A New Year’s wish, for the true celebration

I wish we could talk about it, in the dark somewhere preferably, to avoid being vilified by the bullying that mysteriously appears to enforce the silence,… and prevent our true celebration of life on an interconnected planet…

new year's celebration

There’s a remarkable pattern of historic scientific breakthroughs concerning how we fit into earth’s energy budget, that were deliberately discredited by social attacks. Pejorative gossip has been used to fight otherwise clear and valuable insights, over and over.

It’s useful to look why it is socially unacceptable to see how we fit into earth’s energy budget. It seems to point to exactly what people, mistakenly, think they’re avoiding, and find so objectionable. Continue reading A New Year’s wish, for the true celebration

Complexity too great to follow what’s happening… ??

I’ve been discussing since the 70’d how and why growth creates growing complexity and so growing difficulty of problem solving, as a natural physical limit of growth for systems with physical working parts of any kind.  A a discussion of the signs to look)  It’s both a real concern as a threat to the health of an economic growth system, and good proof that the natural world functions very differently than a conceptual model.  It led to my proposing a whole new set of scientific methods for how science can study natural systems in their own form, as forms of natural organization not concepts.

1970 marked the sudden end of steadily growing  US wages, and the start of ever growing wealth inequity. “Information overload” as a threat to societal resilience was becoming a key topic of discussion as computers emerged as our premiere business tools

Was that how the economy changed behavior, as humans began to be replaced by technology as things got too complex?

Below this discussion of the general problem is the blog comment from 9/3/2012 observing the strangely logical connection of the emergence of computers as a (false) solution for the ever more numbing complexity of our lives.

A follow-up Sept 7 2012 post Computers taking over our jobs and our pay? explores a fairly reasonable cause for the systemic decline in demand for the products people produce, that the computers making them don’t buy them…


Here’s a graph of the use of the word “complex“, as found in books scanned by Google. It seems to show a distinct end to the long historic growth of interest in complexity, apparently in pace with the increasing complexity of the economy.   The complexity of all our life issues, as well as demands of education, etc. have similarly increased with the growth of the economy, but only up to ~1963.

growing complexity, then shrinking interest

Google’s Ngram tool shows steady exponential growth in the use “complex” beginning in ~1840 and continuing to ~1963, where there’s a distinct growth “inflection point” (curvature reversal) in the trend.  The clear end of increasing use of the word is a little mysterious.

The 1960’s, of course, coincided with the actual time when the complexity of the economy’s environmental conflicts, the emergence of computer use, and the rise of true globalization were noticeably exploding the complexity of things…  That is also directly implied by the continuing explosive growth in real GDP, as shown in the combined graph below.

That divergence between the two trends would seem to imply that a very large gap, between the real complexity of our experience and our cultural awareness of it, began for some reason to grow faster and faster at that time.  It seems to have starting in the early 1960’s and to continue!

Is that really “the mark” of information overload?

The combined data implies a subculture developed increasingly intense awareness of what was going on, as the rest of the culture stopped being able to focus on it. Continue reading Complexity too great to follow what’s happening… ??

Where our (and nature’s) good jobs went…

Ever increasing investment in ever more competitive replacements took them.

Productive people get that way by actively learning how to be ever more productive… a process of feedback. Feedbacks start by accelerating… till they run into problems that slow them down.

Those who keep learning fast a little longer can then undermine everyone and everything else.

Earth development, has a natural plan. Continue reading Where our (and nature’s) good jobs went…


After getting the two research papers (1) that came from it through peer review, I updated the research notes page they came from, How to understand your Dollarshadow


The reality is that every dollar is, on average, responsible for 1 equal share of the wealth and consequences of the whole world economy.   So earning or spending a dollar earns you a share of all the accumulating consequences for the earth that use of the economy causes.

That turns out to be much less “hyperbole” and more an “accurate measurement”, than we are normally aware of.    There are some very simple statistical reasons, having to do with world GDP/person being the world average consumption of all people.

an $8 glass of wine, also actually buys you 8 pounds of CO2

The data and calculations are quite clearly illustrated on the Dollarshadow page now.  You might find it a little extreme, that every $8 glass of wine or other consumption, unexpectedly, also buys you an added 8 pounds of CO2, to stay in the atmosphere for a couple hundred years.   It would be a quite natural reaction.

That is a true measure of the scale of direct impacts of the economy that we’ve been missing.

Continue reading Dollarshadow…

In a nut shell, what’s wrong with our world

Read my site (& your world…) with some of these questions in mind
it could help


People get into trouble with believing the stories we make up for ourselves.  It’s so easy because consciousness presents them to us as fact.   If we then get attached to our stories we find it hard to change them as new facts have to be added.

It may then be embarrassing, and need to be worked out with others who also agreed with them.

To change that we’d need to stop being embarrassed about asking the “dumb questions” about things left unexplained. That hesitancy to question “the story” seems to be what allows them to diverge ever further from the truth.

It seems to be why in a world of interesting and caring people, as individuals, we develop ideologies that so sharply conflict with each other and with the nature of the world we live in. It’s quite hard to get to the truth when people are embarrassed to mention it, and we become socially committed to lots of conflicting stories. Continue reading In a nut shell, what’s wrong with our world

Why finance has a bigger appetite than the earth

Earth Bubble


The whole general story of how the economy works now, and how it needs to.

Finance starts with someone’s savings, and “makes” money by money managers giving some to other people with the understanding they will give more back. The borrower is left to find a way to use the earth to make more back from it, by any practical means available to them. Continue reading Why finance has a bigger appetite than the earth

At Thanksgiving, unexpected bounty – Peak Zucchini

And to repeat, here’s my little tale of unexpected bounty, that takes on new colors and meanings every year, as our world rapidly changes. Peak Zucchini

My favorite zucchini recipe at the moment is to split them lengthwise, grill and then turn them over to cover them with stuff… chopped sundried tomatoes, pesto, strong cheese, oregano, onion and garlic salt..shredded fresh basil or whatever you have time fix, and put them back in till it combines… WoW!

Zucchini medly for Thanksgiving


Or is the end of growth a great “Right of Passage”?

I’ve been adding a introductory notes to my 4/1/10 post on Keynes’ “Widow’s Cruse that seems to have grown into something I should post on its own too.


The corresponding natural phenomenon he described is much more aptly termed “the youthful novice challenge” than by “the widow’s cup”.

Was Keynes ignored because he chose an odd name for the parable?

It’s really not a “bitter pill” for growth systems finding themselves in unexpected unfamiliar environments, to discover their own objectives at that point, and a way to mature and thrive as part of a stable world. Every youthful novice goes through that basic life challenge in some way, and a great many live up to it. Continue reading Or is the end of growth a great “Right of Passage”?

Shadow Banking, out of the shadow

There’s a nice report out of the NY Federal Reserve on Shadow Banking. That’s the ability of the great sloshing global pool of money to act as a world bank, without any safety net. I wrote an apparently effective note, got a nice response from the author.


Dear NY Fed

A comment on your July 2010 report.  Shadow banking is an emergent natural system.  I’m a natural systems scientist who studies the difference between scientific theories and complex natural systems.

Equations can’t have independently learning parts, for example, but economies and other natural systems rely heavily on the adaptive processes of their parts. So, that adds to the long list of reasons for why abstract theories tend to have a short “shelf life”, you could say. Continue reading Shadow Banking, out of the shadow

Climate and The “powers that be”

Helmut Lubbers – Ecoglobe.com – circulated a description of the ITCSDclimate.orggrowth promotion efforts that are helping prevent the world’s critical response to climate change.



I think the problem is better defined as a disease of believing our own myths, several separate ones at once. How our minds do that is less important than realizing that every mind seems capable of it, and a regular way to go back and forth between observation and belief is needed. Otherwise we can’t make sure our own myths are resting on something solid. Continue reading Climate and The “powers that be”