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Richard Mellor / America?s War-Fighting Footprint in Africa
« Last post by Richard Mellor on Today at 06:05:21 PM »
America?s War-Fighting Footprint in Africa

If you want to get some idea why your living standards are declining. Why your public services are being cut. Why you can't afford medical attention or to send your kids to college this is one of the main reasons why.  It is nauseating to hear Trump, Obama, all of them, Democrat or Republican talk about our heroes and the great sacrifice the armed forces are making for freedom you might ask what country is it in Africa that threatens the USA. No country threatens the USA, Iran has not threatened us. Vietnam never threatened us. Yemen, whose people are being slaughtered by a US/Saudi bombing campaign (with the US supplying all the planes and weapons of course) have not threatened the US and neither did Saddam Hussein, the old chum of Reagan, Rumsfeld and co.

It does not show respect to the young working class men and women that, due to an economic draft, join the military by lying to them about why they find themselves sent to faraway places to kill people or be killed themselves. US capitalism has its bases in Africa to protect its corporations doing business there. Exxon, WalMart, Coca Cola to name a few. It has a third of the mineral reserves in the world and two-thirds of the global deposits of diamond. See here for the 8 of the top mining companies in Africa. Whole cities are built around this business. Rio Tinto, one of the largest is Australian/British and has been fighting an Israeli mining company over the plunder. Congo will never have pea e becasue it is rich in minerals. This is what the US troops are there to defend. They are not there to combat Islamic terrorism. US capitalism has no problem with any form of terrorism if its perpetrators split the loot with US corporations.

If a president called my house to tell me how sorry he or she was about my child's death fighting for Wall Street I'd treat it like I do all of those scam calls. The flags, the jets flying over football stadiums, the singing of  patriotic songs, it's all a con game. We have to treat the military rank  and file with respect as they are different from the brass, the  politicians that send them and the media moguls who spew out the  propaganda. It is after all, workers that die. But that does not mean we  lie to them about why they are there.   Richard Mellor

This was originally published on the Tom Dispatch website and if you want to read Tom's introduction the article is here.
America?s War-Fighting Footprint in Africa
Secret U.S. Military Documents Reveal a Constellation of American Military Bases Across That Continent
By Nick Turse
General Thomas Waldhauser sounded a little uneasy.  ?I would just  say, they are on the ground.  They are trying to influence the action,? commented the chief of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) at a Pentagon press briefing  in March, when asked about Russian military personnel operating in  North Africa.  ?We watch what they do with great concern.?
And Russians aren?t the only foreigners on Waldhauser?s mind.  He?s  also wary of a Chinese ?military base? being built not far from Camp  Lemonnier, a large U.S. facility in the tiny, sun-blasted nation of  Djibouti.  ?They?ve never had an overseas base, and we?ve never had a  base of... a peer competitor as close as this one happens to be,? he said.  ?There are some very significant... operational security concerns.?
       At that press conference, Waldhauser mentioned still another base, an American one exposed by the Washington Post last October in an article titled, ?U.S. has secretly expanded its global network of drone bases  to North Africa.?  Five months later, the AFRICOM commander still  sounded aggrieved.  ?The Washington Post story that said ?flying from a  secret base in Tunisia.?  It?s not a secret base and it?s not our  base... We have no intention of establishing a base there.?

Waldhauser?s insistence that the U.S. had no base in Tunisia relied  on a technicality, since that foreign airfield clearly functions as an  American outpost. For years, AFRICOM has peddled the fiction that  Djibouti is the site of its only ?base? in Africa. ?We continue to  maintain one forward operating site on the continent, Camp Lemonnier,?  reads the command?s 2017 posture statement.  Spokespeople for the  command regularly maintain that any other U.S. outposts are few and  transitory -- ?expeditionary? in military parlance.

While the U.S. maintains a vast empire of military installations  around the world, with huge -- and hard to miss -- complexes throughout  Europe and Asia, bases in Africa have been far better hidden.  And if  you listened only to AFRICOM officials, you might even assume that the  U.S. military?s footprint in Africa will soon be eclipsed by that of the  Chinese or the Russians.

Highly classified internal AFRICOM files offer a radically different  picture.  A set of previously secret documents, obtained by TomDispatch via the Freedom of Information Act, offers clear evidence of a  remarkable, far-ranging, and expanding network of outposts strung across  the continent. In official plans for operations in 2015 that were  drafted and issued the year before, Africa Command lists 36 U.S.  outposts scattered across 24 African countries.  These include  low-profile locations -- from Kenya to South Sudan to a shadowy Libyan  airfield -- that have never previously been mentioned in published  reports.  Today, according to an AFRICOM spokesperson, the number of  these sites has actually swelled to 46, including ?15 enduring  locations.?  The newly disclosed numbers and redacted documents  contradict more than a decade?s worth of dissembling by U.S. Africa  Command and shed new light on a constellation of bases integral to  expanding U.S. military operations on the African continent and in the  Middle East.

A  map of U.S. military bases -- forward operating sites, cooperative  security locations, and contingency locations -- across the African  continent in 2014 from declassified AFRICOM planning documents (Nick  Turse/TomDispatch).

A Constellation of Bases

AFRICOM failed to respond to repeated requests for further  information about the 46 bases, outposts, and staging areas currently  dotting the continent.  Nonetheless, the newly disclosed 2015 plans  offer unique insights into the wide-ranging network of outposts, a  constellation of bases that already provided the U.S. military with  unprecedented continental reach.

Those documents divide U.S. bases into three categories: forward  operating sites (FOSes), cooperative security locations (CSLs), and  contingency locations (CLs).  ?In total, [the fiscal year 20]15 proposed  posture will be 2 FOSes, 10 CSLs, and 22 CLs? state the documents.  By  spring 2015, the number of CSLs had already increased to 11, according to then-AFRICOM chief General David Rodriguez, in order to allow U.S.  crisis-response forces to reach potential hot spots in West Africa.  An  appendix to the plan, also obtained by TomDispatch, actually lists 23 CLs, not 22.  Another appendix mentions one additional contingency location.

These outposts -- of which forward operating sites are the most  permanent and contingency locations the least so -- form the backbone of  U.S. military operations on the continent and have been expanding at a  rapid rate, particularly since the September 2012 attack on the U.S.  Mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher  Stevens and three other Americans.  The plans also indicate that the  U.S. military regularly juggles locations, shuttering sites and opening  others, while upgrading contingency locations to cooperative security  locations in response to changing conditions like, according to the  documents, ?increased threats emanating from the East, North-West, and  Central regions? of the continent.

AFRICOM?s 2017 posture statement notes, for example, a recent round  of changes to the command?s inventory of posts.  The document explains  that the U.S. military ?closed five contingency locations and designated  seven new contingency locations on the continent due to shifting  requirements and identified gaps in our ability to counter threats and  support ongoing operations.?  Today, according to AFRICOM spokesman  Chuck Prichard, the total number of sites has jumped from the 36 cited  in the 2015 plans to 46 -- a network now consisting of two forward  operating sites, 13 cooperative security locations, and 31 contingency  locations.

Location, Location, Location

AFRICOM?s sprawling network of bases is crucial to its continent-wide  strategy of training the militaries of African proxies and allies and  conducting a multi-front campaign aimed at combating a disparate and spreading collection of terror groups.  The command?s major areas of effort  involve: a shadow war against the militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia  (a long-term campaign, ratcheting up in  the Trump era, with no end in sight); attempts to contain the endless  fallout from the 2011 U.S. and allied military intervention that ousted  Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi (a long-term effort with no end in sight); the neutralizing of ?violent extremist  organizations? across northwest Africa, the lands of the Sahel and  Maghreb (a long-term effort with no end in sight); the degradation of the Islamist militant group  Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin nations of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon,  and Chad (a long-term effort -- to the tune of $156 million last year alone in support of regional proxies there -- with no end in sight); countering piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (a long-term effort with no end in sight), and winding down the wildly expensive effort to eliminate Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord?s Resistance Army in Central Africa (both live on, despite a long-term U.S. effort).

The U.S. military?s multiplying outposts are also likely to prove vital to the Trump administration?s expanding wars in the Middle East.  African bases have long been essential, for instance, to Washington?s ongoing shadow war in Yemen, which has seen a significant increase in drone strikes under the Trump administration.  They have also been integral to operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where a substantial (and deadly) uptick in U.S. airpower (and civilian casualties) has been evident in recent months.

In 2015, AFRICOM spokesman Anthony Falvo noted that the command?s  ?strategic posture and presence are premised on the concept of a  tailored, flexible, light footprint that leverages and supports the  posture and presence of partners and is supported by expeditionary  infrastructure.? The declassified secret documents explicitly state that  America?s network of African bases is neither insignificant nor  provisional.  ?USAFRICOM?s posture requires a network of enduring and  non-enduring locations across the continent,? say the 2015 plans.  ?A  developed network of FOSes, CSLs, and non-enduring CLs in key  countries... is necessary to support the command?s operations and  engagements.?

According to the files, AFRICOM?s two forward operating sites are  Djibouti?s Camp Lemonnier and a base on the United Kingdom?s Ascension  Island off the west coast of Africa.  Described as ?enduring locations?  with a sustained troop presence and ?U.S.-owned real property,? they  serve as hubs for staging missions across the continent and for  supplying the growing network of outposts there.

Lemonnier, the crown jewel of America?s African bases, has expanded from 88 acres to about 600 acres since 2002, and in those years, the  number of personnel there has increased exponentially as well. ?Camp  Lemonnier serves as a hub for multiple operations and security  cooperation activities,? reads AFRICOM?s 2017 posture statement.  ?This  base is essential to U.S. efforts in East Africa and the Arabian  Peninsula.?  Indeed, the formerly secret documents note that the base  supports ?U.S operations in Somalia CT [counterterrorism], Yemen CT,  Gulf of Aden (counter-piracy), and a wide range of Security Assistance  activities and programs throughout the region.?

In 2015, when he announced the increase in cooperative security locations, then-AFRICOM chief  David Rodriguez mentioned Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon as staging areas for  the command?s rapid reaction forces.  Last June, outgoing U.S. Army  Africa commander Major General Darryl Williams drew attention to a CSL in Uganda and one being set up in Botswana, adding, ?We have  very austere, lean, lily pads, if you will, all over Africa now.?
CSL Entebbe in Uganda has, for example, long been an important air base for American forces in Africa, serving as a hub for surveillance aircraft.   It also proved integral to Operation Oaken Steel, the July 2016 rapid  deployment of troops to the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan, as that  failed state (and failed U.S. nation-building effort) sank into yet more violence.

Libreville, Gabon, is listed in the documents as a ?proposed CSL,? but was actually used in 2014 and 2015 as a key base for Operation Echo Casemate, the joint U.S.-French-African military response to unrest in the Central African Republic.

AFRICOM?s 2015 plan also lists cooperative security locations in  Accra, Ghana; Gaborone, Botswana; Dakar, Senegal; Douala, Cameroon;  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and Mombasa, Kenya.  While officially defined  by the military as temporary locales capable of being scaled up for  larger operations, any of these CSLs in Africa ?may also function as a  major logistics hub,? according to the documents.

Contingency Plans 

The formerly secret AFRICOM files note that the command has  designated five contingency locations as ?semi-permanent,? 13 as  ?temporary,? and four as ?initial.?  These include a number of sites  that have never previously been disclosed, including outposts in several  countries that were actually at war when the documents were created.   Listed among the CLs, for instance, is one in Juba, the capital of South Sudan,  already in the midst of an ongoing civil war in 2014; one in Bangui,  the capital of the periodically unstable Central African Republic; and  another in Al-Wigh, a Saharan airfield in southern Libya located near that country?s borders with Niger, Chad, and Algeria.
Officially classified as ?non-enduring? locations, CLs are  nonetheless among the most integral sites for U.S. operations on the  continent.  Today, according to AFRICOM?s Prichard, the 31 contingency  locations provide ?access to support partners, counter threats, and  protect U.S. interests in East, North, and West Africa.?

AFRICOM did not provide the specific locations of the current crop of  CLs, stating only that they ?strive to increase access in crucial  areas.? The 2015 plans, however, provide ample detail on the areas that  were most important to the command at that time.  One such site is Camp  Simba in Manda Bay, Kenya, also mentioned in a 2013 internal Pentagon study on secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen.  At least two manned surveillance aircraft were based there at the time.

Chabelley Airfield
in Djibouti is also mentioned in AFRICOM?s 2015 plan.  Once a spartan  French Foreign Legion post, it has undergone substantial expansion in  recent years as U.S. drone operations in that country were moved from  Camp Lemonnier to this more remote location.  It soon became a regional  hub for unmanned aircraft not just for Africa but also for the Middle  East.  By the beginning of October 2015, for example, drones flown from  Chabelley had already logged more than 24,000 hours of intelligence, surveillance, and  reconnaissance missions and were also, according to the Air Force,  ?responsible for the neutralization of 69 enemy fighters, including five  high-valued individuals? in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq  and Syria.

AFRICOM?s inventory of CLs also includes sites in Nzara, South Sudan; Arlit, Niger; both Bamako and Gao, Mali; Kasenyi, Uganda; Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles; Monrovia, Liberia; Ouassa and Nema, Mauritania; Faya Largeau, Chad; Bujumbura, Burundi; Lakipia, the site of a Kenyan Air Force base; and another Kenyan airfield at Wajir that was upgraded and expanded by the U.S. Navy earlier in this decade, as well as an outpost in Arba Minch, Ethiopia, that was reportedly shuttered in 2015 after nearly five years of operation.

A longtime contingency location in Niamey, the capital of Niger, has  seen marked growth in recent years as has a more remote location, a  Nigerien military base at Agadez, listed among the ?proposed? CSLs in  the AFRICOM documents.  The U.S. is, in fact, pouring $100 million into  building up the base, according to a 2016 investigation by the Intercept.   N'Djamena, Chad, the site of yet another ?proposed CSL,? has actually  been used by the U.S. military for years.  Troops and a drone were dispatched there in 2014 to aid in operations against Boko Haram and ?base camp facilities? were constructed there, too.

The list of proposed CLs also includes sites in Berbera, a town in  the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, and in Mogadishu, the capital  of neighboring Somalia (another locale used by American troops for years), as well as the towns of Baidoa and  Bosaso.  These or other outposts are likely to play increasingly  important roles as the Trump administration ramps up its military  activities in Somalia, the long-failed state that saw 18 U.S. personnel  killed in the disastrous ?Black Hawk Down? mission of 1993.   Last month, for instance, President Trump relaxed rules aimed at preventing civilian casualties when the U.S. conducts drone  strikes and commando raids in that country and so laid the foundation  for a future escalation of the war against al-Shabaab there.  This  month, AFRICOM confirmed that dozens of soldiers from the Army?s 101st  Airborne Division, a storied light infantry unit, would be deployed to that same country in order to train local forces to, as a spokesperson put it, ?better fight? al-Shabaab.

Many other sites previously identified as U.S. outposts or staging  areas are not listed in AFRICOM?s 2015 plans, such as bases in Djema, Sam Ouandja, and Obo in the Central African Republic that were revealed, in recent years, by the Washington Post.  Also missing is a newer drone base in Garoua, Cameroon, not to mention that Tunisian air base where the U.S. has been flying drones, according to AFRICOM?s Waldhauser, ?for quite some time.?

Some bases may have been shuttered, while others may not yet have  been put in service when the documents were produced.  Ultimately, the  reasons that these and many other previously identified bases are not included in the redacted secret files are unclear due to  AFRICOM?s refusal to offer comment, clarification, or additional  information on the locations of its bases. 

Base Desires

?Just as the U.S. pursues strategic interests in Africa,  international competitors, including China and Russia, are doing the  same,? laments AFRICOM in its 2017 posture statement. ?We continue to  see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner  contrary to the international norms of transparency.?

Since it was established as an independent command in 2008, however,  AFRICOM itself has been anything but transparent about its activities on  the continent.  The command?s physical footprint may, in fact, have  been its most jealously guarded secret.  Today, thanks to AFRICOM?s own  internal documents, that secret is out and with AFRICOM?s admission that  it currently maintains ?15 enduring locations,? the long-peddled  fiction of a combatant command with just one base in its area of  operations has been laid to rest.

?Because of the size of Africa, because of the time and space and the  distances, when it comes to special crisis-response-type activities, we  need access in various places on the continent,? said AFRICOM chief  Waldhauser during his March press conference.  These ?various places?  have also been integral to escalating American shadow wars, including a  full-scale air campaign against the Islamic State in Libya, dubbed  Operation Odyssey Lightning, which ended late last year, and ongoing intelligence-gathering missions and a continued U.S. troop presence in that country; drone assassinations and increased troop deployments in Somalia to counter al-Shabaab; and increasing engagement in a proxy  war against Boko Haram militants in the Lake Chad region of Central  Africa.  For these and many more barely noticed U.S. military missions,  America?s sprawling, ever-expanding network of bases provides the  crucial infrastructure for cross-continental combat by U.S. and allied  forces, a low-profile support system for war-making in Africa and  beyond.

Without its wide-ranging constellation of bases, it would be nearly  impossible for the U.S. to carry out ceaseless low-profile military  activities across the continent.  As a result, AFRICOM continues to  prefer shadows to sunlight.  While the command provided figures on the  total number of U.S. military bases, outposts, and staging areas in  Africa, its spokespeople failed to respond to repeated requests to  provide locations for any of the 46 current sites.  While the  whereabouts of the new outposts may still be secret, there?s little  doubt as to the trajectory of America?s African footprint, which has  increased by 10 locations -- a 28% jump -- in just over two years.

America?s ?enduring? African bases ?give the United States options in  the event of crisis and enable partner capacity building,? according to  AFRICOM?s Chuck Prichard.  They have also played a vital role in  conflicts from Yemen to Iraq, Nigeria to Somalia.  With the Trump  administration escalating its wars in Africa and the Middle East, and  the potential for more crises -- from catastrophic famines to spreading wars -- on the horizon, there?s every reason to believe the U.S. military?s  footprint on the continent will continue to evolve, expand, and enlarge  in the years ahead, outpost by outpost and base by base.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of 
TomDispatch, a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His latest book, Next Time They?ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan, was a finalist for the 2016 Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award.  His website is NickTurse.com.

Follow
TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War II, as well as John Feffer's dystopian novel Splinterlands, Nick Turse?s Next Time They?ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt's Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Source: America?s War-Fighting Footprint in Africa
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AlterNet / The New Economic Science of Capitalism's Slow-Burn Energy Collapse
« Last post by AlterNet on Today at 06:05:18 PM »
The New Economic Science of Capitalism's Slow-Burn Energy Collapse



 
 
 



The struggle for a new economic paradigm is about to get real.


 

This article was produced in partnership with AlterNet and Insurge Intelligence. Learn more about Nafeez Ahmed and how to support his work.

New scientific research is quietly rewriting the fundamentals of economics. The new economic science shows decisively that the age of endlessly growing industrial capitalism, premised on abundant fossil fuel supplies, is over.

The long decline of capitalism-as-we-know-it, the new science shows, began some decades ago, and is on track to accelerate well before the end of the 21st century.

With capitalism-as-we-know it in inexorable decline, the urgent task ahead is to rewrite economics to fit the real world: and, accordingly, to redesign our concepts of value and prosperity, precisely to rebuild our societies with a view of adapting to this extraordinary age of transition.

A groundbreaking study in Elsevier?s Ecological Economics journal by two French economists for the first time proves the world has passed a point-of-no-return in its capacity to extract fossil fuel energy: with massive implications for the long-term future of global economic growth.

The study, ?Long-Term Estimates of the Energy-Return-on-Investment (EROI) of Coal, Oil, and Gas Global Productions?, homes in on the concept of EROI, which measures the amount of energy supplied by an energy resource, compared to the quantity of energy consumed to gather that resource. In simple terms, if a single barrel of oil is used up to extract energy equivalent to 50 barrels of oil, that?s pretty good. But the less energy we?re able to extract using that single barrel, then the less efficient, and more expensive (in terms of energy and money), the whole process.

Recent studies suggest that the EROI of fossil fuels has steadily declined since the early 20th century, meaning that as we?re depleting our higher quality resources, we?re using more and more energy just to get new energy out. This means that the costs of energy production are increasing while the quality of the energy we?re producing is declining.

But unlike previous studies, the authors of the new paper, Victor Court, a macroeconomist at Paris Nanterre University, and Florian Fizaine of the University of Burgundy?s Dijon Laboratory of Economics (LEDi), have removed any uncertainty that might have remained about the matter.

Court and Fizaine find that the EROI values of global oil and gas production reached their maximum peaks in the 1930s and 40s. Global oil production hit peak EROI at 50:1; while global gas production hit peak EROI at 150:1. Since then, the EROI values of oil and gas?the overall energy we?re able to extract from these resources for every unit of energy we put in?is inexorably declining.

Source: Court and Fizaine (2017)

Even coal, the only fossil fuel resource whose EROI has not yet maxed out, is forecast to undergo an EROI peak sometime between 2020 and 2045. This means that while coal might still have significant production potential in some parts of the world, rising costs of production are making it increasingly uneconomical.

Axiom: Aggregating this data together reveals that the world?s fossil fuels overall experienced their maximum cumulative EROI of approximately 44:1 in the early 1960s.

Since then, the total value of energy we?re able to extract from the world?s fossil fuel resource base has undergone a protracted, continuous and irreversible decline.

Insight: At this rate of decline, by 2100, we are projected to extract the same value of EROI from fossil fuels as we were in the 1800s.

Several other studies suggest that this ongoing decline in the overall value of the energy extracted from global fossil fuels has played a fundamental role in the slowdown of global economic growth in recent years.

In this sense, the 2008 financial crash did not represent a singular event, but rather one key event in an unfolding process.

The economy-energy nexus

This is because economic growth remains ultimately dependent on ?growth in material and energy use,? as a study in the journal PLOS One found last October. That study, lead-authored by James D. Ward of the School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, challenged the idea that GDP growth can be ?decoupled? from environmental impacts.

The ?illusion of decoupling,? Ward and his colleagues argued, has been maintained through the following misleading techniques:

  1. substituting one resource for another;
  2. financialization of GDP, such as through increasing ?monetary flows? through creation of new debt, without however increasing material or energy throughput (think quantitative easing);
  3. exporting environmental impacts to other nations or regions, so that the realities of increasing material throughput can be suppressed from data calculations.
  4. growing inequality of income and wealth, which allows GDP to grow for the benefit of a few, while the majority of workers see decreases in real income?in other words, a wealthy minority monopolises the largest fraction of GDP growth, but does not increase their level of consumption with as much demand for energy and materials.

Ward and his co-authors sought to test these factors by creating a new economic model to see how well it stacks up against the data.

Insight: They found that continued economic growth in GDP ?cannot plausibly be decoupled from growth in material and energy use, demonstrating categorically that GDP growth cannot be sustained indefinitely.?

Other recent scientific research has further fine-tuned this relationship between energy and prosperity.

The prosperity-resource nexus

Adam Brandt, a leading EROI expert at Stanford University?s Department of Energy Resources Engineering, in the March edition of BioPhysical Economics and Resource Quality proves that the decline of EROI directly impacts on economic prosperity.

Earlier studies on this issue, Brandt points out, have highlighted the risk of a ?net energy cliff,? which refers to how ?declining EROI results in rapid increases in the fraction of energy dedicated to simply supporting the energy system.?

Axiom: So the more EROI declines, a greater proportion of the energy being produced must be used simply to extract more energy. This means that EROI decline leads to less real-world economic growth.

It also creates a complicated situation for oil prices. While at first, declining EROI can be expected to lead to higher prices reflecting higher production costs, the relationship between EROI and prices begins to break down as EROI becomes smaller.

This could be because, under a significantly reduced EROI, consumers in a less prosperous economy can no longer afford, energetically or economically, the cost of producing more energy?thus triggering a dramatic drop in market prices, despite higher costs of production. At this point, in the new era of shrinking EROI, swinging oil prices become less and less indicative of ?scarcity? in supply and demand.

Brandt?s new economic model looks at how EROI impacts four key sectors?food, energy, materials and labor. Exploring what a decline in net energy would therefore mean for these sectors, he concludes:

?The reduction in the fraction of a resource free and the energy system productivity extends from the energy system to all aspects of the economy, which gives an indication of the mechanisms by which energy productivity declines would affect general prosperity.

"A clear implication of this work is that decreases in energy resource productivity, modeled here as the requirement for more materials, labor, and energy, can have a significant effect on the flows required to support all sectors of the economy. Such declines can reduce the effective discretionary output from the economy by consuming a larger and larger fraction of gross output for the meeting of inter-industry requirements.?

Brandt?s model is theoretical, but it has direct implications for the real world.

Insight: Given that the EROI of global fossil fuels has declined steadily since the 1960s, Brandt?s work suggests that a major underlying driver of the long-term process of economic stagnation we?re experiencing is resource depletion.

Exactly how big the impact of resource depletion on the economy might be, can be gauged from a separate study by Professor Mauro Bonauiti of the Department of Economics and Statistics at the University of Turn.

His new paper published in February in the Journal of Cleaner Production assesses data on technological innovations and productivity growth. He concludes that:

?? advanced capitalist societies have entered a phase of declining marginal returns?or involuntary degrowth?with possible major effects on the system?s capacity to maintain its present institutional framework.?

Bonauiti draws on anthropologist Joseph Tainter?s work on the growth and collapse of civilizations. Tainter?s seminal work, The Collapse of Complex Societies, showed that the very growth in complexity driving a civilization?s expansion generates complex new problems requiring further complexity to solve them.

Axiom: Complex civilizations tend to accelerate the use of resources, while diminishing the quantity of resources available for the civilization?s continued expansion?because they are continually being invested in solving the new problems generated by increasing complexity.

The result is that complex societies tend to reach a threshold of growth, after which returns diminish to such an extent that the complexification of the society can no longer be sustained, leading to its collapse or regression.

Bonauiti builds on Tainter?s framework and applies it to new data on ?Total Factor Productivity? to assess correlations between the growth and weakening in productivity, industrial revolutions, and the implications for continued economic growth.

The benefits that a certain society obtains from its own investments in complexity ?do not increase indefinitely,? he writes. ?Once a certain threshold has been reached (T0), the social organization as a whole will enter a phase of declining marginal returns, that is to say, a critical phase, which, if ignored, may lead to the collapse of the whole system.?

This threshold appears to have been reached by Europe, Japan and the US before the early 1970s, he argues.

Insight: The US economy, he shows, appears to have reached ?the peak in productivity in the 1930s, the same period in which the EROI of fossil fuels reached an extraordinary value of about 100.?

Of course, Court and Fizaine quantify the exact value of this peak EROI differently using a new methodology, but they agree that the peak occurred roughly around this period.

The US and other advanced economies are currently tapering off the end of what Bonauiti calls the ?third industrial revolution? (IR3), in information communications technologies (ICT). This was, however, the shortest and weakest industrial revolution from a productivity standpoint, with its productivity ?evaporating? after just eight years.

In the US, the first industrial revolution utilized coal to power steam engine and telegraph technology, stimulating a rapid increase in productivity that peaked between 1869 and 1892, at almost 2%.

The second industrial revolution was powered by the electric engine and internal combustion engine, which transformed manufacturing and domestic consumption. This led productivity to peak at 2.78%, remaining at around 2% for at least another 25 years.

After the 1930s, however, productivity continually declined, reaching 0.34% in the period 1973?95. Since then, the third industrial revolution driven by computing technology led to a revival of productivity which, however, has already tapered out in a way that is quite tepid compared to the previous industrial revolutions.

Axiom: The highest level of productivity was reached around the 1930s, and since then with each industrial revolution has declined.

The decline period also roughly corresponds to the post-peak EROI era for total fossil fuels identified by Court and Fizaine.

Thus, Bonauiti concludes, ?the empirical evidence and theoretical reasons lead one to conclude that the innovations introduced by IR3 are not powerful enough to compensate for the declining returns of IR2.?

Insight: The implication is that the 21st century represents the tail-end of the era of industrial economic expansion, originally ushered in by technological innovations enabled by abundant fossil fuel energy sources.

The latest stage is illustrated with the following graph which demonstrates the rapid rise and decline in productivity of the last major revolution in technological innovation (IR3):

The productivity of the third industrial revolution thus peaked around 2004 and since then has declined back to near 1980s levels.

Bonauiti thus concludes that ?advanced capitalist societies (the US, Europe and Japan) have entered a phase of declining marginal returns or involuntary degrowth in many key sectors, with possible major detrimental effects on the system?s capacity to maintain its present institutional framework.?

In other words, the global economic system has entered a fundamentally new era, representing a biophysical phase-shift into an energetically constrained landscape.

Going back to the new EROI analysis by French economists, Victor Court and Florian Fizaine, the EROI of oil is forecast to reduce to 15:1 by 2018. It will continue to decline to around 10:1 by 2035.

They broadly forecast the same pattern for gas and coal: Overall, their data suggests that the EROI of all fossil fuels will hit 15:1 by 2060, and decline further to 10:1 by 2080.

If these projections come to pass, this means that over the next few decades, the overall costs of fossil fuel energy production will increase, even while the market value of fossil fuel energy remains low. The total net energy yield available to fuel continued economic growth will inexorably decline. This will, in turn, squeeze the extent to which the economy can afford to buy fossil fuel energy that is increasingly expensive to produce.

We cannot be sure what this unprecedented state of affairs will herald for the market prices of oil, gas and coal, which are unlikely to follow the conventional supply and demand dynamics we were used to in the 20th century.

But what we can know for sure from the new science is that the era of unlimited economic growth?the defining feature of neoliberal finance capitalism as we know it?is well and truly over.

UK ?end of growth? test-case

The real-world workings of this insight have been set out by a team of economists at the University of Leeds? Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, whose research was partly funded by giant engineering firm Arup, along with the main UK government-funded research councils?the UK Energy Research Centre, the Economics and Social Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

In their paper published by the university?s Sustainability Research Institute this January, Lina Brand-Correa, Paul Brockway, Claire Carter, Tim Foxon, Anne Owen, and Peter Taylor develop a national-level EROI measure for the UK.

Studying data for the period 1997-2012, they find that ?the country?s EROI has been declining since the beginning of the 21st Century.?

 

Energy Returned (Eout) and Energy Invested (Ein) in the UK (1997?2012) Source: Brand-Correa (2017)

The UK?s net EROI peaked in 2000 at a maximum value of 9.6, ?before gradually falling back to a value of 6.2 in 2012.? What this means is that on average, ?12% of the UK?s extracted/captured energy does not go into the economy or into society for productive or well-being purposes, but rather needs to be reinvested by the energy sectors to produce more energy.?

The paper draws on previous work by economists Court and Fizaine suggesting that continuous economic growth requires a minimal societal EROI of 11, based on the current energy intensity of the UK economy. By implication, the UK is dropping increasingly below this benchmark since the start of the 21st century:

?These initial results show that more and more energy is having to be used in the extraction of energy itself rather than by the UK?s economy or society.?

This also implies that the UK has had to sustain continued economic growth through other mechanisms outside of its own domestic energy context: in particular, as we know, the expansion of debt.

It is no coincidence, then, that debt-to-GDP ratios have continued to grow worldwide. As EROI is in decline, an unsustainable debt-bubble premised on exploitation of working and middle classes is the primary method to keep growth growing?an endeavor that at some point will inevitably come undone under its own weight.

According to MIT and Harvard trained economist Dr. June Sekera?who leads the Public Economy Project at Tufts University?s Global Development And Environment Institute (GDAE)?net energy decline proves that neoclassical economic theory is simply not fit for purpose.

In Working Paper ?17?02 published by the GDAE, Sekera argues that: ?One of the most important contributions of biophysical economics is its critique that mainstream economics disregards the biophysical basis of production, and energy in particular.?

Policymakers, she says, ?need to understand the biophysical imperative: that societal net energy yield is falling. Hence the need for a biophysical economics, and for policymakers to comprehend its central messages.?

Yet a key problem is that mainstream economics is held back from being able to even comprehend the existence of net energy decline due to an ideological obsession with the market. The result is that production that occurs outside the market is seen as an aberration, a form of government, state or ?political? interference in the ?natural? dynamics of the market.

And this is why the market alone is incapable of generating solutions to the net energy crisis driving global economic stagnation. The modern market paradigm is fatally self-limited by the following dynamics: ?short time horizons, growth as a requisite, gratuitous waste baked-in, profits as life-blood.? This renders it ?incapable of producing solutions that demand long-view investment without profits.?

Thus, Sekera calls for a new ?public economics? commensurate with what is needed for a successful energy transition. The new public economics will spur on breakthrough scientific and technological innovations that solve ?common-need problems? based on ?distributed decision-making and collective action.?

The resulting solutions will require ?long time-horizon investment: investments with no immediate payoff in terms of saleable products, no visible ROI (return on investment), no profit-making in the near-term. Such investment can be generated only in a non-market environment, in which payment is collective and financial profit is not the point.?

The only problem is that, as Sekera herself recognizes, the main incubator and agent of the non-market public economy is government?but government itself is playing a key role in dismantling, hollowing-out and privatizing the non-market public economy.

There is only one solution to this conundrum, however difficult it might seem: Citizens themselves at all scales have an opportunity to work together to salvage and regenerate new public economies based on pooling their human, financial and physical assets and resources, to facilitate the emergence of more viable and sustainable economic structures. Part of this will include adapting to post-carbon energy sources.

Far from representing the end of prosperity, this transition represents an opportunity to redefine prosperity beyond the idea of endlessly increasing material accumulation; and realigning society with the goal of meeting real-world human physical, psychological and spiritual needs.

What will emerge from efforts to do so has not yet been written. But those efforts will define the contours of the new post-carbon economy, as the unsustainable juggernaut of the old grinds slowly and painfully to a protracted, chaotic halt.

In coming years and decades, the reality of the need for a new economic science that reflects the dynamics of the economy?s fundamental embeddedness in the biophysical environment will become ever more obvious.

So say goodbye to endless growth neoliberalism.

 






 

Related Stories


Source: The New Economic Science of Capitalism's Slow-Burn Energy Collapse
3
Centre for Research on Globalisation / How Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos ? for Profit
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:05:15 PM »
How Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos ? for Profit

In this truly alarming story I connect three significant articles to show that Brexit, far from being the result of representative democracy, is in fact a campaign of covert intervention by foreign billionaires to bring about economic chaos in Britain


Source: How Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos ? for Profit
4
Centre for Research on Globalisation / After Socialists Win 17 of 23 States, US Claims Venezuela Elections Not ?Free and Fair?
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:05:15 PM »
After Socialists Win 17 of 23 States, US Claims Venezuela Elections Not ?Free and Fair?

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, cast doubt on the results of Venezuela’s Regional Elections where candidates from the governing Socialist Party won a vast majority of seats, claiming the vote was not “free and fair.” 


“An


Source: After Socialists Win 17 of 23 States, US Claims Venezuela Elections Not ?Free and Fair?
5
Centre for Research on Globalisation / 200,000 Protest Jailing of Catalonian Nationalist Leaders in Barcelona
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:05:15 PM »
200,000 Protest Jailing of Catalonian Nationalist Leaders in Barcelona

The jailing this week of the leaders of the largest separatist organisations in Catalonia?Jordi Sānchez of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart of Ōmnium Cultural?was met with demonstrations throughout Catalonia culminating in a 200,000-strong protest in Barcelona


Source: 200,000 Protest Jailing of Catalonian Nationalist Leaders in Barcelona
6
Anarchist News dot Org / Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum calls for pressure against Iraq assault
« Last post by AnarchistNews.org on Today at 06:05:15 PM »
Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum calls for pressure against Iraq assault

From Freedom News UK


Below is a statement released by KAF, a Kurdish-speaking anarchist group, in the wake of the recent Iraqi government assault on Kirkuk and other Kurdish-held positions ? and against the destructive policies of Marsoud Barzani?s government.


***


Immediate call to all our comrades Anarchists and Libertarians wherever they are


A direct and special call to our comrades Anarchists and Libertarians Arabic-speaking


No to State, No to war.  Yes for self-administration and the Social revolution


For years and years we, anarchists and libertarian in Iraqi ?Kurdistan?, Europe and other countries all our publicities and our slogan have been about Yes for self-administration in  everywhere  and for all the communities , but No to State.


We raised our voice against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its very recent scenario of referendum on ?independent Kurdish State?.  We are very sure the other anarchists among Arab, Turkish, Assyrian and others had the same attitude. We also believe the same attitude from our anarchist comrades throughout the world to say no to State, authority, nationalism and to be against the nationalist and against pro-fascist war.


Iraqi ?Kurdistan? has been going through a very difficult time since Oct 2015.  The wages of public sector employees have been reduced to less than a half, the number of unemployment has increased sharply, the price of everything has gone up, business and the government services have dramatically been cut off. This all happened in addition to the war with Isis and disputes between (KRG) and the central government over the budget and the disputed lands and city  like Kirkuk and the others.


So many strikes, demonstrations and boycotting work during this couple of years took place.  Some of them lasted for few weeks even months.  KRG instead of resolving all these problems tried to divert the attention of people from the real problems by announcing in July the referendum of independent Kurdistan, state of Kurdistan, on 25th of Sep.


Masoud Barzani the head of KRG set up the day of referendum without consulting Iraqi, neighbourhood countries, US and European countries.  Once he called for referendum, all of them rejected it and told him that he will not get any support.


After the referendum of 25th of September Iraq, Iran and Turkey governments came together against it and threaten KRG with economic sanction.  Iraqi government asked KRG to withdraw the decisions of the referendum and get back to the Iraqi constitution in taking any decision.  Haider al-Abadi , the Prime Minster of Iraq gave Barzani warning that  if he does not back down, the Iraqi government  will  take  over control of  Kirkuk province?s oil wells that are at the moment under  the control of  KRG.


Three days ago the Iraqi government sent a huge numbers of Police, military and Hishdi Shaibe [ the Siha paramilitary  group] with various of heavy weapons to take positions on the city?s approaches.


The civil war now very imminent between Peshmarga, KRG forces, and the above forces of central government.


We are asking for support and solidarity from our comrades anarchists to protest, making a statement against this war, show their anger against the war and solidarity to Iraqi people.


We are anti State because we are against the current political system.  We are anti-political party and anti-authoritarian ideology from left to the right, because we are anti class superiority, and anti-private ownership and exploitation of the labour. All the wars in history happened due to protecting class superiority, private ownership and labour exploitation.


We are against war, weapons and hatters between the different cultures and between different ethnic minorities.  War in general produces death and slavery. The outcome of any war does not support starting the social revolution, in fact it damages and weakening the revolution climate. In the meantime, war opening a very big market for selling/ buying weapons and destroying the environment. War makes the poor people poorer and class superiority lasts longer.


While we are against war, we are very much in favour of people self-administration wherever they are living communally and working collectively.  We are also aware wherever the state exist there is no freedom, wherever political party is, there is no self-thinking and individual independency. Wherever the businessmen and money are, there are slavery wages and exploited people.


In Iraqi ?Kurdistan? there has been a strong authority for the last 26 years, there has been the bourgeois in power.  For the last 26 years people deprived from the real freedom and from making the decision by themselves. For the long time the ruler has done very little for the people in ?Kurdistan? in term of providing services. They encouraged people to move from the rural area to the towns and cities, making so many business contracts with the foreign oil company and corporations for their own profit, sold all the public lands and many more. In short ?Kurdistan? became the home of many multinational companies, the financial institutions and the spies network of the neighbourhood countries and others. Since then they acted like a proper state in whatever they wanted to do. So why should we expect different when they set up their own ?independent state? and think it will be better than what the people have it now?


We ask all our anarchist comrades to support and have solidarity with us to prevent this war.  It is true that your opposition to the military and nationalist war in Iraq, if happens, may not as effective as our opposition, however, your solidarity will be crucial and greatly appreciated.


We again are calling our whole comrade anarchists especially Arab, Persian, Turkish and Assyrian speakers to raise their voices and act to stop this viscous war that is not in the interest of working class and poor people in Iraq and ?Kurdistan?.  Being silent and not be serious about it, is directly or indirectly serves the politicians, the big corporations and the capitalist system.  We therefore have no choice but fighting back the system, its action and its war.  We also expect the other anarchists wherever they are to stand with us, firm and to support the children, elderly and the disable people in Iraq.


    No to war

    No to State

    No to nationalism and patriotism

    No to capitalism system

    Yes to solidarity and unite against the war

    Yes to self-organise

    Yes to the social struggle

    Yes to social revolution

    Yes to social uprising

    Yes to self-administration


Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum (KAF)

15th Oct 2017

Links


www.anarkistan.com


Facebook


Twitter


Email: anarkistan@riseup.net


category: 

Source: Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum calls for pressure against Iraq assault
7
Is the Welsh Language about to collapse on the Ll?n Peninsula?

We share this for the interest of our readers. Those who have a keen interest in dialects and minority languages will find it interesting.  It is from the blog, Politics by Rebuttal. Thanks to Rob Jones for sharing it.


Is the Welsh Language about to collapse on the Ll?n Peninsula? 

October 17, 2017

The Ll?n Peninsula, sticking out of North Wales into the   
Irish Sea.  For how much longer will Welsh continue       
to be a living community language here?                             
The Ll?n  Peninsula has long since been known as one of the strongest bastions of  Welsh Language, Literature and Culture, and  is today among the last  areas of Wales where Welsh is still a living community language.  But  for how much longer?

Both the 2013 and 2017 School Census data show that around 2/3 of all primary school children on the Ll?n  speak Welsh at home.  You might therefore be tempted to think that the  situation was safe and stable.  However, a closer look at the individual  primary schools shows a very worrying trend.

You probably knew that the resort village of Abersoch was already very  anglicised - indeed, many people jokingly refer to it as a seaside  colony of North West England - but you may have thought that at least  the rest of the peninsula remained a stronghold of the indigenous  culture.  Until about a decade or more ago, that was indeed true, but  now new enclaves are popping up, and the peninsula's main towns appear  to be first in line.   

In 2004, Estyn reported that 64% of children in the primary school in  Criccieth spoke Welsh at home.  In 2017, only 42% do.  Little wonder is  it then, when it is remarked that English has replaced Welsh as the main  language of the playground in that town.  

In Pwllheli, the largest town on the peninsula, that percentage has  fallen from 67.9% to 61.8%, and only since 2013, according to School  Census Data.  Two years earlier, in 2011, Estyn reported that 'nearly  three quarters of pupils' spoke Welsh at Home.  In Porthmadog, on the  eastern end of Dwyfor, the figure has fallen from 63.9% to 58.7%, and  again, only since 2013.  

In both towns, overall pupil numbers appear to have stayed roughly the  same during those four years, yet the number of children from speaking  Welsh at home seems to be dropping unbelievably fast in such a short  space of time.  In Porthmadog, if the number of pupils speaking Welsh at  Home continues to drop by 4 a year, with overall pupil numbers staying  roughly constant (as they have since 2013), then said children will be  in the minority by 2023.  In Pwllheli, if that trend continues, then  children speaking Welsh at Home will be in the minority in that town by  2024.

This is not a pleasant thought - two of Wales's last remaining  Welsh-speaking towns are being anglicised, it seems, incredibly fast.   If the Ll?n  's towns do become anglicised, then how long will it be before their  hinterlands follow suit?  Already there are rural communities in the  Dwyfor area where the demise of Welsh is happening at an even more  mind-blowingly rapid rate.  In the primary school in Beddgelert,  according to Estyn, the percentage of children from speaking Welsh at  Home fell from 50% to 7% between 2005 and 2015, while in Dolbenmaen,  just north of Porthmadog, that figure fell from 77.5% in 2013 to 52.3%  in 2017.

Anti-Welsh grafitti on the beach at Tudweiliog discovered     
earlier this year.  Are the locals sometimes made to feel         
like foreigners in their own country?                                         
There's no other way of putting it - that is mind-blowingly fast.   'Playground Welsh' appears to be dying a sudden death in areas where it  was 'as safe as houses' only a few years ago.  Back in 2011 or 2012, I  remember this trip to Aberdaron that we, a group of English holiday  makers made, and the joy that we felt when we heard local teenagers with  their blackberries speaking Welsh to each other by the beach.  How much  longer will this last though?

I refuse to believe that any of this is 'natural', 'inevitable' or  'modern'.  Where else in 21st Century Europe, are minority language  communities being eroded quite so fast? On the contrary, the  Hungarian-speaking areas of Romania, the Catalan-speaking areas of  Spain, and the Swedish-speaking areas of Finland are holding out, just  as well, if not better, than in the past.  Don't be fooled into thinking  that this is something that the Welsh people, and the people of the Ll?n  in particular, have to put up with in this day and age.  As you may  have gathered, I say all this as someone who is himself an Englishman.

Source: Is the Welsh Language about to collapse on the Ll?n Peninsula?
8
Trump Campaign Staff Publicly Circulated Russian Propaganda on Twitter Before the Election: Report



 
 
 



Top officials tweeted state-backed foreign propaganda disguised as domestic content.


 

Multiple members of Donald Trump?s 2016 presidential campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and other staffers circulated tweets by professional trolls on the payroll of the Russian government, according to a startling new report from the Daily Beast.

According to the Daily Beast:

?The Twitter account @Ten_GOP, which called itself the 'Unofficial Twitter account of Tennessee Republicans,' was operated from the Kremlin-backed ?Russian troll farm,? or Internet Research Agency, a source familiar with the account confirmed.?

The Russian-backed organization responsible for the tweets engaged in a widespread influence campaign that included popular social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Twitter refused to comment on the revelations, citing ?privacy and security reasons.? 

This is the first tangible evidence presented to the public that members of the Trump campaign team promoted Russian propaganda materials in the course of the election. Some of these campaign members, including Conway and the president's son, are influential within the Trump administration. Conway is now a top White House staffer, serving as counselor to the president.

According to former FBI counterterrorism agent Clint Watts, the propaganda content was ?designed to look organic? to dupe Americans into promoting the content themselves in the hope of swaying the election.

The promotion of the Russian tweets does not establish that Trump?s campaign members knew the content's origin. Numerous right-wing Twitter accounts outside the campaign also retweeted the same content with likely no knowledge that the tweets were Russian state propaganda.

As congressional investigations examine Russian election interference and question Trump aides under oath, these latest revelations provide yet another piece of the puzzle into how far-reaching Russia?s influence actually was during the 2016 presidential race.

 





 

Related Stories


Source: Trump Campaign Staff Publicly Circulated Russian Propaganda on Twitter Before the Election: Report
9
Centre for Research on Globalisation / Australia?s Citizenship Bill Fails
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:01:10 AM »
Australia?s Citizenship Bill Fails

Featured image: Immigration Minister Peter Dutton


This is a government that takes pride in its hard headedness and faux populism. Knowing it would have to brave a sceptical, even baffled Senate, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, resembling a bit


Source: Australia?s Citizenship Bill Fails
10
Centre for Research on Globalisation / NAFTA Talks Falter, Time to Increase Pressure
« Last post by Centre for Research on Globalisation on Today at 06:01:10 AM »
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time to Increase Pressure

The NAFTA-2 negotiations seem to be faltering after the fourth round of talks recently held in the United States. The Trump administration is pushing Mexico and Canada aggressively to include provisions from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and


Source: NAFTA Talks Falter, Time to Increase Pressure
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