The idea of discretionary income is probably the financial economy's closest concept to , and the idea of savings is the financial economy's closest idea to stored energy. As the American middle class has been shrinking, discretionary income has been vanishing. That trend happened in history's richest and most powerful nation during the 40 years since energy consumption began declining. Global oil production peaked in 2006, and the rest of the world's nations will decline like the USA has, but from a far lower initial plateau. Those are the important measures, not financial ones. In a world of scarcity, the exchange function of economics assumes great importance at the social level, as people scrap for their piece of the scarce economic pie. But fighting over slices does not help grow the pie. In a world of abundance, money and financial concepts truly become meaningless.
Those energy concepts are real ones that all economies face, and financial measures only reflect them. In the USA, just , Peak Oil was . In 1973, the first oil crisis hit, and have declined since then. Wages were only a reflection of energy consumption, which also peaked in the 1970s for the USA and by that real wages per hour have. The USA’s declining standard of living since the 1970s was minor compared to the devastation inflicted on developing nations. The was initiated by the oil price shocks of the 1970s. Many nations have yet to recover. When the oil price shocks hit, and other measures were inflicted by Western institutions on developing nations. As people such as , those policies were intentionally used to enslave those nations. On the world stage, the self-image promoted by the West is that of blundering do-gooders. As people such as , it is a false narrative designed to hide corrupt motivation from the outset. It is simply more of that . I have written a great deal elsewhere on , how the resembles fairy tales, how professions and industries have , how the , just like genocidal invasions, were always economically motivated, usually to secure energy resources. This essay does not need to belabor those trends, but anybody not can clearly see that the game being played on the global stage is the same one that has been played: economically exploiting others. Because industrialized civilization is beginning to run out of the energy sources that the West used to industrialize, a universal decline in humanity’s standard of living has begun. The USA has transitioned from the land of opportunity to a deindustrializing economy in which bankers and other capitalists are designed to rob one class in favor of another. The aspect of those machinations is painfully obvious. The mind-control techniques that Orwell and Huxley wrote about have been turned into sciences, and there are even “competitions” between their dystopian visions to see .
Once a mass-production-ready FE device is developed, with 100,000 people maintaining their focus on the issue (and probably contributing financially; but with that many, nobody will contribute at levels where they suffer financially – and this stage only happens far down the path, probably at least several years into the future, if not more), the Fifth Epochal Event will be here, and that group’s “heroics” will no longer be needed and the fun can begin. Making a production-ready prototype and then giving it away is like , but is more like with the Internet culture of open-sourcing and crowdfunding grafted onto it. Then and Utopian ideas could begin coming to fruition. As discerning readers can tell, developing the technology is near the of the process that I envision, not the beginning. The key ingredients for manifesting the Fifth Epochal Event are integrity and sentience, not technology.
The is like those fantasies that organized suppression can be avoided or outmaneuvered. The people in this category are almost all men, and men comprise more than 90% of the FE field today, which is one of its pitfalls. The people at this level of awareness believe that they can defeat the GCs in battle, expose them, and other adolescent ideas. I call them the , and when they arrive with their armor and weapons, the only outcome that you can guarantee is that when those weapons get used, they will be used on or the Young Warriors will use them on . The GCs will view the resulting carnage with amusement and marvel at how easy the organized suppression game is, when their targets do almost all of the GCs’ work for them. The only warriors of any potential benefit to an FE effort have abandoned coercion and adopted persuasion, usually because they have experienced enough battles and discovered the complete futility of coercion.
The next level of awareness might be the most common among people progressing beyond denial of FE’s possibility or existence. They and that there is no point in even trying. They are often those building bunkers to survive the coming collapse of global civilization. I have respect for that position, but it certainly will not help solve humanity’s problems or help the manifest. Nobody that I respected in the FE field ever felt hopeless. We all began our journeys naïvely, but never conceded defeat. When the , the miracle happened, so admitting defeat before even beginning does not seem productive or even realistic, and can lead to dysfunctional coping behaviors and even suicidal tendencies.
Agricultural output increased, England’s population rose, and those dispossessed peasants toiled in English mines and mills. A common misconception regarding the Industrial Revolution is that it was an urban phenomenon, but it really began in the countryside, where the energy was. England’s watermills, necessarily located along rural rivers and streams, powered the cotton-spinning machines tended by dispossessed peasants, which turned England into the world’s workshop well before 1800. England had nearly a century’s lead on its rivals, and was eventually supplanted atop the global imperial hierarchy by its descendent and rival, the USA. London played little role in early industrialization, similar to a parasite like Rome. The cotton spinning machine was the iconic technology of the early Industrial Revolution, but two events in the early 1700s had greater ultimate importance: using , and . The stage was thus set for machines that could be built and powered by hydrocarbon energy, which is still the foundation of today’s global industrial economy, more than three centuries later. With those events, the Industrial Revolution began.
When that , his/her invention was transmitted via culture, probably by demonstration. When made , they were engaging in a craft that lasted more than a million years; it was obviously a standardized training, as all axes looked similar. When that founder group left Africa, they had full command of language, a sophisticated toolset, and ideas were readily communicated, although it can be interesting to wonder what their were, if they had many. Those concocted complex thought forms to seduce and control the masses. Monumental structures in early civilizations were often architectural and engineering marvels, and the . When that approach took root in Europe, which already used Greek technology to great benefit, it led to the , which accompanied and mutually stimulated the Industrial Revolution. In short, along with greater energy usage, mental feats also increased and were usually required for the next Epochal Event to manifest. The Teslas and Einsteins of their day initiated the breakthroughs and the masses took the ride in the subsequent epoch and raised their level of mental prowess. Calculus was only invented once (twice, really, as and did it independently), but it has been taught to students ever since as part of the mathematics curriculum. Each energy epoch was initiated by and accompanied by increased mental accomplishment, and each breakthrough helped form the foundation of the next one, which .
As the war continued, the Athenian hinterland was turned into a desert. Plato described the deforestation of , which remained barren until my lifetime, when the Greek government began to reforest it; many trees could only be planted by blasting holes in the limestone bedrock. When Attica's residents returned home after the Spartan occupation, they built their homes with a southern orientation to take advantage of sunlight, as wood was scarce. After five years of peace with Sparta subsequent to , Athens took to the offensive again and pretended to intervene in a war in Sicily to protect Ionian colonists, but they really did it to conquer Sicily and plunder its forests and other resources, and thereby build another naval fleet to conquer Sparta. The was a catastrophe for Athens, and it lost most of its navy. There were other setbacks and victories, but a starving and besieged Athens finally surrendered to the Spartans in 404 BCE. The environment around Athens could feed nothing but “bees,” and where wolves once abounded, not a rabbit could be found. As Athens slowly became the center of a wasteland, the changing perceptions could be seen in contemporary writing. When forests were plentiful in 700 BCE, Greek authors wrote of trees in pragmatic fashion or as impediments to progress. As the forests disappeared along with the ecosystems they supported, an ecological consciousness began to appear. Plato and Aristotle placed forests at the root of a civilization’s health, and . Conservation only became an idea when the environment had already been ruined by “progress." Numerous commentators of the day wrote about the connections between forests and a healthy water supply, and many clearly saw the relationship between deforestation, erosion, and desertification, including Plato. and his professional heir wrote about ecological ideas. Theophrastus could be considered the first ecological writer, and he had the beginnings of an ecosystems approach. He noted that when the region surrounding was deforested, it became dryer and warmer.
Until the 20th century, people had no idea how their activities impacted a portion of their environment that may end up hastening humanity’s demise more than self-made deserts: the atmosphere. Agriculture and civilization meant deforestation, and there is compelling evidence that the Domestication Revolution began altering the composition of Earth’s atmosphere from its earliest days. The natural trend of carbon dioxide decline was reversed beginning about 6000 BCE. Instead of declining from about 260 PPM at 6000 BCE to about 240 PPM today, which would have been the natural trend, it began rising and reached 275 PPM by about 3000 BCE. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were about 40 PPM higher than the natural trend would suggest. When a forest is razed and the resultant wood is burned, which is usually wood’s ultimate fate in civilizations, it liberated carbon that the tree absorbed from the atmosphere during . , and human activities began measurably adding methane to the atmosphere by about 3000 BCE, which coincided with the rise of the rice paddy system in China. In nature, methane is primarily produced by decaying vegetation in wetlands, both in the tropics and the Arctic, and human activities have increased wetlands even as they made other regions arid. Domestic grazing animals and human digestive systems also contribute to methane production. Atmospheric alteration by human activities has only come to public awareness in my lifetime, but human activities have had a measurable effect on greenhouse gases since the beginnings of civilization, even though the effects were modest compared to what has happened during the Industrial Revolution, as humans burn Earth’s hydrocarbon deposits with abandon.
One key feature of Mesopotamian life resulted from wars and migrations: in cities, social organization along family or clan lines became obsolete, and professional associations became prominent. Mesopotamian cities absorbed invader cultures while also adapting to them, and ancient Mesopotamian civilizations became multicultural. The first cities also had many problems to solve, such as sanitation, in which the water supply and sewage system had to be separated. Also, in a pattern that continues to this day, upriver settlements usually flushed their sewage into the rivers, as they no longer had to concern themselves with it, but it obviously affected downstream civilizations. In many poor nations today, as major rivers enter the oceans they are virtually open sewers as they become increasingly polluted as rivers pass settlements and cities. Also, is generally considered to be the origin of many epidemic diseases, and the close quarters of urban-living often meant epidemics that decimated urban populations; the in 430 BCE, during the , was one of the earliest recorded epidemics. Filth, pollution, and crowding were major problems for early cities, and life expectancy was always lower in the cities than in the hinterland. Life expectancy in cities did not rise to the hinterlands' until the 20th century. Surplus population from the hinterland repopulated all cities in history until the 20th century.