Moray, couple for you to read... the Chris Cook article has proved spot on, just mentions Q2 in the article but in a comment on FTav he actually predicted late may to mid june. The guy is seriously in the know on this stuff.
Also this at Ftav from IK, in her "scarcity series"
Whole series from her is worth a read as well.
PS Tim Worstall doesn't recognise the concept of limits to growth ... http://tinyurl.com/6whr6zc
What a very strange thing to say. With a link to an article where I discuss limits to growth. Meaning that I obviously recognise the concept.
Further, I point out that there are obviously limits to physical growth.
I even point out that economic growth, while not facing those physical limits, is in fact limited by our ability to add value to limited resources.
In what way is a discussion of the limits to growth not recognising the concept of limits to growth?
One of the more thoughtful blogs on the implications: http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/.
Written from a "personal economics" point of view.
Maddison, yes, this is Malthusian growth. Advances show up as increases in population not increases in per capita GDP.
And yes, something very strange did happen around 1700. The Great Divergence (Greg Clark and Brad Delong are good on this).
"It appears to me the our early 21st century lifestyles are critically dependent on economic growth rates of several percentage points per annum; let's say between 2% - 5% per annum which must be sustained reliably. If we can't be sure of achieving this magnitude of economic growth (indefinitely?), I assume that even you would be unsettled, if not alarmed."
I'm deeply unconvinced that we are reliant upon such speedy growth. I think we'd like it if we can get it, sure. But I don't subscribe to the rather Marxist idea that capitalism must expand or die.
But the important part I think is here:
"Now if this is the case and mankind is struggling (now) to continue to unleash net energy on the scale achieved over, say, the past 150 - 200 years (the industrial age, give or take a few decades), then the idea that mankind can sustain industrial age rates of economic growth in to the future would seem to be flawed."
It's not net energy. It's the efficiency of resource (ie, all resources, not just energy) use. Technically, total factor productivity. If tfp rises then we can get economic growth, much the same argument I make in the linked piece.
But it's important to note that tfp is by far the largest contributor to economic growth. Bob Solow calculated that 80% of the 20th century's growth in the market economies came from tfp growth. Only 20% was explained by increased resource usage: and yes, that does include increased energy usage.
So, quite happy to agree that energy is a constraint upon economic growth. Just as scarcity of any resource is such. But it isn't use or availability of such resources which are the binding constraint. Not even the important constraint. That's tfp.
After all, who is really going to mind if the 21st century only produces 80% of the growth of the 20th? Living standards did rise by 8 times last century on the lowest possible estimate. Are people going to look back in 2100 and say, Oooooh, what a tragedy, only 6 times this century past?