I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Get used to it!

As you are probably aware I believe we will never again see the kind of economic we have seen in the past. My reason for this belief was peak cheap oil.  Our society is dependent on cheap fossil fuel.  Without it growth can't occur.  Over at the Financial Times Martin Wolf introduces us to Robert Gordon, an expert on productivity at Northwestern University.  He agrees we have reached a point of low growth or no growth but for an entirely different reason.
According to Gordon up until about 1750 growth was driven by population growth.  Since then we have had    three industrial revolutions.  The first from 1750 to 1830 and was the age of steam.  It brought us railroads and some industrial labor saving machines.
The second revolution which occurred in the early and mid 20th century was built technologies discovered in the late 19th century such as electricity, the internal combustion engine, running water, sewage and communication such as  radio and telephone.  This was an age that had a huge impact on the living standards of people.
The third was the information age which started about 50 years ago.  It consisted of semiconductors, computers and the internet.  It gave us access to increasing amounts of information but not much else.  
It was during the second industrial revolution that economic growth increased while with a few exceptions the rate begin to decline at the beginning of the information age.  There have been few really new technological innovation in the 20th century just building on the old.
Of course the end of cheap resources like oil will only exacerbate the problem.  The good old days are not coming back - get used to it! 

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