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The Nature of the Problem

  • Roger BoydEmail author
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Energy book series (BRIEFSENERGY)

Abstract

Over the next decade or so, the most basic assumptions you have about how the economy and the financial system work will, almost certainly, be turned upside down. The perpetual economic growth you have always known will become less and less possible as the cheap energy powering it steadily diminishes. As more energy is required to extract fossil fuels or to provide alternative energy sources there will be less energy for everything else. That ‘everything else’ includes both your favourite company’s earnings and the ability for individuals, companies, and governments to keep paying their debts. The financial system that you assume will multiply your savings and provide for your retirement is completely dependent upon continued growth; and without that growth, it will cease to function. Societies may be able to mitigate these impacts through increased energy efficiency and other measures, but these will only slow down the impacts rather than being a cure for the underlying scarcity of cheap energy.

Keywords

Financial System Increase Energy Efficiency Growth Growth Cheap Energy Investment Investment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Grossman R (2011) Unsettled account: the evolution of banking in the industrialized world since 1800. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hall C, Klitgaard K (2012) Energy and wealth of nations: understanding the biophysical economy. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    World Coal Association (2012) Coal Facts. http://www.worldcoal.org/resources/coal-statistics/. Accessed 25 May 2013
  4. 4.
    Association of Civil Engineers (2013) 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/. Accessed 25 May 2013

Copyright information

© Roger Boyd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vice President (Retired), Bank of MontrealTorontoCanada

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