Being a man, I realise that practical considerations always rule the roost and therefore have the greatest impact on life.
Previously I mentioned that buying a kWh of energy costs about the same, no matter what energy form you buy it in, and I also touched on the fact that the energy it takes to move a small car 500 miles, is about the same, irrespective of the fuel / energy source it uses.
It works out at about 1.25 kWh per mile. (this is for a small car)
If your lifestyle demands that you travel 50 miles a day, then your daily energy budget for that transport alone is 62.5 kWh
Chances are, you can run your home on around 15 kWh per day.
Chances are, you can run yourself on food that costs the equivalent of 50 kWh per day… that isn’t the calorific or nutritional value of the food, that is what the food costs in energy, once you add in all the energy used to grow, process, ship, store and sell it.
If push comes to shove, you could cut your home energy consumption in half, you can’t necessarily do a lot of about your food energy equivalent, unless you have a garden you can’t grown much, and if / when fuel costs go up, then the cost of your food will go up.
Which leaves transportation, again, it’s a tough one to cut, if there are alternatives to personal transportation so you can get a bus or car pool, then you can do a bit, but if there aren’t, then it’s a stall speed scenario, you either do the 25 miles each way to work and back each day, or you don’t…. unless you move work closer to home, or home closer to work…. again, not doable if like me your work is all about driving to different places every day.
So, it is down to the “cost” of energy, or, is it.
A kWh in the UK right now, pretty much irrespective of what form you buy it in, is around 15p, but 15p isn’t an absolute, it is a number in a fiat currency, so what we are actually talking about is the ability of the fiat currency to buy energy.
If the national average weekly wage is 250 quid, then 250 / 0.15 = 1,667 kWh which becomes that national average weekly energy budget.
If inflation hits at 10% then the sum is 250 / 0.165 = 1,515 kWh
What we are left with the the TRUE method of calculating the average, or better still, the mean standard of living, we just calculate the mean weekly energy budget.
If *I* do this for my life, the sums make sobering reading, and no, not because I am now single and working enough to live rather than every hour god sends, because the lower income each week is offset by the lower number of people being supported by that income.
One of the things that is sobering is that in my life I have gone from no comms tech to 2013 comms tech, where 10% of the national electricity capacity goes on telephony, and 10% goes on data….
So there are *new* slices added to the pie, and like my food energy equivalent slice, there really isn’t much I can do to minimise them.
Since 2013 comms tech *is* basically 2013 technological civilisation, the only real economies are to cut that shit back to 1993, where you were a rockstar if you had a 14.4 kbit full duplex modem, after all, NASA did remote management inc firmware updates and image downloads on the Mars rovers over a 56k connection, so you gotta pare everything back to where a plain text email was all you had, no attachments, and a 25 kilobyte web page was pretty fucking big to download.
It *could* be done, and it would allow us to keep a modern comms based civilisation going, but it is a *lot* of work and will never happen while there is an alternative of any kind whatsoever.
So, everywhere we look, what we are facing is a personal energy budget problem, arguably the biggest difference between me and a protester in Egypt is the personal energy budget, and arguably the biggest difference between both of us and some butthead flying a predator drone overhead is also the personal energy budget, even if the dork’s is mostly supplied by the state.
Johnny cavalry with his Winchester repeater vs Limping Wolf is the same thing, and most of running wolf’s energy budget was his pony, shoot the pony and turn him into walking wolf and suddenly he is a LOT less effective, simply because his available personal energy budget just fell through the floor, when the pony dropped dead.
“The internet” is only cheap for the private individual to access because the vast majority of the cost of 2013 comms has been added to EVERYTHING we buy and consume, even energy itself, by the companies that use this technology in their operations, which is all of them, even if there is no connection whatsoever between 2013 comms and what business the company is actually in.
That 90 cent loaf of bread, at least 10 cents of that is the cost of comms to the bakery/truck co/supermarket/etc
As you do away with the old 19th century entirely manual methods, and use 2013 tech, RFID, barcodes, databases, comms, etc, you can offset a lot of those costs by making possible all sorts of economies, but once you have done that you find yourself in a place where the cost of the comms, and the cost of the flour, are as mutually impossible to either do away with or reduce any further.
Unofficially I have been told by those who should know, and remember I often work in comms for high street supermarkets, that the modern loaf of bread is a “profitable” item, compared to many items on the shelves, 25% materials, 25% comms, and 50% markup.
Sounds great, but you can’t drive down either the raw materials cost or the comms cost any more, on the contrary, when the cost of energy goes up, the raw materials and comms costs both rise.
Before long it’s cheaper for me (and everyone else) to use the bread-maker and make a loaf once a week, than the convenience of buying a sliced loaf and throwing half of it away.
And that’s the magic word, CONVENIENCE, when all this technology was coming in, it was convenience this and convenience that, and when all this technology was coming in, only those with a large energy (and therefore cash) budget surplus every week bought them.
Everyone else made do.
I rant about all this, because for a man it is important.
If it takes 1.2 kWh to drive a small car 1 mile, irrespective of whether that small car runs on petrol or diesel or grid charged electric, then when you hit a situation where the guy in question simply cannot afford 1.2 kWh per mile for the miles he must travel, then there are no hybrid or electric or alternative solutions.
the alternative to a gasoline or diesel powered small car is NOT an electric car, it uses the same amount of energy per mile.
the alternative to a gasoline or diesel powered small car is therefore a 0.5 kWh per mile small scooter, or move closer to work, or car share, or get the bus.
THIS is the bit men must grasp, it is why I talk about “stall speed”.
When cupcake calls the po-lice and alleges DV and sexual abuse, you just fell below stall speed, the. game. fucking. changes.
You don’t get less or alternatives or lite or diet or hybrid anything, you get a whole new game.
If I am, for example, living on 100 kWh per day, and some Egyptian protester is living on 50 kWh per day, and we accept that this is the defining difference between us, then when my energy budget drops to 50 kWh per day I will be that fucking Egyptian protester. By. Fucking. Definition.
The flip-side is to turn that Egyptian into me, you need to double his personal daily energy budget… where is this free energy coming from?
Modern technological western life in 2013 is like that loaf of bread, or the energy used to drive a small car one mile, there is a certain cost in raw materials, with energy overhead, and a certain cost in comms, with energy overhead, and neither of those can be cut any more or subject to any more economies of scale.
To make significant cuts is to change the overall technological standard of living.
To make significant cuts to the overall technological standard of living is to increase the death rate and decrease the population density.
We have played the robbing Ahmed to pay Paul energy game globally about as well as we can, there aren’t many more pips to squeeze.
We live in a society where 80% of the population effectively produce nothing of any value whatsoever, throughout their entire fucking lives, yet they enjoy vast personal energy budgets.
The value of the US$ v the Yen or the cost of a barrel of oil measured in US$ or the value on an ounce of gold are all, ultimately, irrelevant.
They are at best the horsemen of the apocalypse, largely symbolic.
The sign over the gate at the concentration camp is also largely symbolic, it’s not like a road sign that says gotham city 100 miles pointing one way, and necropolis 75 miles another way, and you can choose which fork to take.
“You are here” is not always helpful.