This hyperlink to my other web pages should come first.  It will be found below in its actual order on my home page.


Specialized Sub Domains for Net Energy, Music, and Modeling


Complete Table of Contents


On this Page


About this Website

Its Purpose

To the Reader

Relatively Recent Activities

Because of the numerous references throughout, especially regarding social media, and serious time constraints, I shall copy this section verbatim:

“The Economic Growth Trap” by (the late) David Delaney.   Today (01.23.06) I read “What to do in a failing civilization” by David M. Delaney.  It contained the best explanation of why American-style capitalism requires growth I have ever seen.  With the kind permission of the author, it is reprinted below.  The full paper and other essays by Delaney can be found at

The Economic Growth Trap

Economic growth requires increasing the amount of high quality energy and materials degraded by the economy each year.  Economic growth on a finite planet will eventually stop.  If it does not exhaust the resources needed for its continuation, it will stop earlier for some other reason.  Allowing resource depletion and biosphere degradation to terminate economic growth will produce catastrophe.  Unfortunately, our dependence on economic growth makes it extremely unlikely that we will give it up voluntarily before the catastrophe.  Our dependence has at least four aspects: A) in the need to deal with adverse consequences of labor-reducing innovations, B) in commercial bank money, C) in the need to maintain tolerance of inequality, and D) in financial markets.

A) The first dependence on economic growth is in the need to avoid the adverse consequences of innovations that reduce the need for labor.1 By definition, each labor-reducing innovation either increases the amount of a good produced or throws some people out of work.  Firms that create or exploit a labor-reducing innovation create new jobs internally by driving other firms out of business.  The new jobs implementing the innovation offset the loss of jobs caused by the innovation, but the innovating firms don’t necessarily hire all of the job losers, because the innovation reduced the total amount of labor needed to produce the original amount of the good.  In order to re-employ all job losers, the economy must grow to produce more of the good with all of the original workers, or produce more of some other good with the cheaper labor (the job losers) now available. In either case the economy grows.  Much of what we consider progress is due to labor-reducing innovations.  In order to live without economic growth, we would have to give up this kind of progress, or introduce arrangements to allow workers who become unproductive to retain their relative wealth and self-respect, or relegate most people to a repressed underclass.  There is a powerful incentive to avoid these contingencies by encouraging economic growth.

B) The second dependence on economic growth is in the creation of money by the act of borrowing at interest from commercial banks.  Much of the money in each loan by a commercial bank is created by the loan itself.  The bank collects a fee—the interest—for providing the service of creating the money.  Other ways of creating money have been explored in theory and practice.  Successful local currencies have been based on some of these alternatives, (see Douthwaite, Short Circuit, page 61) but all national money is now created by interest-bearing loans from commercial banks.  This way of creating money contributes instability to an economy based on it.  In order to keep the money supply from contracting when a loan and its interest are paid, a larger total of new loans must be created, increasing the money supply.  (This is not transparently obvious.  For a more detailed explanation, see Douthwaite, The Ecology of Money, page 24.)  When the economy grows to match the increasing money supply, the value of money is relatively stable, and commercial-bank-created money is benign.  If the rate of economic growth does not match the rate of growth of the money supply, the money supply becomes unstable.  Given the use of money created by interest-bearing loans from commercial banks, an economy can minimize the resulting instabilities of the money supply by sustaining moderate growth.  Monetary instability would put significant hazards in the way of deliberate attempts to contract our economy unless the creation of money was radically reformed.

C) The third dependence on economic growth is in the political and geopolitical need for tolerance of inequality.  Differences of wealth are at least as great within the developed countries as they are between developed and developing countries.  Think of the ratio of the average income of American CEOs to the average salary of workers in their companies.  Domestically and internationally, the tolerance of the poor and middle classes for the existence of wealthier classes and countries depends on a belief in economic growth.  The poor struggle, while seeing that others are wealthy and still others are grotesquely wealthy.  The poor are told a story:  if they keep to their work and to their diversions, and tolerate the rich, they will be better off in the future than they are today.  They believe this story, or at least don’t revolt against it, because it is supported by propaganda and shared myths, and has been true for many. When economic growth disappears forever, the poor, like everyone else, will recognize that they will be progressively worse off, with no future relief possible.  The peaceful tolerance by the poor and the middles for the rich will disappear.  A peaceful end of economic growth would require redistribution of wealth, with consequent political and geopolitical contention.  Desire to avoid the contention makes it unlikely that deliberate elimination of economic growth will be attempted before economic growth is ended by nature.  The intolerance of differences of wealth that will then appear will itself not be tolerated by the rich, causing additional domestic and international conflict just at the advent of other adverse changes.  At that time, if not before, tyrannical repression of the poor will greatly tempt the rich.

D) The fourth dependence on economic growth is in the financial markets—the mechanism of capitalization of public corporations.  Public corporations, the main actors in industrial economies, depend on financial markets not only for capital for innovation, but for discipline, valuation, motivation, and a major part of their rationale for existence.  Owners of capital—investors—give the use of it over to public corporations by buying equity or debt in financial markets.  They do so only because they expect that they will, on average, and over the long term, receive back more than they gave up.  That expectation disappears when most investors understand there will be no economic growth.  Most of the apparent wealth of the world consists of equity and debt bought and sold in financial markets.  .  Any realistic possibility of the end of growth would fill investors with something like terror.  Political initiatives to bring an end to growth will be opposed by investors  with every means at their command.  The controversial nature of proposals that would reduce or eliminate economic growth will likely prevent the proposals from reaching even the status of political contention.  When the onset of sustained economic contraction is generally perceived, investors will withdraw from financial markets.  The resulting failure of the markets will make many necessary developments impossible to finance and will produce confusion and stasis in public corporations just when we need them to adapt to new circumstances.


N.B.  For the last few days, I have been posting short papers and some of my current thoughts on ERoEI to a new blog at in an attempt to remedy the inadequacies of the received wisdom on the subject that I heard expressed at the podium at the recent Association for the Study of Peak Oil Conference in Austin, Texas.  No wonder so many of the Yahoo! Peak-Oil forum members claim that “ERoEI is not what it’s cracked up to be”.  ERoEI and emergy are absolutely essential concepts for understanding our contemporary world; so, we had damn well better get them right, which, by the way, I believe I have done.  Therefore, please take a look at the blog and leave comments whether you like the blog or not!  Click on

Model Railroads   By now some readers of these pages know that I am spending a lot of time modeling railroads.  This is a more or less harmless pursuit and it provides an outlet for such creative talents as I still possess.  I have opened a sub-domain at to provide my “brainwashed” friends access to the model railroading aspect of my life without becoming enraged at the political material I have written that is too far beyond their present political understandings.  Most of my model railroading friends have fallen victim to the extreme anti-communist propaganda that permeates their lives.

Lately I have been working on the model railroad the development of which is recorded in a series of MS PowerPoints that are linked to, which clearly has nothing to do with dematerialism or energy except insofar as the Union Pacific coal mining operation in Southern Wyoming was one of the most egregious examples of the violation of both humanity and Nature.  Also, for later pictures, see,,, and .  

The Solutions Journal   The website of Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future has kindly posted the contents of my wiki.  It is a very good fit in my opinion, as most of the contributors understand that we have reached a limit to growth that practically guarantees a die-off somewhere in the world in the wake of Peak Oil.  Americans are slow to recognize Overshoot because our government has made it its business to export the die-off to foreign shores.  Many of us have been forced to reduce their expenditures because of unemployment, but very few are missing meals.  At least, if they are, I am not aware of it.  On the other hand, starvation is all too common in states where we have used our military strength to trade ruinous loans for precious natural resources, particularly in Africa, which seems to suffer no matter what else is going on.

Social Media

Facebook:   I have only the usual positive results to report.

Twitter:   I have very little experience with twitter, but it seems to be useful to many people.

Houston Chronicle: or   After leaving a comment on Loren Steffy’s blog, I accepted the Houston Chronicle’s generous invitation to start my own blog, albeit tucked away in a dim, dark corner.  Am I being naïve to suppose that this will not be used to lure me into the clutches of my most vicious political enemies?  Partly to defuse that possibility, I have labeled the blog politically moderate, which of course I am.

I found Peter Russell’s World Clock page so interesting that I decided to link to it:

I have added a link in About the Author to an mp3 version of the record I made with Lennie Tristano and Peter Ind when I was 22 years old.  If you are interested, click on

As of September 8, 2008, this website is hosted by .  

Beginning in August, 2007, will mirror this website except that a few large files will be zipped and the DOE’s Annual Energy Outlook for 2005 will be omitted.  The website is recognized by this sign:     Lately, I have found it increasingly difficult to sync the justpassinthru website with this one.  It’s hard enough to manage one website; therefore, is bound to lag.

See the journal entry for July 30th for some preliminary calculations on carbon dioxide emissions during the solar cell production cycle.

See the extended journal entry for July 27th on “Communism and Some Idle Thoughts on the Excesses of Capitalism”.  This and the entries of June 9th and June 16th have been pulled together in a discussion of the differences between War Socialism and the Natural Economy at  Thanks to James Sinnamon, this is available at, my new blog on

For readers of my Facebook comment to Andy Fite’s song, I am providing this list of my best papers and other essential papers even if they are not well-written.  If I think a paper is necessary or very useful to understand what is happening in the world now, I have listed it.  This is a lot to read.  If anyone actually reads these papers, I will try to think of additional papers to add to the list.  Please let me know if you are reading any of them.  I will answer questions if I can.


Status, Materialism, and Dematerialism

A Natural Political Economy

Can resource dominance be eliminated from human behavior?

Why capitalism requires economic growth

Communism and Some Idle Thoughts on the Excesses of Capitalism



Energy in a Natural Economy

The Demise of Business as Usual

Energy in a Mark II Economy

ERoEI* as a Measure of Sustainability

Energy Returned over Energy Invested

Photovoltaic for Australia


[The big table of contents continues.]


The Brights

Additional Webspace

Ethical Use

Identity Information


Status, Materialism, and Dematerialism

A Natural Political Economy

Can resource dominance be eliminated from human behavior?


Energy in a Natural Economy

The Demise of Business as Usual

Energy in a Mark II Economy

EROEI as a Measure of Feasibility

Energy Returned over Energy Invested (a blog)

Photovoltaic for Australia


The Higher-Education Bubble

Why K–12 Education Does More Harm than Good

Graduate education in engineering and science

Character Education in the Houston Independent School District and John Gattos’s Six-Lesson School Plan

The role of materialism in the mis-education of youth



Hyperlinked to this Page


Complete table of contents of this website

On the Preservation of Species  (full 600-page book in one file)

On the Preservation of Species  (full 600-page book in a  zip file)

On the Preservation of Species  (table of contents hyperlinked to individual chapter files)

Social Problems and Solutions    (many important ideas from the book – 56 pages)

Useful Concepts from On the Preservation of Species

All My Essays

Essays on Energy

Essays on Psychology

Essays on Dematerialism 

Essays on Drug Legalization

Additional Webspace for Dematerialism

Dematerialism Blog   (no longer active)

The Dematerialist’s Journal (old)

Dematerialism Wiki (very short but worth a look)

Specialized Sub Domains for Net Energy, Music, and Modeling

Other Useful Hyperlinks

Energy and Population Hyperlinks

Peak Oil Hyperlinks

Open People, Open Source, and Public Domain Hyperlinks

Other Useful Links


About the Author


The Dematerialist’s Journal


July 30, 2007.  Carbon dioxide emissions during production of solar cells

July 27, 2007.  Communism and Some Idle Thoughts on the Excesses of Capitalism

July 19, 2007.  Fifth Addendum to “Photovoltaic for Australia”

July 12, 2007.  Fourth Addendum to “Photovoltaic for Australia”

July 9, 2007.  Hanson’s Last Stand 

July 4, 2007.  Third Addendum to “Photovoltaic for Australia”

July 2, 2007.  Second Addendum to “Photovoltaic for Australia”

July 1, 2007.  Addendum to “Photovoltaic for Australia”

June 27, 2007.   Photovoltaic for Australia

June 16, 2007.  Jay Hanson’s War Socialism is a point on the path to the Dematerialist’s Natural Economy

March 29, 2007.  A newly-revised version of “Energy in a Natural Economy”

March 12, 2007.  A Report on My Recent Investigations of Solar Energy Harvested by Photosynthesis in a Controlled Environment

January 29, 2007.  Four new essays

December 25, 2006.  To save the world from Dieoff

October 17, 2006.  My solution in a nutshell (from the entry for June 1, 2006)

September 6, 2006.  The two greatest problems of humanity

October 20, 2006.  Latest version of “Energy in a Mark II Economy”

October 16, 2006.  A New version of “Energy in a Mark II Economy” is available with only two missing modules.

October 13, 2006.  EROI and emergy

September 24, 2006.  “What’s New” becomes part of this journal

June 2, 2006.  A correction to remarks about ER/EI*

June 1, 2006.  My Solution in a Nutshell

February 5, 2006.  Dematerialism Is NOT Inconsistent with Human Nature

January 14, 2006.  Materialism Causes Overshoot

December 21, 2005.  Rational Speech Contra Pleistocene Adaptations

December 6, 2005.  A Direct Approach to Dematerialism for First-Time Visitors

September 6, 2006.  Old entries in What’s New

May 12, 2005,  On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario

April 16, 2005.  More Work on the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario

March 7, 2005.  Letter to John Kaminsky concerning Peak Abiotic Oil



Calculation of Peak Abiotic Oil

March 1, 2005.  Spreadsheet calculations for the Apollo Alliance Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario

February 12, 2005.  Theology

January 31, 2005.  More on Windpower

January 30, 2005.  On Meeting the Apollo Alliance Ten-Point-Program Goals with Windpower

January 29, 2005.  On the Conservation-with-Capitalism Scenario


Energy and Population in 2050

Ground Rules

Energy Supply

Energy Demand



January 10-14, 2005.  More on Literary Taste

January 8, 2005.  On Literary Taste

January 1, 2005, State of the World and the Former United States



Avoiding Die-Off

With Fossil Fuels

Without Fossil Fuels

Are Market Economies Sustainable?

December 29, 2004, Revision of Prior Computation of Time to Reduce Population to One Half

December 26, 2004, Some Handy Conversion Factors

December 23, 2004, On Population Dynamics

December 19, 2004, What’s Coming (taken from “Living Under Fascism” by Davidson Loehr)

December 16, 2004, Petroleum and Population

December 13, 2004, The Proposition that Conservation Is a Bad Thing as an Example of Reductio ad Absurdum

October 26, 2004, A New War on Communism

October 26, 2004, Markets Ignore the Facts of Life

September 30, 2004.  And now, a word from the loyal opposition

September 10, 2004,  Energy in a Natural Economy

September 9, 2004, Reminder about Energy Use in the United States and Terrorism

September 7, 2004, Yahoo Group:  Peak Oil Politics (Politics in the Wake of Peak Oil)

August 24, 2004, What I Didn’t Say on KPFT (Pacifica in Houston) on August 23, 2004, 10-11 PM: