This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Theory Beyond the Codes: tbc003 Date Published: 6/23/2010 www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=658 Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, Editors
THEORY BEYOND THE CODES
Oil and the Regime of Capitalism:
Questions to Philosophers of the Future
"What if the hegemony of the West was not, after all, defined by modern natural science and technology, enlightenment and individualism but by a one-time offering of coal, gas and oil?" The anthropological record suggests that, typically, in pre-modern and non-industrialized communities the foundation of meaning is not separate from the world of material income: utility objects are beautiful and beauty is purposeful. Contrary to this, industrial civilization has often been described as a divider of the world of values and tools, means and objectives, which, through calculated reason, extracts everything it can without actually knowing why or for what purpose. There is much truth in this bi-partition theory, but perhaps an even more disturbing picture of industrial civilization is obtained if it too is seen as a uniform culture that reveals the foundation of meaning through its utility objects. In places all around the globe, on land and in the sea, pipes protrude from beneath the ground, meandering towards enormous containers and networks of more pipes. Oil tankers and tank trucks haul acrid-smelling liquids further and further away to increasingly smaller containers and tanks, until the thin pipes end up in a pressure chamber where droplets split into gas are continuously combusted. What does this simultaneous foundation of meaning and for material life say about us? At the very least, it tells us that if it is the foundation we are blind to it, and the bi-partition theory is one form of blindness. Capitalism and the bottlenecks Let us examine two claims often presented about capitalism. According to the first claim, capitalism is an endlessly adaptive system and ideology. In an awkward way -- one that a revolutionary may almost loathe -- capitalism can adapt to any circumstances. It swallows
1 / 12
11/5/10 8:52 AM
Crisis is always crisis: and it can also lead to destruction. This is linked with a morphological observation concerning forms and sizes which is easiest to explain with an animal allegory. human psychosocial or biological environments can radically deteriorate without becoming impossible. For this reason. etc. and a society where one is rewarded for ownership and where capital must grow -. It can operate in many different climatic conditions. Revolt becomes commercialised and made into a product. and ethnic identity becomes commercial bric-a-brac. the fact that capitalism is a system that produces internal crises also demonstrates the claim that capitalism is fragile. big brother's extra-large trousers become hip-hop fashion. Supposedly. particularly in relation to environmental problems such as pollution and climate change. The counter-argument is that every concrete form of capitalism. however. of course. of an animal in the shape of a mouse: the mouse has thin legs. As long as it happens slowly enough.is. or something else along those lines. The parts and the proportions of the parts must change.CTheory. For the same reason. No single issue determines the fate of abstract capitalism. 2 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . beyond which man can no longer endure life under capitalism. every really existing capitalism -. transforming them into part of itself. cannot be any size. the contemporary complex capitalist system is not particularly flexible or strong. Every concrete capitalism is extremely frail at some point and in some way delimited by a morphological bottle-neck. an oblong body. undermining capitalism is difficult because of its ability to escape final grounding not only in any single issue but also in any complex of individual issues. or even biological limit. as well as secular. From this follows delicacy. extremely flexible and not dependent on any single value or social order. Its constitution would not function at that scale. its own crises. Our wager is that we can begin thinking about the future in opposition to these claims. More than once the last century demonstrated that the zero point of psycho-social conditions can be reached without provoking systemic breakdowns. and accommodate many different religious. The head would be too heavy. "Mouse-shapedness" cannot arbitrarily grow so that the proportions of all parts remain the same. The second claim is that negative limits can be set for capitalism. Let us think. There exist other animals that are roughly the same as a mouse. Likewise. It cannot continuously grow so that the proportions of different parts remain the same. for example. It is true that capitalism -. moments when it changes its preconditions. the system that prevails in Finland.ctheory.aspx?id=658 all forms of resistance. Indeed. environmental problems have no limit beyond which they become intolerable.for example. "Mouse-shaped". environments. such as the shrew and rat. and a psycho-social.net http://www. but is instead stiff and weak. At different moments and in different concrete forms of capitalism the bottleneck is different. namely scarcity. as an image of a system where there exists private property. the Nordic countries or northern Europe in general.is sufficiently concrete and consequently sensitive.net/printer. Marx emphasised that capitalism itself always produces crises. capitalism is a very fragile system. Secondly. a relatively large head with a long snout. capitalism reaches a crisis point. there is a physical limit to growth-oriented capitalism after which nature can no longer withstand the use. for instance the size of a dog or horse. the legs too thin. Indeed.as an abstract notion. Firstly. they can always become worse. or something even so abstract as Western capitalism -.
that present capitalism needs? Due to the frailty of capitalism. no water or sanitation. As long as change occurs slowly enough.CTheory. Davis tells about the single mother in the slum. China and Indonesia. Can one date the birth of present capitalism? One of the best indicators is the start of economic growth. who already lives in unbearable conditions. theoretical discourse concerning capitalism concerns this concrete capitalism and not abstract capitalism. having two jobs. Do we encounter a negative limit after which we no longer tolerate it? No. which is based on the principle of economic growth. and she will always endure.aspx?id=658 A second claim. There is no limit after which the slum mother can no longer bear it because the option of not bearing it does not exist. The era of fossil fuels and the motors and machines that utilise them is inseparable from economic growth and the bottleneck of present capitalism. is simultaneously related to the claim concerning life under a capitalist system. Latin America. live in slum conditions. For example. for instance. a philosophical claim: to a great extent. conditions will not likely appear so negative that people would not consent to accommodating themselves to their (capitalist) fate.net/printer. circumstances made worse. What are the preconditions -. one must concentrate on what is particular and concrete. where the point where the handle reaches the blade represents. necessarily needs raw materials. Rather. Is there a form of capitalism that does not need economic growth? That is already more debatable. Following these leads. according to which environmental problems. at the latest. even though such discourse is always aware of its own limited knowledge. What is this capitalism? Capitalism. is the poorest of the poor. Therefore. climate change and so forth have no limits. what this capitalism needs. the incipient economic growth had comparatively clear reasons and forms: coal and the steam engine. the electric motor and the combustion engine. we must take a closer look at present capitalism. What happens when one more child is born? The mother will bear it. but with no comforts. and globalization -. world trade. pollution. 3 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM .ctheory. The limit of capitalism must therefore be looked for from the positive side through morphological frailty. and in continuously increasing numbers. Economic growth is not a generally applicable or common phenomenon. where tens of millions of people. Roughly during the 1820s in Europe there began a long period of economic growth and increased production. which also corresponded with the growth in population: these are depicted by the famous "hockey stick" graph. India. like a mouse becomes a dog and a dog becomes an elephant. What about when the old and sick grandmother has to be taken care of? The mother will bear it because she has to. These metamorphoses are not the platonic phenomena of abstract capitalism but are instead directly attached to the movements of black raw materials.environmental prerequisites. Demands can always be increased. when Marx and Engels in Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) characterise capitalism as a system where "all that is solid melts into air and all that is holy is profaned"  the question then is about this concrete capitalism based on economic growth that has been fed with cheap fossil fuel energy. The same can be said for more widely based living conditions and the environment.though there do perhaps exist forms of capitalism that do not need. This capitalism changes with the economy of coal and oil.net http://www. the 1950s. oil and natural gas. free trade. world trade. In his book Planet of Slums  Mike Davis describes the mega-cities of Africa. raw material prerequisites -.
Both Marxists and anti-Marxists have had much to say about how a new labour force is created by turning people into paid labour. Oil is a non-renewable natural resource. The question. is the lack of abundant. oil does work. as we know today. This is already in itself an interesting fact about the "transparent market economy": the market economy itself hides the basis for its continuity as a side product of its own actions. Fossil fuel or energy in general have. First of all. "produced". M. for example. In his autobiography. "the ability to work": when burned and manipulated. What is decisive is the bottleneck question: when does the sufficiently cheap. Production can be increased in two ways.net http://www. by doing more work or by doing the same tasks more efficiently. Fidel Castro makes the crucial observation: "Marx thought that the limit on the development of wealth lay in the social system. In the same way as the stock market can act only under the circumstances of 4 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . according to the definition in physics.Lenin had his motto "socialism = electricity + the power of the soviets". the so-called "Special Period" after the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the decades-long US embargo have. It is discovered.net/printer. The history of contemporary capitalism is the history of both these branches: efficiency is increased by the division of labour. speaking with Ignacio Ramonet about the environmental disaster. Yet surprisingly little has been said precisely about the increase of non-human labour. King Hubbert. more productively. for many reasons. who pay attention at the ground level to the concrete forms of production and their conditions. cheap oil. The use of oil as energy is. concerning when oil completely runs out is not particularly interesting. the starting points are obscure because the oil producing countries and oil companies have many reasons to keep the estimates for oil production and the resources a secret or to distort them. been relatively little discussed in Marxist theory. run out? Oil may "always" be available somewhere at some price but the point where it starts to hurt. however. made energy a prominent topic for political thought. and which ones are necessary? In the 1950s. of work."  Let's think.  The calculations regarding availability and sufficiency of oil are. without a doubt. "Non-renewable" means that as oil is used it runs out.but not necessarily the limitations to productivism caused by the finite nature of fossil fuels. one consequence of which was the oil crisis of the 1970s. Oil is not "man-made". In Cuba. a geologist working for the Shell company. however. which subsequently proved correct. extracted and then used. Cuba and Latin American countries may provide the crucial exceptions to this pattern. virtually secret. of course. even though the term is generally in use.CTheory.ctheory. however. Scientifically peer-reviewed information about oil quantities simply does not exist. predicted that oil production in the USA would reach its peak in 1970.aspx?id=658 Oil dependency and the oil peak Oil dependency means that the present capitalism needs cheap oil. At the same time. technology and automation. The question becomes philosophical when we remember that the Marxist theoreticians describe themselves as materialists. Famous Marxist political leaders certainly realised the importance of energy -. Oil is not. Stalin began his career by organizing strikes and blockades in the Baku oil fields -. not in natural resources. Which factors in this capitalist system depend upon the amount of easy and cheap non-human labour? Which of these dependencies are arbitrary. specialization. and its morphological effects. easy oil that can be pumped in large amounts. also more work is carried out: human work and non-human work powered by energy.
bags. geologically. it is estimated that the largest oil deposits began to form about 400 million years ago (the human species is about 200. Hubbert predicted that peak production for the entire world would occur in around the 1980s and 1990s. low-sulphur.000 years old. And in recent times it has been discovered that it is possible to make almost anything from it: microphones. Even when trying to describe oil in a soberly natural-scientific way -chemically. Production followed the curve of the (total) amount of discovered oil with a delay of about 10 years. EROEI. heavy. walls. lyrical. in 1859). When the output indicators of individual oil wells are added together we still get a bell curve -. passed its peak in 1999.  The discovery of new oil reserves have decreased for decades and a large number of oil producing nations have already passed their oil producing peak. it is also possible to estimate the peak point and decrease in production with the help of the bell curve.aspx?id=658 unfree and unbalanced information. This is represented by a bell curve. Generally. Pennsylvania. Already then the number of discoveries was declining. There are many different ways. Production increases.ctheory. The formation of the hydro-carbon chains of oil required an unimaginably long period of time.net http://www. Hubbert's first estimate from 1956 was based on the idea of how much oil reserves there were in the USA (adding together the already produced oil. His methods and starting points have subsequently been made more precise. One of the oldest known oil properties is that it burns. Depending on the different lengths of chains and adjacent impurities. and so on. artificial joints.  A natural scientist would say that oil consists of long hydro-carbon chains. of assessing the situation.net/printer. The (total) amount of oil discovered per drilled million feet decreased exponentially. high-sulphur. computer parts. the combustion engine of this capitalism can only keep running if the fuel gauge is unreliable. and after that slid into an oil importing country at the beginning of the 21st century. however. the known resources and the assumption of still to be found oil wells). which thanks to the oil discovered in the North Sea in the 1970s became an important oil exporter in the 1980s. crude oil is classified as light. floor planks. anticipating future decreases in production.CTheory. A good example is the UK.a much bigger one. reaches its peak and then decreases. or does the cake grow by eating it? Oil is a quite incredible. medicines. and so on. plates. Hydro-carbon chains are interesting chemically: they are difficult to manufacture. Hubbert's classic calculation was based on a simple observation: the production of a single oil well can be described roughly with the help of the Gauss curve. Hubbert's second method used as its starting point a curve that included the amount of oil discovered. metaphysical substance. Of course a curve describing production is not totally symmetrical. a substance from which you can form anything you desire -albeit not gold.  When the amount of total reserves as well as the rise in production are known. making them requires a lot of effort and energy. and they have many beautiful properties. where the highest point represents the moment of peak production (peak oil or Hubbert's peak). Hubbert also calculated the time of the peak using a third method based on the assessment of the success of oil exploration: how much oil has been discovered when 10 million feet has been drilled in exploration. In a way long hydro-carbon chains are the alchemist's dream. the first oil rig was built in Titusville. paleobiologically -. fertiliser. but the basic assessments have remained the same.one ends up almost inevitably with ecstatic 5 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM .
If all this work were carried out with human labour.e. Contained in a cubic mile of oil is an enormous amount of energy. Would there be enough steel. in other words. a state of negative EROEI cannot last long. its day is likely to flip to the negative side of the EROEI calculation. one could consider what it would mean to build 2500 new nuclear power plants. "preserved sun".net http://www.CTheory. The matter in itself is simple. If the frost condition is severe. 104 coal-fired power plants of 500 megawatts would be needed to operate for 50 years (or 5200 such plants for one year). The capercaillie in the wintry forest needs energy to keep warm.. In the same vein. Similarly. Nobody is prepared to calculate how much carbon-dioxide emissions that would create. Energy-wise. it would have been better for the bird to have remained in its snow shelter. Obviously. money. but if it is smaller we get a loss. not an impossibly large mass. how much heating energy is obtained when firewood is chopped for a couple of hours). in other words. in the 21st century global consumption has been about 85 million barrels per day. Realistically. Energy is obtained by eating spruce needles. time. "Energy Return on Energy Invested". to fill a barrel with oil. how much potential additional energy is acquired by doing some actual amount of work (e. concrete. for digestion.ctheory. If in 2005 there were 6. if 2500 Olkiluoto nuclear power plants would operate continuously for one year). how much work must be done. The enormity can be further illustrated by transforming these issues into human labour -these transformations are.net/printer. Again. The same amount of energy would be obtained if 50 nuclear power plants of the type at Olkiluoto in Finland would produce electricity continuously for 50 years (or put differently. Only the sun exceeds oil in energy amounts. the ability to carry out work.g. one can assume that a typical Westerner has tens of "oil slaves" in his service.  Correspondingly. EROEI measures how much energy is required when a certain amount of energy is used. Because the energy increase has not been spread evenly around the globe. EROEI is not the same as thermal efficiency. The gauge of the enormous work ability of oil is also accounted for with a ratio called EROEI. If the number is greater than 1 we get an "energy profit". Here is a view into the cruel beauty of oil: a cubic mile is. Fossil fuel. is the amount of work greater or smaller than the energy contained in a barrel of oil? EROEI is calculated by dividing the amount of energy gained by the energy expended.aspx?id=658 and mystic visions.65 terawatts. Let us presume that one human can work with an efficiency of 100 watts. etc. It is estimated that the energy consumption of the entire world in 2005 was 15 terrawatts. an example from the animal kingdom will help to illustrate. EROEI could be seen as the thermal efficiency of energy acquisition work: i. So now we return to the bottleneck of capitalism when studying the best oil and gas 6 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . In one year approximately one cubic mile of oil is used globally. after all. for example. and oil is. which measures how large an amount of the used energy goes towards the intended purpose and how much goes wasted as heat. the bird will need to fly far to obtain sustenance..5 billion people on the planet their total annual work efficiency (maximally) was 0.  Out of this roughly 13 terawatts was accounted for by fossil fuels.  but the energy it creates is virtually stellar. gave each person a 20-fold work increase (and other types of energy about a triple increase). of course. naturally. and maybe a little bit for growth and renewal. a mere play of ideas and contain simplifications and unsubstantiated assumptions. uranium. At the most. 20 times more labour would be needed in the world. to move about.
mutation. Virtually free -. natural science and technology.aspx?id=658 fields. If many generally applicable observations of political economy science are concerned not with abstract capitalism (or socialism)  but rather the uniquely oil-injected capitalism. and unique in the sense that the gift has soon been used up. with the work of one oil barrel one would have gotten 100 new barrels of oil. From the same black spot slither out also horrific tentacles.  Maybe it is possible to believe such claims when one remembers how in old films oil is shown spurting from the ground. under 50. from the EROEI perspective. inevitably. Farming with tractors.energy spurting out from the ground: herein lies the material and mystical foundation of growth-oriented capitalism. after all. then could the same category error be evident also in some critiques of modernism. in other words. Billions of people have taken up and been born into paid labour instead of life.net http://www. The oil of the high EROEI is the pulse of the economy but. The capitalist and socialist economic systems of the last century received a unique gift. From uniqueness follows. radiation. enlightenment and individualism but by a one-time offering of coal.net/printer. oil can indeed be found directly under the surface. tells a joke. As mentioned earlier. further questions. According to the most optimistic claims. These most easily discovered and productive oil fields are naturally used up first. the work carried out by this extra energy is ten times larger in comparison to human work.CTheory. At one point in the film.  We eat tons of fossil-fuels. But at the same time the best energy sources of all time have been bled dry.ctheory..or at least manifold rewarding -. combine harvesters. to employ a different metaphor. It is mystical because it masks its existence so that neither capitalist nor anti-capitalist theory refers to it when explaining economic growth and changes in the economic systems over the last 150 years.and have not once been exported -.. From this obviously follows economic growth. which have an EROEI ratio in the tens. Worst of all is how dependent the post-green revolution intensive farming is on the high EROEI oil. Eventually others ask for his 7 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . At its easiest. the sympathetic character Jasper (played by Michael Caine). the EROEI of some oil fields would have been even over 100. From the Bottleneck to Tate In Alfonso Cuaró's film Children of Men (2006) people in the year 2027 are living in a dystopian world where no children have been born since 2009. technology or the Western lifestyle? What if the hegemony of the West was not. and artificial fertilisers made from natural gas are not "primary production" but. enlightenment and individualism cannot be exported -. gas and oil? As is well known. The stored solar energy of countless ancient years has been used up in mere moments.without also exporting and using coal. who was apparently modelled on John Lennon. In the corner sits an Englishman who does not participate in the discussion but gorges himself on the conference food. All the geniuses of the world have been gathered together in a conference that tries to establish the cause for the infertility: chemicals. defined by modern natural science and technology. it also produces a blind spot in the middle of the theoretical analysis of growth. a way to consume energy. The Catholic faith needed only coal and wind. gas and oil. Division of labour and technological development have raised productivity. if not even under 20. and the EROEI of the fields in present production is well under 100. unique in the sense that there is only one gift.
What about the final disposal of the waste? For what period of time? And what about the power grid. in other words. From then onwards. in 2009 almost 70 dollars a barrel).ctheory. accumulators.  Roughly the same applies to all so-called alternative energy sources. the unrenewability of oil. It is possible that there exists an unknown limit for what the EROEI of the energy economy must be so that this capitalism can function.. The recession that we are currently living in is the first one of its kind since 8 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . When descending along the down slope of the bell curve.. The increase of energy no longer functioned as a motor for economic growth.deeper under the sea. The new and already productive oil wells are increasingly in more difficult locations -. and the time of sustained industrial economic growth and the very cheapest oil has passed. if not asphalt-like stone. -. "Why is there continuously less energy left over?" "I don't know. And the waning of cheap oil is one reason for the increase in costs for the continuous taking of loans. and they themselves produce energy with a much lower EROEI.net/printer. particularly not nuclear energy. the price of oil went up from the 2001 level (20-30 dollars a barrel) to the crazy price peak of 2008 (at its highest almost 150 dollars a barrel. No known energy source can even get close to the EROEI figures of the best oil fields (coal comes closest).? What about the training required for experts in nuclear power? In any case. Besides the Export Land Model (see footnote 6).aspx?id=658 opinion on why "we can't make babies anymore?" And he replies. Since 2003 the oil consumption of the OECD countries has been on a slight decline. US economic growth has been reliant on debt. etc.  One part of the ongoing crisis is that the summit of the bell curve has already been passed. What should be taken into account when calculating the EROEI of.CTheory. These two trends together describe. nuclear energy? Building the power plant itself surely.and contain crude oil of an increasingly inferior quality. which are really a tar-like substance. How far down the slope are we now? Nobody knows. The peak moment of global oil production was somewhere around the summer of 2005. but in any case it has come so far that production cannot be compared to what it was in 2005. The ending of the energy excess is one reason for the increase in the number of loans. "I haven't the faintest idea. amidst the lost growth shines the black light of the oil well. the number of energy slaves goes down rapidly with diminishing EROEI. but come here and have a look at what kind of solar panel we built. transformers.  In the beginning of the 1980s the energy consumption per capita in the USA ceased to grow. Not a single nuclear power plant has been built without a considerable consumption of fossil fuel. an increasingly smaller part of energy is in the service of the rest of the economy. it is steepened by the decrease of the EROEI of the producing oil wells. for example. with the help of the law of demand. such as the famous "oil sands" of Canada. Their planning.. Correspondingly. even though the price of oil multiplied in a few years production (or consumption) did not go up. as well as quarrying the uranium and transport.. the EROEI calculation of which may be less than one. as it had during the whole time since the 1860s. with the exception of the 1970s.net http://www. an increasingly larger part of the economy must be directed at energy production." Nobody knows the steepness of the down-slope of the bell curve. construction and maintenance requires considerable amounts of high EROEI fossil fuels. but this stork is quite tasty isn't he?" Calculating the EROEI of different forms of energy is not easy if indeed possible at all. The financial crisis and the oil crisis are closely linked.
it pushes a wedge between consumers and producers. but was it itself a result of the high EROEI ratio of fossil fuels? Lasse Nordlund  has shown in experiments that in the living conditions of eastern Finland an adult can feed himself by using a 400m² area of farming land.which are based on the idea that fossil fuel driven economic growth has nothing essential to do with them -. And finally to the beginning The first conclusion in this situation is somewhat self-evident. uniquely high EROEI of large oil wells.ctheory. economic growth will in the future be local and short term. then the future possibilities for an economy that continuously has to grow (in other words this capitalism) seem weak. Consequently. and becoming tool and technology dependent. According to Nordlund's calculation. 9 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . that too is a fault of the decreasing EROEI. only a technological miracle can save continuous growth and technological novelty cannot be anticipated a priori. Also. If this is the case.aspx?id=658 the Second World War. Nordlund is suspicious not only towards animal husbandry but also towards metal tools. technology. then the claim that modern prosperity is mainly the effect of improved technology and specialization. In fact. because in a self-reliant economy they are easily more trouble than they are worth. new drilling projects are put on hold and productive oil wells are abandoned. Instead of the law of demand putting things in order. Empirically. If economic growth is based on more work  (in terms of either amount or productivity) and if the EROEI of all known energy sources is considerably weaker than the EROEI of the oil fields that have already been used up or are now in production. The invisible hand has a harder time under the conditions of a shrinking or stagnant economy. modernism and individualism? If it means something significant at all. 'The invisible hand' may be one of those thought experiments that only work in a capitalism into which one can continuously feed more cheap energy. we see that all methods of energy production in use are based on rather old technology and science (the first versions of solar panels are from the end of the 1800s. this requires about 4 hours of work a day divided evenly throughout the whole year.net/printer. barring ground-breaking new energy technology such as cold fusion. as well as additionally picking mushrooms and berries in the surrounding forest. What does the continuous shrinking of the economy mean for science. Division of labour is surely one of the reasons for economic growth during the last 150 years. When the price of oil per barrel is simultaneously too high for the consumer and too low for the producer. we have to realise that many of the theories concerning these phenomena -.turn out to be limited and maybe even unfounded. the famous invisible hand cannot optimally use up resources.CTheory. in the era of "negative growth" division of labour as a cause of prosperity becomes suspect. at least according to two gauges: for the first time the world's economic production is decreasing and for the first time the number of miles driven by car is decreasing.net http://www. From this viewpoint. Does this promise fast breakthroughs or rather the opposite? In any case. explicitly require a continuous feed of excess energy. the invisible hand masks the resource while at the same time there is a shortage. It is possible that an important part of the specialization and technologization of the modern world is dependent on and caused by the magnificent. the modern versions form the 1940s and nuclear power from roughly the same decade). has to be revised. Due to the present crisis. specialization.
Castro also speculates that the reason for the low fuel efficiency of Soviet cars was based on the fact that the Soviets got more than enough gasoline (petrol) as a by-product of their massive production of heavy fuel.aspx?id=658 Emphasis on economic growth. which is under the US Ministry of Defence.  In the calculations for the oil peak. Consultant companies and oil companies have real time information that is not published or is only available at a 10 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . http://www. the estimation of future finds is usually taken into account. The assessments of EIA and IEA on production and consumption are published with a delay of a couple of months or sometimes even years. economists. easy access. Also. An individual find would have to be the largest and most easily accessible of all time for it to considerably effect the time of the oil peak. Half full: talk about the end of history and other cultural saturation should be forgotten.net http://www.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index. A culture that is not aware of its own basic prerequisites can be called not only blind but also nihilistic.  There are two central public organisations for monitoring oil production.net/printer. the reliability of the assessments has been questioned. Planet of Slums (London: Verso. the claim sometimes presented that some new find will overthrow the oil peak theory is erroneous. then our glass is both half empty and half full. ibid.  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.marxists. Even a large part of philosophy can be started again from the beginning.guardian.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/peakoil-international-energy-agency2009 (accessed 18 June 2010). and have incorporated this blind spot into almost all our thinking concerning modern economy. 357.. "Key oil figures were distorted by US pressure. as reported in November 2009 in the Guardian by Terry Macalister. most recently by an anonymous whistleblower from inside the IEA. for agriculture. Therefore it is perhaps not surprising that an ideological blindness to the basis of economic growth has been widespread. the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It is this second condition. industry and the military. The Last Oil Shock (London: John Murray. Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) http://www. with Ignacio Ramonet. says whistleblower". 355.CTheory.e. economic growth based on high EROEI fossil fuels) is universal. Half empty in that not many philosophers. where the unknown is fully equivocal. 2008). Interestingly. 2008).. politics and technology. such as diesel. 36-56.co.  Fidel Castro. Notes ------------------ Mike Davis.htm (accessed on 18 June 2010). that seems impossible to fulfill. and the International Energy Agency (IEA). We have arrived in an uncharted region. critics of modernism or social thinkers have said a rational word about the future where the economy shrinks year after year. If many socio-philosophical ideas have unknowingly been based on the assumption that a unique and in some sense arbitrary phenomenon (i.  On Hubbert's calculations see David Strahan. My Life (London: Penguin.ctheory. technology and efficiency have characterised the major part of the political thinking of the last century. 2006). For this reason.
ieee.whether economic or engineering science -. the recession.net http://www.S.aspx?id=658 price. The information is compiled and assessed on many different internet sites. the right side of the bell curve. including Wikipedia (e. when price goes up.spiegel. that is. and so forth.de/?id=12&xid=1848&kapitel=43& cHash=925ba3ce332 (accessed 18 June 2010) written in 1903 by Gustav Meyrink. Quads -. in the producer countries consumption of oil goes up.com). the growth period. environmental activists. This is because the producer countries' own consumption increases (as they get richer) at the same time as their production decreases.g. In this way it is possible to estimate.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/grace-20070320. BTUs. NASA. 23 March 2007. Presentation at the ASPO-US conference.ppt (accessed 14 October 2009).edu/efb/hall/talks/EROI6a.org/wiki/Cubic_mile_of_oil (accessed 18 June 2010). prophets of doom -. counting (on the basis of satellite photos) how many oil tankers pass through the Strait of Hormuz at a certain time period.  For EROEI figures see.wikipedia. Often. http://spectrum.  Correspondingly.net/printer.ctheory.org/wiki/Oil_megaprojects). 83.discuss oil news.Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" IEEE Spectrum. Hall and Cutler Cleveland. 11 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . for example. See also the devastatingly prophetic text Petroleum Petroleum. for example. Therefore the best public assessments are compiled by various peer groups and independent researchers and journalists. Networks exist that gather information from several sources. Charles A.CTheory. 2008). MA: MIT Press. "Gravity Measurements Help Melt Ice Mysteries". 10 October 2005. According to the ELM model. http://en. but the correspondences have also with good reason been criticised. http://en. which otherwise is a closely guarded secret.  Vaclav Smil. There is thus less oil for export than what one might expect based merely on geological depletion.  It is estimated that the glaciers of Greenland lost 36-60 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2006. will be much steeper than the left edge. geologists. http://www. for example.html. "Joules. http://www. 2008) where one of the themes is the blind but necessary infestation that oil exerts. http://gutenberg. the oil production of Saudi Arabia. "EROI: Definition.oil engineers.  The cube model and its energy correspondences have been developed to illustrate oil use. Even such a simple thing has had to be invented outside the "official" economic science and research because the public information and research concerning oil is rather limited and basic. (accessed 14 October 2009). where professionals and amateurs in different fields -. History and Future Implications".wikipedia.theoildrum. Global Catastrophes and Trends (Cambridge.org/energy/fossilfuels/joules-btus-quadslets-call-the-whole-thing-off (accessed 14 October 2009) and the Wikipedia entry "Cubic mile of oil". or how much oil drilling equipment has been ordered recently. for example. The metaphysical and mystical character of oil is beautifully exposed in Reza Negarestani's Cyclonopedia (Melbourne: Re-press. A good example of the oddities of the "scientific" information concerning oil -. some of the best descriptions of the world-historic relevance of oil are literary. that is.esf. about a man-made oil-leak in the Gulf of Mexico.nasa. See. Harry Goldstein and William Sweet. investors.is the so-called Export Land Model (ELM). ELM has been developed on the Internet site "The Oil Drum" (http://www. January 2007.
greenpeace. See. Reflections about Human Labour. Energies 2009. http://www.net/printer.  The calculated and reported economic growth can also be based on. for example. The Foundations of Our Life. the amount of food corresponding to the energy of 1 barrel of oil is achieved. for example. ---------------Translation from Finnish: Kristina Kölhi and Gareth Griffiths.  The widespread collapse of the economy could possibly lower the price of oil back to a level of 20 dollars a barrel. 6 October 2009.ctheory. Greenpeace. "Peak Oil and the Necessity of Transitioning to Regenerative Agriculture".1. taking loans. (Gothenburg: ArtMonitor 2005).Europe".  Experts have presented estimates varying between 5 and 50. S. The collapse would.energybulletin.  Lasse Nordlund. 12 / 12 11/5/10 8:52 AM . "Mafia Links to Toxic Waste Trade . 25-47. in the style of the Italian mafia. http://www. in other words.  The only non-labour intensive way of getting rid of nuclear waste is probably to dump it in the sea. Charles A. Energy Bulletin. for example. for example. See. Hall. 2008). in itself.CTheory. 2. by using the energy of ten barrels of oil. doi:10. "What is the Minimum EROI that a Sustainable Society Must Have?". http://archive.net/50316 (accessed 14 October 2009).com/1996-1073/2/1/25/pdf (accessed 18 June 2010). Reynolds.org/majordomo/index-pressreleases/1997/msg00375.  It has been suggested that the passing of the oil peak in 1987 was a contributing reason to the collapse of the Soviet Union.energybulletin. See. "Peak Oil and the Fall of the Soviet Union". He teaches interactive media and philosophy at the University of Tampere and is an editor of the philosophical journal niin & näin.html (accessed 18 June 2010). Chad Hellwinckel and Daniel De La Torre Ugarte. Stephen Balogh and David J. be the end of this capitalism. R. Most recently he has published the books Wikiworld with Juha Suoranta.3390/en20100025. Energy Bulletin.mdpi. Money and Energy from Self-Sufficiency Standpoint (New Delhi: SADED. Douglas B. For these no or minimal additional labour would be needed.aspx?id=658  Calculating the EROEI figure for mechanised modern agriculture is difficult and depends on many details.net/node/19837 (accessed 14 October 2009). printing new money or the rise of the value of stock shares. It is often stated that its EROEI figure would be approximately 0. for example.net http://www. 28 August 2006. Murphy. Tere Vadén is a philosopher living in Tampere. See. Finland. (London: Pluto Press 2010) and Artistic Research with Mika Hannula and Juha Suoranta. http://www.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.