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Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over

Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over [Kindle Edition]

Tim Morgan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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A lesson I learnt early on is that when Tim has something to say which is related to energy analysis, as this book is, it is wise to take notice...If I had one wish it would be that commentators, and policy makers, take his work as seriously as it deserves to be taken. --Terry Smith

Life After Growth has completely reframed my thinking about what s going on in the world today. --Mike Scialom, Cambridge Business

Life After Growth (Harriman House, £14) has completely reframed my thinking about what s going on in the world today. --Mike Scialom, Cambridge Business

Product Description

Why, years after the banking crisis, is the global economy still mired in recession and burdened by enormous debts? Why have the tried-and-tested economic policies of the past failed us this time?
In Life After Growth, leading City analyst Tim Morgan sets out a ground-breaking analysis of how the economy really works. Economists are mistaken, he argues, when they limit their interpretation of the economy to matters of money. Ultimately, the economy is an energy system, not a monetary one.
From this, it follows that we need to think in terms of two economies, not one - a 'real' economy of work, energy, resources, goods and services, and a parallel, 'financial' economy of money and debt. These two economies have parted company, allowing the financial economy to pile up promises that the real economy cannot meet.
Starting with the discovery of agriculture, Tim Morgan traces the rise of the economy in terms of work, energy and resources. The driving factor, he explains, has been cheap and abundant energy. As energy has become increasingly costly to obtain, the potential for prosperity has diminished, to the point where growth in the real economy has ceased.
An immediate problem is that our commitments - including debt, investments and welfare promises - cannot be honoured, which means that we can expect the financial system to be wracked by value destruction. At the same time, we need to adapt to a future in which prosperity can no longer be taken for granted.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1331 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harriman House; 1st edition (18 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857193597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857193599
  • ASIN: B00F3D8M2C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #248,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book which presents a chilling view of the future.

Fundamental is the idea that effectively we live in two economies:
- a money economy which we are familiar with;
- an energy economy (from traditional fossil fuels and more sustainable sources, human effort and food) which is the real economy that underlies the money economy. Money effectively represents a claim on energy.

Unfortunately, over the last thirty years or so, these two economies have drifted apart as the Western world has gone on a consumption binge financed by debt. Since debt is a claim on money, it is also a claim on future energy.

While the money economy has been inflating, the energy economy has been deflating. History shows that we experienced a huge boom in surplus energy (the difference between energy created and the energy consumed in the creation process). This is measured through EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). The global average was 37:1 in 1990 but now it's down to 14:1. The consumptions of further declines will come to dominate the way we live our lives.

It would be nice to think that we could wind the clock back and re-live the last thirty years, avoiding the mistakes made but we can't. Instead we must live with the consequences and they are not pretty.

This book makes alarming reading but the divergence between these two economies helps to explain why the traditional corrective measures for the economy haven't returned us back to growth. In fact the growth we've been used to has been an illusion.

The author writes that between 2001-02 and 2009-10, the UK increased individual and government debt by £4.70 for every £1 of growth in gross domestic product.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is going on? 16 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mankind is heading towards a brutally solid wall. Government and banks are determined to accelerate us to 'escape velocity'. This will only increase the damage upon impact.

This book answers my three key concerns.
Is my house really earning more than me?
Are my investments and pension going to be of value?
Is our economy robust and heading towards strong growth?

It also answered a much more vital question that I hadn't thought of. Is the western way of life sustainable?

Like I state at the start, you deserve the information and knowledge contained within this book.

Feel free to disagree, after you have independently researched your view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To the point and excellent 26 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I buy about one book a month on the economy, energy reserves, ore reserves, mining, banking, state of the planet, etc., and this is one of the best. It does not mess about with diversions. It simply about the crux. It links the rise in population and living standards in the world to the availability and use of cheap fossil fuels. All you need to know really. After that its up to you to imagine the multiple ways people will cope or not cope once fuel becomes unaffordable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling 5 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chilling insight into our dismal future. Explains that the end has already begun and that are politicians are not up to the job. Some of the text almost physically jumps out of the page and smacks you in the face. Easy read over a weekend it uses layman's language to explain some quite complex issues.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Economic Energy 1 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It describes 200 years of phenomenal economic growth from the energy of fossil fuel coming to an end, with there being a rapid reduction in Energy Returns On Energy Invested (EROEI). Especially while population numbers increase incessantly, such things will only get worse for the majority, exacerbated even further by a financial economy that has invested with debt that makes claim on returns that cannot be met in the future. The description of Social Entropy on Wikipedia gives complementary perspective on this subject matter.

Very readable for the layperson, though in some parts it assumes an understanding of corporate, technical and academic terms in financial matters. A surprisingly complementary book in this regard is "The End of Money ..." [ISBN 0863157335] by Thomas Greco.

The latter book provides proven solutions to the financial conundrum briefly described in the book being reviewed here.

Both books can be read in parallel; in fact both books could be all one needs read to understand the critical matters facing civilization, now and in future.

I only give it 4 stars because the only problem with this book is that it does not adequately describe the problems of globalisation and misallocation of financial capital, something that can be remedied by reading the following:
- The Globalization Paradox (Mar 2011) - ISBN: 0199603332
- 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (Sep 2011) - ISBN: 0141047976
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