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Old 11-07-2008, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,472 posts, read 5,143,862 times
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Doom and gloom dominate the nightly news now. President-elect Obama talks about the challenges of a troubled economy.

What will it really take to turn the Titanic (Economy) around?

My personal belief is that a drive to energy independence from foreign oil and related transportation and infrastructure products could be the catalyst to usher in prosperity for the balance of the century. See New England Opinion Blog: 3 Pillars of Prosperity for America for more details.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles Area
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I have thought something similar, but now that gas and oil are becoming relative cheap again will the motivation be there? High gas prices was both a blessing and a curse.

Since oil prices are dropping the push is going to have to come from government, with the changes in both the white house and congress its at least some what possible that this time a top-down approach could work.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:35 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
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The oil issue will take a comprehensive energy policy (ALL OPTIONS on the table). Unfortunately, that is not possible in the OB administration. Maybe he can lay some groundwork to enable it, but Gov incentives for 'shark attacks' can't be part of the program. That is what killed the solar efforts during Carter's reign. The sharks come to feed, (free market) and kill the innovation (science / inventors / non-conventional solutions). It happened to Ethanol and Bio-Diesel in the last few years. Market pressures drive really stupid infrastructure decisions. Sharks get the bait, and the investors / operators / taxpayers get stuck with the mess.

but... turning the ship is a lot bigger than energy independence, it could be a small part of it, but the whole economy is based on 'buying', and a good part of what we buy is not essential. There is need for a social / cultural change and I'm not sure we are ready for that. While it would be great to empower social change, I am expecting another bandaid / first aid (More like CPR... "let's get this thing breathing again". It is too bad we didn't have a visionary leader about 15 yrs ago. We sealed the deal long ago, it is gonna take serious pain / change of values to change the whole economy. I guess we need to look to history and realize we are destined to repeat it unless we literally CHANGE... (and not as in some 'buzz-word' for a shallow political campaign)

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 11-07-2008 at 10:18 PM..
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:53 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,608 posts, read 10,669,475 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janb View Post

... but the whole economy is based on 'buying', and a good part of what we buy is not essential. There is need for a social / cultural change ... It is too bad we didn't have a visionary leader about 15 yrs ago ... it is gonna take serious pain / change of values to change the whole economy ... (and not as in some 'buzz-word' for a shallow political campaign)
To put it in an economy of words:

production - consumption = saving + investment

And the key parameter in that equation is productivity.

The rest is drivel.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:57 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,955,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
Doom and gloom dominate the nightly news now.

My personal belief is that a drive to energy independence from foreign oil and related transportation and infrastructure products could be the catalyst to usher in prosperity for the balance of the century.
A few thoughts on the subject.

- America's dependence on foreign oil is not what is causing what is a worldwide economic slowdown. This problem goes well beyond our shores.

- It's hard to argue against energy independence for our counrty. But will this be the catalyst that Linconian believes will be the answer? Let us look at who would work in alternative energy industries. How about wind energy? It takes welders (fabricate structures), pipefitters (lot of hydraulics), fabricators (assembly of the structures), engineers (to design the structures), accountants (to keep the books), carpenters (build the forms for concrete bases), and the list goes on. That's good, right?

Only if these are incremental workers. I would argue that these people would be those who are already working in existing industries like oil production. So how will shifting of jobs from one place to another create jobs?

I have a problem with the thought process that says green jobs mean new jobs that pay better wages and are more plentiful that current non-green (whatever that means) jobs.
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Old 11-08-2008, 05:22 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
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Originally Posted by UpperPeninsulaRon View Post

I have a problem with the thought process that says green jobs mean new jobs that pay better wages and are more plentiful that current non-green (whatever that means) jobs.
Retrain resource-destroying mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, securities brokers, bankers, credit card pushers, pencil pushers in general, retail workers, and car factory workers to work in the real green field, let them grow green thumbs.

If these people are not willing to get their hands dirty, then the situation will not turn around.

I think a more difficult problem is that, as things stand, the energy in/energy out equation for many of these alternatives is not favorable, and even less so now that the price of oil has declined.

In any case, as mentioned, if the government continues to subsidize deadbeats, the situation cannot turn around.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,472 posts, read 5,143,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpperPeninsulaRon View Post
A few thoughts on the subject.

- America's dependence on foreign oil is not what is causing what is a worldwide economic slowdown. This problem goes well beyond our shores.

- It's hard to argue against energy independence for our counrty. But will this be the catalyst that Linconian believes will be the answer? Let us look at who would work in alternative energy industries. How about wind energy? It takes welders (fabricate structures), pipefitters (lot of hydraulics), fabricators (assembly of the structures), engineers (to design the structures), accountants (to keep the books), carpenters (build the forms for concrete bases), and the list goes on. That's good, right?

Only if these are incremental workers. I would argue that these people would be those who are already working in existing industries like oil production. So how will shifting of jobs from one place to another create jobs?

I have a problem with the thought process that says green jobs mean new jobs that pay better wages and are more plentiful that current non-green (whatever that means) jobs.
The related transportation products and infrastructure upgrades are the keys to real job growth in manufacturing leading to higher exports as well as domestic construction and engineering jobs.

If the US sets the goal of being the world leader in alternative-energy transportation it could rebuild our automotive/transportation industry and the hundreds of thousands of related jobs.
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Old 11-11-2008, 12:28 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lincolnian View Post
...
If the US sets the goal of being the world leader in alternative-energy transportation it could rebuild our automotive/transportation industry and the hundreds of thousands of related jobs.
Unfortunately we (USA) have given up any hope of leadership in this sector, (alternative energy transportation OR generation). While the music was playing we stepped out for lunch. When the music stopped, there were no chairs left and we were stuck holding a silly 25cent hotdog
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:25 AM
 
5,090 posts, read 9,845,483 times
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Originally Posted by janb View Post
Unfortunately we (USA) have given up any hope of leadership in this sector, (alternative energy transportation OR generation). While the music was playing we stepped out for lunch. When the music stopped, there were no chairs left and we were stuck holding a silly 25cent hotdog
Giving up hope in The Powers That Be is pretty liberating, if you let it.

It lets you make and create your own future.

Back towards Lincolnian's metaphor Titanic . . . Have watched the movie a couple times (yeah, pity me. ) and it turns out the same -- every time. The Titanic ALWAYS goes down. That is what it does. Every time. Every time. The Titanic goes down.

Again, once you get awareness of that it is very liberating.

It lets you know what to do if you are on board -- e.g. Build Lifeboats.

Lets you know not to buy a ticket and to not get on-board in any respect you are not already on board -- e.g. do not buy stocks and bonds in the Various "White Star Lines." Do not try to stuff your life preserver 401K with these and expect it to float.

If you look ahead (or back since it is history) at boats that have hit before US, (e.g. Soviet Collapse, Iceland, Argentina, on and on) you can see wiser courses of actions on the personal level. Food and Fuel is what I see from watching them.

In general, producing Food and Fuel is wise, productive and profitable. As Lincolnian observed, renewable CAN hit all three of those. It can be wise, productive and profitable. But just figure help is not coming from the top end and you are free to operate on your own.

But as far as expecting the First Class passengers or the staff to save the boat . . . they are busy with their own lifeboats, or even goofier, preparing to go down with the ship. Not a winner in the pack. Go rent the movie. Watch it a couple times. The Titanic goes down every time.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:54 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,546 posts, read 39,924,861 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip T View Post
...and create your own future.

...It lets you know what to do if you are on board -- e.g. Build Lifeboats.

...
In general, producing Food and Fuel is wise, productive and profitable. As Lincolnian observed, renewable CAN hit all three of those. It can be wise, productive and profitable. But just figure help is not coming from the top end and you are free to operate on your own.

....
does this count?
Biodiesel Appleseed Reactor Plans (http://www.biodieselcommunity.org/appleseedprocessor/ - broken link)
I have that taken care of + a fleet of 50 mpg cars, and trucks / tractors / dozer / excavator all running on home brew..., and live on acreage so can grow my own food and some for the neighbors, We have done the 'farming' thing for about 50 yrs...

For some reason I don't think that is gonna turn the ship, nor will the ship turn if most of us did that. As an engineer, and having been engaged in the Alternative / Renewable energy field for over 30 yrs, I don't see the USA 'leading the field' any longer in this technology, (have you seen what other countries are DOING, not just tolking about doing?). There are still plenty of great ideas, inventors, opportunities in USA...BUT... to turn around a fickle consumer economy with more expensive energy options is a stretch for me to embrace. I am all for the idea, I just don't feel the $$ are there to support it. Investors will put their $$ elsewhere, as they are just as much into the 'consumer thing' as everyone else. (Quick and EZ)

I feel it is a very false hope to bet on alternative energy as an economic driver in the USA. Its 'chicken feed' in the scope of things, and be cautious of any politicians who might be so shallow as to proclaim otherwise. Have you looked at the price of oil lately?. Incentive is what drives the market, The oil price fall is just as bogus as the rise, so nothing is forever, hang on for the ride, but being in a lifeboat may be more pleasant.

I'll be shopping for a place to live in WY. The folks that follow energy will leave some bargains there.

But as for the ship.... this is gonna take transformational change or a pretty big bilge pump (current solution)
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