Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 29, 2021

How Poland Tried To Win But Lost The Gas Game

Energy supplies from Russia to western Europe have always been on long term contracts with mostly fixed pricing. These constructs allowed Russia to make the large invest in the necessary infrastructure while the buyers gained energy security. The European Union, under U.S. influence, has tried to destroy that model. But its attempts to 'open the energy markets' has led to insecure supplies and extreme prices.

Poland's current situation can be seen as an example for the 'success' of such policies.

In 1992 Russia, Belarus, Poland and Germany agreed to build the Yamal-Europe pipeline to bring natural gas from new gas fields in Russia to Poland, Germany and beyond.


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The pipeline has a capacity of some 33 billion cubic meter (1.2 trillion cubic feet) per year. In 1996 Poland and Gazprom of Russia agreed on a contract that would deliver up to a third of the pipeline's capacity to Poland for 25 years. The price was, as usual at that time, bound to the oil price with a defined delay in rising and lowering the gas price but in principle following the movement of the global oil markets. Gazprom, which had to invest billion to develop the Yamal fields and pipelines, insisted on a 85% minimum (‘take-or-pay’) amount of gas that Poland would have to pay for independent of its actual demand for it.

All was well up until November 2014 when Poland's gas operator PGNIG suddenly found that it paid a too high price for the gas coming from Russia. (It is not just a coincidence that this came a few months after the U.S. arranged coup in the Ukraine and the return of Crimea to Russia.)

In March 2015 Poland sued Gazprom to gain lower gas prices:

PGNiG, Poland’s largest gas distributor, has filed a lawsuit against Gazprom and Gazprom Export in the Stockholm arbitration court, saying it wants conditions similar to the European gas market.

“The steps taken by PGNiG aim to bring the contract in line with the current conditions in the European natural gas market,” the company said in a statement published Thursday. It also emphasized that the claim doesn’t exclude a negotiated outcome or a new deal with the supplier.
...
Poland considers the fall in oil prices a reason for demanding a bigger reduction, as the Russian gas price formula is based on the oil price. The country is also against the ‘take or pay’ system which forces customers to pay for deliveries they may not necessarily need or use.

It took the arbitration court five years to come to a final decision. In March 2020 Poland's gas company thought that it had won and celebrated the results:

“The Arbitral Tribunal has sided with PGNiG, thus confirming that the price of gas in the Yamal Contract failed to reflect the price level on the market and was overstated”, said Jerzy Kwieciński, President of the Management Board of PGNiG SA, and added: “the Tribunal changed the calculation formula for the price of the Russian gas by tying it very closely to the price level on the European market, which for PGNiG means a huge improvement of the terms of our gas imports gas”.

The award has been binding on both parties from the moment it was announced. From now on, the price that PGNiG will pay to Gazprom for natural gas will be based on the new price calculation formula, which is very closely and directly tied to the gas price level on the Western European market. The Tribunal’s ruling applies from 1 November 2014, that is, the date on which PGNiG sent its contract price review request to Gazprom. This means that the Russian company will be required to pay back to PGNiG an estimated USD 1.5 billion, which is the difference between the price calculated based on the new formula and the amounts actually paid by PGNiG since 1 November 2014 until 29 February 2020.

During the five and a half years PGNIG had received about 50 billion cubic meter of gas at a price of about $500 per thousand cubic meter. Of some $25 billion it had paid over that time it regained some $1.5 billion or 6%.

The win was rather marginal but Poland thought that the new price mechanism the arbitration court had put into the contract would further work to its advantage. The European Union had worked to 'liberalize' the European energy markets by discouraging long term contracts and by introducing commodity exchanges for energy. Instead of being determined by long term investments and contract obligations energy prices would now follow short term speculations.

Then came the pandemic, bad weather for wind energy, a surge in energy demand from China and the markets went crazy. The prices at the European commodity exchange for natural gas went from some $400 to $500 to up to $2,000 per thousand cubic meter. The usual suspects blamed Russia for the price increase but as the German government confirmed Russia and Gazprom are fulfilling all their contractual obligation. It isn't Russia that was withholding gas to Europe but the U.S. which now is happily selling to China at even higher prices than it can achieve in Europe.

As the Russia's President Vladimir Putin described the situation it in his recent talk at the Valdai Club :

So, everything began to be brought to this spot market, but it largely holds gas on paper, not real gas. These are not physical amounts, which are not increasing (I will explain why in a minute). A figure is written on paper, but there is no physical amount, it is declining. So, a cold winter requires gas from underground storage; a wind-free hot summer means a lack of wind generation on the necessary scale. I have already mentioned the macroeconomic reasons, and these are the sector-based reasons.

What happened next on the European market? First, a decline in production in the gas producing countries. Production in Europe fell by 22.5 billion cubic metres during the first six months. This is first. Second, gas storage facilities were underfilled by 18.5 billion cubic metres and are only 71 percent full. The gas storage facilities were underfilled by 18.5 during the first six months of the year. If you look at annual consumption, this number must be doubled.

Primarily American, along with Middle Eastern companies withdrew 9 billion cubic metres from the European market and redirected the gas to Latin America and Asia. By the way, when the Europeans were formulating the principles governing the formation of the gas market in Europe, and said that all gas must be traded on the spot market, they were proceeding from the assumption that the European market is a premium market. But the European market is no longer a premium market, you see? It is no longer a premium market. Gas was redirected to Latin America and Asia.

I have already said that 18.5 billion cubic metres, plus double that amount, 9 billion (undersupplied to the European market from the United States and the Middle East), plus a decline in production of 22.5 billion – the deficit on the European market may amount to about 70 billion cubic metres, which is a lot. What does Russia have to do with it? This is the result of the European Commission’s economic policy. Russia has nothing to do with it.

Nevertheless Putin intervened and told Gazprom to pump more gas towards Europe. The wholesale prices in Europe have since come down to $1,000 per thousand cubic meter which is still more than double the amount Poland paid under the old price formula.

Poland, which in 2015 sued Gazprom to gain the new price formula, which tried to prevent the installation of the North Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany and which announced that it will not renew the existing Yamal contract with Gazprom, is now asking Russia to lower the price of gas it has to pay under the revised formula:

The Polish oil and gas concern PGNiG announced that it had sent a letter to Gazprom with a request to reduce the price of gas supplied to Poland, justifying the request with an unprecedented leap in the European wholesale market.

“On October 28, 2021, PGNiG sent a letter to PJSC Gazprom and OOO Gazprom export, which modifies PGNiG’s statement of February 2020 to change the price of gas supplied under the contract for the sale of natural gas to Poland dated September 25, 1996 (as called the Yamal contract), in the direction of its reduction so that the revision process could take into account the current situation on the market, “- said in a statement.

Polish chutzpah has no bounds. "We want the old price formula back," is what Poland is now saying.

Well, it is payback time and I do not think that Gazprom will consider to significantly change the pricing for Poland. Under the 'pay or take' clause in the contract Poland has to pay for or buy 8.7 billion cubic meter per year. With the current exchange prices of $1,000 there is now a $500 per thousand cubic meter price difference between the old contract price formula and the new one. If nothing changes Poland will have to pay some $5 billion more than under the old formula until the contract runs out at the end of 2022. The happy arbitration court win of $1.5 billion a year ago does not look good in comparison.

For solely political reasons Poland's anti-Russian government is adamant that, after 2022, it will no longer buy natural gas from Russia. But Poland will have significant difficulties to get natural gas from other sources. Its plans for a new pipeline from Norway to Poland have been temporarily blocked for environmental reasons. It can buy LNG from the U.S. and Qatar but it will have to pay premium prices which will depend on speculative commodity exchange prices instead of the long term pricing formula Russia prefers.

It is quite likely that in 2023 Poland will end up like Moldova which two months ago let its gas contract with Russia run out without having secured alternative supplies at a reasonable price. A new contract with Gazprom will, following the EU's preferred price formulas, have higher prices while Moldova is unwilling or unable to even pay the money its still owns from the old contract. It will be a dark and cold winter for the new anti-Russian government of Moldova which the EU and U.S. have helped to install.

One might hope that the European Union and the governments of its countries will learn from this. Energy supplies always require long term investment, long term contracts and price stability. They should never become political footballs.

Following U.S. hypocrisy, which demands more Russian gas for Europe while it opposes new Russian pipelines, is not in the best interests of Europe's citizens.

Posted by b on October 29, 2021 at 15:11 UTC | Permalink

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Repost from the last open thread:

--

Pitiful editorial board op-ed by The Guardian:

The Guardian view on Russian gas: a threat to European solidarity

The central point of their argument is this:

Meanwhile, the whole of Europe must accelerate the transition to a more resilient, self-sufficient and renewable energy infrastructure.

The problem with this argument is that it still rests on the assumption we're living in the 19th Century.

Europe's geographic position is very precarious. It is, by far, the most devastated continent on Earth, i.e. the continent with the fewest natural resources left (because capitalism started there). As time goes on, it will become more and more dependent on imports of energy and other commodities (than it already is). It is tiny, and easily accessible by land and sea by a greater military power.

It is one thing when the entire world is still feudal or tribal, and you're the only capitalist entity; it's a completely different story when the entire world already is capitalist and you're just one more corner of the planet.

So, the thing with Europe is this: it's not that it can't find alternatives to Russian gas, but that it will not be able to find them at a cheaper price. Europe will have to pay the price, it cannot keep bullying Russia to give gas essentially for free forever.

Posted by: vk | Oct 29 2021 15:20 utc | 1

Its plans for a new pipeline from Norway to Poland have been temporarily blocked for environmental reasons.

"Environmental reasons", meaning here Norway is not willing to subsidize Poland with abnormally cheap gas (which it would be inevitably be forced to do once the pipeline is ready).

Posted by: vk | Oct 29 2021 15:44 utc | 2

@vk | Oct 29 2021 15:20 utc | 1

Agree. Even though they cannot, as you say, keep bullying Russia them fools will continue to do exactly that! I think the EU is so far down along the path to self-destruction that not even cold, hard reality will change their attitude. They think they create their own reality. Never underestimate the power of denial.

Posted by: Idiocrates | Oct 29 2021 15:48 utc | 3

Heh.

There's a reason there are no jokes about dumb Czechs or dumb Hungarians.

Posted by: Coiseam | Oct 29 2021 15:56 utc | 4

Wow, Cassad already reposted this
B rules!

Posted by: hopehely | Oct 29 2021 15:59 utc | 5

Its plans for a new pipeline from Norway to Poland have been temporarily blocked for environmental reasons. It can buy LNG from the U.S. and Qatar but it will have to pay premium prices which will depend on speculative commodity exchange prices instead of the long term pricing formula Russia prefers.

Norway's production peaked in 2007. UK production peaked earlier and is collapsing faster. Dutch production is way past peak, and it's Gronigen field is scheduled to close in 2 years. Ditto Danish production.

Destruction and overthrow of Gaddaffi government in Libya bought the EU 10 years of cheap Libyan gas/oil. Haftar and others have put paid to that.

Russia's new projects are in the high arctic, and product will go to market as LNG / Coal / Oil... not via pipeline. The coal - LNG - Oil are spoken for... the customer is China.

I cannot imagine any sane person willing to subsidize regimes hostile to it... and Poland in particular hosts US/NATO forces which rehearse an invasion of Russia, and hosts revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the government of Belarus...

I would cut off the gas today... were I in charge..

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Oct 29 2021 16:04 utc | 6

Algeria, EU's other african supplier, peaked some time ago.... and exports no more..

EU energy supplies.... Australian energy supplies... Japanese & ROK energy supplies...

declining...

Even the US ... suffers the same fate... note: Exxon made record profits using all of it plus borrowed $ totalling $$ 10 billion to buy back it's stock. Is not investing in new fields.

What does that tell you???

Game over!

INDY

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Oct 29 2021 16:09 utc | 7

Well, the Poles are in a very deep pickle with the EU over judicial supremacy as these series of articles illustrate, "Poland will be punished for challenging EU law primacy, European leader warns, as Warsaw claims Brussels is devoid of democracy"; "Poland won't ‘succumb to lawlessness’, justice minister declares, refusing to ‘pay any zloty’ to EU over fine for judicial reforms"; and from today, "EU Parliament sues European Commission over rule-of-law ‘inaction’ amid major row with Poland". The daily fine levied against Poland is one million euros, which Poland refuses to pay as it stands by its claim that its national laws take precedence to EU laws, a stand that Hungary's Orban by citing the EU's own constitution says Poland is correct in taking. The gas issue is just another problem Poland created for itself by following EU neoliberal dogma. Many feel the EU's in the middle of a major political crisis over several social and economic issues that isn't getting the public debate it deserves. Here's a short review:

"While Poland’s defiance of Brussels and possible withdrawal of its funding as punishment has been most visible in the news lately, other Eastern European nations like Hungary may also find themselves on the receiving end of the EU's ire.

"The European Court of Justice earlier this week ordered Poland to pay a million euro (around $1.2 million) every day until it brings its judicial system in line with EU standards for the rule of law. Warsaw lashed out at the 'unlawful penalties', with Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stating that his nation 'should not pay a zloty' for the kind of justice system it chooses to have."

One result of this crisis is the withholding of bailout payments to Poland, but then Poland goes and buys 250 M1A2 Abrams tanks from the Outlaw US Empire, an action criticized as being "dictated by political rather than operational expediency," according to "Gen. Mieczyslaw Gocul, former Chief of Polish Army's General Staff," who added:

"Why do we buy 250 tanks, and not 500? We want to equal the military potential with the Russian Federation, which has, as far as I know, more than 20,000 tanks? We will never be even. The entire NATO has been trying to achieve military parity for 50 years and failed, so we don't have to try to do it on our own."

Poland's need for bailout funds clearly shows it can't afford to purchase one tank let alone 250. Those monies--if they ever get them--are needed to purchase gas so Poland's people don't freeze.

The Central European nations are chaffing under edicts passed by the deranged EUP that attempt to alter their traditional social mores and norms, which are all done at the instigation of the Outlaw US Empire, just as with the gas policy and pipeline opposition which go against fundamental European interests.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 16:38 utc | 8

@7, George Oprisko:

"Game Over!"

Which game is over, George? Is it:

fossil fuels all, or petroleum, or nat gas, or coal?

Exxon is in the oil and gas business. As you know, most of the world's car companies have committed to replacing internal combustion engine based products (cars and trucks) to electric vehicles over the next ten years. Motor fuel accounts for most of the use of petroleum, so it seems likely that there will be a substantial reduction in demand for petroleum over the next several years.

Do you agree with that point, or do you have better information? If that point stands, e.g. that petroleum demand is likely to begin falling off over the next decade, then it doesn't make sense to invest in additional production.

What does make sense, of course, is to invest in electricity generation. I visited your website and noted your organization's interest in and capacity to implement renewable energy generation projects.

May I ask if you're noticing a significant change, up or down, in interest in these sort of projects over the last few years, and also what part of the world seems most interested in implementing these sorts of projects?

I think that's a question that's germane to the thread; nat gas may well be a stop-gap measure (if you happen to believe in carbon-based climate change, or in the depletion of nat gas deposits). What is Europe going to do in order to meet energy demand?

Has anyone seen any news on the hydrogen economy front emanating from the EU? I think the main scheme is to use offshore wind to power hydrolysis (split water into hydrogen and oxygen) and use the hydrogen - either as a gas, or possibly combined with carbon (to make methane, e.g. nat gas) or ammonia (NH4). Either of which are a fuel, can be readily stored, have decent energy density, are readily converted into useful products like plastics and fertilizer and especially electricity.

Wondering what all of you are seeing "on the ground" as the world responds to this latest flail about "energy supplies".

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 16:47 utc | 9

A frequent phenomenon in Polish history is its fits of misconception that it is a bigger player than it actually is. It never ends happily for it.
Vide its conviction in 1939 that its non-aggression pact with Hitler's Germany and its army could keep it safe. Right now it's playing tough with both EU and Russia.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Oct 29 2021 16:47 utc | 10

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 16:47 utc | 9

Yes, that is the narrative, isn't it: wind, batteries, hydrogen, electricity, and verbal strategies are going to replace high-yield energy sources in the next couple of decades. Indeed, they must, for oil and gas are running out for the West, as Oprisko #6-7 rightly observes. Russia has a little longer to go, which may have serious consequences for the power balance. As far as I know, the machinery of the armies and navies of the world powers still runs on conventional fuel.

The Green narrative is produced and maintained to try to get people and decision-makers to accept reality constructively, rather than start hoarding. But hoarding has probably begun, oil and gas may never be cheaper again.

Posted by: veto | Oct 29 2021 17:03 utc | 11

George W Oprisco @6&7--

Colin Campbell was correct, of course, just a few decades early. Ultra deep sea exploration was destroyed in 2008 when the massive financial fraud crimes collateral damage BKed most of those drilling operators. I'm sure the Iranians would like to sell their gas to Europe, but Europeans are too cowardly to put their own interests first and refuse to obey the Outlaw US Empire. The Qatar/Saudi tiff nixes the building of a pipeline that would supply Europe leaving only vastly more expensive LNG. Then there's the folly of the nord stream pipes being restricted to 50% of volume capacity, a folly that will also apply to NS2. And as Putin has said, Ukraine's pipeline infrastructure is very debilitated and there's no plans to make the needed investments to bring it back up to standards; so, transit through it will slowly be curtailed as a safety measure until no more flows, probably by 2030.

While on the surface there appears to be a lack of planning for peak fossil fuels, the reality is the West's energy companies have blocked such planning to maximize their own profits. Added to that is Neoliberalism's very short term planning window, which seldom goes beyond the current fiscal year. The major infrastructure projects being performed by Russia and China often have 5+ year lead-times and are often carved in regions with zero existing support systems or structures. Those nations not planning now for their needs in 2030 and beyond will find themselves in a world of hurt.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 17:03 utc | 12

So many things here that are not working out for EU. Here's another one I just thought of. In response to making a hostage out Ukraine -- what used to be the center of the RU-EU gas transit network -- Russia is now trying to have excess pipeline capacity in multiple directions. Not just West but East. So that's nice, who cares?

Now the coexistence of market-priced contracts and (delayed)-oil-price contracts create an interesting dynamic. Lets say there is a price spike in the short-term pricing, like right now. 6-12 months from now, the short term price would naturally fall. But what can happen is that in 6-12 months, the increase kicks in for the Asian customers who are more comfortable with long term pricing. If the RU natgas export amount is limited by production rather than transportation, guess which direction it will then go to at that time?

I'm sure they'll figure it out in due time. Continuing to keep my eye on the Siberia II pipeline, progressing steadily through the planning stages with the planning of the critical Mongolian transit details recently established. It will provide an alternative Eastward outlet to the same gas fields feeding the pipeline pictured in this article. By the end of the decade, probably sooner because this is an urgent project for the Chinese side, the EU market will have no leverage at all to show for all their efforts.

In other related news (month-old), China is getting into the LNG tanker construction business.

Posted by: ptb | Oct 29 2021 17:17 utc | 13

@ Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 16:47 utc | 9

That wouldn't change the situation of Europe one bit. The key here is that, if Europe is to phase out petroleum for electricity, or if it somehow tame the hydrogen technology, so would the rest of the world. Europe is not special anymore and is in a precarious geographic position, that's the problem.

Petroleum will continue to be used for eternity. It has too many industrial applications besides serving as fuel to ever be abandoned. You're probably talking about coal, which is going to be slowly phased out (even then, it will take at least a century without any surprises for that to actually happen).

Europe's electricity supply is even more precarious than its gas supply. At least in the case of gas it can always appeal to Russian favor and an already existing infrastructure; that is not the case of electricity, since nuclear energy is the only expandable option right now (the continent is very poor in hydroelectric potential).

The problem with electric vehicles is not the production of the vehicles themselves, but the building of an entire infrastructure of energy sources around the country or, in this case, an entire continent. You have to bankrupt the gas stations and create and entire network of electricity stations in their place. There is also the problem of capitalism (Europe is a capitalist society): will this network of electricity stations be private or public? Who's gonna foot the bill?

Again, the problem with Europe is not that energy isn't there: it's that the energy at a price it is willing to pay (which is a very low price) is not there. Russian gas is the cheapest energy Europe can realistically have; everything else is significantly more expensive.

Posted by: vk | Oct 29 2021 17:26 utc | 14

Again, the problem with Europe is not that energy isn't there: it's that the energy at a price it is willing to pay (which is a very low price) is not there. Russian gas is the cheapest energy Europe can realistically have; everything else is significantly more expensive.

Posted by: vk | Oct 29 2021 17:26 utc | 14

Europe like the USA has a high cost structure, and needs cheap energy to compete. Fancy real estate prices will drive real production away every time. China seems to realize it's a bad idea, we'll see how they do with the problem.

If you want a vibrant economy, you need a cheap cost structure, it needs to be cheap to start and run a business, cheap for employees to live. We like great big monopolies here. They are all about control, and never cheap.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 29 2021 17:36 utc | 15

More about the centrifugal issues plaguing the EU. Although it seems unrelated, "Melting statues to create modern art is a sign America hates its own history & no different from ISIS destroying Palmyra", IMO shows what's coming next to the EU, which has already begun with the defacing and removal of statues and other commemorations to Soviet liberation of Europe from ISIS--er, Nazis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 17:42 utc | 16

@14 vk

Why would EU care if the rest of the world also achieved energy independence? That's probably a good thing for EU, as it'll engender less global instability.

I think EU is actually in a pretty good place, and I don't understand what all the angst is about re: Europe's future. Looks pretty good to me. Why?

a. Food net surplus. EU grows a lot of food, feeds itself well, has plenty water, good soil. Climate change probably not going to affect food production all that much in N. europe. Spain, Italy maybe, but N. Europe not as much

b. Highly capable innovators and manufacturers. Germany, Holland, Nordics - they can make a lot of stuff. Very educated, good workforce.

c. Leaders in EV adoption, also leaders in renewable energy innovation and adoption. Doing a lot of heavy lifting (first mover, etc.) in the renewable space

d. Good wind resources in the north, good solar resources in the south

I agree that adoption of EV implies quite a bit of infrastructure change, but that's a given anyway because, if you're right and fossil fuel prices go up, the cost of infrastructure (of EV) will be less than paying higher prices for diminishing supplies of petroleum.

I agree that petroleum will be used for decades to come; it's just a matter of how much, and for what.

As to "who foots the bill" - capitalists will foot the bill if it makes money, and the society will foot the bill if it doesn't. Nothing new there.

EU currently pays a lot for energy. Their gasoline prices are some of the highest in OECD, and certainly way more than the U.S. is paying, and has been higher for decades. So, they'd love to see a transition to EVs if the source of electricity can become cheap. Wind and solar are very cheap sources of electricity. They're all-in on EVs, and will get even more committed as they years go by.

I expect nukes to very shortly become quite interesting to the EU. I also expect Russia to site some nuke plants within transmission-distance to the EU. Russia nor China have the aversion to nukes as we in the West do. They are likely to develop designs that are safer, simpler, and cheap to operate way before we do, simply because they are actually building plants now, and we aren't (much).

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 17:48 utc | 17

Interesting to read about the shift that was made to spot prices that are subject to speculative market forces and manipulation.

Is it possible that inflation is being weaponized against China, and Eurasia as a whole, by the US?

In particular, inflation of energy and commodities to drastically raise the costs of the inputs that China and Eurasia need for their collective development, and possibly slowing or even stalling that development to buy time for the hegemon.

Inflation would also hurt the 99% in the US/West but not so much the wealthy, plutocratic 1% who seem to have no problem with conjuring up yet more trillions in USD for their own gain and profit.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Oct 29 2021 17:55 utc | 18

The more you look at it, the more a Polish glasnost with Russia makes sense. If the Polish conservatives were smarter they would quietly head that way. I sometimes feel that the organic losses of WWII were too great in Poland and too many leadership genes were lost and a brutal BioLenninist effect has been revealed in the birth of rotten civic fruit incapable of insight, subtlety and ultimately leadership. There is no genuine effective Polish leadership alive in Poland today. This is tragic.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Oct 29 2021 17:56 utc | 19

Over and over I have said here on the Junkyard of the Faker that Russia could and should have crushed the Ukranazi coup regime in 2014, taken Kiev, reinstalled Yanukovych, and withdrawn with the promise that if there was any more attempt at a Maidan Russia would be back and this time to stay. I was over and over called a "troll" for pointing out the obvious, that is, that the Ukranazis are getting more and more entrenched and are now a de facto NATO satrapy, and that the choice the Putinist regime faces now is a much bloodier and politically damaging war than it would have had in 2014. And yet it is the same Faker, Andrei Raevsky, who told me to take my comments elsewhere who's echoing what I said then. How interesting.

http://thesaker.is/why-i-see-a-war-in-the-donbass-as-almost-inevitable/

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Oct 29 2021 17:56 utc | 20

@15 bemildred

Well said. Cost structure, affected by too many rentier straws in the milkshake, do retard a nation's competitive stance.

As you point out, China has figured this out, and that's why housing and education and transportation are heavily subsidized, reducing household costs so that wages can be lower (relative to other countries) and still provide the Chinese household with a good standard of living, as it provides the Chinese nation with a very strong international trade advantage.

And I think this point is really important, as it frames the "what the devil do we do now!!?" question for Western societies. If our infrastructure is at the end of its lifecycle, and our financial systems are all about wealth extraction and not capital investment, we're in a world of hurt.

That's a little off-topic for this thread, but it sure isn't off-topic for the West.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 17:59 utc | 21

@Tom Pfotzer #17

"I think EU is actually in a pretty good place, and I don't understand what all the angst is about re: Europe's future. Looks pretty good to me. Why?"

We've been hearing this drumbeat for many years, talking about slow growth, debt, demographic issues and so on. I put it in the same category as the endless
articles predicting the imminent collapse of China. Yet, the two things that did collapse- the USSR and (to a great extent) the Japanese growth economy were not predicted at all.

It's more wishful thinking, primarily emanating from the US and UK, than it is reality, from what I can see.

Widespread adoption of small safer reactors may be a mid-term solution to energy problems, but I doubt it will easily fly politically in the West. SMRs are one of the few ways with low technical risk to reduce carbon emissions without commensurate penalties in the standard of living.

Posted by: Billb | Oct 29 2021 18:02 utc | 22

At the 14th annual Eurasian Economic Forum happening this year in Verona, Italy, with the theme, "Eurasia on its path to a new geopolitical, social, and economic order: transition to a new, human-centered economy," the first day's topic was "Structural changes in the economy and the future of energy.” Now, I'm very curious about this proposed "transition to a new, human-centered economy," for it sounds a lot like Xi's Win-Win that promotes any nation's #1 asset--its human capital. It's unfortunate that more isn't reported. Here's the Forum's website.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 18:11 utc | 23

@22 Billb

Widespread adoption of small safer reactors may be a mid-term solution to energy problems, but I doubt it will easily fly politically in the West. SMRs are one of the few ways with low technical risk to reduce carbon emissions without commensurate penalties in the standard of living.

SMRs will be an absolute game changer in so many ways especially geo-politically. If the western governments actually gave a damn about climate change they would reach out to China and India pool their knowledge and resources and come up with a world standard design that could be rolling out of assembly lines. All the wars over energy supplies would have no purpose if every country could cheaply and easily produce it's own uninterrupted power. You can stick them under ground so you don't have to worry about the US and Israel shooting them up. They can be used for desalination which would reduce tensions over water supplies and help irrigation which would lower hunger. SMRs need to be at the top of every governments agenda not endlessly building bigger and more expensive militaries.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Oct 29 2021 18:29 utc | 24

Excellent and educational post b. But will people learn?

Posted by: Norwegian | Oct 29 2021 18:47 utc | 25

Billb @22 & Tom Pfotzer @17--

Here's the statement made yesterday by Russia's permanent EU Representative speaking at the 14th Eurasian Economic Forum dealing with Europe's future:

"Certainly, reflecting on the fate of the EU is primarily the prerogative of Europeans themselves – policymakers, the public, business and analytical circles. Needless to say, their ranks clearly lack unanimity. Moreover, pessimistic forecasts have recently gained ground. Some go as far as to write the EU off altogether, predicting that it will face a kind of apocalyptic shocks. These scenarios presume that the EU would disintegrate due to threats such as, for example, an eventual Polexit and loss of a unifying element in view of Angela Merkel's departure. And some even believe that this decadent symphony will be concluded by a takeover of the European Union by China (not Russia, I note – so far, so good). Well, in my view, these and similar alternatives do not reflect the reality, however ambiguous the current situation may be."

I do suggest reading all that he had to say. More from the Forum. "Germans should change course on energy policy to avoid having to heat homes with firewood, as Putin once joked – Knorr-Bremse boss":

"Berlin should be very careful when it comes to energy policy, warns Klaus Mangold, chairman of the Supervisory Board of German manufacturer Knorr-Bremse. He says Germany should think about returning to nuclear power.

"'We cannot jump out of nuclear and stop being active in coal, and then wonder why energy prices are going up,' Mangold told RT on the sidelines of the 14th Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona, Italy. 'I believe that nuclear will be important for the future in Europe'....

"'Sometimes we have a paranoia against Russia, which is really stupid. Russia has always been a reliable partner for us,' Mangold said. Blaming Moscow for the current energy crisis is baseless, as Gazprom has already supplied 40% more gas than last year."

There're actually a number of reports online about this forum and there're videos of the proceedings which can be found under the Program heading. Here's one that caught my eye, "Ecological Transition and Circular Economy":

"The current economic system of intensive production and consumption based on capital accumulation and infinite growth is no longer sustainable in terms of resource use. Therefore, there is a need to support a system based on sustainable development, environmental, social, and economic pillars. The aim is to revive the economy and the manufacturing industries, focusing on environmental protection and appreciation of nature. This will enable an effective response to the climate crisis which has developed into a phase of emergency and urgency, with tragic reductions in biodiversity, with deep inequalities between different hemispheres, peoples, and generations.

"This is a challenging task to be performed gradually: you should neither panic, nor be overly optimistic."

And from today's session, "Finding Ways to Overcome the Neoliberal Socioeconomic System" [reformatted for easier reading]:

"Going back to development after the COVID-19 emergency and its containment measures can pose the danger of falling into the trap of merely restoring a neoliberal economic model, with little improvement in the health system, insufficient to tackle the next pandemic.

"There is an urgent need to understand that a pandemic is not a black swan, nor is it an unexpected or unpredictable event. Nor is it an exogenous shock.

"Unfortunately, this is one of the inevitable consequences of the Anthropocene, the modern geological epoch during which the Earth has been experiencing heavy impact, globally and regionally, by human activities.
"The consequences have been amplified greatly by the neoliberal system which has shaped economic and political life in the vast majority of the world for over 50 years, producing inhuman megacities and growing endemic social inequality.

"There is now widespread demand for an alternative model to neoliberalism, which is considered to be trumped even by the world’s biggest multinational corporations and the organizers of the World Economic Forum in Davos, including Klaus Schwab, its Founder and President. In his latest book, COVID-19: The Great Reset, he proposes overcoming shareholder capitalism in favor of new capitalism focused on private corporations as trustees of society, instead of shareholders. Corporations should become custodians of society, protect human and workers’ rights, promote sustainable economic development, and create value for all their shareholders: employees, customers, suppliers, local communities. Even multinational corporations must not only follow the interests of their immediate stakeholders but behave as shareholders of our global future — in cooperation with governments and society.

"How convincing is the alternative to neoliberalism proposed by Klaus Schwab? Is there an actual deep connection between the collective good and responsibility and the ability of the system of major companies to achieve this? How reasonable is it to entrust the management of post-neoliberalism to the players responsible for the collapse of the neoliberal economic order? What role does the state play in this process?

"Since such a perspective remains embedded in a unipolar concept of international governance, what chances does it have for worldwide success, with recent demands for multipolar governance being heard?"

Truly amazing the amount of ongoing global discussion of global problems that are completely omitted by Western BigLie Media. G-20 starts in Rome tomorrow; and of course, Biden's visit with the Pope has already been publicized, but does it really merit the blah, blah, blah?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 18:52 utc | 26

The more you look at it, the more a Polish glasnost with Russia makes sense. If the Polish conservatives were smarter they would quietly head that way. I sometimes feel that the organic losses of WWII were too great in Poland and too many leadership genes were lost and a brutal BioLenninist effect has been revealed in the birth of rotten civic fruit incapable of insight, subtlety and ultimately leadership. There is no genuine effective Polish leadership alive in Poland today. This is tragic.

Posted by: Northern Observer | Oct 29 2021 17:56 utc | 19

Several comments.

1. Polish rhetoric about Russia is loud enough already. To a Pole, "glasnost" means "loudness", a bit different than in Russian.
2. Poles are different from each other, including "conservatives" which I part chimera, part another beast altogether. The ruling party is a chimera. in part populist (increasing taxes to pay for social subsidies, but also pandering to every prejudice under the sun), part ultra-xenophobic, part old-fashioned conservatives. Right now there was a row with one minor constituent, old-fashioned, and the parliamentary majority hinges on ultra-xenophobic, hence "in-your-face" reform of the justice system (Orban of Hungary achieved the same in gradual steps, but Ziobristas HAVE TO BE flashy). Another beast altogether is a separate Conservative party that gains in popularity, their program is a bit xenophobic, a big dollop of libertarian, and on foreign policy, the only realistic party in Poland. The leader is a former table bridge champion striking a pose of an elderly aristocrat (including bring his saber to the Parliament and challenging someone who insulted him to a duel). BTW, the name of this party is Confederacy which harks to good old times of Polish-Lithuanian.
3. Myopic leadership and its intellectual mediocrity is by no means restricted to former Soviet block. Look at AUKUS etc.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 29 2021 19:25 utc | 27

Now isn't that a wonderfully ironic situation?

Succeeding Polish governments playing on the USA team,buying american military stuff instead of European,leading with the Baltics the anti-Russia campaign,on the one hand and on the other we have Brussels' EU commission driven by Dutch and other mainly western european countries that play the american cards out as well in foreign policy,climate, woke and gender promotion.Is this conflict for real ? Or might it be political theater to fool the masses into yet another cognitive dissonance pitfall?

The British and French play a game with warships over fishing rights around Channel Islands.Is this serious,or just meant to prop up support for Bojo and Macron in their respective countries?

At the same moment Royal Air force and French Force de l'Air participate with five other countries in Occupied Palestine skies,the others being USA India,Germany,Switzerland and Greece.France and Britain have been partners in crime for nearly two centuries,the latest exploit being the destruction of Libya as a state and trying to do the same to Syria,so excuse me for being suspicious as to the intent of those quarrels who maybe not what they seem to be.After all the entire political personnel in Europe consists of well-trained theatrical actors.

Posted by: jonas | Oct 29 2021 19:27 utc | 28

Poland is buying270 m dollars of Turkish drones too.I think I read coupla months ago in two decades or so Norway will no longer export oil or gas to comply with carbon thingy. Not sure if it will have spare hydro for others.

Posted by: Jo | Oct 29 2021 19:51 utc | 29

@27 Thanks for the insight PB. I assume Polish xenophobia goes back a long way and young Poles are fed a steady diet of WW2 atrocities (Russian ones especially....German ones not so much).

I know there are Slavic divisions...East, West, South but I've never understood why there isn't more unity among Slavic peoples.

Posted by: dh | Oct 29 2021 19:52 utc | 30

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 18:52 utc | 26

"...private corporations as trustees of society, instead of shareholders. Corporations should become custodians of society, protect human and workers’ rights, promote sustainable economic development, and create value for all their shareholders: employees, customers, suppliers, local communities"

Now that's a non-starter right there - Corporate Social Responsibility. This is hardly a new concept, and it hasn't worked for the obvious reasons.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Oct 29 2021 20:07 utc | 31

Australia from memory is the second or third largest gas exporter. The long term contracts were agreed with China and Japan many years ago at ridiculously low prices.

Billionaire mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest couldn't buy Australian gas from Western Australia to sell in the eastern state of New South Wales, he found it cheaper to buy Australian gas from Japan and ship it back to Australia!

https://www.bulkhandlingreview.com.au/twiggy-plans-to-import-gas-to-nsw/

Meanwhile, New Zealand has run out of motel rooms for the government to rent to house the increasing numbers of homeless. The NZ building materials supply is a duopoly which keeps building prices and housing unaffordable for average workers.

The social contract between the government and the people, which is routinely broken and flouted by captive 'western' governments, needs to be renegotiated. The World Economic Forum [Klaus Schwab] version AKA 'The Great Reset' will be an even more lop sided version and needs to be vigorously resisted. They want to make us all compliant slaves to their crooked system.

The minister for Minerals and Energy in the Whitlam Labor government, RFX Connor, proposed to nationalise Australia's mining industry and look what happened to Whitlam.

Posted by: Paul | Oct 29 2021 20:20 utc | 32

Blue Dotterel @31--

I agree completely! The synopsis aimed at encapsulating the Reset so it could be argued against. Quite frankly, I don't know where I'll find time to watch those videos given everything else on my plate. But I am curious as to what's said about people-centered development as that's on my plate. Genuine corporate responsibility will only occur when their charters are changed to make that one of their priorities with equal or greater emphasis than advancing returns for shareholders. And that's where China has an excellent head start.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 20:28 utc | 33

@26 Karlof1

Karl, you're a public service. Keep up the good work.
=======

and on the content of your post, esp. the part about:

""The current economic system of intensive production and consumption based on capital accumulation and infinite growth is no longer sustainable in terms of resource use. Therefore, there is a need to support a system based on sustainable development, environmental, social, and economic pillars. "

and the part where Klaus Schwab says:

"proposes overcoming shareholder capitalism in favor of new capitalism focused on private corporations as trustees of society, instead of shareholders. Corporations should become custodians of society, protect human and workers’ rights, promote sustainable economic development, and create value for all their shareholders: employees, customers, suppliers, local communities"

I really like the sentiment and values expressed here. I have a very different solution in mind, though, and it's grounded on the notion of the artisan economy .vs. the high-concentration, high-capital economy we have (mostly) today.

A brief sidebar, for the reader's amusement:

Remember the debate between Jefferson and Hamilton? For those not from the U.S., these two personalities were among the Founding Fathers, and Jefferson came from communities which were small and economically nearly self-sufficient, and were able to successfully govern themselves. Hamilton, who grew up impoverished on a sugar plantation community in the Carribean, enjoyed a meteoric rise. His community recognized his brilliance, and raised funds to send him to college on the mainland US. George Washington found him, made him a principal aide de camp. Hamilton then married exceptionally well into a rich New York area family. Hamilton, a big proponent of "scale up to international fightin' weight", championed Big Central Gov't, and National Banks at the political level. Hamilton and Jefferson conducted the Artisan .vs. Big Capital debate for a while, but as we all know, Hamilton and Big Capital won out....until recently, when Big Capital started to run out of gas.

And back onto the main theme here, which is "what the devil are we going to replace neoliberalism with?

OK, one more sidebar, before we launch in: why do we need this stupid word "neoliberalism"? Why can't we just say "capitalism"?. When was capitalism any different than it is now? And when was it ever "liberal"? And since it's always been the same, how can it be new, or "neo"?

And on to my main point:

The economics of local production, and the economics of global, high-capital production are approaching or have reached the end of their cyclical traversal. Local production's economic disadvantages - can't scale up, can't get access to world's cheapest labor or materials, etc. may be starting to attenuate.

Conversely, the advantages of Big Central may be about to change. Here's a few of the factors at work:

The cost of manufacturing tooling is set to fall. The amazing, fast evolution of small-scale high-precision manufacturing equipment like CAD/CAM, 3D printing...all that stuff, is making it way easier to overcome startup capital barriers to entry into manufacturing.

The adoption of "cyclical economy" - implication being re-use materials - capture at point of disposal and re-use...favors local production, not centralized.

Distributed energy production, especially energy created at household or village level...favors distributed production. No middle-man between creator and user of energy.

Three of the big manufacturing inputs - tooling, materials and energy - may come to be actually cheaper at the local level - for some, certainly not all - production. This is a rather different scenario than we currently perceive, is it not?

To refine the point: I'm saying we may be on the cusp - several complementary dimensions converging - of a circumstance wherein we don't need to "change capitalism". We need to change where it happens (dispersed .vs. central), who is doing it (households and villages .vs. Galacticon Industries) and of course, who gets the benefits of automation and productivity (again, households .vs. Galacticon).

How much really new thinking do we actually need to do in order to deliver this Golden Fleece of "the next political economy model"?

Why not just use what we have better?

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 29 2021 20:46 utc | 34

having a longer vision of the future is unfortunately not something many people or leaders of countries have.... it is only thru painful experiences like this that their is the opportunity to learn something about this... i can't say everyone is interested in learning, but more interested in holding to a particular ideological position...

thanks for the overview b... always appreciated...

Posted by: james | Oct 29 2021 20:51 utc | 35

@ karl... ditto tom pfotzers comment to you - thanks for all your posts...

unfortunately if you think of a corporation like amazon doing the exact opposite of this - the disconnect is so strong, it is impossible to square! it is all about profit over people... technology replacing people... people being given no protection, workers no protection and no support for the local communities - in fact the very opposite.. and although i single out amazon - all corporations are completely ethically and morally free to screw over everyone thanks having paid and bought out the political class.. until this changes, the ideals expressed below by Klaus Schwab will remain very attractive, but a pie in the sky vision with assholes like jeff bezos having undue influence... until people stop supporting these corporations, i see little hope for change...

"Corporations should become custodians of society, protect human and workers’ rights, promote sustainable economic development, and create value for all their shareholders: employees, customers, suppliers, local communities"

Posted by: james | Oct 29 2021 20:57 utc | 36

Posted by: Coiseam | Oct 29 2021 15:56 utc | 4

Pickup some history books and see if you can figure out was happening in that part of the World because you are obviously clueless. The mystery begins around the time of Poland’s King Kazimierz.

Let me give you a few more hints.

"200 yrs Together"
"divide and conquer"
"dual- citizens" - who are doing a great job in the US as "Americans" right now.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/poland-appoints-ex-banker-with-jewish-roots-as-prime-minister/

That's the element guiding Poland's (and some others) economic/foreign policy. It's the same element responsible for the USS Liberty attack. Yes I know, it was an accidental attack.

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:21 utc | 37

Posted by: George W Oprisko | Oct 29 2021 16:04 utc | 6

The North Sea trends are best seen visually. Same goes for US and the Middle East. Then we have Indonesia who once was the biggest Far East producer and is not longer and exporter.

A little old data but the trend has not changed much

https://econbrowser.com/archives/2014/09/forecasted-north-sea-oil-production

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:29 utc | 38

Thanks b, a lucid and concise summation. It beggars belief why Poland and Moldova would cut off their frost-bitten noses to spite their stupid faces. But I guess the proletarianization of everyone is a global strategy. But the Russians always had winter on their side. May the winds from the east be a reminder.

Posted by: Patroklos | Oct 29 2021 21:31 utc | 39

Let us compare EU and Russia.

The European Union Energy comissioner is Kadri Simson. She studied history and political sciences.

The Russian Energy minister is Nikolay Shulginov. He graduated at a Polytechnic institute, has been working at an electricity company as engineer, in dispatching. 40 years later he's chairman of RusHydro.

Of these two, who do you think has the most realistic ideas about electricity networks?

Posted by: Passerby | Oct 29 2021 21:33 utc | 40

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 29 2021 19:25 utc | 27

BTW, the name of this party is Confederacy which harks to good old times of Polish-Lithuanian.

These idiots are a make-believe opposition who in the end vote with the "correct party" when something serious comes up. Something serious for example was Poland's underground resources. If I didn't have friends from that part of the World I'd think along the line "Walesa was a Great Liberator who defeated communism with JP II". In short, BS of the best kind, the kind the sheep will not understand or know about.

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:38 utc | 41

Yes "b", excellent analysis. The EU is a bunch of dummies along with the Polish so called "ruling class". But even with them I suspect it is some kind of a con game to milk the Poles to the MAX.

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:40 utc | 42

Posted by: Passerby | Oct 29 2021 21:33 utc | 40

You pose tough question.

How about this one ?

EU has only the Best. They cheat "just a bit".


Hanover Medical School on Wednesday said Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen plagiarized parts of her thesis, but allowed her to keep her doctorate because there was no "deliberate deception".

Von der Leyen had been caught in a political storm over media reports that she plagiarized portions of her doctoral thesis, a charge that had previously brought down other high-level German politicians.

In a bid to clear her name, she had asked the Hanover Medical School, where she obtained her doctorate in the 1990s, to reevaluate the paper.

After months of examination, however, the medical school's president Christopher Baum said Wednesday: “The Senate decided… with a majority of seven to one votes to not strip the (doctorate) title.”

Although von der Leyen was found to have plagiarized some portions, the committee found this to be an “error but not misconduct”.

https://www.thelocal.de/20160310/med-school-top-minister-plagiarized-her-thesis/

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:48 utc | 43

I thought Poland used the Amrican freedom gas ?

Posted by: Nick | Oct 29 2021 21:54 utc | 44

George W Oprisco @6&7 is correct.

But I disagree on 'cut off'. Business is business. Russia would sell coal to the devil if it helped funds the Russian people's development. And if the terms were fair and suitable for the long term.

Natural gas is a transition fuel, and it is hard to replace its function as a fuel for heating people's houses.

The alternative is heavy insulation and a polarbear skin coat.

It is normal to have 'take or pay' contracts, btw. This prevents political shenanigans that result in very expensive 'stranded assets'.

Even Ukraine will eventually have to come to terms - probably with EU dupes paying for a new pipeline, and with cast-iron 'pay-in-advance' contract clauses. And the dispute mechanism stipulated to be as far from the EU courts as possible.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Oct 29 2021 22:09 utc | 45

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin at Eurasian Economic Forum had several appraisals, this IMO being the more important of what was reported:

"At the same time, he noted that energy transition is possible only if the stability of energy supplies and the development of new technologies are maintained. 'The development of new materials is no longer an energy issue, but a much more serious issue [is] changing the structure of the economy. Despite the variety of plans to reach carbon neutrality, the energy transition will remain a pipe dream without developing new technologies and materials. Even in the long term renewable energy will not be able to completely replace traditional energy resources,' he said." [My Emphasis]

I believe Sechin views nuclear power as "traditional." Again, the entire topic of transition, rebalancing economies, and arriving at what's now called steady-state were hotly debated/discussed at the end of the 1990s with Enron and other's criminal manipulation of energy markets for which nobody was ever really held accountable. That's what got me involved with the Oil Drum blog and ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Natural Gas); I was already deeply into ecological economics and wrestling with the dilemma of having ever expanding economies on a finite planet, so the discussions in those forums were most welcome.

////

Tom Pfotzer @34--

Thanks very much for your gracious reply! The term Neoliberalism comes from the liberalization of markets, meaning free from any regulation, its promoters advocated, and is now more closely associated with Financial Capitalism than Industrial Capitalism. It must be noted that @130 years ago, industrial capitalists were the ones who realized the need for regulation and were the main movers of what's known as The Progressive Era. The establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 was hailed as a Progressive development when in fact it was regressive as we now know all too well. As for the changing direction in global political-economy, which is the battle of two very different economic systems as Dr. Hudson constantly reminds us, emphasis is now on equitability as it relates to people-centered development, what China calls building a community of shared future for mankind--something that's finally Win-Win instead of Zero-sum. I see it as finally making good on establishing FDR's Four Freedoms, particularly Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear, both of which constantly haunt the impoverished. What the vast majority don't recognize is the Outlaw US Empire's efforts to ensure those fears remain as its post-WW2 policies prove beyond doubt--Keeping the Global South impoverished is premeditated policy that continues today.

Access to energy sources has always been the factor in economic development. Once it was man and animal power, then wind and water augmented them. Fossil energy introduced the era of inequitable development since those with little access missed out and became dominated by those having their own. That era is now coming to an end, but instead of evolving/adapting a few nations are resisting with all their might as their perceived Primacy is at stake--they want their Free Lunch to continue forever.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 22:30 utc | 46

Passerby @40--

Too Funny! The answer is the Russian. An odd fact about the Technocrat Revolution is their lack of technical experience. IMO, the more apt description is bureaucrat. I recall the scene from The Phantom Menace where the Bureaucrat's demonized by Palpatine as being meek and obstructionist, with the entire government handcuffed by their inaction. A very Neoliberal POV.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 22:44 utc | 47

These idiots (Confederacy) are a make-believe opposition who in the end vote with the "correct party" when something serious comes up. Something serious for example was Poland's underground resources. If I didn't have friends from that part of the World I'd think along the line "Walesa was a Great Liberator who defeated communism with JP II". In short, BS of the best kind, the kind the sheep will not understand or know about.

Posted by: Tom_12 | Oct 29 2021 21:38 utc | 41

Given that this is a Polish political party, I would hesitate claiming that their intelligence is below average. They surely have plenty of original ideas, like restoration of monarchy (one of micro parties that joined). Given that the royal power in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was very limited, I have no idea what type of difference it would make, but it is equally hard to see how it be worse that the current Presidency. Basically, to utter something reasonable about foreign policy in Poland and get away with it you must gain reputation of someone who can say ABSOLUTELY anything. Trump was little bit like that.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 30 2021 0:06 utc | 48

VK is a Brazilian talking about the future of Europe. I wouldn't care if it wasn't the 'Brazil' hwere he comes from. A country in process of Balkanization (It is very likely that the Brazil will not exist until 2050, well the White House has already decided that, a country already de-industrialized and economically without a future , a big plantation of soybeans for Chinese cattle.
Give me a break! MAN.

Posted by: Nick | Oct 30 2021 0:16 utc | 49

I thought Poland used the Amrican freedom gas ?

Posted by: Nick | Oct 29 2021 21:54 utc | 44

Sure, they do if a ship with that comes to port, which is not always the case (not this year, apparently). As a deeply Catholic country, this is not the only way to achieve independence from Russia. EVEN MORE RELIABLE than American Freedom Gas is the method of Transubstantiation. For example, the ship with LNG may come from Ust Luga (Russia's cargo port on the Baltic), and it becomes a Freedom Gas of unspecified origin. It may take more effort, but the same can be applied to gas piped from Yamal.

For example, Polish gas company recently sold 1,000,000 cubic meters of natural gas to Moldova as a demonstration of practicality of delivering non-Russian gas to Moldova: something NEVER done before. Rather than building a pipe for the occasion, the gas was delivered from Ukraine, and in Ukraine it appeared following a delivery from Russia, but it reached Moldova as Polish Freedom Gas. It would be very interesting to know what rituals are involved.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 30 2021 0:26 utc | 50

@ Tom Pfotzer who said
why do we need this stupid word "neoliberalism"? Why can't we just say "capitalism"?. When was capitalism any different than it is now? And when was it ever "liberal"? And since it's always been the same, how can it be new, or "neo"?

Longer answer: Because liberalism (the philosophical underpinnings of bourgeois capitalism) characterises capitalism's thinking about itself and the world from the mid-18th century to 1917/1929. Capitalism responded to communism and the Depression by devising the New Deal which leavened a socialist element into capitalism via State regulation. This Keynesianism broke with liberalism in order to combat the post-war 'spectre' of revolution. The left was emasculated by this, however, and capitalism would abandon this approach with a complex multi-pronged assault after the failure of May '68, etc. Nixon's decision to leave the gold standard in 1970 is an approximate date for the re-adoption of a 'new liberal' agenda whose consequences began being felt strongly in the Reagan-Thatcher era and have accelerated since (including powerful ideological components, deregulation of finance, wokeism, etc etc)

Short answer: because history. 'Capitalism' is not a homogenous or static mode of production and consumption.

Posted by: Patroklos | Oct 30 2021 0:49 utc | 51

@46 Karlof1

Thanks for that explanation re: neoliberal. While name-calling and ridicule are great fun, it never hurts to actually know what I'm talking about. :)
=====

It's this subject of "changing the structure of the economy" that is so interesting and exciting to me. And the structural changes may be greatest and most durable at the household level ("micro-economy"), not the macro-economy.

The household is the originator of demand, and may become the supplier to many of its own needs - in ways not heretofore possible. It may become an efficient supplier as well, and then the game truly changes.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 30 2021 0:54 utc | 52

Posted by: Nick | Oct 30 2021 0:16 utc | 49

So what if vk is Brazilian? Are you disagreeing with any of his substantive analysis? If so your post makes no sense. Europe certainly does act as though it were still the 19th century age-of-empires calling the shots. vk is right to remind us that geopolitically the EU is full of yesterday's heroes.

Posted by: Patroklos | Oct 30 2021 0:57 utc | 53

I'm using my smartphone at present so I can't link to anything and comment at the same time. Has anyone else here at the bar seen reports of Verkhovna Rada opposition politician Mikhail Volynets saying in a TV interview that his fellow Ukrainian citizens should start storing manure to burn as fuel during winter?

I'd have thought that between them, the leaders of NATO and the EU could generate enough BS to keep Ukraine going over the rest of this century once the country's gas pipeline infrastructure collapses from 30 years of neglect.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 30 2021 1:39 utc | 54

Tom Pfotzer @ 34, karlof1 @ 48:

Neoliberalism has its "philosophical" underpinnings in Leo Strauss's philosophical teaching, based on his odd interpretation of Plato, at the University of Chicago and the free-market economics (based on Friedrich Hayek's work) that were also taught there. The main takeaway from Strauss is that deception of the masses by their ruling elites is necessary to maintain a stable society.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 30 2021 1:52 utc | 55

Posted by: Nick | Oct 30 2021 0:16 utc | 49

In reference to your stupid and idiotic post concerning the location of VK, in Brazil :
This person, is a South American, and most like grew up in Spanish speaking country like Peru! As her/his Spanish writing shows, this forum is frequented by people from around world, with Internet it is Global affair, most of the VK comments are with a Marxist-Leninist bent, and the country that has that system and is leading the way is China, so there is frequent adulation about China! It does not mean if you live in Brazil, you must not comment about Iraq, India or China etc, VK is free to make any comment and does not need approval from the trash can of imperialist countries now relegate to lumber scrap yard, from Nicks and Pricks etc, get a life man. You have anything constructive put it on otherwise shut the .... up.

Posted by: Grishka | Oct 30 2021 2:04 utc | 56

@ karlof 33
Genuine corporate responsibility will only occur when their charters are changed to make that one of their priorities with equal or greater emphasis than advancing returns for shareholders.

The Rise of the Public Benefit Corporation: . .Considerations for Start-ups

What do Method Products, Kickstarter and Patagonia all have in common? They are all public benefit corporations (“PBCs”)! PBCs, also known as benefit corporations, are for-profit companies that balance maximizing value to shareholders with a legally binding commitment to a social or environmental mission. In contrast with other for-profit entities, which by law must focus exclusively on increasing investor returns, a PBC is required to consider other factors. A PBC’s charter identifies a public benefit, namely a positive effect or reduction of negative effects flowing to stakeholders, that is “artistic, charitable, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, literary, medical, religious, scientific, or technological” in character. When making business decisions, in addition to considering the value to shareholders, PBCs also must consider other stakeholder interests, which may include employees, customers, certain communities, or the environment. . .here

That's just a few. Would going back to the past generally be permitted?
....from reclaim democracy....

When American colonists declared independence from England in 1776, they also freed themselves from control by English corporations that extracted their wealth and dominated trade. After fighting a revolution to end this exploitation, our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 30 2021 2:06 utc | 57

In reference to your stupid and idiotic post concerning the location of VK, in Brazil :
This person, is a South American, and most like grew up in Spanish speaking country like Peru! A

Posted by: Grishka | Oct 30 2021 2:04 utc | 56

I like Nick's deduction better. Grishka seems from Europe. The largest country in Europe is Russia. Thus Grishka is from Russia, a shitty country that exports nothing but soybeans and which will cease to exit in 20-30 years through Balkanization, Arctic Russians will inevitably fight with sub-Arctic ones. We sure will miss you Grishka, but we will have quite a few cute small Grishkas instead, so we should not cry too much. At least by Nick's logic. Interestingly, most of soybeans produced in Russia, about a million tons, is exported to China, so it would not be TOTALLY absurd.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Oct 30 2021 2:59 utc | 58

There are currently globally rising energy prices. That does include the oil price.

The formula from 1996 tied the gas price for Poland to the oil price (with a delay). It´s questionable if the new price formula is really that much worse than the old one or even worse at all.

The Polish request for a price reduction doesn`t even refer to the 1996 price formula, only to the Yamal contract of 1996 in general terms.


This article is sloppy work.

Posted by: m | Oct 30 2021 5:19 utc | 59

Moldova just signed a new agreement with Gazprom for five years. The irony of the situation with the new US colonies is that they want to be NATO bases against Russia but at the same time the lights in those bases are to be lit by Russian gas. Freedom gas is following the same path than freedom fries, a greasy one. B, got to read your article first in Russian, at the end of it I realized it was yours, Rozhin is an excellent source.

Posted by: Paco | Oct 30 2021 5:32 utc | 60

Things will get a lot more real as water scarcity increases.

https://journal-neo.org/2021/10/19/middle-eastern-water-crisis-and-where-various-actors-stand/

Food, Shelter and Water.

Posted by: Seer | Oct 30 2021 7:42 utc | 61

"One might hope that the European Union and the governments of its countries will learn from this".

There is no possibility.

Posted by: GT | Oct 30 2021 7:55 utc | 62

"their perceived Primacy is at stake--they want their Free Lunch to continue forever." Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 29 2021 22:30 utc | 46

The World's biggest problem nicely summed up by you in one phrase.

The US, as the holder of the Reserve Currency, exploiting its position mercilessly and especially since 1971, gaining real assets from around the world at the negligible cost of issuing a few US$. Whilst protecting that position by military force and the assistance of key vassal states.

Posted by: JohninMK | Oct 30 2021 9:52 utc | 63

Regarding Poland and energy: 3/4 of their electricity is from hard and soft coal, which also can supply hot water as a by-product. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Poland-electricity-sources.svg

They are wary of both big "brothers" East and West, as both have taken swats of (Po)land the last century: can't blame them. They do have to balance though and as Germany is going for eco & immigration suicide due to new net zero religion & historic guilt the Polish should stay sane and appreciate Russia more. Stop playing with their gas transit, fools.

Posted by: Antonym | Oct 30 2021 10:07 utc | 64

I cannot stress enough the key importance of these Putin words:

"By the way, when the Europeans were formulating the principles governing the formation of the gas market in Europe, and said that all gas must be traded on the spot market, they were proceeding from the assumption that the European market is a premium market. But the European market is no longer a premium market, you see? It is no longer a premium market. Gas was redirected to Latin America and Asia."

And Karlof1 summarized it well on:

"their perceived Primacy is at stake"

On the core, it's their self-perception about the role they think that they play in the World. Said differently, their auto-perceived position on World affairs. Their "Weltanschauung" or cosmovision.

400+ years of European power supremacy in the World (the US may be considered the heritor of that phenomenon) made them think that the World turns around them, that all other countries have vyed to sell their raw materials and commodities and trade their exports for basic and luxury products made by the European industrial centers. That these exchange terms would last forever, and Asia wouldn't become anything else than a cheap labour outpost. It didn't work like that.

This energy problem is rooted partially in that misconception, and I suspect that many other EU problems (NATO involvement, defence expenditures, growing inequalities, etc) root from that too, the fact of not realizing or denying that they have to adopt a different way of life to survive, perhaps one much more frugal and marginal but feasible. Even immigration problems root from the image they cast to the World.

Posted by: Andres | Oct 30 2021 10:38 utc | 65

Posted by: Paul | Oct 29 2021 20:20 utc | 32

The social contract between the government and the people, which is routinely broken and flouted by captive 'western' governments, needs to be renegotiated. 

It is impossible to renegotiate that which wasn't negotiated to begin with.

The idea of a "social contract" is not only a figment of imagination, it is abuse to the words involved.

A contract is a binding and explicit agreement between at least two parties, who have entered into it freely, willingly and formally; by consigning to writing their participation in such agreement in the same document where the conditions and results of such an agreement are detailed, which all parties involved have had the opportunity of learning about; conditions and results whose breach entail either immediate termination of the agreement and/or litigation through an overarching body of law.

Seeing how only one of these traits, the first, applies to the so-called "social contract"; and only truly for one of the alleged parties; calling it "a contract" is an abuse of words: by the "social" adjectivation the "contract" noun loses virtually all meaning, leaving us with a confusing contradiction - and from a contradiction, anything follows, a good logical explanation for the piles of manure excreted through the notion of "a social contract" by propagandists of all stripes both in favor and against-but-not-too-much the applicable established order.

There is a trivial yet legitimate way to do away with this problem, and that is phasing out the term of "social contract" in favor of something more descriptive, more operative, and personally I would add more closely fitting the material facts and historical realities.

There is also an infinite number of potential non-trivial solutions, up to and including making the "social contract" an actual contract.

In case somebody objects that the notion of a "social contract" was a constructive advancement in political and social theory, possibly that the concept of "contract" it spun off from was different from the one I defined; I am aware and I acknowledge it.

It is a philosophical and political myth, like other myths it had a provisional value and place in the pursuit of knowledge, but must be discarded once identified as such if intellectual honesty is exercised.

Posted by: Misotheist | Oct 30 2021 11:07 utc | 66

"Polish chutzpah has no bounds." writes B. How true: After WW-II, Poland step by step forced the remaining Jewish part of the population to leave their ancestral lands. But 'chutzpah' -- a German Jewish dialect word for extreme noseiness and blatant brazen cheek -- remained, and now the Catholic populace of Poland started generating their own Jewish-Polish chutzpah. Must be something with teir soil and water.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Oct 30 2021 11:29 utc | 67

Posted by: Nick | Oct 30 2021 0:16 utc | 49

VK is a Brazilian talking about the future of Europe. I wouldn't care if it wasn't the 'Brazil' hwere he comes from. A country in process of Balkanization (It is very likely that the Brazil will not exist until 2050, well the White House has already decided that, a country already de-industrialized and economically without a future , a big plantation of soybeans for Chinese cattle.
Give me a break! MAN.

The hell is wrong with you, crab?

Do you think you are anybody to go around giving or withholding permission to speak?

On grounds of country of provenance?

Wait, scratch that.

On grounds of an alleged current location?

Wait, SCRATCH THAT.

ON GROUNDS OF YOUR OWN SPECULATION REGARDING THE FUTURE OF SUCH COUNTRY, WHICH BY NOW IS ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT TO THE MATTER DISCUSSED.

Just who the hell do you think you are?

Flash a gun or a badge, or pipe down; in fact just pipe down because this is a text-only medium, you can shove your attempts to dictate who can talk about what up where the sun doesn't shine.

Posted by: Misotheist | Oct 30 2021 11:37 utc | 68

Slightly tangential to the article.
But!
Quiet a number of the patrons here bring up the move to EVs as a reason for the decline in gas and oilfield investment.
I read something recently that if Germany, France or England alone went Full electric vehicle.
All the lithium rare earth metals etc would be totally consumed at current availability of those commodities.
Interesting thought!

Posted by: JPC | Oct 30 2021 11:49 utc | 69

Posted by: JPC | Oct 30 2021 11:49 utc | 69

Fuel cell.

Posted by: Walt | Oct 30 2021 12:05 utc | 70

It astonishes me the lengths that otherwise intelligent people will go through to try and salvage and/or offer apologia for capitalism. Capitalism is the private ownership of socially created capital which necessarily defines economic relations, and economic relations necessarily define societal relations. This has been the case for as long as capitalism has existed and continue to be the case. You cannot change the spots on this leopard by changing the verbiage on its birth certificate or putting pretty bows in its hair, though I suppose you might get a gender fluid leopard out of that. You will never get a vegetarian leopard, though.

We have known about the built-in self-destruct in capitalism for more than a century and half. All kinds of adjustments and fine tuning have been tried in that time to fix capitalism yet here we are, once again in the terminal stage. This time, however, with little chance for quick recovery if the world goes through the economic roll-over/reset (world war) again.

The assumption that there is a quick and easy fix that will give capitalism a new lease on life and a renewed era of growth is itself part of the mass delusion that pervades a society on its last legs. Smart people of today are no smarter than they were a hundred years ago, and despite impressive improvements in communications technology they seem even less well informed, so why the assumptions that there is simple fix that everyone has just overlooked for some reason? "Ah! We got the wording wrong in the corporate charter! That's the problem!"

There is no fix for capitalism. The internal contradictions that kill it are fundamental to how it works. Instead of wasting all of this effort trying to do the impossible people should be focusing on what can replace private ownership of socially produced capital as a control mechanism for the economy, and how to get from here to there. Hint: That too has already been done, but if you have to reinvent the wheel to be comfortable with that wheel then so be it.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 30 2021 12:17 utc | 71

It is important to highlight that this newest "gas war" is just a mere episode of the wider plan of the EU (and the UK) of keeping the status of Europe intact for the rest of the century by using the Peninsula as the main spearhead for the Western Civilization (i.e. capitalism) against the Eurasia/socialism/"yellow horde" in some kind of an eschatological "great war", more or less according to Samuel P. Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" doctrine.

This came out today at the Russia MSM:

US Allies Reportedly Urge Biden Not to Drop Possibility of Preemptive Nuke Strike on Russia, China

Unnamed officials speaking to Financial Times indicated that the UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia are among the countries concerned over the proposed change in US policy.

It's important to remind you all that just some days ago the EU publicly protested against China in the UN for its "unfair treatment against Lithuania". The key here is not that the EU gives a fuck about Lithuania, but that Eastern Europe (and the Baltics are Eastern Europe, no matter how much they claim they're not) is just the cannon fodder, the stick the EU uses to test the waters for an eventual messianic (Judeo-Christian) crusade against the "Asiatic hordes" of Russia-China.

This process is not without its contradictions. As the article I linked states, the USA is all about protecting its own mainland interests, that is, protecting the American Dream - not draining its own wealth and abdicating its privileges in the name of protecting, helping or saving some distant "socialist shithole" (for the Americans, Europeans that aren't British are essentially socialists) in the European Peninsula. Biden is giving clear signs of falling back, thus relatively abandoning the European provinces in the process.

If my hypothesis is correct, the American Empire will concentrate its remaining (and dwindling) resources on its western provinces (Australia, Oceania, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, maybe also South Korea), in detriment of its eastern provinces (European Peninsula, including the UK - America's cheap and loyal whore who doesn't even ask for aid in the first place - and yes, even the Middle East, including NATO member Turkey). That is bad news for "the UK, France, Germany", but good news for "Japan and Australia". Maybe that's why only the EU has been talking about building an European Army.

Posted by: vk | Oct 30 2021 12:49 utc | 72

This may be a non sequitur but I recollect that back in the day when automobiles were being developed there was a question of fuel - peanut oil or some plant based oil vs. petroleum. The oilmen won and here we are.

Between plant based oil - which will run a car for sure, why not an electric generating plant? - and cold fusion uranium, which is not talked about much and about which I do not know much, but somehow it is supposed to be safer than whatever we are doing now - anyway, between these two sources of fuel and energy could we not manage somehow to keep our societies warm and moving?

Posted by: lizzie dw | Oct 30 2021 12:52 utc | 73

lizzie dw @73

Biomass (energy from plants) is just another form of solar energy. Plants convert solar energy into usable energy with about 1% efficiency. A high efficiency photovoltaic solar cell will convert that sunlight energy into usable energy at over 20% efficiency, and super cheap photovoltaic cells easily achieve 10% efficiency.

So how much land do you want to cover with your solar energy collection system? If you want to go with plants over photovoltaic arrays then you will use 10X to 20X as much land for collecting your energy. Do keep in mind that land used to grow crops as an energy source takes away from land used to grow crops as a food source. There is only so much land in the world that is good for growing crops, whether for food or fuel. Photovoltaic arrays can be placed anywhere the sun shines, even if there is no soil or water there, or even if there is no air at all. Photovoltaic arrays then will not compete with food production for space and sunlight.

I'm just saying that while biomass can make a good small contribution to a nation's energy mix, it is a really bad idea to get too carried away with that energy source.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 30 2021 13:26 utc | 74

William Gruff @Oct30 12:17 #71

... salvage and/or offer apologia for capitalism.

IMO the problem is not capitalism but neoliberal capitalism (aka 'crony capitalism') and its cousin plutocracy. Western Governments have been captured by monied/oligarchical interests. In a democracy with adequate safeguards and an educated public, we would have 'managed capitalism'. Instead, we have 'managed democracy' (aka the illusion of democracy).

=
Capitalism is the private ownership of socially created capital ...

IMO capitalism is an incentive program that, if not managed properly, can be gamed by unscrupulous 'bad apples'. We all know how that gaming works: the bad apples offer incentives to others to join them, causing a cascade toward neoliberal capitalism, plutocracy, police state/militarism (fear is great for social control), mass spying (can't trust those unwashed masses), etc.

!!

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Oct 30 2021 13:28 utc | 75

some actual common sense re energy...carbon..rather than hysterical wastage of taxpayers money

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10146381/What-cash-spent-flawed-eco-schemes-went-new-green-tech-TRULY-worked.html

Posted by: Jo | Oct 30 2021 13:42 utc | 76

And of course the local lagomorph establishment spox steps in to salvage and offer apologia for capitalism.

There is only one kind of capitalism, and that is the kind we have right now. All the other "kinds" of capitalism are just fantasy products of imaginations not grounded in reality and simply cannot work in the real world.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 30 2021 14:20 utc | 77

@vk #1
It is not entirely clear that what you said is true.
Natural gas from Caspian nations - Azerbaijan for example - is now directly competing with Russian gas in Italy.
Libya also could have been a source, but of course the Sarkozy/Obama destruction of that nation has removed that possibility for decades.
Sadly, this means Turkey can continue its fan dancing ways: it sits astride almost all of the routes from the Caspian/Middle East to Europe.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:26 utc | 78

@vk 72

Alistair Crooke has been saying the same thing, that the US is dumping Europe to retrench with the anglo five eyes (plus the japanese as honorary whites, which is as much as the LDP ever hopes for). I see this 'abandonment' of Europe as an act of mercy, even grace, because NATO Europe is too spineless to ditch the US of their own accord. when a toxic partner, nay, an abuser, dumps you while you're still clinging, one should actually be thankful.

I still shake my head when I think of Europeans hating on the refugees, a problem they helped create by signing onto US regime change operations. the most amusing thing is they have to suffer the US then chiding them for not welcoming 'diversity', for not upholding a liberal tolerance of foreigners. it's rather brilliant actually, the US gets to destabilize west Asia, north Africa and Europe all at the same time, three birds with one stone, preaching about values to everyone.

as for the quad, the US and India are not aligned in their interests regarding Afghanistan, with India already rejecting over the horizon strikes from Indian soil. the anti china stance is thin glue holding the US and India together. but one can only imagine what the US can do to India if they don't play -- India is as ripe for a color evolution as any country could be.

now china is building a base in Tajikistan. the quad has no meaningful options to counter that.

Posted by: mastameta | Oct 30 2021 14:26 utc | 79

FWIW my conspiracy theory is that drive to electric vehicles is in part due to the need to maintain petrol supplies for the military (unless we develop electric F35s). So I continue to drive my oil burner as a symbolic protest.

Posted by: pebird | Oct 30 2021 14:29 utc | 80

Re: William Gruff
you write: "So how much land do you want to cover with your solar energy collection system? If you want to go with plants over photovoltaic arrays then you will use 10X to 20X as much land for collecting your energy. Do keep in mind that land used to grow crops as an energy source takes away from land used to grow crops as a food source."

Photovoltaic panels placed on rooftops do not take up any additional land. Deserts that cannot be used for food production or housing are ideal for solar generation. Transmission and storage become the issue. These are easier problems to solve than isolating highly-radioactive materials for millennia.

Posted by: Perimetr | Oct 30 2021 14:35 utc | 81

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:26 utc | 78

Maybe that's alleviating the situation for Italy, but it would be delusional to think Azerbaijan will be the energetic salvation for the EU in the long term. Best case scenario, this is just the proverbial Dacian gold mines: a windfall.

Russia has the lion's share of the Caspian Sea's natural reserves. Whatever Azerbaijan has there, Russia has more.

Now you must be thinking: well, in this case, the Europeans will just go after the ex-USSR Central Asian banana republics (e.g. Turkmenistan) and get that eternal source of extremely cheap gas. Again, that would be a typical "European 19th Century thinking" scenario: those Central Asian republics, even though they're just banana republics, are still not dumb; Europe would still continue to be outcompeted by Asia, which's simply offering higher prices.

Europe doesn't have the divine right to cheap gas. That's not how post-colonial phase capitalism works. The era of imperial preference is gone.

Posted by: vk | Oct 30 2021 14:35 utc | 82

@lizzie dw #73
Oil weighs between 6.5 to 8.5 points per gallon. 55 gallons in a barrel.
The US' oil consumption is around 18 million barrels per day = 7.17 billion pounds per day.
The entire peanut crop produced in the US every year is about 6.1 billion pounds.
The entire world's annual peanut production, even if 100% were usable for fuel, would last less than 1 week of US oil consumption.
This is why all those bullshit schemes about algae and biodiesel and whatnot are bullshit: the sheer scale of oil consumption is so ginormous as to defy comprehension. Oil is cheaper than milk, for example, or was before this last year's price increases. The US consumes about 46 billion points of milk per year, according to Statista, so the US consumes more than 55000 times more oil than milk - to give another data point.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:36 utc | 83

Fuel cell.

Posted by: Walt | Oct 30 2021 12:05 utc | 70

Yes that is one viable option but it's not being considered.
There's been work on aluminum power cells but I haven't heard anything about them for a while now!

Posted by: JPC | Oct 30 2021 14:52 utc | 84

Thurman Arnold - one of the most successful anti-monopoly fighters in history, part of his speech:

Thurman Arnold speech, Dropbox document

Matt Stoller has a good recap on some of what Arnold did:

Mott Stoller on Facebook criminal charges and the history of criminal charges used vs. white collar crime

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:54 utc | 85

@71 William Gruff

You said:
Instead of wasting all of this effort trying to do the impossible people should be focusing on what can replace private ownership of socially produced capital as a control mechanism for the economy, and how to get from here to there. Hint: That too has already been done, but if you have to reinvent the wheel to be comfortable with that wheel then so be it.

I ask:

a. Are there any forms of capital, save nat resources, which aren't "socially produced"? Is there a boundary between private property - something an individual or a group created on their own dime, .vs. what "society" creates and ought to own on behalf of the public (e.g. interstate system, for ex). What is the role of private enterprise and property rights in your proposed model?

b. Specifically, what is the "control mechanism" you allude to? What's being controlled, and what's the goal of the control?

c. What's the example that's already done you mentioned?

=== Commentary...

I'm not convinced that capitalism is bad. Capitalism provides rewards for doing stuff that humans either don't like to do, or aren't good at, like taking risk, using one's imagination, persisting through difficulty, etc. Those behaviors need a reward system, or they won't happen. How does your proposed system address that need (for innovation and risk, etc.)

I do agree with JackRabbit and others that note the abuses that seem endemic to capitalism; the concentration of wealth, the meddling in public affairs, and the point Jen made above (#55) of an elite coming to tell themselves that they need to deceive the public in order to govern effectively. I believe there's some truth to the elite's assertion, but it's a slippery slope, and they've slipped down it.

How does any system of political economy address the fundamental disparity in capacity between the masses and the (actual) intellectual and emotional elites? (econ performance has a big emotional component, too).

This disparity is a fact of life for we humans. Until we can do durable and effective surgery on human nature, it's with us.

What's your take on this, W. Gruff?

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 30 2021 14:55 utc | 86

@vk #82
The fact that material amounts of Azeri natural gas is getting to Italy means it can get to the rest of Western Europe as well.

Take a look at the gas pipelines in this pic:

Gas pipelines in Europe

The gas isn't getting to Italy by boat or undersea, it is coming overland. No doubt there would be some work needed, but it seems the major pipelines are already close to, or connecting to Germany for example.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:57 utc | 87

@Walt #70
Fuel cells are like crypto: they seem great until you look at the systemic impact.
1) Fuel cells are incredibly inefficient. We're talking 70%-ish vs. the 90s for almost anything else.
2) Fuel cells are incredibly toxic to make and dispose of. Electric car batteries are the same.

More importantly: if fuel cells are so great - why are they not being adopted? The tech has been around for a long time now and yet the adoption is miniscule.
Great tech that performs great doesn't need to be subsidized to sell - people buy them because they provide material benefits over what is being used at present.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 15:10 utc | 88

Posted by: Northern Observer | Oct 29 2021 17:56 utc | 19

What is this utter horsecrap about "bioLeninist genes" in the Polish leadership? The communist era of Poland was the only one when friendship with the Russians was deemed to be a sane political option within the then Polish leaders. It is the anti-socialist buffoons that consider their duty to undermine Poland's interests for the sake of the EU and the Anglo-American empire.

It is moreover obvious that the current Polish leaders, conservatives or not, are heirs to the same anti-Russian sentiments exibited by the szlachta (Polish gentry. The communist heritage of friendship between the Russians and the Poles is now treated as an anathema.

Further, if we are to take history into account, Lenin was the one Russian leader who didn't treat the Poles with chauvinist hostility. Even during the Rusoo-Polish war in 1919-21, he repeatedly stressed that the enemy was the "White Polish gentry" and not the people. Problem is that numerous lower-class Poles had adopted the values of said gentry. Hence the beating of Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Polish Bolshevik, by Polish workers sometime before 1917 for advocating amity with the Russian people and common front to the elites. Typicaly, retarded Russian and Polish nationalists consider this as some proof of Dzerzhinsky's flawed character insteaad of the exact opposite.

Posted by: Constantine | Oct 30 2021 15:34 utc | 89

c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:57 utc | 87

First I would like to thank you for the link to the pipelines. The reason for the US's drive to split Ukraine off from Russia became quite obvious after looking at how many pipelines from Russia pass thru.

However you make some statements regarding fuel cells that I had not heard of before so I looked around for further info. One limiting factor I had heard of is transportation of H2 because the atoms are so small that they can get through almost everything so there is leakage. Nowhere I have found that they are toxic waste.

for me, a really good solution is to use photovoltaic panels or other renewable sources and make hydrogen whenever there is no or lower demand for electricity. Reluctantly SMRs could do the same thing even though they can apparently slow down when demand decreases more easily than the larger nuke plants.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 30 2021 15:38 utc | 90

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 14:57 utc | 87

Yes, ok, but Europe would still have to pay world market prices for the Azeri gas. Azerbaijan will not simply lower the price of its gas just because the consumer is Europe. Even Norway - a de facto EU member and a NATO member, therefore more easily bullied - politely refused to build a new gas pipeline to Poland because it knows it would have to "take one for the team" by taking losses on subsidized prices if if it did so.

Like I said, the era of imperial preference is over. The only reason Europe managed to pay cheap for the Russian gas was an once-in-a-lifetime long term, fixed prices deal with Gorbachev-era USSR/Russian Federation. Those kind of contracts are gone, they will never be replicated again*.

*yes, China struck a long term deal with fixed prices for Russian gas through Siberia, but China has much more leverage than Europe - and even then it was only able to strike such deal due to, again, extraordinary geopolitical circumstances, when Russia was in deep recession induced by very aggressive Euro-American sanctions and Saudi oil market manipulation. The deal involved a split on the expenses of the new gas pipelines (each nation paid for the part on their own territories).

Posted by: vk | Oct 30 2021 15:59 utc | 91

@ Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | Oct 30 2021 14:55 utc | 86

You guys are debating as if, once upon a time, humanity gathered and voted for the installation of capitalism after an intellectual and scientific debate.

The reality is much more crude: capitalism was enforced through brute force. It was imposed, not implemented (the term "capitalism" comes from Latin "capita", which means "head"; "head" was the unit of account of cattle and, more importantly, slaves, in the late feudal and modern eras). There's absolutely no point discussing the "pros and cons" of capitalism because it is a system that simply imposes itself, regardless of your opinion.

Posted by: vk | Oct 30 2021 16:03 utc | 92

Posted by: vk | Oct 30 2021 16:03 utc | 92

Yes, the real question is why do we need these guys controlling everything to suit themselves? And the answer is No, we don't, and we'd be better off without them too. We finally got rid of the divine right of Kings, and we can get rid of the divine right of rich weasels too.

Posted by: Bemildred | Oct 30 2021 16:14 utc | 93

"How does any system of political economy address the fundamental disparity in capacity between the masses and the (actual) intellectual and emotional elites? (econ performance has a big emotional component, too).

"This disparity is a fact of life for we humans...." Tom @86

No such disparity exists.

The recent book "The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity" by David Graeber and David Wengrow is a good place to start. Here is a review article from Novara Media https://novaramedia.com/2021/10/19/forget-liberte-17th-century-indigenous-americans-knew-a-lot-more-about-freedom-than-their-french-colonisers/

Posted by: bevin | Oct 30 2021 16:43 utc | 94

William Gruff | Oct 30 2021 14:20 utc | 77

i had to laugh at your use of the word - "lagomorph"! you're definitely creative william!! listen, if capitalism has been found to not work, except in some idealistic dreamed up way, what do you say of socialism?? same deal?? sounds very good on paper, but is much more difficult to implement in real life??

the way i see it.. all these economic systems are experiments... capitalism and communism seem to have a few things going for them, but the negatives appear to overwhelm the positives... whenever you have people with self interest involved - everything goes haywire.... unless people can get beyond being predators, and not allow predators to dictate policy, i think these ideas of a perfect system are pie in the sky dreams of idealists... of course i would like to believe in castles built on sand too, but a part of me sees how everything being built on sand is not meant to last.. perhaps i need to revert to the mind of a child where there is nothing wrong in any of this and it is all fun and games... that is probably what i am missing here..

Posted by: james | Oct 30 2021 17:34 utc | 95

Jen @ 55 - Succinctly stated, thanks!

Posted by: juliania | Oct 30 2021 17:45 utc | 96

What are you whipping for nonsense Russian troll, nonsense nonsense again nonsense ... Poland has become independent will buy from everyone for any money, but not from Putin ... Russia blackmails Europe with gas, Ukraine has already convinced itself and other countries. Poland is already selling gas, idiot Ruski

Posted by: Jebać ciebie Rskich | Oct 30 2021 18:31 utc | 97

Great words...

Posted by: Gread Poland | Oct 30 2021 18:36 utc | 98

@ bevin | Oct 30 2021 16:43 utc | 94 with the link to the article about "The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity"

Thanks!

I have a signed copy of Debt, The First 5000 Years and will get a copy of this as well....Graeber had a brilliant mind.

As I read the article you linked to I was reminded of Voltaire's quip "History is a lie commonly agreed to".

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 30 2021 18:43 utc | 99

@dan of steele #90
The vast majority (70%+) of hydrogen production is from natural gas. It is an inherently very wasteful process.
So yes, besides the leakage issue - the creation of hydrogen in bulk, transport of of it and storage of it (i.e. highly compressed which accelerates leakage or chilling it, which costs energy to do), the development of hydrogen supplies is extremely problematic. Note even if a magical process using straight sunlight and non-toxic electrolysis were found, the transport and storage/leakage issues remain.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 30 2021 18:55 utc | 100

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