Zer0 Hedge …

Great Article in New York about Zero Hedge, which is one of the blogs that I follow on a more or less daily basis. Others are Calculated Risk, Big Picture, The Oil Drum … the blogs that lurk over on the right- hand side of the page …

In July, Zero Hedge joined Halogen Network, an online-advertising company, which has placed Delta Airlines and Forex Trading ads on the blog’s pages. Halogen plans on conducting a reader survey for the site in the coming month. Greg Shove, founder and CEO of Halogen, says it will likely show the same demographics as other successful financial blogs: men between 35 and 55 who make $200,000 and up a year

I can’t wait! Writing a financial blog while hanging all that drywall is very hard on the back!

One salient point about financial blogs – and this includes Zero Hedge – they are almost every one completely incorrect about our current economic straights. We don’t have a ‘credit crisis’ or a ‘banking crisis’ or a ‘government/private debt crisis or any other money crisis so much as we are immersed in a long- term energy crisis.

We are living the consequences of over consumption of energy. Economic hardship is the dispersive tail on declining energy productivity. The economic sphere can make every reform suggested by all persons of good sense … and the economy will still decline.

All the banks can be closed, the Federal Reserve turned into a day care center, Goldman- Sachs rensacked and its executives hanged, the Treasury Department burned to the ground, the USA dollar converted to gold and silver specie, international trade barred, all environmental rules suspended, oil rigs set up on every square mile of US ground and coast … and the economy will still decline.

Our Economy, the blessed modern economy of consumption of goods and services.

The ideas that together comprise ‘modernity’ are obsolete. This is not ‘post- modernism’ it is the absolute end of modernity, which is the child of the Industrial Revolution, which is grinding to its iron- and lead- bound conclusion. Industrialization, mass production and economies of scale are obsolete. Using energy to keep the status quo afloat simply hastens its inevitable end. Consuming non- renewable resources ever more rapidly in order to create ‘money profits’ is pointless.

It is time for something new.

The foundational concept that underlies modernity is quantity at cost matters more than quality. Industrialization gave the world vast amounts of more- or- less identical goods priced per unit far below the equivalent output of craft labor. The result was the extinction of craft; one of the first examples or Schumpeterian ‘Creative Destruction’. What replaced craft in the marketplace of ideas?

Trivia, purience, violence, purility, childishness, luck, risk, deviation, perversity and marketing above all else. Our ancestors left us cathedrals, painting masterpieces, sculpture, great and ancient cities; Rome, Paris, Shanghai, Venice, Kyoto. We leave our children toxic waste dumps, unsellable real estate ‘developments’, parking lots and a mass- extinction event. Great job, Mr Industrial Revolution!

In the beginning, the output of industry was equal in quality to that of craft, but that equality of quality disappeared soon enough. Only in military hardware, is there equal quality in manufactured goods to craft- made items. All else races to the landfill, siphoning irreplaceable energy and other resources along the way.

The cost advantage of manufacturing disappears as the energy that replaces craft becomes more dear. Craft is competitive right now … at the fringes of the consumer economy where the energy infrastructure cannot profitably reach. It is also banished where its penalties outweigh any possible return such as in organic agriculture. The entire energy argument surrounding climate change orbits these energy penalties, that up to now have not been paid.

Add these penalties that will soon be enacted one way or the other to the productivity costs of energy consumption and the ‘mass’ will by necessity be removed from mass production.

This will be a positive step; our culture has become one of advanced and increasing stupidity. Our fuel guzzling machines and the built ecology these require make our decisions for us. Their makers and promoters have society by the throat. At the same time, the innate human ability to make something graceful from the necessary has not disappeared. It has gone to sleep, and but needs but the disappearance of molded plastic and ‘Made in China’ in order for its reawakening.

I don’t think I will live long enough to witness this new age of making and the ‘New Renaissance’ which will accompany it. The old order of consumption, waste, finance, debt, manipulation, lies, and greed won’t exit without a strenuous resistance that may require many decades – and the balance of our remaining fossil fuel resources – to overcome.

This outcome is inevitable. The old consumption order is finished.

I’ll kind of miss Zero Hedge and Tyler Durden. Perhaps he can start an organic gardening or stone masonry site.