Perfect Storm – the end of growth warns leading financial broker?!

Capitalism is the regime that aims, by every means, at
increasing production—a certain kind of production, let us
not forget—and, by every means, at reducing “costs”—
costs, let us not forget either, that are defined very
restrictively: neither the destruction of the environment,
nor the flattening of human lives, nor the ugliness of cities,
nor the universal triumph of irresponsibility and cynicism,
nor the replacement of tragedy and popular festival by
televised sitcoms is taken into account in this calculation,
nor could they be taken into account in any calculation of
this type [Cornelius Castoriadis 1996].

The backcloth to the drama of the assault on youth work remains the economic and political crisis besetting neo-liberal capitalism. This is not at all a left-wing conclusion. Thanks to Gerry Gold and Joe Taylor over at NATCAN for drawing to our attention to this sobering analysis from one of the leading world financial brokers. These guys are a mite worried and perplexed about the future – PERFECT STORM

If you’ve time and indeed the energy it is an accessible and thought-provoking read, begging many more questions than answers. Amongst many things, given a recent discussion on the falsification of results at the heart of outcomes-based management, is the acknowledgement that the economic data available to guide supposedly policy is, to put it gently, distorted and misleading.

perfect storm
energy, finance and the end of growth
part one: the end of an era
the four factors which are bringing down the curtain on growth
The economy as we know it is facing a lethal confluence of four critical factors – the fall-out
from the biggest debt bubble in history; a disastrous experiment with globalisation; the
massaging of data to the point where economic trends are obscured; and, most important of
all, the approach of an energy-returns cliff-edge.
part two: this time is different
the implosion of the credit super-cycle
The 2008 crash resulted from the bursting of the biggest bubble in financial history, a ‘credit
super-cycle’ that spanned three decades. Why did this happen?
part three: the globalisation disaster
globalisation and the western economic catastrophe
The Western developed nations are particularly exposed to the adverse trends explored in this
report, because globalisation has created a lethal divergence between burgeoning consumption
and eroding production, with out-of-control debt used to bridge this widening chasm.
part four: loaded dice
how policies have been blind-sided by distorted data
The reliable information which policymakers and the public need if effective solutions are to
be found is not available. Economic data (including inflation, growth, GDP and unemployment)
has been subjected to incremental distortion, whilst information about government spending,
deficits and debt is extremely misleading.
part five: the killer equation
the decaying growth dynamic
The economy is a surplus energy equation, not a monetary one, and growth in output
(and in the global population) since the Industrial Revolution has resulted from the
harnessing of ever-greater quantities of energy. But the critical relationship between
energy production and the energy cost of extraction is now deteriorating so rapidly that
the economy as we have known it for more than two centuries is beginning to unravel.

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