The Demise of Business as Usual

An Apollo Project for Energy Can Succeed but Not in a Market Economy

Thomas L. Wayburn, PhD in Chemical Engineering

© Copyright 2005, From the Wilderness Publications,  All Rights Reserved.  May be reprinted, distributed or posted on an Internet web site for non-profit purposes only.

Table of Contents




Commentary on the Apollo Alliance Ten-Point Plan

Commentary Continued: The Nuclear Option

A Renewable Energy Resource

The Hydrogen Economy

Energy Returned over Energy Invested (ER/EI)






Arithmetical and Logical Absurdities in THE APOLLO JOBS REPORT

Synopsis of Computations


The Reference Case [21]

One-Percent Growth [22]

The No-Growth Scenario [23]

The No-Growth and No-Sales Scenario [24]

Energy in a Natural Economy [26]

Referenced Hyperlinks


It is impossible to replace fossil fuels with non-nuclear renewable energy within a market economy.  Capitalism can be saved for a few years but only with a large investment in nuclear power, which must overcome market forces that continue to favor fossil-fuel technology even in the immediate aftermath of Peak Oil.  Eventually, capitalism, which depends upon materialistic growth, must fail in a finite world.  A natural (non-materialistic) economy is the best hope for a sustainable future in which humans might live in harmony with Nature and with each other.

The Apollo Alliance Ten-Point Plan

The Apollo Alliance Ten-Point Plan [1] proposes to provide energy independence for the United States and robust economic growth into the foreseeable future by promoting renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and repatriating imports.  A new generation of energy efficient technology is to be introduced in an Apollo-like national program.  However, nothing is to be done to stabilize population and the market system is to be retained.

But, in a market system, economic growth is measured by growth in sales.  Old technology is to be replaced by new technology.  To maximize profits, the efforts to market new technology will increase until improvements in energy efficiency are overwhelmed by the energy required to provide them.  Even if population were stable, economic growth would increase energy use due to purchases of new (energy-saving) technology for our workplaces, homes, and cars.  Prosperity cannot be maintained in a society based upon buying and selling without continuous growth in energy consumption, which, in a finite world, is impossible.

This paper provides a summary of the results from “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario” [2], which is a long, tedious, technical paper that explains in detail the spreadsheet calculations for five increasingly progressive scenarios for the remainder of the Twenty-First Century:  The Reference Case assumes a steady growth in per capita energy consumption due primarily to activities advocated by the Apollo Alliance.  The results for the Reference Case are followed by results for the One-Percent Growth Scenario, the No-Growth Scenario, the No-Growth and No-Sales Scenario, and, finally, the case of the Natural Economy advocated by this author in numerous essays [3] and a book, On the Preservation of Species [4].  The technical paper [2] is precisely what one needs to determine if the results reported here are correct.

In this study, I have satisfied energy deficits with nuclear energy because nuclear power installations (NPIs) exhaust our share of the surface area of Earth to the least extent of any technology – assuming that fissionable material can be created faster than it is consumed.  What cannot be created is additional surface area of Earth on which to place them.

Commentary on the Apollo Alliance Ten-Point Plan

Although much of the mission of the first seven points of the Apollo Alliance Ten-Point Plan (copied verbatim from the AA website [1]) is laudable, there is not a single point that does not represent some misconception as to the nature of the problem.  We are not against conserving energy, nor would we wish to prevent working people from improving their lot; but, since money and energy are inextricably linked, it is impossible to increase the flow of money without increasing the flow of energy even if the activities toward which the flow of money is directed are aimed at reducing the quantity of energy associated with each unit of such activity.  To understand how cash flow affects energy consumption, see “Cash Flow in a Mark II Economy” [6].  Unfortunately, conservation is limited by technological developments and the political will of the nation, whereas economic activity is limited only by catastrophe.  The drawbacks of points eight, nine, and ten are even more obvious.

Point 1.  Promote Advanced Technology and Hybrid Cars: Begin today to provide incentives for converting domestic assembly lines to manufacture highly efficient cars, transitioning the fleet to American made advanced technology vehicles, increasing consumer choice and strengthening the US auto industry.

Comment 1.  The automobile culture, more than anything else in American life, is indicative of our inordinate use of energy.  That which strengthens the auto industry—despite reduction in the energetic cost per unit of transport—will lead to more activity, not less.  The same can be said for increasing consumer choice.  Many people think that economic activity is a good thing.  It is the purpose of this study to examine that preference.

Point 2.  Invest in More Efficient Factories: Make innovative use of the tax code and economic development systems to promote more efficient and profitable manufacturing while saving energy through environmental retrofits, improved boiler operations, and industrial cogeneration of electricity, retaining jobs by investing in plants and workers.

Comment 2.  Conservation within capitalism is impossible without investment of some sort, but financial investment means economic activity, which, in turn, means additional flow of energy.

Point 3.  Encourage High Performance Building: Increase investment in construction of “green buildings” and energy efficient homes and offices through innovative financing and incentives, improved building operations, and updated codes and standards, helping working families, businesses, and government realize substantial cost savings.

Comment 3.  Commercial building implies economic growth, which is harmful no matter how great the mitigation of that harm by the incorporation of energy efficient technologies.  Residential building implies population growth.  Indeed, the AA makes no mention of any attempt to reduce population growth.  It is true that increased affluence, which clearly is one of the goals of the Ten-Point Program, is likely to be accompanied by a reduction in the Total Fertility Rate.  It is also true that increased affluence attracts immigrants and fuels growth.

Point 4.  Increase Use of Energy Efficient Appliances: Drive a new generation of highly efficient manufactured goods into widespread use, without driving jobs overseas, by linking higher energy standards to consumer and manufacturing incentives that increase demand for new durable goods and increase investment in US factories.

Comment 4.  Certainly, a great quantity of energy would be saved if the appliances in our homes and offices, including computers, used less electricity.  On the other hand, a policy that purports to “increase demand for new durable goods” cannot be all good.  Consumerism has led us to Peak Oil.  The fact that, at best, investment cuts both ways has been mentioned.

Point 5.  Modernize Electrical Infrastructure: Deploy the best available technology like scrubbers to existing plants, protecting jobs and the environment; research new technology to capture and sequester carbon and improve transmission for distributed renewable generation.

Comment 5.  All of this is good except that it represents economic growth.  The AA has said nothing to discourage or disparage economic growth, which no matter how energy efficient, will result eventually in the consumption of even more high-grade energy.  The Alliance does not seem to contemplate an end to the increase in the standards of living of workers, some of whom will expect prosperity to lead to more prosperity ad infinitum.

Point 6.  Expand Renewable Energy Development: Diversify energy sources by promoting existing technologies in solar, biomass and wind while setting ambitious but achievable goals for increasing renewable generation, and promoting state and local policy innovations that link clean energy and jobs.

Comment 6.  GoodBut, why does the Apollo Alliance emphasize the creation of more jobs as though jobs were not part of the problem?  We need people to work less – not more.  (See On the Work Ethic [7].)

Point 7.  Improve Transportation Options: Increase mobility, job access, and transportation choice by investing in effective multimodal networks including bicycle, local bus and rail transit, regional high-speed rail and magnetic levitation rail projects.

Comment 7.  Whatever can be done should be done to reduce the energy consumed to get people and goods from one place to another—when such journeys are necessary and useful.  Certainly, the movements of raw materials, products, and people that benefit society collectively as well as individually should be made on energy-efficient trains rather than in gas-guzzling SUVs whenever possible.  Nevertheless, the improvement of  transportation options is not the same as less transportation.

Point 8.  Reinvest In Smart Urban Growth: Revitalize urban centers to promote strong cities and good jobs, by rebuilding and upgrading local infrastructure including road maintenance, bridge repair, and water and waste water systems, and by expanding redevelopment of idled urban “brownfield” lands, and by improving metropolitan planning and governance.

Comment 8.  According to Prof. Albert Bartlett [8], smart growth is like buying a first-class ticket on the Titanic.  The growth of our cities and the migration of their populations from the countryside in our country and, indeed, from other countries has been one of the greatest evils of the industrial revolution.  This evil has not been mitigated by flight to the suburbs.  The impact on our energy budget of the energetic costs of commuting and other suburban excesses has been discussed thoroughly elsewhere [9].  To re-establish a sustainable society it will be necessary—not to re-vitalize the cities—but to dismantle them.  This will be energy intensive enough without wasting energy on highways and bridges.

Point 9.  Plan for a Hydrogen Future: Invest in long term research & development of hydrogen fuel cell technology, and deploy the infrastructure to support hydrogen powered cars and distributed electricity generation using stationary fuel cells, to create jobs in the industries of the future.

Comment 9.  The ramifications of job growth have been discussed.  But, what is meant by a hydrogen future?  If it does not mean hydrogen from nuclear power—directly or through electricity—AA should say so.  If it does, AA should admit that it does.  No matter how one computes the maximum energy available from renewable energy (other than nuclear) it can never be sufficient to support a capitalist-style economy, i.e., an economy that requires economic growth to perpetuate political stability.  Therefore, capitalism—with or without conservation—implies Nuclear Economy.  Nuclear is discussed in the next section.

Point 10.  Preserve Regulatory Protections: Encourage balanced growth and investment through regulation that ensures energy diversity and system reliability, that protects workers and the environment, that rewards consumers, and that establishes a fair framework for emerging technologies.

Comment 10.  Wiser heads among capitalists know that one can increase next quarter’s profits at the expense of the environment in nearly every industry almost always.  Thus, to comply with a policy that is not quite suicidal, they need someone to force their competitors to comply.  The AA does not suggest abandoning the Profit Motive; nevertheless, the reforms they recommend require central planning nearly to the degree that was practiced in the Soviet Union.

Commentary Continued: The Nuclear Option

A Renewable Energy Resource

Regardless of the finiteness of uranium resources, nuclear energy must be considered renewable because of the existence of fast breeder reactors and the likelihood that their technological limitations will disappear over the coming decades.  Therefore, nuclear power should be admitted to the competition with wind, solar, biomass, and other sustainable technologies.  If there is some reason why nuclear energy is not sustainable, it has yet to be demonstrated.  (What is not sustainable is growth itself – not nuclear energy.)

The Hydrogen Economy

Suppose that we agree that the hydrogen economy means hydrogen from nuclear power installations (NPIs).  K.R. Schultz et al. [10] suggest that hydrogen can be produced with a 50% efficiency by thermal splitting of water.  The efficiency of thermal splitting by-passes the objections to using electricity as an intermediate step discussed by Ulf Bossel et al. [11].  However, the huge changes in our technological and industrial infrastructure associated with the use of  hydrogen for fuel will involve energetically costly re-tooling that must be charged to the energy invested in nuclear energy.

Energy Returned over Energy Invested (ER/EI)

If the Energy Returned by NPIs is less than the Energy Invested, nuclear energy is infeasible.  Therefore, the frequently discussed ER/EI analysis is crucial to this discussion.  Probably, the ER/EI ratio for nuclear power is less than comparable ratios for fossil fuels, which is a drawback insofar as market penetration is concerned; however, so long as it exceeds 1.0 the introduction of nuclear energy is feasible.  [6]

The identification and quantification of every component, both direct and indirect, of the energy invested in nuclear power is not a simple thing to do.  In particular, if any such study of Energy Invested includes the ancillary business expenses I have not seen it.  But, in the American economy, for example, the energy consumed by commerce is 22% of the total energy budget.  This is corroborated by employment statistics.  [12]

Computation of Energy Invested by multiplying the sum of capital and operating costs by the ratio of Total National Energy Budget over Gross National Product (E/GDP) tabulated by the DOE provides an approximation to the correct value that does not omit the energy consumed by commerce.  (See “Cash Flow in a Mark II Economy” [6].)  Using cost data from the Shultz et al. study [10], the University of Chicago Study [13], and the MIT study [14] I computed an ER/EI ratio of 4.63.

However, it is not clear that all ancillary costs have been included, e.g., desalination of sea water, remediation of environmental change, etc.  A pro-rata share of the costs of providing and maintaining railways to carry heavy equipment, fuel, and waste, highways to transport workers, conduits to transmit electric current, pipelines to transport hydrogen, and easements through which electrical power lines and hydrogen pipelines can be run must be charged to the plant.


Capital costs of NPIs are high enough to hinder market penetration and to increase possible budget deficits alarmingly, but they are a small fraction of the projected GDP.  Therefore, NPIs can be built by a society with the political will to by-pass market and fiscal constraints.

Unfortunately, nuclear facilities are operated sometimes for the personal profit of their owners, managers, and other stakeholders who might be inclined to place their personal interests ahead of other considerations such as good engineering practice and safety.  Mere prudence dictates that we be suspicious of enterprises run for profit.


If fresh water is used as cooling water, it should be returned to the environment at the original temperature with all contaminants removed and all nutrients restored.  Part of the cooling water and the water split to produce hydrogen will end up as atmospheric water only part of which will return to Earth as fresh water, in which case the losses in our fresh water supply will have to be replaced somehow.  If NPIs are used to desalinate sea water, the energy expended must be added to the Energy Invested in computing ER/EI.

If every NPI in the year 2100 used water at the rate Plant Hatch in Georgia did in 2000, we would need more than a million billion (quadrillion) kilograms of water per year to satisfy the robust economic growth assumed in our Reference Case.  Thus, power plants would use more than one-third of all of our renewable fresh water.  [15, 16]

Alternatively, the energy required for the desalination of seawater increases the Energy Invested from a low of 1.6% to a high of 9% (resp.) of the Energy Returned.  [17]  If the ER/EI were 5.0, it would be reduced by 7.4% or 31% (resp.).  In addition, the costs of pre-treatment, brine disposal, and transport would have to be borne.


The final limitation upon economic growth is the area of the surface of Earth.  NPIs require a smaller fraction of Earth’s surface per unit of power generated than any of the competing technologies, namely, wind, solar, and biomass.  Even if every other obstacle to growth were removed, ultimately we would run out of space.  The land needed for NPIs includes not just the plant sites and infrastructure for transportation and power transmission but also the space occupied by facilities for mining and enrichment, fabrication, maintenance, recycle, hydrogen compression and liquefaction, waste management, sea water desalination, fresh water remediation, and the ubiquitous office buildings that seem to be a necessary part of every enterprise engaged in the pursuit of profit.  Engineers and scientists will need workplaces; and, if I am not mistaken, the greater the complexity of our energy economy the greater the superstructure of command and control, which, in the case of nuclear, must be multiply redundant.  Moreover, many areas on the face of the Earth are not suitable for NPIs; namely, the tops of mountains, earthquake zones, city centers, and—if we wish to observe the ethical treatment of animals—wildernesses, wet lands, prairies, etc.  Finally, it must be decided whether the space occupied by outmoded and obsolete facilities can be reused for new facilities or if it must be restored to the pristine condition in which Nature bequeathed it to us.


Quite obviously, while operating as designed, nuclear power plants do not contribute directly to Global Climate Change nor air and water pollution regardless of the effect of their ancillary facilities, e.g., mining, etc.  When NPIs are operated properly, the dangers are rather minimal; nevertheless, nuclear radiation is extremely hazardous.  In addition to radiation hazards, they have a small but non-zero probability of exploding, which increases with number of NPIs.  Admittedly, there is no physical reason why the problems associated with pollution, radiation, explosions, waste, and decommissioning cannot be solved, however they must be solved; and, to the extent that they have not yet been solved, they represent impediments to the introduction of nuclear power and the hydrogen economy, which brings us to the next topic.


Nuclear power is the key to a much larger and complicated economy with much greater risk of unanticipated environmental catastrophes.  The economy is sufficiently complicated in 2005 that the average person must necessarily depend upon the opinions of experts to determine which public policies are in his best interests and which are not.  Moreover, experts disagree.  The average man or woman is held hostage to the complexity of the economy, and this situation is not conducive to democracy.

Arithmetical and Logical Absurdities in THE APOLLO JOBS REPORT

The following is a discussion of “New Energy for America, The Apollo Jobs Report: Good Jobs and Energy Independence for America”, published by the Apollo Alliance [18].  The large number of absurd statements in this document can be attributed principally to (i) the notion that growth within a finite world is sustainable into the indefinite future and (ii) the idea that one can conserve energy by increasing economic activity.

On page 3, we read “The American economy will not grow its way out of problems thirty years in the making without real political leadership.”  It is absurd to imagine that we can grow our way out of our fundamental problem which is growth itself.  Our problems began in prehistory probably, but certainly no later than the dawn of the industrial revolution.

“The new Apollo Project is based on the recognition that clean energy can be the next great engine of jobs and growth …” begins the next paragraph.  The absurdities of “jobs and growth” in a finite world has been discussed.  The Apollo Project could have a similar effect upon the economy as, for example, war, by stimulating the economy (temporarily) with government spending at the expense of increased debt—except that the result of the spending would not be wasted as it would be if it were spent on war.

On page 8 we read, “… the industries necessary to meet the goals of Apollo on average pay higher wages and provide better benefits … .  Increased investment and access to capital can be used as tools for economic development, increasing local investment within communities, stabilizing basic industries to retain jobs, and creating new markets that build entirely new industries.  By reinvesting in our industrial jobs base and focusing on new construction and new infrastructure and public investment, these jobs can also help create and retain good union jobs that ensure family supporting wages”.  Let me remind the reader that most of our problems stem from the lavish lifestyles of Americans, which, as Mr. Cheney pointed out, “are not negotiable”.  These remarks promise even higher standards of living, which, as this study shows, would not “reduce national energy consumption by 16%”, as stated on page 8 of The Apollo Jobs Report, but would increase energy consumption exponentially if the promises could be kept.

Also on page 8 we read, “Transportation infrastructure improvements will also create substantial employment in sectors with good pay and benefits.  New transit system starts, maintenance of the nation’s passenger train system, development of regional high speed rail networks, and improvements in the nation’s roads and highways will all generate significant numbers of jobs in basic industries.  Infrastructure investments also guarantee that spending is made locally, directly stimulating the domestic economy, supporting small business and regional labor markets”.  While these remarks seem to encourage mass transit, they may, in fact, merely encourage travel.  Moreover, as Steven Koonin points out in “A Physicist's View of the World's Energy Situation[19], more efficient transportation will, almost certainly, result in more travel even if standards of living do not rise.  However, with more money to spend, it is difficult to imagine that Americans will spend less time in their cars or make shorter trips.  Nothing has been done to discourage the automobile culture, which, to Americans, represents much more than transportation, e. g., status, image, etc.  Finally, if communities become more attractive due to local investment, the usual result is that more people will be attracted to them as Al Bartlett [8] pointed out, which neutralizes decentralization and such improvements in the quality of life in the community as may have occurred.  The same can be said for the statement on page 15, “Rebuilding our cities will increase the levels of municipal services, and improve job access and mobility for urban workers.”

 On page 33 we read, “Finally, efficiency offers real savings to consumers, meaning that working families have more money to spend on other goods and services within their local economies rather than spending money on expensive energy imports that drain local resources.”  Once again, in a final example of absurdities in The Apollo Jobs Report, the Alliance seems to be unaware of the energy associated with all “goods and services” or is pretending to be unaware of it.  In fact, when Americans buy domestically-made products in 2005, they are purchasing approximately 2.8 kilowatt-hours per US dollar; when they purchase $50 foreign oil, they purchase approximately 34 kilowatt-hours per US dollar!  Despite its advisability, energy independence per se will lower the (average) American standard of living.

Synopsis of Computations

The spreadsheet calculations for this study are described in detail in the computational section of “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario” [2] where the assumptions determining the energy supply are discussed.  After verifying the limits on wind and solar power, we assume that the bound of 45.7 quads per year from renewables computed by Pimentel et al. [20] is reached quickly with an Apollo-like effort.  But, because the ingenuity of man is boundless, the energy from renewables is increased slightly each year thereafter.

The rate at which energy and other imports are repatriated is established by the growth in GDP of 1.4 trillion US dollars promised by AA.  The effect upon the energy budget is predicted by the methodology described above.  The number of NPIs is calculated from the energy budget and from technical data in the nuclear literature.  [10, 13, 14]  The land area required for NPIs is estimated from field data.  The computational section ends with the determination of capital costs and their associated energy.


The five cases are: (i) the Reference Case with robust growth predicted by AA, (ii) the One-Percent Growth Case, (iii) the No-Growth Case, (iv) the No-Growth and No-Sales Case, and, finally, (v) the case of the Natural Economy.  All five scenarios begin with a concerted effort toward conservation and renewable energy worthy of an Apollo Project and end with the results shown in Table 4 of “On the Conservation-within-Capitalism Scenario” [2].

The Reference Case [21]

During the first ten years of the Apollo Alliance program, Americans would enjoy an increase in the average standard of living, as measured by energy consumed per capita corrected for conservation of about 3.09% per annumThe Reference Case [21] shows that, if the AA promise of such growth were kept, the United States would need, by the year 2100, over 78,000 new nuclear power installations with an average capacity of 1000 megawatts electrical equivalence.  The average rate of energy use per person would be an orgiastic 296 kilowatts, i.e., 21,623 kilowatt-hours/month measured as heat equivalents – approximately thirty times the current American lavish usage.  Imagine the amount of motion, noise, and environmental destruction that would be generated by a person consuming energy at this rate.  Most of this energy would be consumed by working people operating unimaginably expensive equipment – not the least of which would be the nuclear power installations themselves.  But, this won’t happen.  Such a rate of increase of energy consumption per person is unsupportable.

One-Percent Growth [22]

In the One-Percent-Growth Scenario, Apollo-like efforts toward change are abandoned after thirteen years.  Presumably, people who recoil at the thought of more than 78,000 new NPIs will not be especially comforted by the assurance that, by allowing growth to return to Twentieth-Century norms, only 12,000 need be built.  [22]

The No-Growth Scenario [23]

Just as in the One-Percent Growth Scenario (above), Apollo-like changes occur from 2005 to 2018, by which time trade imports have been brought to zero.  From 2018 to 2025, the exports are brought to zero, after which no further change in GDP occurs.  The population is stabilized at 328,541,308—presumably because immigration is prohibited or is no longer attractive.  Although from time to time money may be won or stolen by poor people from people who are richer than themselves, the typical flow of money is expected to be from poorer toward richer, especially if no political changes are made to prevent this from happening or to equilibrate wealth by other means.  With population and energy fixed at the 2018 figure, the additional nuclear required to balance the energy budget due the loss of other resources is much less—but not zero.  The No-Growth Scenario [23] without fundamental political change amounts to a reversion to Feudalism.  This is not a stable situation.

The No-Growth and No-Sales Scenario [24]

First, Americans must understand that all economic activity results in the flow of embodied energy (emergy) and/or primary energy (exergy); next they should be asking themselves which economic activities are truly useful and which are harmful.  One of the principal absurdities of American life is the amount of effort (energy) that goes into convincing people that they need something that, if it were not for this effort, they wouldn’t have missed.  Sales and marketing is the third largest category of employment behind office work and government work.

In the No-Growth, No-Sales Scenario, we begin by furloughing everyone employed in sales and related fields, banking and related fields, and half of all managers, office workers, food service workers, and deliverers of personal care, which can be done because of repudiation of the profit motive and elimination of the (lethal) necessity for the economy to expand.  Naturally, such people, who may not be suited for useful endeavor, have to live, therefore they must be paid to do whatever they find interesting to do provided they do not consume the energy that they would have consumed as active participants in the commercial sector of our economy.

Many conventional economies have discovered that, when public policy or some cataclysmic economic event eliminates a large number of jobs suddenly, many other jobs become superfluous through a sort of domino effect.  With economic shrinkage, further need for construction and extraction (mostly of oil) disappears.  Since property is nine-tenths of the law, nine-tenths of the lawyers will not be needed; and since the poor no longer need to prey upon the rich at the margins of society, we shall not need the other tenth.  Similarly, healthcare support workers are concerned principally with collecting money; and may henceforth devote themselves to whatever interests them.  Clearly, working hours can be very much shortened in a world of highly-valued and, for all we know, very useful leisure.  Thus, in the No-Growth and No-Sales Scenario [24], energy demand can be reduced by at least 25%.  The virtues of the Leisure Society are discussed in On the Work Ethic [7] and On a New Theory of Classes [25], which leads to the next section:

Energy in a Natural Economy [26]

Materialism [27] is the belief, or any system based on the belief, that people should compete for material wealth or power or fame and that material wealth or power or fame may be used as a reward for achievement or good behavior or as a measure of success.  Any system or belief that permits people to influence the amount of material wealth they themselves may consume or possess privately or power that they may wield because of who they are or what they do or because of any aspect of their beings – any social, political, or other circumstance that can result in a relation between (i) what people think, say, or do; or who they are, or who their parents were and (ii) their wealth or power – is classified as materialism even if competition is not involved.  Materialism is Pandora’s Box.  Dematerialism [28] is any process for unwinding materialism.

The energy consumed by an American-type, Capitalist-style, quasi-market economy in simply dividing up the pie is wasted and is not affordable in the shadow of Peak Oil.  Whereas capitalism enriches a small fraction of the population, it more or less impoverishes most of the population relative to the mean.  Nevertheless, many people favor capitalism—presumably because they keep hoping that they will be one of the lucky ones who become rich even though their chances of doing so are negligible.  As the circumstances attendant upon Peak Oil obtrude upon such people, they will be hard pressed to retain their propaganda-induced faith in a failed system.  (Please see “Psychology as a Tool of Political Repression”.  [29])

The poor in a rich imperialist country like the United States consume more real wealth than the poor in a Third World country, therefore their exploiters can keep them quiet with constant reminders as to how much better off they are than people elsewhere.  Incidentally, the lavish lifestyle of all Americans, even the poor, excites the righteous indignation of people, even rich people, in poor nations whose sole recourse is what journalists refer to as terrorism.  Perhaps the War on Terror is not intended to address this problem, but rather to control tightly people in the rich nation who might notice this deception and conceivably wish to attempt a remedy of their own.

Great savings were achieved in the No-Growth and No-Sales Scenario by eliminating the profit motive and permitting the economy to shrink while retaining central planning.  In a Natural Economy, as described in my book [4], we can do even better.  On Sheet 2 of [26], the population is reduced to one-half of its present value by 2089.  On Sheet 3 of [26], I have accounted for savings of nearly 50% of the energy demand by 2025.  In the earlier paper, “Energy in a Natural Economy” [5], I justified the elimination of 75% of the energy demand.  Therefore, the present result is conservative.

Many things that are manufactured and maintained nowadays will not be needed in a world without sales; marketing; parasitic management; authoritarian propaganda; mass-market media; wasteful, cruel, and unnecessary war machines; and vast, authoritarian governments.  Just think of all the energy (and labor) that can be saved in a world with no monetary system.  Finally, with the US using half as much energy or less, the infrastructure to provide energy can be reduced proportionately.

An energy budget in 2025 of 69.7 emquads or 2.34 TWyears/year would be greater than the current world average; but, less than our current consumption of five times the world average.  The United States would be an example to be followed—as opposed to a predatory, imperialist, world adventurer.  This would constitute a show of good faith such that we would be safe forever from terrorism.  Moreover, we would be able to produce most of the 2.34 TW from renewable technologies and supply the rest with domestic gas for as long as it took to decentralize, de-urbanize, convert to small sustainable technologies, and progress further along the path to a safe, sustainable, natural society—in short, a family of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children living in harmony with Nature and with each other.  Scientists who believe that our love of natural beauty has evolved because of the ecological importance of leaving Nature undisturbed should favor the Natural Economy.  In another paper, I will show that nothing from our evolutionary past or our genetic present precludes it.

Houston, Texas

August 19, 2005

Referenced Hyperlinks





5. in a Natural Economy.html




















25. a New Theory of Classes.html


27. 5.html

28. 11.html



Thomas L. Wayburn earned degrees in chemical engineering and mathematics in three different decades.  He has been elected to a number of honor societies and, in 1987, won the Ted Peterson award for the best paper written by a student in computers and systems technology.  This was the year in which a 1956 recording of Tom with legendary jazz pianist Lennie Tristano and bassist Peter Ind was released.  He has worked as a chemical engineer, a jazz drummer, and a college professor of mathematics and chemical engineering thermodynamics and design.  Lately, he has been writing papers based upon mathematical studies of energy and economics and keeping up a voluminous correspondence.  A 1997 resume can be found at Resume97.html.