onsdag 27 juni 2018

OFW- hönan och ägget om energikonsumption per kapita

Läste för en stund sen inlägget Our Energy Problem Is a Quantity Problem på Gail Tverbergs blogg Our Finite World.

Är ju ganska komplicerade grejer så jag förstod inte riktigt hon kunde dra slutsatsen att en stagnerande energikonsumption per kapita ger en ekonomisk stagnation. Är det inte rimligare att se det tvärt om, dvs en lågkonjuktur ger en lägre energiförbrukning?

Läste om inlägget men blev inte klokare. Däremot hittade jag en fråga i kommentarsfältet som rimmade väl med min fråga.

Fråga i kommentarsfältet:
What if the falling energy consumption per capita is a result of economic downturn and not the other way around? Maybe I’m missing something here, but I really want to understand this.

Svar från GT:
Min summering:

  • Det är klyftorna som gör att energikonsumptionen minskar.
  • De snuskigt rika blir bara rikare men de spenderar inte sin stålar tillräckligt mycket. Skatten lyckas de smita ifrån på sedvanligt sätt.
  • De fattigare blir fattigare och kan varken konsumera eller betala skatt. Sin levnadsstandard finansierar de med lån. De arbeten som finns ger helt enkelt inte tillräckligt med inkomster för att konsumera.
  • Stater finansierar sina budgetar med lån pga lågt skatteuttag.
  • Med QE (kvantitativa lättnader) och andra metoder hålls räntorna nere.
  • Bolagens inkomster sjunker, men för att låtsas att de går bra köper de tillbaka aktier på marknaden

Men som hon avslutar med, “the chicken or the egg.”, är det svårt att utreda det exakta relationerna.

"In a networked system, we have many things going on at the same time.

When there are not enough energy products to go around, this generally appears as increased wage disparity. This is because of the physics of the situation. The high-earning people will not really spend all of their wages on physical goods; instead, they will buy financial products, and services like private college education for their children and tax avoidance services. With this wage disparity, fewer goods and services made with energy products are actually purchased than if wages were evenly distributed. This is a big part of the reason why demand tends to fall. It is not a uniform fall in the demand for services; it is the people who cannot obtain jobs that pay enough who continue to live in their parents’ basements and go to school endlessly. Also, the people without advanced education, who find their wages falling behind, due to competition with other countries.
Governments are affected by this increasing wage disparity. Part of the problem is that it is much harder to get political parties to agree. Those on the top of the hierarchy would like to eliminate the low-wage earners all together. Those at the bottom would like more equal sharing.
Another governmental issue is difficulty collecting enough taxes. If wages are becoming more unequal, it becomes impossible to get enough taxes from the many poor people. Rich people and businesses tend to have more political pull. They also are having problems with investments becoming less profitable. They successfully lobby for lower taxes, as we have seen in the US. There has been discussion of taxes being cut in the UK and Italy as well.
With these issues, the workaround for poor people is more debt–perhaps auto loans with longer terms. The workaround for businesses is share-buybacks and more debt. This makes it look like businesses are more profitable than they really are. The workaround for governments is more debt (in part, because they are not collecting enough taxes). Also Quantitative Easing to lower interest rates, so that more debt is possible.
Once we come to a “bump in the road,” like temporarily higher oil prices, it stresses the system. Debt defaults become a problem. Governments start regulating debt, so that less new debt is added. The lack of new debt holds down the number of new jobs. Effects vary in different countries, however, with some countries affected more than others. At some point, a chain reaction is set off that leads to recession, lots of defaults (including defaults in derivatives), and lots of layoffs.
The underlying problem is that growth leads to economies of scale for businesses. Lack of growth means that fixed expenses (like mortgage payments) become a bigger share of revenue, leading to a need to lay of workers. Governments have promised pension payments, and these also require growth. It is slowing growth in energy consumption (indirectly caused by temporarily higher prices) that ultimately causes the system to collapse, because insufficient growth can occur. Without adequate growth, debt defaults also become a major problem.
With the recession, energy and other commodity prices fall. The decline comes because so many people are out of work, and because of this, they cannot afford new cars, or a bigger home. In fact, they may cut back on things like going out to eat in restaurants and charitable contributions.
So we really have a system with many things happening at the same time. It is hard to decide which comes first, “the chicken or the egg.”

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar