Sunday, December 25, 2022
Sunday, December 18, 2022
It is almost impossible for a modern person living in a so-called developed country to imagine growing, hunting and foraging for all the food one's family eats. Yet, not all that long ago in human history, that's what most of the people in the world did. Given the current fragility of modern industrial society, we humans may not be so far away from the collapse of that society and a return to an agrarian society that will demand the combined skills of the farmer, the forager, the lumberjack and the hunter. (This is my prognostication, not that of the author mentioned below.)
In historian Steven Stoll's Ramp Hollow the author focuses on one particular group of people, settlers in the Appalachian Mountains and the process by which they were forced out of a way of life that provided all their basic foodstuffs and some extra produce and crafts used to trade for tools and what were considered luxuries in the hollows.
Stoll does not ignore the dispossession of Native Americans and other aboriginal peoples whose lands were overrun by Europeans. He recognizes this seizure as part of a worldwide process of enclosure of the commons for the benefit of a few.
For those who don't know how this works, Stoll provides an explanation. In Great Britain the aristocracy conspired with law courts and Parliament essentially to seize land for its sole use, land that had been held in common by the Crown and was available to peasants to meet their needs through farming, foraging, and hunting.
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Prior to the pandemic-induced downturn in world oil production, U.S. oil production growth was responsible for 98 percent of the increase in world production in 2018 (as reported in 2019). Almost all of that growth resulted from rapid increases in shale oil production which accounted for 64 percent of U.S. production (as of 2021).
Fast forward to today when OilPrice.com has declared that "The U.S. Shale Boom Is Officially Over." The reasons cited mostly have to do with management "discipline" regarding capital expenditure in favor of shareholder payouts and complaints about "anti-oil rhetoric" and "regulatory uncertainty."
But there might just be another reason for the slowdown in shale oil production in the United States: There isn't as much accessible and economical shale oil underground as advertised. Earth scientist David Hughes laid out his case for this view in his "Shale Reality Check 2021." (For a summary of Hughes' report, see my piece from December 2021 entitled, "U.S. shale oil and gas forecast: Too good to be true?")