US energy use chart shows we waste more than half of our energy

Apr 09, 2011 by Lisa Zyga report
This flow chart shows the amount of energy (in quads) that is produced by different energy sources and consumed by different sectors. Image credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy.

(PhysOrg.com) -- This flow chart of the estimated US energy use in 2009, assembled by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), paints a pretty sobering picture of our energy situation. To begin with, it shows that more than half (58%) of the total energy produced in the US is wasted due to inefficiencies, such as waste heat from power plants, vehicles, and light bulbs. In other words, the US has an energy efficiency of 42%. And, despite the numerous reports of progress in solar, wind, and geothermal energy, those three energy sources combined provide just 1.2% of our total energy production. The vast majority of our energy still comes from petroleum (37%), natural gas (25%), and coal (21%).

That percentage of oil illustrates that by far our biggest problem - or area of improvement - is transportation. As the chart shows, the transportation sector is the single biggest consumer of energy, accounting for nearly 40% of the energy consumed by the four sectors (along with residential, commercial, and industrial). In comparison, just 16% is used for residential use. And while the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors waste about 20% of their energy, the transportation sector wastes a full 75%, making it just 25% energy-efficient. Part of this waste is due to the fact that cars are an inherently inefficient way to move people around, since much of the energy must go into moving the massive car and not simply the person.

The chart emphasizes the importance of using alternative methods of transportation - walking, biking, public transportation, or anything else that moves more human and less steel. Unfortunately, due to developers building sprawling suburbs to satisfy Americans’ demands of large homes and yards, many people now find themselves miles from the nearest grocery store and have no choice but to drive everywhere. To illustrate how transportation consumption and waste dwarfs residential consumption, a blog post on Treehugger notes that “building suburbs of Energy Star houses with solar panels on top is a complete waste of time.”

With that being said, comparing the 2009 chart to the 2008 chart shows that we’re making progress. The total amount of solar increased from 0.09 to 0.11 quads, wind energy increased from 0.51 to 0.70 quads, and geothermal increased from 0.35 to 0.37 quads. (The amount of energy in one quad is equivalent to that produced by the burning of 36 million tonnes of coal.) Overall, the US consumed less total energy in 2009 (94.6 quads) than in 2008 (99.2 quads) as well as any year back to 1999 (97 quads), which is the first year for which LLNL has a chart on its website. There were even three years during the past decade when the country consumed more than 100 quads. In addition, the total waste in 2008 was 57.07 quads, compared to 54.64 quads in 2009 (though the percentage wasted was about the same).

Although there is vast room for improvement, if the US can employ a combination of decreasing consumption, increasing efficiency, and increasing the role of renewable , hopefully we’ll continue heading in the right direction.

Explore further: Scientists invent award winning 2-in-1 motor for electric cars

More information: via: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Treehugger

Related Stories

US energy use drops in 2008

Jul 20, 2009

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The nation used less coal ...

Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up?

Aug 13, 2007

Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in ...

Recommended for you

First self-contained step dimming LED tube

Sep 30, 2014

Samsung Electronics today introduced the industry's first AC Direct step-dimming LED linear replacement for T8 and T12 fluorescent tubes at the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Convention ...

Battery system will be able to light 2,500 homes

Sep 30, 2014

One of the largest, most environmentally-friendly, battery-based energy storage systems in the nation will be installed at the University of California, San Diego the campus announced today (Sept. 29).

NREL software tool a boon for wind industry

Sep 30, 2014

Wind energy is blowing away skeptics—it's so close to achieving cost parity with fossil fuels that just a little extra efficiency is all that is likely needed to push it into the mainstream and past the ...

User comments : 101

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

plaasjaapie
3.7 / 5 (15) Apr 09, 2011
I guess Lisa is innocent of any knowledge of the Carnot equation. :-/
pauljpease
3.9 / 5 (17) Apr 09, 2011
Also, citing the fact that we consumed less energy during a recession is not evidence of better energy usage, it is evidence of people being out of work and lower economic activity. Dumb article.
OdieNewton
4.7 / 5 (9) Apr 09, 2011
I guess Lisa is innocent of any knowledge of the Carnot equation. :-/


It would probably help if she had a background in physical sciences, too. Politicians can rant at people all they want, but there are certain physical properties like, I dunno, resistance, friction and entropy (to name a few) that we have to overcome. It's not that our tech is sub par, it's that we're still figuring out how to cope with our universe's laws.

And just food for thought, what do you think the most inefficient part of a car is?
Vendicar_Decarian
4.3 / 5 (19) Apr 09, 2011
"what do you think the most inefficient part of a car is?"

The driver.
Shelgeyr
3.1 / 5 (15) Apr 09, 2011
Given there is no totally efficient system (in the EMC2 sense), the line between an irreducible level of "inefficiency" and "waste" should be clear, but in practice ends up a matter of opinion.
Part of this waste is due to the fact that cars are an inherently inefficient way to move people around, since much of the energy must go into moving the massive car and not simply the person.

If you start with the premise of "cars = wasteful energy use", then you're not coming to the table with clean hands. I value having a ton of armor always around me as I go where I please, so none of my energy used driving is wasted. Let's look at the opposite extreme by comparison. Though I don't like "high" gas prices, I'd say $4/gal is still cheap. Why? How many MPG do you get? 18 to 30? OK, pull your car over, put it in neutral, turn it off, get out and push. Worth $4 to go 18 to 30 miles? Or is not using gas more efficient?
Also, calling industrial waste heat "wasted" is mixing definitions.
Roderick
3.2 / 5 (11) Apr 09, 2011
Gentlemen,

Your comments are way off the mark. Here in Europe we use a lot less energy to generate a dollar of real GDP. For example, Germany uses 50% less than the US. As an American living in Europe, I assure you that you collectively extravagantly wasteful.
SSLPro
2.9 / 5 (7) Apr 09, 2011
The problem is - here in the USa the typical consumer
buys energy, than wastes energy , then repurchases energy.

Europeans do better with that wasting part due to
a variety of reasons.It would be better if we
emulated their use patterns!
Deesky
3.4 / 5 (14) Apr 09, 2011
Europeans do better with that wasting part due to a variety of reasons.It would be better if we emulated their use patterns!

Except there would be rioting in the streets if fuel/energy taxes were raised to the same extent as in europe.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (11) Apr 09, 2011
Europeans do better with that wasting part due to a variety of reasons.It would be better if we emulated their use patterns!

Except there would be rioting in the streets if fuel/energy taxes were raised to the same extent as in europe.

Depending on where you are in the US, we're already pretty close considering the taxation used to maintain the grid and our various military actions to sustain our incomming energy fuel sources. Just because it isn't on the bill doesn't mean you didn't pay.
Burnerjack
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 09, 2011
Driving an extra 5 miles to the supermarket is likely dwarfed by the daily commute (10 hrs a week?) demanded by our style of zoning laws.
As manufacturing fades in America and Ecommuting picks up, perhaps this waste will lessen. As a heating professional heating tech, I can assure you that steam heating in many urban buildings is regulated by opening the windows. Another systemic issue is tenants paying for their own fuel consumption mitigating building owners from any inclination to upgrade heating equipment and/or insulation.
I have been told (not verified) that in Germany, by law, one cannot legally operate equipment of substandard efficiency. We need to look at this as an arm of the Trade Deficit as in money, hence prosperity leaving the country by the boatload.
Ulg
3 / 5 (2) Apr 09, 2011
"geothermal increased from 0.35 to 0.37 quads" Anyone have party favor I could borrow? A shame it seems we will never tap into Yellowstone seriously.
Beard
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 09, 2011
"geothermal increased from 0.35 to 0.37 quads" Anyone have party favor I could borrow? A shame it seems we will never tap into Yellowstone seriously.


Don't touch Yellowstone unless we are SURE we know what we are doing. That thing could wipe out our species if it blows.
Shelgeyr
2.4 / 5 (18) Apr 09, 2011
Europeans do better with that wasting part due to
a variety of reasons.
The chief of which is they flat out can't, and don't have our freedoms, thank you.
The problem isn't that the typical consumer in the USA wastes energy, in fact it is more of a solution than anything else. In the spirit of "it takes money to make money", it takes energy to make a whole heck of a lot of things (this is an attempt at "understatement"), and the entire planet is better off, economywise, when Americans consume and create, create and consume. When we dial it back, you'll notice the whole globe suffers. Jobs that exist to sell to the greedy wasteful Americans disappear. Amazing, isn't it?
Until the majority of the planet is filled with free industrialized nations, people everywhere would be suffer mightily should we all decide to become totally frugal.
Deesky
2.8 / 5 (11) Apr 09, 2011
Just because it isn't on the bill doesn't mean you didn't pay.

Yes but the bill would still need to be very much bigger (x 2 or x 3) to come anywhere near EU levels. That's when the rioting starts.
MorituriMax
2.7 / 5 (6) Apr 10, 2011
And just food for thought, what do you think the most inefficient part of a car is?

The driver? Who has to basically decide when to shift, when to brake, how long to brake, etc. Or not?
Shelgeyr
2 / 5 (16) Apr 10, 2011
Burnerjack wrote in part:
I have been told (not verified) that in Germany, by law, one cannot legally operate equipment of substandard efficiency. We need to look at this...(snip)

The only thing that should govern how much energy a person consumes, and at what rate, should be their own ability to purchase and use it. We don't need any more efficiency standards, and all of the ones we currently have should be abolished/repealed.
Parsec
2.8 / 5 (13) Apr 10, 2011
I guess Lisa is innocent of any knowledge of the Carnot equation. :-/

What an ignorant and arrogant comment! It is certainly true that Carnot heat engines have a built in inefficiency, but that is not the only way to power a car. But even that is a total non-sequitur. The point she made several times was that if your goal is to move humans from place to place, the more baggage you must carry along with them in terms of machinery (car), the less efficient it is. I am stunned that anyone here has the ideological audacity to thrum the right wing drumbeat even at such an obviously true and non-controversial statement.
ShotmanMaslo
3.2 / 5 (11) Apr 10, 2011
And, despite the numerous reports of progress in solar, wind, and geothermal energy, those three energy sources combined provide just 1.2% of our total energy production.


lol, so much for renewables. The sooner we start to build nuclear plants, the better.
mondoblu
1.4 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2011
There is no need to build more nuclear plants: just use available energy sources in better way:
- avoid energy leaks
- avoid energy waste, e.g. why move a car (1500 Kg) for a single driver (80 Kg)
- develop usage of solar, wind and geothermal energy, not nuclear!
ShotmanMaslo
4.1 / 5 (10) Apr 10, 2011
There is no need to build more nuclear plants: just use available energy sources in better way:
- avoid energy leaks
- avoid energy waste, e.g. why move a car (1500 Kg) for a single driver (80 Kg)
- develop usage of solar, wind and geothermal energy, not nuclear!


Available energy sources are mostly coal, petroleum and natural gas. I would rather use nuclear than these, nuclear is cleaner.

I am all for renewables, but not until price comes down and power produced comes up. It is simply not realistic to power whole country on renewables currently.

What the hell is wrong with nuclear?
yoatmon
1.3 / 5 (13) Apr 10, 2011
What the hell is wrong with nuclear?

If you weren't as ignorant as you are, you wouldn't have raised this question.
ShotmanMaslo
4 / 5 (11) Apr 10, 2011
What the hell is wrong with nuclear?

If you weren't as ignorant as you are, you wouldn't have raised this question.


It is you who is ignorant, if you dont know that nuclear is the safest practical source of energy we currently have. Ad hominem instead of an argument only further proves your ignorance.
frajo
2.5 / 5 (10) Apr 10, 2011
What the hell is wrong with nuclear?
Nuclear fission is a mess.
Nuclear fusion is salvation.
ShotmanMaslo
4 / 5 (10) Apr 10, 2011
Nuclear fission is a mess.


Maybe. But it is the cleanest and safest practical source of energy.

Nuclear fusion is salvation.[q/]

Yes, it is. But it is also always 40 years in the future... :D
plaasjaapie
3 / 5 (4) Apr 10, 2011
And just food for thought, what do you think the most inefficient part of a car is?


The transmission, iirc.

Quantum_Conundrum
4 / 5 (5) Apr 10, 2011
And just food for thought, what do you think the most inefficient part of a car is?


The Brakes actually.

Spend all that energy to accelerate, and then the person in front of you wants to make a left hand turn on a two lane road, so you have to stop, and then start again, etc.

Slowing a car from 50mph to 0mph wastes the kinetic energy equivalent of 1/10th of a kilowatt-hour worth of electricity, but since an automobile is only about 30% efficient to begin with, it actually costed around 1/3rd of a kilowatt-hour worth of electricity in fuel equivalent, or 1% of a gallon of gasoline.

So if you have to stop several times each way due to someone in front of you making a turn, it can hurt your car's total efficiency by several percent.

Making all roads into 3 lane roads with turning lanes so fewer "forced" stops happen would save people a lot of money over several years.
Quantum_Conundrum
2.8 / 5 (8) Apr 10, 2011
And yes, with our existing lifestyles in America, having solar panels on roofs in sub-urban and rural areas will not help much at all.

People who live in these areas work during the day,s o they are not home to use the power the solar panels would provide, and their electric cars aren't home to charge off the solar power either.

So at evening/night when they get home, there is no solar power to wash clothes and no solar power to heat water or run an oven, and no solar power to charge the electric car.

Well, they could do most of the water heating during the day for washing and bathing water, which heating water is about 1/4 to 1/3rd of your electric bill, but besides that, not much to do with the power, since nobody is home during the day.

To make use of extra batteries, you'd need like 3 times as many panels plus the batteries, due to energy losses, and so you'd lose about 2/3rds of the power all together, which means that they are 4 or 5 times more expensive (batteries.)
Eikka
3.2 / 5 (5) Apr 10, 2011
avoid energy waste, e.g. why move a car (1500 Kg) for a single driver (80 Kg)


It makes very little difference whether the car weighs a ton or not, because the vast majority of energy spent is against the air drag.

Making all roads into 3 lane roads with turning lanes so fewer "forced" stops happen would save people a lot of money over several years.


Or get a car with regenerative braking. Saves a lot of asphalt.

Ever wondered how much petroleum it takes to maintain all the road infrastructure?
Bigblumpkin36
1.7 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
Roderick
14 hours ago

Rank: 3 / 5 (6) Gentlemen,

Your comments are way off the mark. Here in Europe we use a lot less energy to generate a dollar of real GDP. For example, Germany uses 50% less than the US. As an American living in Europe, I assure you that you collectively extravagantly wasteful.
As an American i really dont no how to not waste energy, given the fact that we have no other means. Considering that our goverment would rather drill for more oil than spend money to look for new ways of energy. Truth is oil is alot cheaper to harvest than take time and money of new sciences. Give us some money Germany and your hot women.
jamesrm
1.6 / 5 (8) Apr 10, 2011
Remember "the right wing drumbeat" is the sound they hear beating the metal can stuck on their heads so the truth can't get through and make them cry :'(

rgds
James
Newbeak
2 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011





The Aptera and other similar designs should address vehicle efficiency issues ( http://www.gizmag...le/8392/ )
Maybe the solar roadways concept is the answer in the longterm ( http://www.solarr...aq.shtml )
Bigblumpkin36
1.8 / 5 (6) Apr 10, 2011
How about we figure out cold fission or stop having so many kids, regulate births, humans are like parasites to the earth, espiecally the ones on welfare
Quantum_Conundrum
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2011
Newbeak:

That solar roadway idea is overly optimistic, because those people are not considering the real maintenance cost of something like that.

Solar panels currently cost around $440 per square meter for 11% to 15% efficiency, and they are planning to actually have vehicles DRIVING on top of these things?

that is so BS and unrealistic it's a joke. what about Semi trucks? What about oversize loads, etc? This stuff would be ruined so fast its ridiculous.

Concrete is around $110 per cubic yard, so even at 1ft thick you could pave square 27ft for around $110 of material, and even still, maintenance and repairs of roads are a big part of state and local spending.

That article is talking about paving roads out of solar panels, so you're looking at basicly $440 for a 9 square feet section, or $5877 per 12ft x 12ft segment, vs a maximum of $586 for concrete, ten times less.

And the panels would get destroyed as fast or faster than concrete...
Quantum_Conundrum
3.2 / 5 (9) Apr 10, 2011
The idiot dismissed the ideas of having the solar panels over the roadways or on arrays beside the road, when in fact that would be ideal.

You don't make a high-tech device that cost $440 per square meter and then drive thousand or ten-thousand pound cars and trusk and semis over it.

That idea is idiotic, and is exactly what is wrong with this country. Always some idiot trying to spend ten times more to do something for no reason.
Alburton
5 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
Burnerjack wrote in part:

The only thing that should govern how much energy a person consumes, and at what rate, should be their own ability to purchase and use it. We don't need any more efficiency standards, and all of the ones we currently have should be abolished/repealed.


According to what standard?What are your objectives so that you came to this conclusion?
This ultraliberalist dogma is just senseless,and it does not fit into any realistic actual economical theory.
If you wished to limit CO2 emissions,for example,and according to your philosophy the only way to regulate it would be to raise its price (tariffs,direct taxes) until only a few could pay for it, and use the media to convince the population that this is a natural outcoming of the market. [If you think there's no media control in the US, THINK AGAIN]
If you truly believe in what you say there is no objective to be taken collectively more precious than individual freedom of spending.
And that is plain stupid.
Alburton
5 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
And, despite the numerous reports of progress in solar, wind, and geothermal energy, those three energy sources combined provide just 1.2% of our total energy production.


lol, so much for renewables. The sooner we start to build nuclear plants, the better.

Let me please inform you that this last month,March 2011,Spain,giving me true reasons to feel patriotic, managed Wind Energy to be the first energy producer in the national mix,creating (4.738 GWh,21%): so much energy to power the whole of Portugal (the country to the left)during that same month.
I truly recommend you people to enter this site:
https://demanda.r...nda.html
Its the spanish electrical grid's website (a private company if you were wondering), and shows real time demand and production.
If you look to the pie-chart on the right you will see RENEWABLES PRODUCE MORE THAN NUCLEAR,and that between both they answer for MORE THAN HALF OF THE TOTAL CONSUMPTION.
Hooray for renewables!

...dont you think?
Newbeak
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
Quantum_Conundrum: The developer behind the concept addressed all your objections,if you bothered to read it.Your hidebound reaction to this idea reminds me of people in the past who dismissed new ways of thinking that proved to be revolutionary.It won't cost much to determine it is viable-if it works in parking lots,it should work on roads as well.
Alburton
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011


It makes very little difference whether the car weighs a ton or not, because the vast majority of energy spent is against the air drag.

So what? Air drag slows you down,and against that you have to accelerate,right?
So,force = mass * acceleration, and Energy =Force * distance.
the more mass,the more force needed,the more force the more energy spent.Its intuitive anyway.
Plus,the heavier a car the bigger it is,so the more area it offers against air drag.

Let me pontificate a bit as a cocky engineer n_n
The truth is if there was an engine that weighed 10% less,suspensionscould be lighter too,and then the brakes and so on and so on,triggerin a total reduction of weight far bigger than the initial 10% of the engine.

And this is the way to go for the autoindustry nowadays,except for dodge for obvious reasons.
Had they anything else than oversizing to offer...
Burnerjack
1 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
@Alburton: Actually it was Shelgeyr Who said we don't need regulation, that ability to pay for fuel was the only mitigation, etc.
What I DID say, was to point out the systemic waste and possiblities of how to correct it. Stop foaming at the mouth, reread the posts, take a breath, count to ten, THEN, move towards the keyboard...
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (51) Apr 10, 2011
People who are against regulation are mental children. A market without regulations is NOT a free market just as a society without laws is NOT a free society.

Also most of the energy generated by our power plants escapes the plants as heat and never makes it to the electrical generators. But I guess utilities have a right to waste, right? Stupid, stupid stupid.
fantom
4 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
Lisa made a huge glaring error that invalidates the conclusion of her article; transportation is not inefficient because energy goes into moving the vehicle not the person, but because of the low thermodynamic efficiency of IC engines. Sure, there is greater utilization in vehicles carrying lots of people, but that does not change the efficiency of the vehicle. Unless what you are measuring is something like passenger miles/therm, its a useless way to consider the relative merits of transportation. Most municipal buses spend their time mostly empty (the exception being in already dense urban centers). Suburban public transportation, to the extent it even exists, is basically a huge joke - if you want to see a real waste of resources, consider these 8-10 ton diesel buses lurching up and down the streets of our suburbs belching their sooty particulates into our neighborhoods. It would be better to furlough this wasteful, low utilization fleet entirely, and move to point-point.
fantom
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
People who are against regulation are mental children. A market without regulations is NOT a free market just as a society without laws is NOT a free society.


There are valid reasons to oppose regulations, and invalid ones. But a free market, by definition, needs very few regulations, if any. That's the point. The regulation needed is provided by the laws of economics, which in turn are powered by things such as rational self-interest (ie, you wouldn't sell something at a loss).

It seems that what people who insist on stifling regulations seek to prevent, is the natural behavior of a market, because they deem the results in some fashion undesirable, even if they are not inherently damaging or destructive. That is an ideological failing, and seems infantile as well.

A free society doesn't require laws, only the universal application of basic first principles. It is simple to derive these as a moral framework. No law needed.
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (49) Apr 10, 2011
Adam Smith disagrees with you. There are valid reasons to oppose some regulations. However if you blindly oppose all regulations because you are doing so simply out of ideology rather than evaluating each separate case on it's own merits, you are not making an intelligent decision. Regulations have their place.
fantom
5 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2011
What the hell is wrong with nuclear?

If you weren't as ignorant as you are, you wouldn't have raised this question.


It is you who is ignorant, if you dont know that nuclear is the safest practical source of energy we currently have. Ad hominem instead of an argument only further proves your ignorance.


It isn't just safe, but cheap as well. Look at France.

fantom
5 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
Adam Smith disagrees with you. There are valid reasons to oppose some regulations. However if you blindly oppose all regulations because you are doing so simply out of ideology rather than evaluating each separate case on it's own merits, you are not making an intelligent decision. Regulations have their place.


Are you stating that Adam Smith promoted regulation? Are we referring to the same Adam? Scottish chap, author of "...Wealth of Nations"?
fantom
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011
Gentlemen,
Your comments are way off the mark. Here in Europe we use a lot less energy to generate a dollar of real GDP. For example, Germany uses 50% less than the US. As an American living in Europe, I assure you that you collectively extravagantly wasteful.


I think that says more about monetary policy and spending than it does about energy efficiency. We also have a much different long haul transportation challenge than any state in Europe, given the vastness of our country. You guys have a geographically compact supply chain, and we don't.

Also, if you were to measure the energy you use to produce a dollar of GDP in dollars, what would the picture look like then? Instead of just measuring the raw energy. Do I understand your post correctly?
fantom
5 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
I guess Lisa is innocent of any knowledge of the Carnot equation. :-/

What an ignorant and arrogant comment! It is certainly true that Carnot heat engines have a built in inefficiency, but that is not the only way to power a car. But even that is a total non-sequitur. The point she made several times was that if your goal is to move humans from place to place, the more baggage you must carry along with them in terms of machinery (car), the less efficient it is. I am stunned that anyone here has the ideological audacity to thrum the right wing drumbeat even at such an obviously true and non-controversial statement.


But, the other ways to power a car aren't really any more efficient, particularly, than IC. That's a part of the problem. And cost-wise they are much less efficient.
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (50) Apr 10, 2011

Are you stating that Adam Smith promoted regulation? Are we referring to the same Adam? Scottish chap, author of "...Wealth of Nations"?


Lol, Yes I am. You've obviously never read the Wealth of Nations. Adam Smith formulated Capitalism in an attempt to come up with the most fair system (i.e. poor people wouldn't starve to feed the luxuries of the rich) he could come up with. This included regulations as per his own words.

Smith had no ideological attachment Capitalism. He only supported it because he believed it to be fair. Had he encountered a more fair system in his lifetime, he would have supported it instead.

Seriously, read the Wealth of Nations. It's amazing how few Capitalists have.
fantom
3 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2011
He didn't believe it was fair, he believed it was natural. There is a huge distinction. Life, is not "fair" in any egalitarian meaning of the term. Adam Smith realized this. And, in fact, he believed that only an innate human sense of fairness and ethics that allowed for the injection of compassionate action could provide a stable society. I think what you are referring to is his suggestions for insuring against bank failures and such aspects of greed and fraud that might otherwise be manifested by bankers, were some curbs not put on their issuance of fake money. That is not a blanket prescription for regulation. It is merely a practical model for a complex artificial monetary system.
fantom
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011
Back to the topic of this thread; the real thrust of this article is that we have distribution and organization problems and that we lack the technology to significantly improve "efficiency" (even though that isn't what the author intended to say) at this time. Basically, our energy usage reflects our overall infrastructure's current level of optimization. Is it perfect? No. Can it be made so? No. Can it be improved in small measures? Yes. Are we all going to give up our personal vehicles and cram ourselves into dense inner city cores to accomplish it? No.
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (49) Apr 10, 2011
Yet many falsely use Smith's work as a blanket prescription against regulation. The fact is Smith supported some regulation. A market with no regulations is not free as they will tend to form monopolies.

Most of the fuel burnt by our power plants is wasted as heat that goes out the window yet many of Europe's plants achieve near 90% efficiency. You're telling me we just can't do this in the US? I wonder why. (lack of regulations)
Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (4) Apr 10, 2011
Also most of the energy generated by our power plants escapes the plants as heat and never makes it to the electrical generators. But I guess utilities have a right to waste, right? Stupid, stupid stupid.


Do you understand that the Carnot limit is aroung 66%, so it is physically impossible to get more than 66% efficiency out of ANY heat engine? You are wrong anyway. Existing power plants use double cycles and co-generation bringing their total efficiency up to the 60s.

It's also in the power company's own interests to make their equipment as efficient as possible to maximize their own profits while minimizing operating costs. In most cases, if they could make their systems more efficient they would, because they would increase their profit margins by doing so.

For example, a 5% increase in efficiency would increase their profits by 5% of revenue. Do you really think they would NOT make better systems if they knew how to do so? Figure 5% revenue for an entire company...
Quantum_Conundrum
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 10, 2011
Most of the fuel burnt by our power plants is wasted as heat that goes out the window yet many of Europe's plants achieve near 90% efficiency. You're telling me we just can't do this in the US? I wonder why. (lack of regulations)


90% efficiency is NOT possible as electricity or useful work.

In Europe, they get the 90% because they are counting HEATING which they are able to pump the waste heat to a nearby town to heat a building, for example, and so they count that energy towards the total efficiency, and even then that's only during winter. In summer they get no better than an American plant.

In the U.S. that won't work because everything is so spread out, AND because most of the country would have little benefit from it, and of course, we have like 2 or 3 cold months and 2 mild months, and 7 or 8 blazing hot months, so there's not much use for pumping a pipe full of hot water 100miles across the country where it'd barely be above ambient when it reached destination.
jamesrm
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
"Such regulations may, no doubt, be considered as in some respects a violation of natural liberty. But those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments; of the most free, as well as of the most despotical. The obligation of building party walls, in order to prevent the communication of fire, is a violation of natural liberty, exactly of the same kind with the regulations of the banking trade which are here proposed." Adam Smith

Adam Smith, the wealth of nations, one of the most abused, misused, & misquoted books that conservative love but never read since the bible. Obviously as it has some big words and is fairly long most republican/tea-party fucktards can't read it.

regards
James
fantom
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 10, 2011
So impressed by your googling! Again, this particular passage and the one preceding it, refers primarily to banking regulations. Where it does not, it refers chiefly to common sense safety issues, the dereliction of which would be detrimental both to the party on whom imposed, as well as society at large.

The ideology behind Smiths work is natural liberty, tempered by a restraint of harmful activities, not to be primarily achieved via regulation, but by the rational self interest of economics as expressed in the markets, and the innate (he thought) moral goodness of humanity.

There is more nuance to it than this, of course. Perhaps of the kind detailed here: http://economists...es_.html

However, you shouldn't take it to mean that a free market is a regulated market. It doesn't require regulation if a moral framework based on easily derivable first principles were universally followed.
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (50) Apr 10, 2011
Fantom, no safety issues are common sense. If they were we wouldn't need regulations. I guess the triangle shirt waste fire would have been avoided if the corporate overlords who owned it had common sense, right? No, they didn't give a shit.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011

So what? Air drag slows you down,and against that you have to accelerate,right?


Wrong.

Once you have the car moving at a steady speed, you are no longer accelerating but maintaining speed against a force. The mass no longer matters, except for a small increase in rolling resistance of the tires.

When you let go of the throttle, the car starts deaccelerating during which the kinetic energy stored in the motion of the mass during acceleration is now being used to propel the car along without any input from the engine. It is not all wasted. Smart driving saves gasoline.

At low speeds this can propel the car quite a distance without slowing down too much, which in a hybrid car allows the engine to be shut down entirely if the battery is full.

The heavier the car, the further it will coast without losing speed.

You only lose energy when you press the brakes to stop the car, but with regenerative brakes in a hybrid car, you regain a lot of it.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Apr 10, 2011

Do you understand that the Carnot limit is aroung 66%, so it is physically impossible to get more than 66% efficiency out of ANY heat engine?


No, because it isn't. The Carnot efficiency depends on the temperature differential, which is limited by available materials more than anything else.

If you had a fire that burns at 1500 C and you cool it down with 0 C water, you get a theoretical upper bound of 84.6% for an ideal heat engine.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
Interestingly enough, the colder you make the exhaust, the easier it is to get high efficiency out of a heat engine.

If you had liquid air at -195 C and boiling water at 100 C, your Carnot limit would be 79.1% and such a heat engine is actually quite easy to build in terms of materials because there's no issue of melting. This is why making liquid air for energy stockpiling at a large scale is actually very sensible.
OdieNewton
not rated yet Apr 10, 2011


The Brakes actually.



You nailed it. People complain about energy being wasted, and they are right, but they are too abstract about it. If you were to actually account for the amount of joules transferred from rotational energy into thermal energy, the numbers would be absolutely ridiculous. Setting a 2,000 pound car in motion takes enough energy without needing to do it every time you have to restart from a stop sign or light.

Regenerative brakes would be wonderful. Brakes that actually store the energy they absorb to use for acceleration later. Of course, people have tried and failed at creating them. But that's the price of a worthy invention.
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (49) Apr 10, 2011
I chuckle every time I see someone speed to get to a traffic light that is already red.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Apr 10, 2011
Interestingly enough, the colder you make the exhaust, the easier it is to get high efficiency out of a heat engine.

If you had liquid air at -195 C and boiling water at 100 C, your Carnot limit would be 79.1% and such a heat engine is actually quite easy to build in terms of materials because there's no issue of melting. This is why making liquid air for energy stockpiling at a large scale is actually very sensible.


refrigeration costs energy, and LOTS of it. You have to count that against your engine's efficiency.

The formula you are using has been shown to not be correct for "real world" heat engines, but only works for ideal heat engines.

The correct formula is:
1 - sqrt(Tc/Th)

Which in this case gives:

0.5427*

* but this only counts the engine itself, and doesn't cover your mystical refrigeration process.

And by comparison, the first stage boiler of a solar power plant has efficiency of around 0.3136.
Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (6) Apr 10, 2011
FrankHebert:

Modern Capitalism is a clear violation of the founding principles of this country, as the declaration of independence claims that all men are created equal, and have a RIGHT to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

Now if life is a "right" then why is it that the wealthy get unlimited healthcare, because, of gee, they have a million or ten million dollars, and can pay as many doctors as they want for second or third opinions or any cure. Normal people are left with one doctor if they are lucky, or else go to charity hospital and pray the doctor gets it right.

"All animals(men) are created equal, but some are created more equal than others."-George Orwell

What's worse, modern capitalism actually promotes and rewards fools more than intelligence or wisdom. After all, we pay actors and atheletes tens of millions per year, and team owners perhaps a billion or more per year.
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (50) Apr 10, 2011
Q_C if there is one thing we agree on it's that modern Capitalism is bad.
Burnerjack
3.6 / 5 (5) Apr 10, 2011
While unbridled capitalism does have its Dickensien downside, With proper checks and balances, It works to the betterment of all. Capatalism can yield oportunity to excel where other sydtems will stifle the gifted. Take the dichotomy of the Koreas for example. One system has capatalism with ckecks and balances one has no capitalism and no checks and balances whatsoever. One has copius amounts of prosperity one has poverty and misery on a scale unimginable by most.
FrankHerbert
0.7 / 5 (49) Apr 11, 2011
Yes, because those are the only factors at work. heh.
n0ns3ns0r
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 11, 2011
If you guys were so smart, you'd learn how to throw a touchdown pass, shoot a wicked jump shot, hit a 95 mph fastball, or write some obnoxious auto-tuned song. Don't blame capitalism for rewarding people for doing things that you suck at. Those things (or any other skills) take lots of practice, dedication, and hard work... not dumb luck. It takes a pretty wise person to develop talent. Cultural and intellectual snobbery, on the other hand, is more the hallmark of a fool.
rwinners
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 11, 2011
Europe is tiny compared the the US and Canada. Germany is just half the size of Texas. Everything is closer together. Europe has a vast rail based transportation system. There is no point in comparing the US with Europe. Apples and oranges.
farmerpat42
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2011
"What's worse, modern capitalism actually promotes and rewards fools more than intelligence or wisdom. After all, we pay actors and atheletes tens of millions per year, and team owners perhaps a billion or more per year."

Maybe we, as a culture, should feel proud that we have the luxury to pay our entertainers that much money instead of jealously deriding them at every turn?

The regulations that Adam Smith generally proposed in other essays were mostly dealing with sabotage prevention (intentional or unintentional). He'd be frantic seeing the meddling that's done with the economy in the name of wealth redistribution right now as he'd view that as sabotage (and we're paying for it right now).

But - I greatly dislike when the US gets compared to European countries regarding infrastructure. If the US was 1/5th the size, had a homogenized geography, and had over-populated metro centers then the European models work wonders. But the US's geography and demographics are vastly diff.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2011

refrigeration costs energy, and LOTS of it. You have to count that against your engine's efficiency.


No I don't because it doesn't affect the engine's efficiency. It's a separate piece of machinery.

Besides, the energy lost in refridgeration is recoverable because it is expelled at a higher than ambient temperature. Essentially, you get it back when you use it to boil the liquid air.
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2011

The formula you are using has been shown to not be correct for "real world" heat engines, but only works for ideal heat engines.

The correct formula is:
1 - sqrt(Tc/Th)


Wrong again. That formula you gave is for non-reversible heat engines. There are plenty of heat engines that are reversible - in the sense that if you instead turn the shaft with a motor, they become heat pumps. One such is the Stirling engine.

And they do obey the Carnot's law as far as friction and heat leakage allows them to.
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Apr 11, 2011
If the US was 1/5th the size, had a homogenized geography, and had over-populated metro centers then the European models work wonders. But the US's geography and demographics are vastly diff.


Europe has as much geographic and demographic variation going from north to south as the United States has. It has over twice the population of the United States, with very heterogenous cultures and laws and practices. There's deserts and huge mountain ranges, some of them smack dab in the middle of the way when you go from Germany to Italy for example.

The total land area including the western parts of Russia that belong to the continent is 10.2 million sq-km whereas the US has 9.8 million sq-km.

Surprising, no?
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 11, 2011
Though if you count only the EU member states, the total land area drops to 4.3 million sq-km.

But that's still not a fifth of the United States. It's closer to half of the size, and doesn't include places like Norway and Switzerland, or many of the countries in the Balkan region.
frajo
3 / 5 (4) Apr 11, 2011
Maybe we, as a culture, should feel proud that we have the luxury to pay our entertainers that much money instead of jealously deriding them at every turn?
Not as long as that culture is treating disadvantaged humans worse than their pets.

It's the contrast between favoring the favoured ones and neglecting the neglected ones that makes that culture ugly in the eye of the beholder und that will in future times be considered to have been one of the main factors for the decay of the Imperium Americanum.
Forestgnome
1 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2011
Burnerjack wrote in part:
I have been told (not verified) that in Germany, by law, one cannot legally operate equipment of substandard efficiency. We need to look at this...(snip)

The only thing that should govern how much energy a person consumes, and at what rate, should be their own ability to purchase and use it. We don't need any more efficiency standards, and all of the ones we currently have should be abolished/repealed.

If only we all live in one house and work at the same place we could all ride a train to work and relieve ourselves of our sinful inefficiencies. Ah Utopia! B.S.
Forestgnome
1 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2011
I guess Lisa is innocent of any knowledge of the Carnot equation. :-/

What an ignorant and arrogant comment! It is certainly true that Carnot heat engines have a built in inefficiency, but that is not the only way to power a car. But even that is a total non-sequitur. The point she made several times was that if your goal is to move humans from place to place, the more baggage you must carry along with them in terms of machinery (car), the less efficient it is. I am stunned that anyone here has the ideological audacity to thrum the right wing drumbeat even at such an obviously true and non-controversial statement.

Whoops. Quoted wrong comment last post. This is the one I meant to quote. No edit feature here.

If only we all live in one house and work at the same place we could all ride a train to work and relieve ourselves of our sinful inefficiencies. Ah Utopia! B.S
wompum
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011
(Adam Smith stuff) Are we all going to give up our personal vehicles and cram ourselves into dense inner city cores to accomplish it? No.


This is a good post, the Adam Smith stuff is spot on- however you are against "cramming yourself into 'inner city cores'"?

I hate to break it to America, but we can't sustain the suburban sprawl. It's just not going to happen. No miracle power source or cold fusion hover jet with self massaging seat-backs is going to save our individualized plantations of suburbia. We must come to terms with giving up our 14 MPG trucks that haul our kids' to soccer and a bag of mulch once a year from Lowes.

Crammed into urban cores? Have you been to a city? Have you seen the quality of life many (smart) people enjoy in these places? The suburbs are vast, unpopulated voids of boredom, laced with deceitful, petty, self-righteous people that sometimes trust their neighbors no farther than they can throw them.

(5 years living W/O a car. I bike - LEX, KY)
wompum
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011

If only we all live in one house and work at the same place we could all ride a train to work and relieve ourselves of our sinful inefficiencies. Ah Utopia! B.S


Vienna, Copenhagen, New York, Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, New Orleans, Paris, London.

These are only the places I have BEEN that have had adequate mass transit to live without a car.

I don't know what your implication is, but if it is against a mass transit system I'd say it's high time you woke up and smell the century. Henry Ford is long dead. If you want individualized transport, get a 2 wheeled vehicle or a 4 legged one - I hear there are very nice horse towns in the south (you could even wear a cowboy hat! THATS FREEDOM~! heeyuck!).
CHollman82
2.6 / 5 (5) Apr 11, 2011
The only thing that should govern how much energy a person consumes, and at what rate, should be their own ability to purchase and use it.


Hear Hear!
OdieNewton
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011


The total land area including the western parts of Russia that belong to the continent is 10.2 million sq-km whereas the US has 9.8 million sq-km.

Surprising, no?


Don't forget, we split the distribution of energy consumption by *country* in Europe. The numbers will, of course, still prove to be vastly different than the entire United States. Still, a valid point indeed.
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (51) Apr 11, 2011
If you guys were so smart, you'd learn how to throw a touchdown pass, shoot a wicked jump shot, hit a 95 mph fastball, or write some obnoxious auto-tuned song. Don't blame capitalism for rewarding people for doing things that you suck at. Those things (or any other skills) take lots of practice, dedication, and hard work... not dumb luck. It takes a pretty wise person to develop talent. Cultural and intellectual snobbery, on the other hand, is more the hallmark of a fool.


Lol so talent in sports are the only things worth rewarding? This right here shows why capitalism doesn't work.
Kingsix
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011
2 things
Yes Europe and NA are different in how spread out everything is. What that should mean to us is that we should be striving to come up with ways to negate that difference by means of efficiency and innovation.

Yes Capitalism has hindered but also helped. You take a look at cars and their gas milage, only now are we getting the type of milage in NA that they have been getting in Europe for some time. NA oil has obviously paid to keep that tech out of NA so that we continue to need high amounts of their product at a lower price.

On the electrical side of things, other than greener producing means, what we need is a solution for inexpensive storage of excess energy, that would be huge capacitors storing up excess for use when it is required. Why not capacitors? They are dangerous on larger scales due to their explosive nature. (as you will know if you have ever overloaded one or pushed one into a socket.
Continual improvement is required across the board.
Kingsix
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011
Really exciting I think is the future of solar, when we can mass produce solar cells that can cover all the windows of every sky scraper, but be invisible, be a part of our roads as above, but not too expensive, and not brought down, but only affected slightly by damage. Solar mixed into our cars paint.

The best will be when we master non invasive ways to capture power from things that happen anyway, like all of the static electricity in our buildings, the small amounts that are available in our walking could easily power our gadgets in the future.

Ahh the future.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Apr 11, 2011
Really exciting I think is the future of solar, when we can mass produce solar cells that can cover all the windows of every sky scraper, but be invisible
How exactly would this work?
Kingsix
5 / 5 (2) Apr 11, 2011
Obvious some eng needs to go into it, but take a quick look at these links to tech in development.

Solar film
http://www.engadg...ell-han/

http://www.pythag...lar.com/ <- really wish this was my company and a shameless plug

So most windows are now made as a solid unit. With a solar film or something similar on the inside of the inner and outer panes of glass you could harvest 2x the power for every square foot I figure. There would be electrical connection points at a similar place on every window, or maybe multiple windows would daisy chain and harvest at the corner of the building. Those leads could all connect via wiring to a control point where the energy could be stored, its voltage transformed and converted from DC to AC via inverter. Really its pretty simple, just the solar tech needs to be made and the window designed. I work in Elect. design for bldgs, believe me there are more complicated sys now.
Kingsix
not rated yet Apr 11, 2011
Alternatively check out this link about the Willis Tower in Chicago dealing with that company.
http://inhabitat....ar-farm/

Oh and even if the tech is not totally transparent, a lot of commercial buildings, especially where solar would be very effective, have coatings already that filter out wavelengths, or tint the windows to keep the heat from the sun out.
Shelgeyr
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 25, 2011
@FrankHerbert wrote:
Lol so talent in sports are the only things worth rewarding? This right here shows why capitalism doesn't work.
(and in a prior post) ...modern Capitalism is bad.


Wow. Is that your interpretation of supply and demand? Or of investment and return? Or of wealth generation?
I don't normally outright call people names or IMHO flame them unjustly. However, anyone who broad-brushes the opinion "Capitalism is bad" is either deceived, stupid, or evil. Now, I doubt you're evil in this sense because that requires that you actually not believe capitalism is evil but take that public position for some nefarious puropse. We can probably dismiss that. So we're left with deceived or stupid. I doubt you're stupid. So we're left with deceived, which I'm comfortable assuming.

You'll notice I left off your modifier "modern", when you said "modern Capitalism is bad". Just wanted to give you a chance to further clarify if you wish.

Regards!
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (50) Apr 25, 2011
Capitalism has proven itself to be a system where too much wealth ends up in the hands of too few. It may be preferable to previous economic systems like feudalism or mercantilism, but you are the deceived one if you believe capitalism isn't deeply flawed. Capitalism at best is a step toward something better. It is not the end of history.
Shelgeyr
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 29, 2011
Capitalism has proven itself to be a system where too much wealth ends up in the hands of too few.

That's an opinion, and you're welcome to hold it, but it is not, in fact, a fact.

but you are the deceived one if you believe capitalism isn't deeply flawed.

"People" are deeply flawed. Capitalism is, among other wonderful things, based upon a recognition of the law of supply and demand. Don't damn the system because of "bad actors" - people can and do evil things in very system.
But whereas it is possible to behave negatively and abuse a Capitalist system, from an economic standpoint it is not possible to behave positively (while following the law) under a socialist or communist system because those are based on (IMHO) evil precepts.

It is not the end of history.

Now see, I agree! Common ground!
FrankHerbert
0.8 / 5 (51) Apr 29, 2011
So what are the accepted figures now? I don't feel like looking them up so I'll just use what I believe to be loose estimates. In the US currently the top what... 2% controls 90% of the wealth? I'm pretty sure it's more than this but I'm trying to skew it in your direction. I'm guessing you think this is acceptable. At what point wouldn't it be? What if the top 1% controlled 90% or 99% of the wealth even? What if the top 0.1%, 0.01%, or 0.001% controlled 99% of the wealth? At what point is this unacceptable? If you don't have a moral qualm with it, at what point would this harm the growth of the economy?

evil precepts.


"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Evil indeed. I'm shuddering just thinking about it...
ShotmanMaslo
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 29, 2011
2% controls 90% of the wealth?


Nope, more like top 20 % control about 50 % of the wealth. That said, income inequality is quite high in US compared to other developed countries, indeed.

http://en.wikiped...d_States

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." Evil indeed. I'm shuddering just thinking about it...


Yes, evil, it is slavery combined with ubiquitous stealing. Not to mention that it would never work in reality. The correct way is:

"From each according to his free will, to each according to his contribution to society"

+ maybe basic needs covered by low amount of stealing (also known as taxes).
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Apr 29, 2011
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
This translation may be wide-spread, nevertheless it's wrong.
The original "Jeder nach seinen Faehigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Beduerfnissen" does not contain the semantics of "from each", i.e. of an passive object from whom something is taken by some hidden authority.
The correct meaning is "Everybody according to his abilities", i.e. someone who is actively giving, who is the free originator of his work and not a passive object of exploitation.
Charly was intending to free people from exploitation and not to enhance exploitation.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2011
2% controls 90% of the wealth?

Nope, more like top 20 % control about 50 % of the wealth.
The University of California's Atlas of Global Inequalities says: 2% of earth's adults possess more than 50% of all global wealth.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2011
frajo - if you are talking about the world, then its true. But he was talking about the US.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2011
frajo - if you are talking about the world, then its true. But he was talking about the US.

In which case 1% own 47% of the wealth. The equation doesn't change much from country to country.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Apr 30, 2011
Oops, yes you are right. I mistook income for wealth.
Shelgeyr
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2011
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Evil indeed. I'm shuddering just thinking about it..."

Yes, that is evil indeed. It is the slavery of all to all, where no man owns the results of his efforts. Under such a system, the harder you work = the bigger the sap you are. And it inevitably becomes a "who's the neediest?" contest on the backs of those who choose to work, dividing up what is created by the producers.

frajo said:
2% of earth's adults possess more than 50% of all global wealth.

What percentage of that "global wealth" would never have been created without the efforts of that 2%?
frajo
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 30, 2011
2% of earth's adults possess more than 50% of all global wealth.
What percentage of that "global wealth" would never have been created without the efforts of that 2%?
At least -100% (minus one hundred per cent). Wealth is exclusively produced by workers of the hand and the mind. The efforts of the wealthy amount to redistributing the newly created wealth from the poor to the rich and are "successful" only by destroying at least half of the wealth that has been created by the poor.
The rich get richer because the poor get poorer.

"In the US the average income of the richest tenth of the population is 17 times that of the poorest tenth."
"In 1820 the ratio between incomes in richest and poorest countries was roughly 3:1. By 1992 it was 72:1."
(Atlas of Global Inequalities)
Shelgeyr
2 / 5 (4) May 20, 2011
The efforts of the wealthy amount to redistributing the newly created wealth from the poor to the rich...

Nonsense. You've been lied to far too often, and have been had.
The worker does not pay for the parts he assembles, but he's paid his agreed-upon wage and is due no more than that. The salaried salesman does not pay for the products he sells, nor office to sell from.
Wealth is exclusively produced by workers of the hand and the mind.

Then what do you have against the "workers of the mind"? Because they're the wealthy you're complaining about. The "workers of the hand" do not create enterprises. The "workers of the mind" have hands themselves, and hire others as well, and grow wealthy in the process. There is nothing "unfair" about that.
You can site any figure you want from the Atlas of Global Inequalities and it doesnt matter because inequality of outcome has nothing to do with justice or fairness, and probably is a rather good indicator of a healthy economy.
Burnerjack
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2011
As Wall Street is finding out, if all the wealth accumulates to the top, the Dickensian remainder have nothing with which to buy from the Rich with. I would assume (incorrectly? You tell me...) this puts a natural limit on the inequality ratio. As long as anyone intelligent can rise in financial status commenserate with his/her merit and diligence, is it really "evil" or is it more "sour grapes" from those which seek to punish success through "redistribution" which, seems to me, is a fancy word for theft.
Shelgeyr
2 / 5 (4) May 21, 2011
"redistribution" which, seems to me, is a fancy word for theft.


It is a fancy, and efficiently compact, word for "theft used to purchase ever more political power from the masses". It is the short-circuiting of the economic battery. It is a direct violation of the law of supply and demand. Though misused by the charismatic, it has no charisma of its own. At 163 years old (at least) it still thinks wearing DungeonMaster T-shirts is a great way to meet girls. Thus, it reproduces by spawning, wears ugly grey coats, uglier hats, and is diseased.

One hopes it has no future. It is no fun at parties. It is spoiled, impatient, demanding, and insufferably arrogant without cause. It nominates itself for awards, and if it were a candy it would be a turnip-and-cabbage flavored sucker, doused with ingrate sauce. It is morally bankrupt. It is sad, stupid, addictive, insulting to all involved, and make no mistake it is a killer.

Light fuse and get away.