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So, are we in a recession yet?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by PLC1, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/15/business/15retail.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

    Brace yourselves. This is just the beginning.
     
  2. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    What are the retail stats for internet shopping?
     
  3. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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  4. SavageDreamer

    SavageDreamer New Member

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    Are we sure this isn't gonna be worse than a recession
     
  5. Pidgey

    Pidgey Well-Known Member

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    You can bet that anyone who is "sure" about anything will be being beat up by someone else who is just as "sure" about the opposite theory.

    If you subscribe to "Peak Oil", then we're right on schedule.

    Pidgey
     
  6. The Scotsman

    The Scotsman Well-Known Member

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    They announced the high street retail statistics in the UK the other day and declared a "Dramatic" reduction in trading figures from March 2007 compared to March 2008 - down 1.26% whoa that's huge :rolleyes:

    On the other hand, in the UK, it seems (that from annecdotal evidence at least) that internet shopping is quite strong. Its easy to get carried away by press hyperbole since bad news outsells good news.
     
  7. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    The first bank has asked for emergency funding - a pretty good indicator we are in for hard times.
     
  8. foggedinn

    foggedinn New Member

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    Probably. If memery serves, a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. The numbers are very hard to pin down, and of course, are revised after their initial release.

    Even the numbers that are available are often hard for me to believe. Read a while back that inflation is only 2% as long as you don't eat, drive, or pay for the roof over your head.

    It's my opinion that 60 yrs. of relative prosperity have caused so many systemic imbalances to build up in our economic system, that we're on the cusp of a major economic trainwreck. At least on a par with the great depression.

    Paul Wolfowitz assured us the the Iraq war would only cost $50 billion and be paid for with Iraqi oil. The current official cost is well over $500 billion. It's my belief that the actual cost is probably $5 trillion or more. The true war being waged against America is economic, and we're losing.

    No new taxes is a great political slogan with which to be elected, but, wars have to be paid for. The money can be raised through taxes, by borrowing it, or by printing it. All three have negative consequences for the economy.

    Oh well, I've ranted enough for tonight.
     
  9. Pidgey

    Pidgey Well-Known Member

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    Selected World Oil Production Data from the EIA (last updated March, 2008) show that the daily averages for the last ten posted calendar years:

    1997=65,744 MBPD
    1998=66,966 MBPD
    1999=65,922 MBPD
    2000=68,495 MBPD
    2001=68,101 MBPD
    2002=67,168 MBPD
    2003=69,448 MBPD
    2004=72,512 MBPD
    2005=73,807 MBPD
    2006=73,539 MBPD
    2007=73,274 MBPD

    Note that the last three years show a decline. There was also a decline for the 2000-2002 three year period but the North Sea hadn't begun its serious decline yet as had Venezuela. While we don't have detailed data on Gwahar in Saudi due to it being a state secret, this is one of the better summaries that I could find:

    http://home.entouch.net/dmd/ghawar.htm

    Pidgey
     
  10. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    Petrol pumps are running low in the UK, while food prices continue to rocket. Looks pretty bad to me.
     
  11. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    So, oil production has increased from 65,744 MBPD to 73,274 MBPD over a ten year period. The problem is not so much supply as demand.
     
  12. Pidgey

    Pidgey Well-Known Member

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    At least the ratio of supply with respect to demand. When supply actually begins to fall in earnest then all of the major economies of the world will ultimately be forced to contract as will the world's population. It is predicted that it will be a time of severe upheaval with epic disease, famine and just about everything bad you can imagine. So much of our world relies so heavily on (cheap) energy that it cannot be sustained as we know it without it. And no politician is going to be able to do much of anything about it, either.

    In the oil crisis of the '70s, it happened that a 5% decrease in supply effected a 400% increase in price for a barrel of oil. In an economy expanding at a modest percentage per month, you don't actually have to see as much of a real decrease in supply to cause the problem because the supply has to stay in step with the economy except where efficiencies are increasing. That's kinda' difficult to accurately compute for our purposes. In any case, if you see that yearly average for the daily production rates start going down by real percentages, it'll be a very good bet that life as you know it will be over.

    Pidgey
     
  13. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Before you totally write off modern civilization, consider new technologies:
    Making diesel out of coal, exploiting tar sands, using solar energy to produce hydrogen, expanding the use of nuclear energy, and that holy grail of energy research, cold fusion.

    The only one of the above that isn't technologically possible today is the last one. The rest will become economically viable as the price of crude continues to increase.
     
  14. Pidgey

    Pidgey Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm not really "writing off" modern civilization--merely the extent of it. I'm in the natural gas processing equipment industry and we've done plenty of stuff on the production end, too, which often includes oil. A very good friend of mine owns a business that has provided a lot of equipment for processing the Canadian bituminous sands so I'm not oblivious to their existence, not by a long shot. I have even been consulted on solving some minor technological problems with respect to certain process controls for that recovery effort. In short, I'm more personally connected with the carbon-based energy industry than simply using the Internet to supply the materials needed to argue on this forum for argument's sake. However, I neither believe nor expect you to believe that that makes anything I have to say on the subject as absolute and inviolate.

    One of the things that I'm trying to point out is the cost of energy relative to the use of that energy, and how that relationship affects world economics. It may be argued that the world's population is actually an integral of the world's production of energy as a commodity. As an illustration, we can say that the level of water in a tank is an integral of inflow with respect to outflow. When inflow is greater than outflow, the level increases and if the reverse is true then the level decreases. If they're equal, then the level remains constant. If we mathematically describe the two terms and plot them with respect to time then we can accurately track the level changes (given that the tank dimensions are known) without actually having to measure the level. That renders an argument of generality into an argument of specificity but it's also an extremely simple problem that nobody's going to argue about. With global population and energy consumption, it's obviously a much more complex issue to accurately define the terms, especially when the morality or fairness of conspicuous consumption is required to be included in said terms.

    For my part, I could wish wholeheartedly that my personal cry of "the sky is falling" would be just that: a misinterpretation of facts. Unfortunately, there are a host of other more highly placed individuals who are in agreement. Some of the essays on the implications are rather worse than I had thought. Here's an interesting piece on some of the possible effects of a downturn in oil availability:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3017/

    Pidgey
     
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