the answer is “sure! Of course!” And years click by to an era in which we have no future.

        I don’t see it as us “having” to run deficits. I see it as the world having to keep up with our profligacy to retain currency parity. This is why China is doing lockdowns. Do they really care about their people and want to shield them from a mild cold? No. They’re artificially crimping the supply chain to keep from being r a p e d as the dollar soars. They need to keep their currency competitive while increasing hard goods prices. Basically a strike against the price of the dollar.

        • China mass lockdowns: I have pondered that several times, mostly on Covid-19 blogs. Your speculation is possible, but in my opinion it rings hollow. If the motive were to disrupt supply chains to the West, yes it’s true that would happen. But the effect is only temporary. And I fail to see how it would strengthen the renmimbi (China currency).

          Other reasons for the lockdowns have been posited: to distract and/or stifle dissent (China’s real estate is in precarious shape) and/or to further “train” the citizenry to be obedient; because there may be some as-yet undisclosed danger with the virus; or perhaps most ominously, they are preparing their country for wartime.

    • Who says we don’t make anything the World wants or needs. America only needs to crank out another season of Keeping up with the Kardashians or a new Lil’ Wayne album and any trade balance with the rest of the World would evaporate.

  12. Internationalist financial corporatism needs to die. The free movement of capital across national boundaries is the single greatest cause of planetary instability and mass mortality.

    World War 1 started as just another European regional war and didn’t become a global war until the unholy alliance of progressivism and international capital under Wilson injected the US into the war (British operatives worked towards this objective starting in 1914) to ensure that their war loans got paid back. Key word search: Nye Committee.

    The ruinous and punitive terms of the Treaty of Versailles necessary for Germany to transfer wealth to the UK adequate for UK loan payments to the banksters made World War 2 inevitable. Field Marshall Foche in 1919 upon reading the newly written treaty: “This is not a peace. This is an armistice for twenty years!” He was only off by a few months.

    The domestic destabilization caused by Russian participation in WW1 was a prerequisite to the rise to power of internationalist Bolshevism in the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union became a breeding ground for degeneracy and evil which the Germans saw (correctly) as an existential threat to Europe. Perceptions that European Jews were either sympathizers or active Bolshevists set the stage for the Holocaust. Russians and Germans had been allies in the past. However, the German war against Russia became a rancid population war, rather than a traditional war to force political concessions, because they saw Bolshevism in Russia as an existential threat that had to wiped out.

    The British MP Enoch Powell noted that “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.” The destruction of international financialism would do more to provide against preventable evils than any other single factor.

    • I’m convinced. How do you ensure that “internationalist financial corporatism” dies? This is a sincere question.

      • I don’t believe an internal reform movement, akin to that which dealt with the Robber Barons earlier in our history, is possible any more. I could be wrong, so I continue to support Trump or whoever who wants to have a go at it, but without expectation for anything but failure which hastens the end. Late-stage Soviet-style collapse is the cure. The objective is spreading knowledge so that when collapse comes, if Europeanity survives intact the mistake of tolerating the existence of transnational financialism can be avoided during the rebuilding. I doubt any of us will live to see it, but God does play dice with men so never say never.

        The Russian experience is an example, and one of many reasons the scorpion people endlessly demonize them and their leaders. They don’t want us learning the lesson the Russians learned the hard way: don’t let foreigners/internationalists rule over you. They suffered under them for 80 years, tacking a decade onto the communist years to account for their neoliberal period.

  13. The looming debt/inflation crisis will arrive first in Third World countries and become a harbinger for everyone else. It will spawn massive street protests that accomplish nothing more that public rage venting and prompting the tyrant grifters to flee to overseas mansions where they have stashed fiat foreign currency stolen from their people. The aggrieved plebs will attempt voting harder as a magic remedy, and this will create an illusion of solution until the new tyrants step in and implement the only option left in the playbook, which is a brutal crackdown on dissent.

    This modus operandi will then repeat in Europe where the standard of living has much farther to fall. The hammer will hit hardest in the big cities first, where food and fuel deprivation will put everyone on their knees. The wild card will be the arrival of COVID variant X, which will exploit the weakened immune systems of those who received the mRNA vaccine (and the boosters make this much worse). MSM will no longer be able to hide the huge increase in mortality and decrease in natality that has been going on in the background.

    The woke will take to twitter (and the internet in general) attempting to solve all problems via remote intimidation and indoctrination. Reality will laugh at this nonsense.

    There are two potential paths for humanity going forward. You can whine, grovel, and die of a novel disease borne of lost natural immunity. Or you can fight back smarter, not harder.

    • It’s already done. People have chosen their sides. The living will survive and the dead will bury the dead, whatever we’re supposed to believe is happening.

    • > The hammer will hit hardest in the big cities first, where food and fuel deprivation will put everyone on their knees.

      Once the food stops coming to Africa due to nitrogen depletion and mass migrations start coming to Europe, things will get wild. Rest assured, Europe will take the side of the Africans

      • The most depressing thing about that movie is that the future it depicts is in many ways better than our own. At least the government in the movie was trying to feed people rather than starve them.

      • The Germans are an incredibly resourceful people. I expect that someone will soon develop a device that enables partial bypassing of the home electrical metering device. If your bill goes up 200%, then your demand usage miraculously also shrinks by 200%. And if anyone asks, tell then that you no longer take showers and then prove it by silently farting to reveal an unpleasant smell. Can there be any doubt?

  14. On a loosely related subject (I suppose it counts a energy), what’s going on with fusion? Have they got dem black ladeee syantissses on it yet?

    Get dem NASA girls on it!

    • It keeps incrementally advancing. Very incrementally. But not past the point of fractions of a second and consuming more energy to keep the Sun in a bottle that it produces. My engineer kid keeps telling me that nuclear produced hydrogen is probably the most viable replacement for hydrocarbons. But there is the little problem of needed to actually build nuclear plants… And still does not solve for problems like fertilizer production.

      • I’m guessing the energy problem will only be solvable by mass, i.e., gravity, like the sun. No artificial inputs needed! Unless science has another metaphysical revolution that allows it to discover what all of that ‘dark energy/matter’ is. For all I know that’s happening/happened, but I kind of doubt it.

        Thinking about it, fusion results in a small positive net energy iirc. Obviously so with the sun since its heat and light escape its gravity and reach us, all while conserving some matter in the form of heavy elements. Maybe the answer is somewhere in there?

        Idk, maybe I’m just stating the obvious. Getting really rusty with this science business!

        • I mean, you’re ‘building’ heavier elements and still producing energy. That’s kind of crazy, right? What’s going on there?

          • The binding energy of the atomic nuclei is most stable at Iron.

            Fusing elements lighter than Iron yields energy

            Likewise splitting elements heavier than iron (like uranium) also yields energy.

          • “There it is. Thanks. Why iron, can I ask?”

            The reason is related to certain numerical constants of our universe. The protons and neutrons of Iron-56 interact in a configuration that creates the most stable atomic nucleus.

            Lighter elements with less protons and neutrons are inherently less stable than iron, but won’t fuse together unless subjected to extreme conditions.

            At the other extreme, any element heavier than Bismuth has so many protons and neutrons that they are very unstable and will spontaneously split up into lighter elements at human timescales, which is why they are radioactive and dangerous.

          • Thanks again. Fascinating! Won’t bother you with more questions. After 20 years going the other way, I’m missing this stuff lol.

      • Once we build the nuclear plants, extracting nitrogen for fertilizer is the easy part. Once you have energy to fuel chemical processes, you can do most anything chemically possible.

        Just like desalinization is easy — powering desalinization is hard.

        China is most likely going to beat us to the punch with thorium molten salt reactors, and that’s fine with me. Once China has them running all over the place, the West will be forced to follow suit.

      • Fusion has been right around the corner since before I was born and I’m in my 50s!

        They’re building some pilot plant in Europe which may or may not break even. But even if it does, the surplus is not expected to be high. It’s expected to be a fraction positive (like 1.1 units out for 1 unit in, just to illustrate, I don’t know the actual numbers off the top of my head), which is worthless. That’s the fuel only. That doesn’t include the energy embedded in the plant plus the energy the plant uses for other things. (the EROI of a typical fission reactor is 40).

        Tokamak was invented by a Soviet scientist to make our scientists crazy and chasing down a rabbit hole.

      • I agree with your kid, hydrogen is the most abundent element.
        Cracking sea water, H2o using nuclear makes sense. internal combustion engines need only minimal changes, run cleaner last longer, emissions are water vapor. Operating a vehicle powered with hydrogen is indistinguishable from a propane or natural gas & for most people gasoline powered car. There are some drawbacks.
        A pound of hydrogen has less BTUs than a pound of gasoline and production, delivery and the publics fear of scary scary H bombs and The Hindenberg disaster would have to be overcame. There have already been sucessful test fleets operated useing hydrogen.
        Even though I am enthusiastic of the posibility of hydrogen I am sceptical of it ever being widespread as there are just too many entrenched blockages not the least being the dumbed down simi retarded populations of the western world. Particularly in the U.S.
        If you managed to read this long rant tell your kid there is at least one other out there.

        • Hydrogen ICE is not really a good idea, if you have a cheap reliable source of Hydrogen you may as well go all in on fuel cells, you get twice the energy and don’t get the nox problems

          I won’t hold my breath

          • Why not run an egr system ?
            Imo fuel cells are a distraction, the tech already exists to produce hydrogen in quanatity & woulden’t require reinventing the wheel so to speak .Very large part of the economy is automotive & would not need to be eleminated.
            However I admittedly I have not researched HFCs much beyond wiki,
            & not a trained engineer of any kind, only a tradesman.
            Who cound be convinced.

    • Mr. O.F, aside from your excellent wit du jour , you bring to mind both new claims for cold fusion, and older research with Thorium reactors that is once again being discussed. I am reminded of a show produced in Norway called “Occupied ” that develops the concept of Thorium replacing oil as the main form of energy powering Europe.
      If we could clear the decks of these scalleywags in charge, perhaps the ship of state could right itself again. Well, one can dream…

      • Remember reading an article on Thorium reactors about fifteen years ago. Apparently most of the research was done at Oak Ridge Nation Labs in the 50s/60s before it was squashed. The article noted that most had been recently declassified and snatched up by the ….Chinese government. “The US taxpayer, building a brighter future for Wo Fat”

        • Thorium has some as-of-yet unresolved technical issues that may limit it’s feasibility (I won’t regurgitate the Wikipedia points here) and I have my doubts that the Chinese could resolve them (to say the least).

    • It’s promised about 10 years in the future, precisely as it has been for the past 70 years. 😂

      On a slightly more serious note. With a disclaimer that I don’t hold a degree in nuclear physics, here is what I believe is a very practical question. Once mankind learns how to obtain a tiny fusion reaction from a minuscule amount of deuterium, there is no upper limit on the amount of deuterium, and resultantly the size of a fusion explosion. As one might suspect this will have rather dire effects on the surrounding locale. 😡

    • You mean the kind of Hidden Figures NASA gal that has botched two Artemis-I launches, thus causing indefinite postponement of the third attempt?

      In the meantime, I think I’ll go watch a realistic movie about NASA like Capricorn One.

      • That was a good movie, and I nominate it as one of the better done “government conspiracy” movies. That was from 1977, the heyday of the (apparent) trimming back of what we’d call the Deep State today. 🙂

        I would nominate “Apollo 13” as a great movie. I’m not sure how true to life it is. I’m pretty sure the essential facts of the space flight itself are reasonably accurate.

  15. There are 11 operating US military bases in Germany and about 38,600 troops stationed there. Are these facilities tied to the German power grid and affected by the dramatic energy price increases? Even if they supply their own energy needs the prices for electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel and JP-4 will still go up. What is the expected result? There are also US military bases in Italy and Belgium that will be affected.

    • Don’t fret, the US High Command has their global warming plan to fall back on.
      My understanding is that their diverse staff of strawnk whamen will fire up the KC-135 strato tankers and refill our fighter/ bomber fleet using solar panels or windmills or something. The mechanized hairdresser battalion will be powered by unicorn farts.

    • Is that really an issue? As the Zman explained, the US prints the money it needs. Keeping the lights on at German military bases isn’t even a rounding error on deficit spending.

  16. Europe could be energy independent in five years if we allowed fracking. Very cheap infrastructure and you can convert coal plants to gas in a few months.

    At the moment, Denmark is fulfilling its green commitments by burning rain forest – gathering firewood on an industrial scale by razing old growth in East Europe, USA and the Philippines and replacing it with monocultural tree-desert.

    • It should be added that there’s still plenty of gas in the Danish part of the North Sea, both untapped and in a couple of developed field with pipeline infrastructure in place.

      And still we burn forests to heat our homes, like cavemen. Soon, their leechcraft will have us crawling on all fours like beasts.

      • To be fair, if we tapped the natural gas that emanates from the beings of government ministers and assorted bureaucrats (both ends), I’d imagine we could even give up on the fusion pipe-dream.

      • Reminded me of when I found out “green” Britain was burning wood pellets imported from GA tree plantations and calling it “renewable” energy—technically true, but funny and retrograde.

        • It’s pure, Orwellian evil, as is almost all of what Greenpeace promotes.

          We spent decades re-foresting Europe, now they tell us burning trees is green? We already have plenty of farmland growing diesel, industrial tree farming is not going to make the world a greener place.

          • That is one thing we have the room to do here. And plenty of people have wood pellet stoves in the US. But even with good catalytic systems they still throw a lot of particulates.

          • It’s not about woodstoves – I have one myself. It’s about using wood pellets in power plants – a business model only made possible by carbon credits and subsidies.

            Someone quoted Planet of the Humans yesterday; it’s got a section about wood pellet production. It’s a Michael Moore movie so buyer beware, but he’s hitting at a lot of the right targets.

        • I don’t understand the point of pellet stoves. At least in the country, unlike a wood stove, you tie yourself to a corporate-produced, refined fuel source, when the raw material is plentiful.

          But Rural King and Tractor Supply sell pellet stoves and fuel. Probably easier to find them in the country than the city. *scratches head*

          Meanwhile, I have enough wood to heat my home for a couple years just from the trees taken down by the big ice storm last winter, and you can’t even tell the difference in my woods. If I had to turn them into pellets first, I’d be SOL.

        • And, I suspect, net energy negative, especially with the long trip for the pellets.

          It’s one of the dirty little secrets of many so-called renewables: In energy (and often, money) terms, usually it costs more to produce a unit of the “green” energy than one obtains from consuming it. Exceptions may exist. Ethanol from sugar cane (Brazil) was reported cost-effective. I’ve never read the same claim about Iowa’s corn.

          “Corn don’t grow on Rocky Top,
          The ground’s too rocky by far,
          I guess that’s why the folks on Rocky Top,
          Get their corn from a jar.” 😀
          — Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (writers)

          • Ethanol is pretty interesting from an economic standpoint. It used to be used in tractors as often as petrol, prior to WWII, and many farmers had stills on their farms to distill their own fuel, so it was once economically viable. I suspect it could be energy positive, but not with corn as the base. Sugar beets would probably be better, or cane sorghum. It might be viable if the input cost is zero (i.e. if the harvest “waste” was used as a ferment base). As far as powering automobiles, some research has indicated that car engines optimized for ethanol can obtain a fuel economy similar to petrol.

  17. Suffering consumers are a feature and not a bug. There remains some fear of revolt and revolution, however misplaced that is, hence America’s strategic oil reserve is depleted and the Europeans engage in Ponzi schemes to slightly norationing to consolidate power and to impoverish the masses.

    As counter-intuitive as it may be, my guess is Western governments will scapegoat the Greens (particularly in Europe) and try to redirect the rage there. There is just enough of a kernel of truth, particularly in Germany in regard to nuclear power, for it to work to a degree.

    Finally, just as we now have militarized and heavily armed government agencies, look for local utilities and providers to have the same. Again, the public has proved to be good serfs thus far, but TPB are terrified, nonetheless. It probably will take a decade or so of economic deprivation for that fear to be warranted. *

    *The possible exception as seemingly unrelated as it is, will be if the vaccines result in massive casualties. If that happens in a poor economic environment, those New Zealand bolt holes may become a good investment.

    • Ed Dowd has resurfaced claiming that excess deaths are up 84% among the young working age cohort, I think 18 to 49 years was the age range he cited. I wish I had more insight into his data.

      If people’s immune systems really are degraded by the jabs the coming flu season should be interesting.

      You’d think mass casualties would be deflationary, but I’d bet there are legions of people at key points in the supply chain and utilities industry that are all at risk because they were forced to top up with the gene juice.

      • Anecdote time. I was riding past a major electrical power distribution substation a few days ago and noticed a single employee of the utility company getting out of his pickup to do some form of maintenance or inspection. I actually stopped in order to clarify what I was seeing. I’m an old geezer relatively speaking, but this guy had to be in his 70s and could barely walk. And men like him, acting alone, are all that’s keeping these systems functioning. Where are the young bucks in the cue that will take over when COVID kills off these dinosaurs?

        • It’s a real problem. I know a lot of guys in key agricultural and utility positions that are aging out and with them will go a ton of knowledge and skill.

          We’re losing a lot of farmers to age out here. I heard the Amish are angling to buy up a huge chunk of farmland around me and I’m okay with that: at least they’ll keep farming it, and that will boost the local need for mechanics and parts supply (The Amish prohibition on modern farm equipment has more loopholes than Bubba Wallace’s garage.)

        • I can think of some confounding variables. People who work outside often “age” due to the elements (think of farmers you’ve known). Most utilities (I would think) have generous retirement benefits. Thus it’d seem improbable that a man long past retirement age, and disabled at that, would be still at work.

          Those doubts aside, I agree that sometimes the old are the only ones who know how stuff works and what to do. Even in my fairly insulated world here in mid-FL, I tend to concur. Socially I know a few men roughly my age (60s) who work blue collar. The guys who mow my lawn and that I hire for various jobs are indeed sometimes in 50s maybe even 60s; even the youngest appear in their 30s or 40s. So where are the men in their 20s? Good question. At home with the porn or the latest VR game, I’d guess.

      • Those numbers are still holding, though down a bit—there seems to be some fading of the immediate effects over time. But the population he’s looking at—group life programs—is probably the single population where confounding factors are largely absent. Prime working age people that are employed and have access to employer health insurance.—the life benefit is usually a “throw-in”. And while the increases in mortality are still a vanishingly small number, my actuary friends tell me this is the singly most predictable coverage and for decades has only had tiny “wobbles” in mortality rate—these changes are order of magnitude.

  18. It seems the only strategy of Western countries now is to find more and more convoluted ways to kick the can down the road for a couple of year. This, of course, started with the ’emergency’ need to drop the gold standard in the 1970’s.

    I remember Trump essentially saying at one point with regard to deficit spending he knew everything would come crashing down, and his only goal was to make sure it didn’t happen on his watch.

    • It’s all so tiresome, Chet.

      All I know is that things are going up. It is also obvious that my wage does not buy anywhere near as much fuel, electricity or even milk than it could a mere five years ago.

      Z Man mentions “futures” and “energy trading” – I understand none of it. It is all a continuation of the financial racket, make-work for the brainy and unscrupulous. And when it’s all smoke and mirrors, the grifters role in. And what do you get? Can-kickers in it for the good times, like you say.

      It’s not just grifter in private industry as we all know. The phenomenal lack of ability and Evil displayed by government ministers is also a factor. Some of the things these people say are incredible, they actually know nothing about things that require some knowledge.

      Tiresome indeed.

      • Futures do provide a mechanism to lock in prices. Originally developed around agricultural commodities and allowed farmers to hedge future income on crops ahead of harvest to cover immediate input costs. As with any financial instrument—it follows the “some is good, more is better” curve until it becomes pure speculation/manipulation utterly disconnected from the original purpose.

        • Heh.

          This was exactly the example given by Henry Hazlitt in his Economics in One Lesson, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I recall it making sense then, but what we have now, in so many areas, is indeed pure grift.

          Thanks for the reply though, it was informative and well put.

        • Futures are actually the oldest recorded financial contract. It was a farmer agreeing to sell his harvest to a baker in the fall at a predetermined price. Benefits both parties. It’s the introduction of (((intermediaries))) that fucks things up.

      • Forethought and planning ahead require an IQ of above also requires not spending your city/county budget on good times today, remember the grasshopper and the ants? What do you bet when Jackson Mississippi-ites can’t get water or power, they relocate to say, Boise?

        • The left wing idiots in Bose have an annual soul food festival every August ( yes, for real). Here is their mission statement:

          “The mission of the Boise Soul Food festival is to educate and grow the Boise African American culture for present and future generations.”

        • Hey friend, I have some level of inside knowledge on that matter. I moved to Jackson, MS in 1999 to work as an assistant pastor at a church. I only lived in Jackson proper until 2002, and then bought a house in a local suburb.
          Simply put, Jackson has but two neighborhoods with large numbers of white people; Fondren and Belhaven. These are all libs and “moderates” who like to live in Jackson so they can virtue signal about how they are “committed to their neighborhood and community”. I would put the number of these people at maybe 15,000.
          But Jackson’s current population is 150,000. And Jackson’s black population is entirely southern; absolutely zero percent have ever lived anywhere else or done anything else besides simply being black.
          There are people in Jackson who can’t tell you if Alabama is east or west of Mississippi. The neighborhoods around the governor’s mansion and the bus station look like something from Mogadishu.
          Long story short–the good-Whites of Jackson will stay in Mississippi, and the blacks of Jackson don’t have the money to move anywhere else.
          They don’t know where Boise is. However, the good-Whites of Los Angeles and San Francisco most certainly do know where Boise is, and they are selling their houses very soon and will be moving there in droves.

          • I watched part of a YouTube travelogue: I searched “Jackson Mississippi ghetto” and found a likely one. Yep, it does look rather decrepit. I’ve seen as bad on my travels, in places such as Baltimore. More often, and presumably not as dangerous as honky driving through the hood, is the forgotten small towns along the old US routes that declined often after the big interstate got built through.

            I didn’t watch the whole video. The white man narrating did mention that there’s a 30% poverty rate, and that the city has lost about 11% of its population in past ten years. I would bet money he doesn’t mention the races in the city, nor ponder why modest homes and businesses that (I assume) prospered until about the mid-20th century became decrepit, if not abandoned entirely. He does say parts of the city look like the third world.

            Many such blighted areas of America have one or two factors in common….it’s on the tip of my tongue….if only I could recall it…. 😀

          • “zero percent have ever lived anywhere else or done anything else besides simply being black.”

            Isn’t that a full time job?

  19. Going to be a lot of Europeans freezing to death this winter, mostly old white folks. Maybe that’s the point.

    • Read a thread by a South African who went over what to do. What was odd was he treated it as no big deal, as it became the new normal pretty quick.

      Truth is, most people will get used to the new impoverishment, and it will be a new social status game to tell everyone the sacrifices one is making. As one standard of living falls though, it becomes much more beneficial to form extra-legal agreements to circumvent the government, and people become much more open to bribery and other shenanigans when it becomes a question of not freezing at night versus just getting a bigger TV.

  20. One of my kids is over in Milan at the GasTech 2022 conference. From the texts I’ve gotten it’s been lit. The privately communicated take from the EU energy ministers is “Oh God we really fucked up”. He was in a meeting with the head of the Nigeria/Shell LNG JV yesterday that sounded like it was one long “Geoffrey Holder laugh” from start to finish. The major problem is there is insufficient shipping supply and off load terminal capacity in the EU for LNG. Not just the tankers, but the specialized FSRU ships that re-gasify the liquid (only 4 dozen in the world) And the Korean shipyard order books are full (they build the vast majority). His firm was only able to get commitment to 1 new tank vessel in the next three years. Domestically, we’re going to get crushed on pricing as gas diverts from domestic use (Henry Hub) to export and Dementia Joe is not allowing additional permits. I will chuckle a bit if it is a cold winter since the MA has traditionally used Russian LNG deliveries to the two buoys off Boston to fill the gap during cold snaps since NY won’t permit either drilling or new pipleline capacity. Freezing & starving people will tend to get a little sporky. Buckle up.

      • Hate to say it, but your governments signed up for the “gas monoculture” without a thought to an alternative if Putin decided “embargo”. If I were the German government would have given Dementia Joe the finger. But the Germans were warned, explicitly and in public about the risk.

        • If pedoJoe gave a flying fig the US would’ve very loudly cranked up natural gas production 6 months ago.

          Yeah, there are massive delivery problems. But the optics would be “we’re with Europe and have your back” vs. “good luck, hoping for a warm regards, pedoJoe”

          Europe needs to tell the US to get bent, but can’t. They’re infantalized. (And the US is trying hard to catch up)

        • Sami, your point well taken, but in response (I’m from US), are we any better?

          We have basically destroyed our manufacturing base by off shoring it to the Far East, especially China. And of course, having abundant fossil fuels in the ground, but not available to be readily used, is little better than Europe—isn’t it?

          • The only difference being with ample cheap energy supplies (potential) you can revive some of that manufacturing pretty quickly. If we do what we’re doing now and freeze exploration and production, while shipping a signficant portion overseas (look at an LNG export curve for last 15 years) then we’ll fuck ourselves. One thing we saw in the 2017-2020 period is we can ramp up pretty quickly. Europe, not so much.

      • Europeans have been content with being vassals of the United States for a long time. Of course, in good times it is great, the Empire shoulders the load on all the stuff that independent countries have to pay for, like an army, while you get nice high standards of living that comes from being connected with a powerful nation. In bad times, though, you are going to take the hit before the Capital does, and that is where we are at now. I mean, the leader of Germany, ostensibly the strongest European country, said that the Empire’s war comes before German citizens. You can’t get more blatant than that.

    • A joke from the 1980s. Jonas Savimbi a former Maoist trained gorilla Freedom Fighter is backed by the US government, trying to attack oil wells run by American Gulf oil, protected by Cuban troops, in Angola. (All true.)

      The punch line was ” if any of that makes sense to you, there is a good job waiting for you at the State Department”. I share the story because politics have not gotten any less surreal in the four decades since

  21. Our gas/electricity contract came to an end on the 31st of August. From now on we’ll be paying almost double. Last year the bill was £690.00 it has go up to almost £1300.00.

    • Heh.

      Our small complex is completely electric. No gas to be seen. The bill for the last seven months was 2,200 of our finest, debased and inflated British Sterling.

      Like I’ve been saying to my wife, it’s bad. But we’ve still got a way to go. And I’m actually all for a bit of hardship and struggle if it arises ‘naturally’ (whatever that means). But when it was pretty much to do with government incompetence and corporate greed and devilry, it’s rather tiresome.

      Oh well.

    • Don’t worry, your leaders are looking out for their people and their hearts are in the right place.

      No but seriously, I have family in England and will be thinking of them and all the sensible Brits this fall and winter. God give you strength.

      • “God give you strength.”

        Amen. He always does.

        A regular reading of The New Testament ought to get the discerning Christian mentally prepared for a substantially lower standard of living. It’s bad, for sure. But not a patch on some of torment and material lack experienced by The Christ’s early followers.

        Then again, the discerning Christian really ought to have already been prepared. Wise words of the Athonite Holy Fathers spring to mind…

  22. “This is not a new scheme. In the United States, something similar happened with cigarette taxes imposed after the tobacco settlement. States used the promise of more tax revenue in the future to create tobacco bonds. The buyer got a piece of the future tax revenue in exchange for cash today. Of course, those tax revenues did not materialize and the states took a bath.”

    Z, how much of that loss was due to human behavior modification?

    Government: “Smoking is bad and only bad people smoke”
    People: “Hmmm, maybe you’re right, smoking 🚬 is bad. We should stop.”
    Government: “We need money! Raise the sin taxes, especially on tobacco.”
    People: “I’m glad I stopped/never started smoking.”
    Government: “HEY! Where’s our money?!?”

    See also soda taxes.

    How you’ll wean people off keeping their homes warm and illuminated in winter will be interesting, but given the prevalence in searches for “firewood” in Germany, I have a guess.

    • I watch the Abroad in Japan channel on YT. A recent video showed that the Japanese are strongly urging young people to drink alcohol as the government’s income from alcohol sales has dropped significantly because young people aren’t as interested in drinking as previous generations.

      • Is it possible young people simply can’t afford to drink as heavily as prior generations?

        • Going to a bar to drink cuts into your time video gaming or watching hentai tentacle 🐙 porn. 🤣

          And as a guy you might, GASP 😮, meet a girl 👩🏻.

          And, have to talk to her. 😰

          Seriously though, it:

          – Could be economic as you say (“Need some green to make the scene” as Jim Carrey says in The Mask)
          – Could be social. As I recall part of the Salaryman lifestyle was going out and pounding drinks with your boss ’till he left/the bar tossed your drunken asses out. Maybe it’s a new generation saying “Forget THAT!”
          – Have Japanese demonized John Barleycorn/Demon Rum? Smoking was socially accepted, until it wasn’t and the proto-Karens banned it.

          Can’t speak for Japan, could be a lot of things we don’t see.

          • Well, it’s clear the hikkomori set don’t do the salaryman binge drinking.

            As for courting young women, that can also lead to a rapidly spiraling cost structure.

          • Go to the bar and spend 5 or 6 bucks on a beer:

            Get yelled at by liberals because pronouns
            Get yelled at by feminists because feelings
            Get yelled at by everyone because covid

            The women in the United States have been highly degraded. They do not want their own family and kids anymore, they want independence and a dead end corporate job that “means” something.

            Even if you did meet a half decent one at the bar, how are you going to afford to have kids? The price of a house? We’re slowly becoming Japanese because we refuse to reset the financial ledger because then current rich people wouldn’t be in charge anymore. We already have systems in place to do the bankruptcy, but you know we need the WEFS plan because that allows them to stay in charge. When you boil down all the nonsense, in the end its about power, like it always is.

          • I think atomization is partly to blame. Covid and smartphones have turned most people onto virtual hermits. Partly the modern world doing something or the other to turn people sexless. The Covid BS is still going on here, BTW. Granted, the masks are not legally mandated, but all the old farts are still scared of the ‘rona, and when the old folks are collectively scared everyone is supposed to be scared with them.

        • The handful of young Japanese I know aren’t doing worse than their parents did, but most of them have missed the (not sure how to phrase this) *habitual* transition to adulthood.

          A boy on his way home from school stops at the arcade; a man on his way home from work stops at the bar. Girls shop; women make. Boys read comics; men read history. Etc.

          The boys are staying boys. Not unrelatedly, the girls despise them. The sour grapes “social contagion” from America that tells girls they’re all asexual trannies is beginning to attach itself to that wound. Young people there aren’t as screwed up as American kids, yet, but they’re not casually out drinking together either.

          One friend’s son seems to have been permanently wrecked by Japan’s weirdly irrational belated covid clampdown. You can’t do adult things when you’re not allowed to do anything, and you can quickly get used to—mired in—the idea of never doing anything again. He used to be a busy musician. Now he orders food and watches the news.

          • Perhaps we have to many distractions.

            Has anyone ever read Neil Postman “amusing ourselves to death”?

            Also its more “profitable” to keep people in perpetually young adulthood if you think about it.

      • Alcohol and tobacco have been in decline for awhile. People still smoke a lot, but it’s nowhere near ’80s/’90s levels.

        • Wonder if such has much meaning, if one is just really trading one vice for another?

          For example, tobacco “smoking” down, but vaping up? Tobacco down, pot smoking up? Alcohol consumption down, pot smoking up? Alcohol consumption down, illicit drug use up?

          Whenever I hear of illicit drugs being seized, I ask the question—especially if there’s an LEO present, “What’s the street value/cost for such and such? Followed immediately by, “Has that price gone up or down in your opinion?”

          I have never heard a response saying the price of “whatever” has gone down.

      • “I think atomization is partly to blame.”

        Partly you are correct, but it goes deeper then that. People need to feel optimistic about the future to “invest” in it. And i for one haven’t felt that since at least the early 2000’s. When i was young every summer me and my brothers would work at the family autoparts store. The summer months of the store and winter months were exact opposites. In the summer you were never not moving, an order needed pulled, brakes and rotors came in on a bunch of pallets that needed checked in and put away, a delivery needed to be made. The winter months were just alot of standing around and less need for people. It feels like its been the winter months in the US (unless you were in some .gov favored industry) the last 20 odd years. Alot of people aren’t even aware enough to consciously know this, but their biology does 😉

        I also think it explains alot of the angst on the “left” that we see, deep down they know the easy fake system they’ve been riding on butt kissing and stupid credentials is coming to an end and they’re scared. And it doesn’t help that .gov keeps pouring fuel on the fire by saying its all maga’s fault.

    • There is going to be a lot of weirdness. For example, aluminum requires an enormous amount of electricity. Energy is a very high percentage of the price compared to other metals. That means some shift away from aluminum to other materials. This happened in the US during Covid when there was an aluminum shortage. Beer makers had to shift from cans to bottles, but that created problems in the glass market, which turned up in other consumer goods.

      • There is good reason bauxite smelting developed around hydropower in the Pacific Northwest. Aluminum is probably the one thing it makes sense to recycle—something like a 90% energy advantage.

        • Aluminum is one of the few metals that is easy and cheap to recycle. I think that a significant percentage of the aluminum market is recycled. Of course, recycling requires energy. I don’t have access to my notes on EROEI for new aluminum production vs. recycling, but I did buy Aluminum producers who also participate in the recylcling market as a small part of my plan to profit from the Green New Deal insanity.

          We aren’t going to stop this. The best we can do is position our finances to at a minimum, lose less than everyone else and at a maximum profit. I realized a while ago that getting angry about it is a waste. It is much more profitable to position your portfolio accordingly.

          The oil, gas and coal producers have already been re-rated in the past 18 months. There is still room to go for various factors including more sector rotation as growth is abandoned but the ponzi scheme of pension funds needing yield to stay solvent will be forced to rotate into real assets. There is probably significant share price lift ahead for this. The dividend yields are solid, and ESG will limit CapEx meaning the producers will just pay out dividends and buy back shares in response to the disincentives to invest in new projects that ESG and The Great Reset are creating. We thought the Bolsheviks did damage to Ukraine back in the day I fear that was just a quaint little warm up for what they are positioned and committed to doing today.

        • Spot on. Over the years I’ve read much to confirm, and nothing to refute what you said For many years, the only waste I recycle is aluminum.

          As with my energy comment elsewhere, this too is a dirty little secret of recycling: it rarely, if ever makes economic sense. If this were not true, then there would be more recycling.

      • Gas on the other hand is also required in chemical industry (fertilizers for example), which means more ripples throughout the markets. Even something as mundane as beer production is tied to natural gas (carbon dioxide).

      • Here is a real world example about glass, and the interconnectedness of things.

        We have always favored refrigerated Claussen dill pickles, a product of the Chicago area, which are marketed in screw top glass jars. In the middle of the Covid panic, suddenly they were not to be found at the market.

        One day, I decided to do some spadework as to why this was so. It developed that the production of the glass jars depended upon glass recycling in the Chicago area, and as the recycling efforts were crippled by various side effects of the Covid lunacy/panic, the company could not produce and distribute their superior products, at least not all the way over here in Southern New Jersey. Ultimately, as the lunacy expended itself, at least to some degree, the recycling began again, and these essential glass jars became available again. But the available variety of the product has still not recovered.

        This failure to fully recover may also have something to do with trucking, as the panic has now shifted to the Green Ramrod Up Our Asses making trucking way more expensive now.

        • A good capsule lesson in economics is Leonard Read’s famous “I, Pencil.” This essay demonstrates the dizzying complexity required to create such a mundane everyday finished good. Easily found via Google &c.

          Joke time. I can’t take credit, but as I recall it goes something like this. A citizen visits his local
          congressman’s field office and demands to know where his tax dollar goes.
          The aide smiles and says, “OK. In Pennsylvania there’s a road with a tollbooth.”
          “OK, so what?” asks the visitor.
          “And on the wall of tollbooth there’s a calendar.” says the aide.
          “And…?” asks the civilian.
          “And tied to that calendar is a pencil.”

  23. Excellent analysis.

    The US famously “floated to victory on an ocean of oil” in WWII.

    Guess the US and their lapdog satraps in Europe are going to try it this time on an “ocean of printed money”.

    It’s an interesting experiment.

      • “Eat the rich, eat the rich
        Don’t you know, life is a bitch?
        Eat the rich, eat the rich,
        Out of the palace, and into the ditch.”

        Lyrics from an 80s rocker by Krokus, but it occurs to me the refrain could well describe the consequences of giving up sound money.

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