This week, with the chancellor presenting the penultimate budget of this Parliament, we are going to be inundated with economic and fiscal analysis and commentary. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually put off by this deluge of comment, because most of it belongs in the realm of what I have called “flat-earth economics”.
The end of the age of cheap abundant energy requires that we stop using anything like as much energy as we’ve been using in recent decades. Any approach to dealing with the crisis of our age that doesn’t start by using much less energy, in other words, simply isn’t serious.
Global riot epidemic due to demise of cheap fossil fuels
From South America to South Asia, a new age of unrest is in full swing as industrial civilisation transitions to post-carbon reality.
In Ukraine, previous food price shocks have impacted negatively on the country’s grain exports, contributing to intensifying urban poverty in particular. Accelerating levels of domestic inflation are underestimated in official statistics - Ukrainians spend on average as much as 75% on household bills, and more than half their incomes on necessities such as food and non-alcoholic drinks, and as75% on household bills. Similarly, for most of last year, Venezuela suffered from ongoing food shortages driven by policy mismanagement along with 17 year record-high inflation due mostly to rising food prices. While dependence on increasingly expensive food imports plays a role here, at the heart of both countries is a deepening energy crisis.