All My Essays

Tom Wayburn

Essays on Energy

Except for “Thermodynamics, Availability, and Emergy” the essays in this first group of ancillary essays are new.  Some remarks on the essay, “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario”, can be found at  The results from “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario” are summarized in “The Demise of Business as Usual”, which is only ten pages long.  The expedient of multiplying cash flow by the E/GDP ratio is justified numerically in “Energy in a Mark II Economy” where the well known ratio of energy returned over energy invested (EROEI) is explained and expanded.

The principal result of the work represented by the first four essays is that, if an American-style market economy is retained, no amount of nuclear power is sufficient; whereas, if we make the shift to a Natural Economy, the economy can be supported completely by safe, sustainable renewable energy.  In this Soft-Energy, Earth-as-a-Garden scenario, nuclear energy and fossil fuel can be phased out.  If you don’t believe me, check my arithmetic and the spreadsheets attached to the next three papers.

Emergy   (from Chapter 2 of On the Preservation of Species)

On Emergy  (from “Energy in a Mark II Economy”)

Availability Balance on Earth Redux

Emergy and Population in a Natural Economy

Thermodynamics, Availability, and Emergy

On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario

The Demise of Business as Usual

Energy in a Mark II Economy 

EROI* as a Measure of Feasibility

EROEI as a Measure of Feasibility

Energy in a Natural Economy (8by9w)

In “Energy in a Natural Economy”, I determined from US government  employment and energy statistics roughly how much energy could be saved by abandoning market economics.  This was developed further in the section on the Natural Economy in “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario”.

A Report on My Recent Investigations of Solar Energy Harvested by Photosynthesis in a Controlled Environment

Photovoltaic for Australia  

The Feasibility of a 600 Kilowatt Windpower Installation

Danish engineers computed an energy payoff of only three months for a twenty-year wind power installation.  (The URL for this study has been changed.  Please search  That seemed unlikely on the face of it.  Undoubtedly, they neglected the high-energy lifestyles of the contractors who would receive the cash payments.  My inexact method results in a minimum payoff period of 36 months – 12 months if we credit electricity with three times as much emergy as fossil fuel.  [Note (8-25-04).  I believe the reader understands that the units of GDP are US dollars/year and the rate of energy consumption is in watt-years/year, so the years cancel out to give watt-years/USD.]

 Letter to John Kaminsky concerning Peak Abiotic Oil

Essays on Psychology

The next sequence of papers represents my various attempts to answer the pedestrian argument that dematerialism is contrary to human nature.  Regrettably, many disciples of Dawkins, Pinker, and other proponents of evolutionary psychology have used the overthrow of the standard social science model as an opportunity to ingratiate themselves with the owners of the world by writing anti-communist and anti-anarchist propaganda, although a handful have recognized that, if it were true (that dematerialism is contrary to human nature), human society would be doomed to the massive culling known as Dieoff – principally because of the fine work done by Jay Hansen at

Psychology as a Tool of Political Repression 

“Psychology as a Tool of Social Repression” is commentary on the rise of anti-communist propaganda and the horrible effect it has had on every effort to build a just society and to prevent a catastrophic end to this one.

On the Perfectibility of Man

On Materialism

This is a collection of some entries from my free blog at  The next paper was my first clumsy attempt to refute an argument that is intuitively false.  It is not so easy to refute logically what you believe to be true intuitively.  People who discuss the methodology of science do not credit intuition sufficiently in my opinion.

On Human Nature

To sleep— perchance to dream

Essays on Dematerialism

Except for the first six essays, which are new, these essays belong to an earlier period during which my principal occupation was writing.  In some cases, they are too conservative and should be revised  to reflect my latest thinking on government, foreign war, punishment, and other forms of direct action.  In any case, I wrote what I wrote.

Communism and Some Idle Thoughts on the Excesses of Capitalism

A Short Talk on Dematerialism

Computing Crude Birth Rates from Total Fertility Rate

On Designing a Community Currency

Talk to be given at Schreiner College on Washington ’s Birthday

On “Entrepreneurship and Social Progress” by Lew Rockwell

On My Philosophy

On Capitalism

What We Want and What We Get

On the Work Ethic

 Also see

On Free Enterprise

Is There a Conflict between Property Rights and the Moral Requirement to Protect Endangered Species?

On Socialism, Utopian and Scientific by Frederick Engels

Some Remarks on Oil

On William Buckley’s ‘Agenda for the Nineties’

This essay is a line-by-line criticism of William Buckley’s plan to make the United States a theocratic plutocracy in the conservative tradition of reaction to all social progress.  It may have worked.

American Myths and Higher Education

On Honor in Science

On Space Travel and Research

Some Unintended Effects of Computers

The Trouble with Surveys

On Crime

A Brief Outline of the Harm Done by Improper Religions

On the Separation of Church and State and the Case Against Christianity and Other Improper Religions

On Prayer

On “The Question of God”

More on Public TV

On Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life

On Awards

On a New Theory of Classes

Little Essays on Big Problems

A Small Collection of Short Essays

On the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

How to Find the Day of the Week in Any Year

Expected Value of a Texas State Lottery Ticket

This essay belongs to an earlier period when the number of numbers from which to choose 6 was 50.  However, it illustrates the essential dishonesty of the Great State of Texas rather nicely.  Amusingly, when they added three more numbers, thus reducing the probability of winning drastically, they advertised “Now, with three more numbers to choose from”, as though three more numbers for the same price made it more of a bargain, which some users probably thought to be the case.  On the other hand, a large number of players have been choosing 1-2-3-4-5-6 because they think no one else with whom they would have to share their prize will choose it.  They know that this sequence is just as likely to come up as any other sequence, which shows that some players may be more numerate than we had previously guessed.

Essays on Drug Legalization

Letter to Time Magazine

The Case for Drug Legalization and Decontrol in the United States

Fallacies and Unstated Assumptions in Prevention and Treatment

A Review of the 1990 Drug Policy Foundation Conference

A Seven-Point Post-Prohibition Policy

Can the State Teach that Drugs are Wrong and Harmful?

Despite Recent Flurry of Anti-Drug Propaganda, Drug Prohibition is Indefensible

Two Crucial Issues in the Argument for Drug Legalization

The Trouble with Surveys

Junior Goes to School


Houston, Texas

December 6, 2005

Revised July 21, 2007