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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is going on?
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...
Published 16 months ago by David Watkinson

versus
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The theory is not new
The basis of the book is very sound. However, the theory is not new. I was hoping to extract more on the concept then I was able to.
Published 16 months ago by Mr. G. Bu Chedid


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is going on?, 16 Feb. 2014
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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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DANGER - The past isn't a reliable guide to the future, 18 Nov. 2013
By 
Paul Simister (Birmingham, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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. The implication is that without that increase in debt, we'd have experienced a sharper, longer recession, largely because we have outsourced so many productive jobs to the low wage economies of China, India and similar countries.

What can be done?

This is the weakest part of the book. The author gives a clear explanation of how we've got into this awful mess and what it means for us in the future but there's a shortage of ideas about what can be done.

Unfortunately much of the responsibility lies with governments because they need to change their complacent attitudes to energy and give much more attention to the issues that surround the declining measure of Energy Returned On Energy Invested.

There's a problem coming but I'm not sure at what level the problem might stabilise. Based on the logic in the book, there's a huge difference between stabilising at an EROEI of 10:1 or 5:1. For example I hear and read conflicting reports on how effective fracking is. There may be huge reserves of oil and gas available but if they can only be released on an EROEI of (say) 3:1, they are not the miracle answer that proponents claim.

What we spend falls into three categories:
Energy
Other essentials like food and accommodation
Luxury products and services

If energy costs increase dramatically - and recent history shows that this trend is under way - it pushes up the costs of the other essentials as they depend on energy and it squeezes out the luxuries (like cars, mobile phone contracts, satellite tv, meals out, nice clothes and shoes etc).

This is made worse when the money side of the economy is under pressure because of ill conceived globalisation decisions that impoverish the developed countries and squeeze average incomes down and declining savings that flow from writing off excessive debts.

I'd have liked the author to look at what we can do as individual employees and business owners to help protect our futures. Perhaps that's the topic of a follow up book.

I've been worrying about this for some time and after reading this book, I'm left feeling even more anxious about the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential read to understand how the economy works, 31 May 2015
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This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
In his book, Tim Morgan explains how, despite being a small percentage of GDP, energy is the foundation of the economy. Ultimately, increasing availability of energy drives increasing economic growth and population growth. The sheer size of our global population was made possible through the enormous quantity of energy concentrated in fossil fuels. Complex societies are created and grow due to the availability of surplus energy:

"Society and the economy began when the discovery of agriculture freed a minority of people to undertake non-subsistence tasks . . . . the sophisticated societies of today are a function of enormous inputs os energy".

In modern industrial societies, energy provides us with transport, warmth, and "manufacturing, services, chemicals, plastics, minerals, food and even water are all functions of the availability of energy". The problem is that, while our demand for energy is increasing, the overall EROEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested - energy needed to get energy by, for example, drilling for oil) is declining, from 100:1 (with one unit of energy people could get 100) in 1930 to 37:1 in 1990 and to 15:1 in 2010. It's predicted that it could decline to 10:1 in 2020, meaning that the critical threshold in which the decreasing availability of energy could affect the economy (of around 5:1) could be reached in the next decade. This could affect not only the economy but also food supplies access to minerals, etc. as energy becomes more and more difficult to get. Energy inputs in agriculture (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) have increased yields by 85%, so the situation would be critical. This first part of the book (The Real Economy) was very clear and well-explained.

The second part (The Financial Economy) was more confusing but I think the author did the best he could to explain it simply (economy is not my strength). Essentially, globalization led to developed countries outsourcing production to developing countries while increasing instead of decreasing consumption. To maintain the same lifestyles and to maintain economic growth citizens and governments resorted to debt. During the first decade of the 21st century, Britain added £4.70 of debt for every £1 in GDP growth. This trend is true for the great majority of Western developed economies. As the author says, this is clearly unsustainable.

The last part of the book was about what this would imply for the economy and for the citizens as a whole. People will have to adapt as energy prices will increase (shortages of essential goods are likely) and many developing economies will enter in default. Consumerism will probably be the first victim. Not only developing countries but at least one rich country may enter in default - the author thinks Britain and Japan are at the greatest risk.

In short, this is a very readable book, essential to understand about economics. According to the author, money is not the master (as many economists believe), it is the servant, a way to exchange goods. Energy is what determines the overall output of the economy. As it becomes increasingly scarce, a bigger part of GDP (that, in real terms, is already negative in the US and Britain at least) will be destined to that and growth will have to cease. People will have to adapt to increasing scarcity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
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
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This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Argues that the economy needs to viewed as an energy ..., 6 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
Argues that the economy needs to viewed as an energy system, rather than just a monetary one, with the former reflecting the ‘real’ inputs from work, energy, resources, goods and services. Such an approach leads to the need to rethink a wide range of priorities and policies. Usefully challenges much conventional thinking on the way we think about the economy, and particularly its relationship with the financial sector, although (surprising?) greater mileage was not made of the limitations of using GDP as a meaningful measure of societal success in the first place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To the point and excellent, 26 May 2014
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This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
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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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading, 14 Dec. 2013
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This is a must-read book for everyone concerned about life in the near future. Very clearly written with superb analysis of why we will no longer see growth in our economies. This insightful book is worth far more than its cover price.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, 8 Feb. 2014
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Tim Morgan has written a book focused on a long term view of what has really driven the global economic growth of the last 100 years. He simple describes why the idea of perpetual growth and ever increasing wealth and prosperity for more is a myth. One day this will be seen as a great prophecy of what is to come. excellent and totally recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good choice, 26 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Life After Growth: How the global economy really works - and why 200 years of growth are over (Hardcover)
everything I expected very good. Tim Morgan explains everything so well. I would recommend this book to anyone. A must for the thinking person
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