Commercial LENR = More or Less Employment?

There’s been a lot of discussion over the years regarding the disruptive effect of commercial LENR — and the topic came up in some comments yesterday as pertaining to its effect on employment. This is something I have thought about quite a bit, and I think there are good arguments for LENR causing both more and less employment.

To summarize:

Commercial LENR could lead to more employment because:

  • A drop in overhead costs for businesses will free up more funds for business expansion, hiring new employees.
  • If energy prices drop, consumers will have more discretionary funds to spend — thus increasing economic activity overall, leading to more jobs.
  • New industries will grow out of LENR, e.g. installation and servicing of new LENR power plants and generators, desalination plants, below-road heating systems, intensive agriculture, robotics, transportation, etc.

Commercial LENR could lead to less employment because:

  • Many people working in the current energy sector  would lose their jobs as industries drift into obselescence (e.g. wind power, solar power, coal mining, petroleum production)
  • Drop in public sector jobs as governments lose revenue streams from taxation on energy, carbon taxes
  • More people would voluntarily opt for working less as their energy costs are reduced, thus requiring less income
  • Cheap energy would allow for more economical automation of labor — more robotics, 3D printing, computing, etc.

So there are persuasive arguments on both sides of the equation, and this is really uncharted territory so it’s very hard to predict which way things will go. It’s likely that there will be short- and long-term effects. Possibly we would see an economic boom with more employments initially — but leading to a new kind of economy where less employment is required overall. Maybe employment as we now know it will become less desirable over time as so many of our needs can be met with new technology based on very cheap energy.

What do people here think?

  • georgehants

    As without capitalism people would only need to work 30 hours per week and retire at 50, Cold Fusion would just mean reducing that working time even more.
    I am happy to receive comments trying to make out that capitalism has any benefits to mankind beyond keeping a select few in riches while the rest are kept in virtual slavery.
    Please think about your comments before irrationally posting establishment hugging rubbish.

    • Rob Miller

      You know, I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot. It’s sort of like Churchill said. Capitalism is the worst system there is, except for all the rest. I think there has to be a new paradigm coming. The problem is the limits Socialism puts on personal freedoms, combined with the fact that those in power still reap a very greatly disproportional benefit through the corruption that is a natural by-product of that power. Communism is largely misunderstood and there has been no de facto historical example to analyze. A government that exists as a monolithic bureaucracy fails to serve the people, rather serving its own organic interests as those with power carve out their own bureaucratic fiefdoms. So, what’s the next big thing?

      • fortyniner

        Longer term, possibly ‘cybercracy’ – where more and more lower-level management and decision-making including national government is handed over to machines, with only a tiny ‘elite’ in charge of the computers and their programming, while everyone else is subservient to their decisions, enforced via legislation.

        A nightmare, but also the logical outcome of a number of current developments. Otherwise, fascism and martial law – democracy is now very weak and may disappear from many countries during the next manufactured ‘world crisis’ unless the people of the world realise how they are being manipulated.

        • georgehants

          Peter with no money in today’s terms, then no taxes, no rich and powerful.
          Then a True method of Democracy can be found where only those moving to the top of their abilities are eligible for important positions.
          No inheritance, no favour, only the brightest go to the best schools etc. etc.

          • GreenWin

            george, while “inheritance” is anathema to socialist structures, I wonder, should this theme apply to divorcees, the family cabin, the allowance of gifts however large or small? And if we are truly to eliminate inheritance in the brave new world, should we not disallow genetic inheritance?? i.e. why should one soul inherit good looks, or brains, or athletic prowess?? What of those inheriting a spiritual gift, psychic ability or predisposed musical/arts ability??

            Better I think to instill a sense of care, and altruism in ALL people such that a windfall inheritance benefits offbeat, dynamic non-traditional ideas. This is a good reason for foundations, where a family member inherits and then gives it away as they are not obsessed with making more money.

            Just a few thoughts – OT admittedly. Apologies to Frank.

          • georgehants

            GreenWin, You, Peter and a few other should move to Hants. UK. where I know of a few good hostelries where we could spend I am sure many an hour discussing such important considerations as you have put forward.
            I of course am aware of your concerns but one must start, I think, to find more equality in general and then the details, which are very important can be attended to.
            🙂

          • GreenWin

            George,

            after posting I happened to see comments from Bruce Lipton whose work with epigenetics suggests there is no genetic control at cellular levels.

            More to my point is a need to instill a sense of compassion for thy neighbor regardless of social stature. Oddly, I see this happen more often these days and so, inordinate optimism ensues.

      • georgehants

        Rob, yes but no communism where riches and favour still lead to a dictatorship but a new open “ism” led and agreed by the population.

      • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

        “Capitalism is the worst system there is, except for all the rest”

        That’s not right and quite a difference with what he really said…

        http://wais.stanford.edu/Democracy/democracy_DemocracyAndChurchill%28090503%29.html

    • KD

      georgehants
      >>>>As without capitalism people would only need to work 30 hours per week and retire at 50,<<<<<<

      Capitalism or not somebody is in control of production and work with interest of his own.

      Without capitalism there is more bureaucracy. Every one want to get something from the business.

      There is also big difference when business is in direct control of his owner. Or is managed by hired managers.
      Owner is one. But with hired managements, there are presidents and dozens of vice presidents who looks for theirs own interest in the business.

      • georgehants

        KD not if their is no money and everybody starts from the same place.
        I.e. at say 16 the lifetime right to a flat, food, etc. no bills no mortgage etc. and only by fair work does one advance, whether a dustman or a scientist.
        No inheritance, unnecessary as everybody has an equal chance to advance.

        • georgehants

          By removing all money related work, millions are put out of work, of course.

  • Zipatros

    This whole calling for “jobs” and “employment” thing these days is completely nuts! If machinery and advanced technology can do the work – fine! More free time for more usefull things in life. I have this discussion all the time when it comes to advanced information technology/robotics – and now the e-cat is starting it too…

    To be clear: It’s about income, not about jobs or work! Nobody wants a “job” or “8 hours work” a day – all they want is an income and in a highly-automated surrounding this would be a political thing not a technological. Therefore for example here in Germany the concept of the “inconditional basic income” is discussed

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconditional_basic_income

    and there are still the ideas of communism around. Stopping technological progress just because our old capitalistic system that is valuing the worth of a human being only on his production-output and therefore people fear to get “obsolete” because of machinery is completely crazy. Go back to stone-age if you fear about your jobs – plenty of work 14 hours a day hunting mammoths with clubs – and don’t dare to invent the spear to cut away some work…

    • KD

      Zipatros.You right about “income” but not about employment.
      If I have good income because production line of robots and automated machinery eliminate thousand unnesesary workers, it is good for me.
      But what about those who lost jobs.
      They can not afford educate theirs children to find good job or create jobs. Etc….

      There is absurd statements that every one can have own home or apartment to live in.
      Most apartment building are in areas when are industrial plants, peoples go where the work places are.
      So, there no chanse for everyone to have home or apartment.
      It already taken by owners of the land and what is build on it.

      • Zipatros

        “So, there no chanse for everyone to have home or apartment.
        It already taken by owners of the land and what is build on it.”

        Therefore I wrote that the current capitalistic system is not compatible with this development. So it’s going to be something like communism or the cited “unconditional basic income”. (“Unconditional basic income” = companies can stay private but have to pay high taxes to fund the unconditional basic income everyone gets unconditionally, no matter if he has a job or not. Although if you take a job, you have still more money because you can keep a part of it. Therefore the term “basic income”.)

        • KD

          I agree about proper taxation.
          Presently, working midle class person is paying up to maximum 35% tax for his/her work, plus state tax and social security tax.
          While, if I some way get big amount o money, invest it and my income tax will be 10% 0r 20% witout even moving from my home. It is insane.
          I appreciate what Mr. Buffet say, that he is paying less tax than his secretary.

    • AlainCo

      I have an orthogonal vision to Capitalism/Communism.

      LENR showed me that one caracteristic of todays econopmy is centralisation, either as communisme, or as big industry, big science, big government, nation-state.

      Taleb have a vision that the best solution is a feudal system, with independent cities (Singapore, medieval free-cities, one day new-york, paris,london, ), and Swiss-like districts which are quite autonomous too. All that in a global planet-state ensure minimum shared rules, required to live together. Such small units will pay their stupidity very quickly, and cannot be “too big to fail” like US is today with Dollar or AIG.

      He also have a vision that modern corporation, modern finance, is too big to fail, too big to save, and too fragile. He support the idea of small fragile units, which break without breaking the system… Individual are saved, but not their mistakes, their jobs, their enterprises, their ideas.

      I have seen how people think in Indonesia, and a little in Africa, and it remind me the way Taleb think, inspired by his Levantine culture.

      For me the horror of capitalism, of monopoly and concentration of employment, lead to communism, which changed nothing.
      Meanwhile small enterprises are more human, more adaptive, more fragile, but collectively antifragile.

      I hope the future will be a network of self-enterprise.
      LENR can help because it can kill the need of concentrated energy source and required huge capital, huge safety.
      3D printing, and computer aided design can help because it can split the activities of manufacturing into a network of tiny enteprises using each-other services.
      One engineer salling his competence on thermal design, anothe his artictic competence, another selling his marketing competence, another selling his e-commerce competence, another selling datacenter “energy” like othe sell “electric energy”, another se’lling local transportation…

      Internet, mobile, smart-grid, e-commerce, 3D printing, distributed design, can allow small enterprises to compete at human-scale.

      the problem is to prevent big enterprises to absorbs those resilient units, to gain a little efficiency at the expense of dramatic fragility…
      This mechanism is what the industrial revolution did, and what Internet is undoing.

      With oil-exploration, with nuke, with safe coal mines, ther is a great need of big corporations, big money, big army, big safety…

      I hope that LENR, Internet, Mobile technology, 3D printing (and alike, like computer aided manufacturing), will allow small enterprises to exist.

      and I hope that the small enterprises, allowed to exist, will also find advantage against the old big companies…

      In a way, my vision is joining the vision of LENR-Cities and their “Business factory” model…
      transform a big company, into a network of business units, focused on their tiny competence, vertically and horizontally, communicating with non-monopolized markets and human-aware partnership.

  • LENR.FTW

    I see Rossi has cleared up the 1 g = 23 000 kWh debate in a new journal entry. He was just trying to give the energy equivalence of 1 gram of mass using E=mc2 and missed by 3 orders of magnitude and then some (he keeps writing 23 when it should be 25).

    I’ve updated the “Comparing Energy Sources” article to acknowledge the misunderstanding.

    • KD

      When he was writing this he might means, that in his reactor 1 gram of nickel give 23 000 kWh of energy.
      And with this number he express how small amount of nickel is consumed in the process of E-Cat work.

      • Chuck

        I’m still puzzled by the “consumption” of nickel talk.

        When the e-cat operates, what (precisely) state is the nickel in, isotopically? After 6 months of operation, when it’s time to “refuel”, what state is the same nickel in, isotopically? What proportion of the fuel is “consumed”?

        I’m trying to understand what “fuels” the reaction. In the same manner, what part does the hydrogen play? How is it “consumed”?

  • theBuckWheat

    More efficiency = more wealth created = more jobs. The issue to understand is that the types of jobs will be different and lower skilled jobs in sectors that LENR energy sources replace will present the most social difficulties. We already see this in the ideological war the current regime is waging against coal, where some types of coal mining jobs are on the decline. But such changes in technology have always caused displacement. What kind of society and economy would we have if we outlawed innovation for fear that workers would have to adapt? We would still be raising young boys to be furriers and to manage stables, or to work in manufacturing whale hunting equipment.

    Me? I can’t wait for the day when we don’t have to burn something to generate the energy that my air conditioner uses. At present, the power plant must burn about a pound of coal an hour just for my personal comfort. That means that the pollution it produces is my pro-rata share of the cost of present energy technologies.

    • AlainCo

      yes displacement, as usual.
      Already today we nee less factory workers and bureaucrats , more engineers, managers, secretaries, nurses, salespeople, …
      high tech on one side.
      and high humanity on the other.

      The problem I see is that many people cannot be high-tech and refuse to be kind and human, and manage the pain and trouble of others.

      there cannot be unemployed people, and unsatisfied consumer at the same time, without a big problem of competence of will.

      LENR will allow people to consume more of new services which don’t yet exist… Typically leisure, tourism, fun…

      the problem of “human jobs” will stay, maybe helped by some robots…
      but robots won’t do the human job, just helping nurses, aids and salespeople to concentrate on the human factor, and save them time.

      see what happen in western world with the 60s revolution of productivity… it created job AND vacations…

      we don’t need the job, we need the production…
      if some job are restricted to high profiles, if some jobs are fun (human or technical), however some job are painfully human… they are increasingly numerous, required, and not well paid because bad image and low technical competence.

      maybe the solution is that when we will be able to be more productive, the human job will be very well paid, and people will be able to pay with their productivity.

      maybe one day a nurse or a salesman will be better paid than an engineer or a manager…
      and people having nice job, like managers, engineers, skydiving monitors, mountain guides, tourist guide, will pay much for having human service, paying with the production of the robots…

      (one key to understand economy is to forget money, debt, and to translate it in work, product, service, promise).

  • Susan Corrigan

    Stop it..there is not even a question. The jobs in today’s energy sector range from folks who are destroying the environment, to those building bombs for terrorism all over Asia and Africa. It will be like the feeling one gets when you stop pounding on their head. We’ll only begin to realize how ridiculously destructive our energy sector was.

  • fortyniner

    As long as CF is tightly controlled and heavily taxed (IMHO this is inevitable) the massive additional profits made possible by cheaper energy will benefit only those who already skim the most from our energy usage. Very little will be allowed to ‘trickle down’ to the oiks in any way, just as almost none of the enormous increases in productivity since the ’70s have been allowed to benefit the mass of people beyond a few new toys.

    For as long as the status quo remains, this will be the case. It is only if the technology escapes control by TPTB, i.e., if personal/domestic power sources become widely and freely available, that anything much will change. Unfortunately the beneficiaries of the present system will literally do anything and everything in their power to prevent this happening.

    • GreenWin

      fortyniner, you have regularly espoused the notion that TPTB (mockan’s insane oligarchs) will manage to capture and tame the LENR wilderbeast. And I agree that would be their only play, given the stakes. In discussion thereof, I am interested in comments on my recent two posts to answer the query of Greg Goble re the Global Energy GeNie hybrid reactor and its fate.

      http://coldfusionnow.org/pulse-magazine-debuts-with-first-issue-as-premium/

      From what I have learned, the recent cold fusion patent issued to US Navy has succumbed to “tight control.” However USPTO patents are in the open and subject to legal oversight. IMO…

      • fortyniner

        I do get a bit repetitive, don’t I! But there often seems to be an assumption that the (re)invention of cold fusion will change the world ‘overnight’ and I am just trying to provide what IMHO is a small dose of realism (or cold water).

        Re. the SPAWAR/JKW system I agree with your assessment that the patent represents a breakthrough in that a cold fusion device has finally been accepted by USPTO (its origin may have more than a little to do with that). However, due to the political control of this organisation, other CF patents will not necessarily get an easier ride because of this. The ‘tight control’ of the patent seems a rather sinister development and does not bode well.

        The GeNiE reactor seems feasible, and the wind in the nuclear fission world is definitely blowing in the right direction (towards smaller/modular reactors) for its adoption. The fact that it can ‘burn’ high level waste and also can’t melt down would also seem to virtually guarantee the public acceptability of such a device if presented in the right terms.

        It does seem a bit odd though that attempts are being made to introduce the concept by installing prototypes on small islands – thus inadvertantly giving the impression that it is not safe. If this was in any way ‘mainstream’ you would expect to see a pilot installation at some existing nuclear plant with full fuel ponds (take your pick) as ‘an experimental nuclear waste reprocessing unit’ or similar.

        As this doesn’t seem to be happening, it must be assumed that some party or parties within government or the nuclear industry are opposing its introduction for reasons of their own. This may be because of the fact that at heart this is cold fusion (and the ‘fear’ that once any kind of CF is adopted, fission is doomed) or possibly because it would compete with other technologies that have already received significant investment.

        Clearly politics is more important to this story than any technical problems. I think we just have to await developments, although if TPTP have decided to kill this tech for some reason, then of course there won’t be any.

  • Stanny Demesmaker

    It’s the end of the current paradigm, even without LENR we would have to create a new social system in the next 15/20 years because of automation and the exponential nature of technology. Our system in the current form can’t create “wealth” for 6 billion people. LENR will accelerate this progress. The insane part of this story is not only the revolutionary technology, but the moment when the mass will be informed, it will be one of the most disruptive world events that we will ever see in our lifetime.

  • Andrew Macleod

    There will be lost jobs but just as in the past the ice delivery people, milk man, Horse and buggy makers, elevator and switchboard operators, lamplighters and pin setters(bowling) found new jobs.A major technicial advancement cannot be held back for the fear of unemployment.

    • AlainCo

      right.
      the problem of unemployment is not about less working, it is about less being paid.
      Big increase of productivity resulted in more vacation, earlier retirement, longer education, better healthcare.

      today the problem of unemployment is that many people cannot work where there is job… Even if riche were getting all the money, by paying people to serve them, they would give back their cash. Even if not consuming but investing, they would give their cash…

      forget the money, the problem is competence (and access to jobs for other reasons, like geography, knowledge).

      in “the next convergence” book, this transition is well explained.
      The job of the goverment is absolutely not to save the old industry, but to train the unemployed people quickly for the new industry.

      my impression is that today, without LENR, the industry which demand workers, is asking for low competence but high “humanity” (kindness). Moroever there is rigidity in mindset, both to go to those hard job, and also to pay those jobs well…

      with LENR it will continue, but there will be more money to pay the “human services” at it’s real value, and other jobs which don’t exists, probably for vacation and leisure.

      if there was not enough job, like there is no more coffee in a pot, people would be satisfied and asking nothing… they are not, so there is a problem. it is blocked somewhere.

      if the rich were taking all the money, there would be no unemployment, since they will pay us to work for them for free…
      they are not, so there is a problem. it is blocked somewhere.

      all the usual excuse don’t hold.
      LENR may break the problem, maybe just by spreading optimism, pushing people to quit economic-rents.

    • GreenWin

      Andrew, as I have often used the analogy of the Ice Man, who will lose his job. But, as in the 1940s, the introduction of the home refrigerator employed FAR more people to design, manufacture, install and maintain than the ice industry ever could.

      We may not get the home LENR units immediately, or in the case of utilities wising up, and converting from centralized power to a Distributed Energy Resource model, we MAY. IF gas & electric companies follow that model, their rate revenues convert to maintenance contract revenues (they probably call ’em “subscriptions”) While energy windfall profits will disappear, a reasonable, earned income will result simply by adopting the new technology, instead of fighting it.

  • frank sedei

    Tom Whipple, a retired energy expert, recently wrote a very nice synopsis of the LENR phenomenon in the Falls Church News Press. Enjoy!http://fcnp.com/2013/08/07/the-peak-oil-crisis-the-3rd-window/

  • Al_D

    I think that there will be a gradual transition to LENR in almost every facet or energy use over a twenty or 30 years period. Government styles and types will gradually adjust along with the technology. I feel that for a capitalist system to survive we would have to go back to Roosevelt era tax brackets, i.e. 90% top rates. The Citizens United ruling in the US allowed businesses to buy their government of choice.

    Isaac Asimov had a pretty good take on a plausible evolution of a cheap energy social and government system in “The Gods Themselves” (1982).

    The heavy investment in current infrastructure will probably first have coal and oil fired generating plants converted to LENR powered facilities using the current power grid. This may evolve into more local or regional grids as the reliability improves. Wind power will be competitive at least until the generators need replacement. Solar will probably have advantages in certain circumstances. Natural gas will be competitive for the foreseeable future.

    We are still a long way from LENR powered autos. Two Hotcats with a very efficient Stirling generator would struggle to match the power of an old Citroen 2CV. (about 16 bhp) It will probably depend on vaaaastly improved batteries or super caps with charging at home and possibly a LENR generator for use while parked at work or while having lunch.
    We are even further away from LENR powered flight.
    There will be a lot of jobs refueling E-Cats. There will be a lot of jobs rebuilding current power plants. Initially, there will need to be expansion of the grid to enable the increased electricity usage. Mining will still be a major industry providing raw materials for manufacturing (and nickel).

    Oil and coal production will still be needed for plastics and other synthetic materials. This may be phased out in the future by synthesis of petroleum substitutes.

    We will still need a lot of government services. Law enforcement, infrastructure maintenance, licensing, regulation, tax collection, income redistribution, and a lot of other things. Hopefully, taxes will not kill it.

  • mcloki

    More employment. Power generation becomes distributed power generation with the introduction of LENR. Instead of on large power plant retrofit, there will be hundreds of smaller power generation. Meaning Thousands of turnkey jobs to keep the lights on. Make shipping and flight cheaper and world trade grows. This leads to an increase in jobs. Displacement in traditional industries sure. But Fa salesmen became computer salesmen which became tablet salesmen.

    • KD

      I think, that it will be less costly to build and maintenance 1 MW or multiple of this reactors than 100- 10kW Home E-Cats.

      But installing those Megawatts plants in places where now transformer substations operate, might give saving in grid transmission losses or prevent loss of power in case of grid transmission failure.
      So municipalities might have something to say about costs of electric energy.

      The promise of A.Rossi low cost of home e-Cats is not everything. It need electric energy production devices to install.
      Also it need storage energy devices to instal, so the work of E-Carts
      can be efficiently used.

      • AlainCo

        you are right. LENR will at least save us from power-lines.

        however there is a great demand for autonomy, and if the grid want to survive it will have to be cheap,smart and useful.

        In cities, or at least in buildings, micro-grid may survive.
        in houses, not sure. in rural zone, probably no, or restricted to a village.

  • AlainCo

    Beside my vision of the future, inspired by taleb and emerging countries mentality, There is an easy way to guess what will hapen :

    see what happened in the 60s when productivity have increased.

    was there less employment ? people working more ? people getting poorer ? difficulties to cure diseases and accidents ?

    in France, the industry of farming and horses lost much jobs!
    Rural zone emptied quickly…

    so what ?
    it was troubled, some moaned, (especially the rent-owner) but globally it was a huge increase in quality of life.
    and it ended around 1974 with oil crisis, and following mental depression, and artificial bubbles to maintain the rent of rent-seekers.

    the good point about LENr is that at least it will give some jobs to factory workers as 6 month of GDP…
    meanwhile the saved money on others dying domains (grid, oild), will allow to create new jobs about leisure or human care.

    that is what have happened

  • Sanjeev

    Thanks to Mr Gluck, the paywalled article about DGT is now public :

    http://egooutpeters.blogspot.com/2013/08/great-greek-article-about-defkalion.html

    DGT puts their plans in black and white, nothing much left to guess. The partners will be revealed in Oct when the stock trading starts and road shows begin in Nov. That’s 2013 if you are wondering, we will see if it all really happens. Exciting time ahead.

    • Andrew Macleod

      Good article. I like the summery of the theories.

  • Gérard2013

    Do you think the economic expansion that humanity has known until today is slow or inconsistent with a finite world, a planet with geographic boundaries, our earth.

    We are in a globalized world as we toured our home, the earth.

    The energy of cold fusion, LENR, can it boost the conquest of humanity to other lands other “Americas” with new wealth.

    Cold fusion, LENR, it can boost economic growth thanks to the conquest of the sea or the moon or March and space?

    Cold fusion, LENR, can she create a new economic BOOM.

    Cold fusion, LENR, it may create a new ecological BOOM.

    Cold fusion, LENR, can it create jobs for all.

    I said yes!

    In french

    Pensez-vous que l’expansion économique, que l’humanité a connu jusqu’a aujourd’hui est ralenti ou en contradiction avec un monde fini, une planète avec des frontières géographique, notre terre.

    Nous sommes dans la mondialisation car nous avons fait le tour de notre maison, la terre.

    L’énergie de la fusion froide, LENR, peut-elle relancer la conquête de l’humanité vers d’autres terres d’autres “Amériques” avec des nouvelles richesses.

    La fusion froide, LENR, peut-elle relancer l’expansion économique grâce a la conquête de la mer ou de la lune ou de mars et de l’espace?

    La fusion froide, LENR, peut-elle créer un nouveau BOUM économique.

    La fusion froide, LENR, peut-elle créer un nouveau BOUM écologique.

    La fusion froide, LENR, peut-elle créer des emplois pour tous.

    Je dit oui!

  • Luca Salvarani

    More unemployment for two reasons:

    1-E-cat will surely destroy a lot of energy related jobs and many more which stems from energy cash flows in the entire economy. This is the direct effect which will play out in the short to medium term and it’s fully reversable with the expansion in other sectors not affected by e-cat or other technologies which offset jobs but also create new ones.
    2-The indirect effect is much much worse, and absolutely not reversable. On the opposite is a self reinforcing trend: the state intervention. The shocks caused by e-cat will likely trigger a great government intervention in the whole economy producing terrible effects on future growht… For example gov. intervention could prevent the expansion of many important sectors such as e-learning… think about tens of thousands of layoffs for public teachers…. but the people could get a better service almost free and other services with the saved money, maybe in newly born sectors… It’s a matter of productivity and resource allocation. The damages of gov. intervention can be enormous but the people don’t understand this point because it’s not visible. Think for example at the low cost airline market: in europe the airline sector was and in some ways is still heavily regulated to the benefits of few thousands of public employees, mainly in the flag carriers… just a moderate liberalization has triggered a boom in the sector with tens of thousands of new jobs in the low cost carriers, jets manufacturing and the related services… but mainly a great benefit for the consumer: you can fly almost free… the same pattern of e-cat.. So the conclusion in: the employment effect depened entirely on the government interference with the free market. Here in Italy, a sort of obamaland, i expect nothing less than an employment disaster. I hope to be understandable despite my poor english.

    • Jim

      There’s always an interesting difference in perspective USA vs EU. In USA the paranoia is suppression by plutocrats, being undercut by entrepreneurs. In EU it seems to be more about the government stepping in. I guess I would thank the GOP for suppression US government suppression, but I don’t think that actually computes..

      • Luca Salvarani

        1-Think about the car industry crisis that triggered a pervasive government intervention. Of course the e-cat has the potential to produce a much greater shock to many industries and in many states, in an anemic economic contest… so the government intervention is for sure. And the bad is still to come: the more the gov. interferes, the more the economy drops.. the more people want even more gov. intervention in a self reinforcing devastating trend (that’s pretty much the economic history of Italy…). Such shocks take some years to adjust and often the government and central bank’s actions have the effect of delaying this adjustment (for istance they’re trying to reignite the real esate bubble for political reason, rather than accelerate the adjustment to a new equilibrium…) , so people lose their confidence in the free market and demand moer gov. intervention…. It’s really a diabolic and dangerous pattern because the free market, once get a new equilibrium, tens naturally to generate more opportunities and more works…. this is the only way to benefit from e-cat in employment terms.
        2-In Italy the govermnent controls, directly plus indirectly, almost 75 to 80% of the entire economy. I’m seriour: these numbers comes from scientific economic papers.. not pub talks. You can’t imagine/understand the devastating damages of this kind of governent, unless you directly experience it. It’s preventing any economic activity and free market works. Italy is one on very few countries with more citizens living overseas, than in the country, and is still losing every year a lot of minds and educated people, like Rossi… Here will stay only politicians, public employees and pensioners, aimined to steal money from Germany and northern countries… the productive ones are all escaping, and thery’re right. Do you understand my english? Thank for your kind reply.

    • Roger Bird

      I home schooled my son for 3 years. I do not see any lay-offs due to e-learning. Most people want a teacher in front of them. And most parents cannot be at home to supervise their children’s learning. Our school district has embraced e-learning.

      • Luca Salvarani

        Dear Roger,

        That’s because the education services come primary from the goverment in almost all the countries. Here in Italy, with the exception of the universities, all the other education’s levels are provided by the public and you don’t pay directly for it. It’s financed by general taxation. Imagine that you have to pay directly for this service, instead of inderectly via general taxation: would you like to pay thousands of dollars for teachers wages, when you can get the very same service, in my opinion a lot better one, almost for free? In a real free market the most of these jobs would disappear in favor to e-learning, and that’s what’s happening at university level in more advanced and civil countries such as UK and USA where university costs are out of this world… In this way you can give a top education service to all the people, expecially the less rich ones for few dollars…exactly what the left has always been promising… but they don’t care: they want to pay millions of theachers, all their electors, for repeating every day the same things… of course with taxpayer’s money, not theirs…
        Where’s fair competition the classic model can’t survive: in few words it’s much more expensive, less effective and not free because someone else, a state bureaucract chooses for you… With e-cat only, maybe millions of useless jobs could quickly disappear right now…. but there isn’t fair competition because the government want to save teachers priveledges at the expense of the taxpayers… the same of airline industry, before liberalization and low-cost step in…

  • Jim

    My overall intuition is that we’re headed toward Kurt Vonnegut’s “Player Piano” scenario, in which automation and standardization sucks up more and more of the mid-salary range employment. Cheaper energy will only make it worse. In which case we’re going to need a lot of bread and circuses, or at least lots of cheap bandwidth and distractive e-content, to keep all the not-fully-employed from getting riled up. But then, what are they going to complain about? Being bored? I expect the terms “artisnal”, “locally produced” and “pre-owned” will become more and more popular.

    The only counter force to this in the medium term that I can see is that as the developing countries benefit from cheaper energy and the rest of the newly available technology benefits, at least for a while they’re going to want developed countries’ designs, know how and high end goods. They will be increased “employment” in the developing countries as they move from agriculture to post-industry. But the things that they want from the developed countries will mostly come from high-salary jobs. So employment in the developed countries will depend a lot on how many mid-level jobs get dragged along with that trend.

    • Jim

      Specifically to LENR, I think there will be relative slow adoption, and it will take place from the power stations outward, so there will be lots of time for displaced workers to move to LENR based energy.

      With respect to economic growth from lower energy costs, it’s going to be much more important in the developing world than in the developed world. I don’t think transportation is going to get a lot cheaper. In other areas it may be like substituting expensive developed world labor for cheaper developing world labor. Consumer goods are less expensive, but did it create more jobs, and where? The analogy isn’t great but it’s a start. What percentage of household and business operating costs goes to energy now? Won’t conservation and better energy use still be cheaper?

      I guess I think the geo-political consequences will be much more interesting and beneficial to the world as a whole. Take the carriers out of the Gulf, set the Russians to rioting because there’s no more corrupt oil money, help the Nigerians grow up, etc.

      • GreenWin

        Hydrate desert States by desal, dramatically cut disease due to clean water, grow food in former desert land, halt the clear cutting of forest for cooking fuel, raise the standard of living and education, and with that lower live birth rates globally.

        With these major problems at least somewhat addressed, humans may have more time to live a joyful life.

    • Allan Shura

      We are already at that point. In piano player the problem was the
      robotic machinery was not owned by the replaced master craftsman,
      the income distibution was concentrated and the craftsmen lost their income.

      The advent of LENR cold fusion provides the ability for economical automated small scale production robotics where the ownership is not concentrated.

      If this path and direction is not taken it can lead to a dreaded Piano Player world.

      • Jim

        3D printing may have an interesting impact on the idea of “robotic machinery…owned by the replaced master craftsman”.

        Maybe moving more toward Ecotopia, without the nice trees.

      • John De Herrera

        “small scale production robotics where the ownership is not concentrated.”
        The small Rossi E-Cats (size of a thermos bottle) can produce lots of heat or electrical energy, and 3D Printing can enpower the “small scale production.” jdh

  • Wouter

    I wish governements taxed carbon, so there is no ‘loss in revenues’ there. There is no such thing as carbon taxing, it is just plans or things that they should tax. They do tax labor though!

    • Luca Salvarani

      Gov. has to do nothing at all. Its the best precondition for the e-cat success. The less it does the better.

  • Torbjörn Heibert

    Less work = less employments, whats good with the new technologi if it givs us more work? I think we have to face the fact that less people are needed on the work market in the future. Though every body whants a home a car and food to eat… Tricky situation…

    • Manuel Cruz

      I think the article means that cheaper goods sell more units, and there’s a place in the bell curve in which that leads to more benefits. Cheaper electricity might make more enterprises viable, including space travel.

      • Jim

        +1 on the space travel. I’m not sure how many jobs it will create though. In the 50’s stories they didn’t envision cybernetic automation so there were a lot of salty craftspeople running around repairing leaks in the life-support systems. We if we could get hot-cat rockets up and running fast enough maybe we could get out there before the robots take over.

    • JJE

      I don’t know how do you say in english “force motrice” (maybe “motive power” ?).
      The problem of the evolution of technology is that we have replaced human labor by machines work and we have not adjusted the tax system in light of such developments. If you replace 10 men by 1 machine, it’s necessary to adapt the tax system so that the amount of tax on this machine is the same as that generated by the work of 10 men. This has never been done!

    • Chris I

      Tricky situation… Until people stop to think of having every body working less instead of less people working what we now call full time. It’s all a matter of who decides.

      The working day in factories and mines was at least 14 hours at the height of the industrial revolution and individual workers had no standing in negotiation. That was the reason Karl urged workers to unite.

      Trade unions were more effective in negotiations, at least while most workers kept to the game. Today? Ha! Now with all recent investment in automation and robotics, those who spent all that cash aren’t letting employees have the benefit of lighter working weeks. No. They need less people and this gives folks even less of a standing in negotiation…

      So it all depends on how much of a monopoly over the new energy sources there will be.

  • Herb Gillis

    Technology already exists that could automate most retail and fast food jobs out of existence. Since these types of jobs constitute the majority of new positions being created in the economy, the effects of such automation is likely to be much more severe than anything due to LENR. We may be reaching the point where the linkage between making a living and “employment” breaks down.

    • Torbjörn Heibert

      Exactly, and i think free energy will lead to more automation, we allready have a lot of the technik but we don’t use it witch is a pitty in some way. And thats bacause human workers are shiper in many ways. The gouverments suposely stop som of the progreses in using new technik to, because the gole is to create jobs. I don’t se the meaning in creating pseudojobs by not use the technik we allready got. Maby the answer is citizen sellerys when the automatiation has reached a cirtan level…

    • eernie1

      Mankind has been successfully reducing its work day hours since its beginning. From the almost 24 hour day of the hunter gatherers to the less than 40 hour work week of modern man, efficiencies have made this possible. Why should this new energy situation not produce the same result? We adapt, as shown by the enormous population growth since the beginning, despite the dire predictions of past scientists. I am 83 years old and my demise has been predicted at least a dozen times by these prognosticators(atomic warfare, pandemic diseases, y2000 etc.)

      • Torbjörn Heibert

        I Agree, but in the old days we always worked to survive, now we sometimes work to fit in to the system….

      • Anthony Repetto

        Not so – nomadic, tribal societies maintained a high quality of life at minimal labor input. Anthropologists studying Amazonian and central African groups estimate 20hrs. per WEEK to meet all their bodily requirements, including time spent preparing food and providing education to their youth. Tribal nomads spend as much time gathering as we spend driving, parking, shopping, and driving home – they live in nature’s grocery store. Labor inputs have grown dramatically with the spread of industrial technology; the support structures require more specialized and costly fixes, cheap energy makes marginal enterprises profitable and marginal goods worth the purchase price. To afford the myriad, cheaper goods, we work more hours. Because of agglomeration economics, incomes are skewed, so most of us have to work more to afford the same quality of life. The transition to -nearly- free energy already happened – steam engines were orders of magnitude cheaper than previous energy sources, and orders of magnitude more concentrated power. With electric dynamos and hydroelectric dams, we had rapid dispersion of concentrated power.

        The key insight is Jevon’s Paradox: if an input resource becomes cheaper/more efficient, general use of that resource increases. We can expect a massive increase in energy-intensive (wasteful) production strategies.

        Combine that with the ecological dynamics of exploding populations – if a species quickly develops local abundance, the first resistance to expansion is parasitism. Parasitic methods appear and blossom in rapidly expanding economies, too – LENR will create more financial managers, advertising assistants and special interest lobbyists. Concentration of power-generation will increase the skew of incomes – more people will be at the bottom, a few high up. Think of the third world today – lots of cell phones, no jobs.

        • orsobubu

          Perfect

        • eernie1

          Anthony, You don’t have to go back in history to see how those tribes existed. A good example is what is happening in Sudan today. Those people spend their whole day trying to survive. Desert tribes were notorious for protecting their territories. If you consider this situation idyllic more power to you.

  • Chris I

    The topic of economics is one that economists understand no better than the average Joe. The only thing that is certain is that what counts is resources, not money.

    The economy of the world will get completely rearranged with cheap unlimited energy. People who find themselves unprepared will be looking for a new job and it could be a long while for many of them, but this can be a transitional problem and to a large extent avoidable.

    In the long run, the labour market will be mighty different and so will the organization of enterprise. The equilibrium could be anything from abysmal socioeconomic gaps to everybody and their aunt having plenty of leisure, some putting in light turns at keeping all running smooth and others at creative occupations. Anybody’s guess is equally good.

    Predicting what will happen in the mean time is like trying to forecast the weather weeks ahead. Ask any meteorologist what I mean by that. I don’t rule out huge troubles for entire populations, while others are relieved of burdens. Major clashes could even result.

    • John De Herrera

      More creative occupations – entertainment – tourist trade – low cost food, clothing, home heating, cooling, etc, etc.
      Ranching and farming use a lot of energy for production of food and transportation, these will be lower. Manufacturing uses lots of energy also. All these will be lower and benefit mankind with lower cost of living – and more money to spend??? jdh

      • Chris I

        More what to spend?

        Oh, you said money. How do you compute whether they have more or less of it? Which currency? Allowing for changing forex rates and inflation?

        Again, it makes more sense to reason in terms of resources. It all depends on how things are distributed among folks. Thinking in terms of money just complicates things, unless it is just the word you are using instead of wealth.

        • Roger Bird

          Chris I, you are right, I think. We will be spending fewer man-hours dealing with dirty fuel sources. Those people working to mine and transport and sell fossil fuels will eventually find work doing other constructive activities.

          And we will have more energy. The upper limit on how much energy a person can “have” will not be tethered down like a dirigible by high energy costs. If someone wants to distill something in their basement, energy costs will not be much of a factor in their thinking.

          And there will be much less pollution. Consequently fewer if any man-hours expended on that issue, and those people will be doing other things. As the tsunami of health victims subsides somewhat, so also will those people helping those health victims be put to work doing other productive activities.

          • Chris I

            Indeed, we may certainly boil it down ro this:

            A clean, cheap and unlimited source energy is a source of wealth. How wil this (and wealth continuing to exist since before it) come to be distributed? With some sources coming to an end, how much upheaval will occur during the transition?

            Methinks this be the tightest nutshell…

  • Pekka Janhunen

    In the short run, some loss of jobs and some sort of recession might occur when energy investments are put on hold. In some sense, this phase already seems to have started, which is interesting given that most people do not admit knowing about or believing in LENR.

    In the medium run (10-50 years), strong economic boom and new job creation would be expected as the world is rebuilt.

    At LENR saturation, food, water and most material goods can probably be created from local resources with high level of automation. With reduced economic interdependencies, disintegration of the present “global village” into more independent regional communities might take place.

    In all phases, the rate of employment is more a social agreement than something which depends on technology.

    • Zeddicus Zul Zorander

      Fully agree with Pekka here.

      Looking at the long term:
      I think cheap energy is necessary for the growth of humanity. We cannot economically and ecologically sustain the claim on (fossil) resources the way we do now.

      Seeing as mankind grows in numbers and keeps expanding over the world, I don’t think earth will be able to sustain those growing numbers. We will need to colonize the moon, then Mars and use resources from the asteroid belt as our own resources on earth will be depleted at one point. All this can only be done if energy is relatively cheap.

      I don’t think energy will be the problem though. More likely the relations between government, businesses and loss of privacy and freedom could be mankind’s downfall in the long term.

      • Roger Bird

        The population of the world is going to plateau out at 10 billion. http://www.gapminder.com

      • John De Herrera

        “resources on earth will be depleted”
        Most of the ‘resources’ are for generation of energy and LENR uses tiny amounts of Ni+H. We will have safe, clean, abundant energy sources without the electrical grid, oil refineries, coal power plants, nuclear power plants, etc, etc. jdh

    • John Littlemist

      Great to have you back Pekka, I almost got worried about you! 😉

      Please tell us all you know (or all you can) about Etiam Inc, you’re in the same hoods!

      • Pekka Janhunen

        Thanks. Concerning Etiam, the little what I know is consistent with them being serious. The “Keksintösäätiö” (Foundation for Finnish Inventions) from which they tell they received some funding is a state funding organisation whose mandate is to help inventors in the early phase by covering the first patent fees.

        • Roger Bird

          Thank you Pekka for giving me a good example to pontificate about. Your comment there is a perfect example of why skeptopaths don’t get it. They are weak on the human element part of life. Such support by the Foundation for Finnish Inventions does not prove LENR or Etiam, but it increases their credibility. Skeptopaths live in a binary world, true-false, good-evil, black-white, etc. If we want to ferret out the truth, we have to have degrees of creditility and perhaps even colors of credibility.

          Colors of credibility? My dog Tango, her intellectual credibility is exactly zero. Her emotional credibility is like 99. That is what I mean by colors of credibility. If the FDA says something of a positive nature, like blahblahdrug clears up itching, that has a high credibility rating for me. If they say that blahblahdrug has no negative side affects, that has zero credibility rating for me.

    • Anthony Repetto

      The limiting factor to globalization is cost of transport. As LENR matures, cost of shipping and same-day delivery will drop – globalization will tend to increase. Localities with even a slight competitive advantage will fixate on the goods they produce best; local farmers will see greater return from cash crops than farmer’s markets. Because of concentrated industrial capital, each phase of production is best met by a regional hegemony… look at Apple’s supply chain. Each part is made by a special factory, by the millions, and sent to some other factory for assembly with millions of parts from other locations. Dependence on a global network creates stronger ties, larger cascades of impact – the system becomes more volatile, more fragile, requiring more management and restriction. Sure, you could buy a home-cat and power your Etsy enterprise, but your rate of return, yield on further investment, and logistical/coordination costs will be less advantageous than mega-factories with government subsidy. Expect government-backed capital to corner sectors with highest demand/highest profit; mom and pop have few options on the margins.

  • AstralProjectee

    The biggest factors that will revolutionize the political economic social landscape worldwide will be the combined benefits of LENR and seasteading. Seasteading will boom after LENR goes into the market and so will the worlds political economic social landscape evolve very quickly. Check out http://www.seasteading.org/ and you will quickly see why seasteading and will cold fusion will revolutionize seasteading and it will boom and so will the evolution of our worlds political economic social systems.

    And yes more jobs will be created.

    • Roger Bird

      And every seasteading site will be subject piracy and storms and other problems. They better have a lot of big guns. They can’t come running back to the Nanny Republic when they get whacked by reality.

    • John De Herrera

      “And yes more jobs will be created.”
      Abundant, low cost energy will stimulate the economy. The reactors will soon be ‘low cost’ and small independent shops can reduce cost of goods and services. Investments in nuclear, coal, and gas will be hurt – all others will benefit! jdh

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      Seasteading is a little quirky. Cruise ship living is already pretty affordable and with cheap power, it could be very attractive. Follow the seasons and try to avoid being Koppenhoffed.

  • wiilgh

    admin throws a ball and all run for it.
    Funny and we had the same topic several times before.

    N.B.:
    You have to bake the cake before you cut it.

    • Roger Bird

      All of the parts of the cake are ready and real. All someone like Rossi has to do is assemble the parts.

    • Jim

      What about the joy of anticipation?

  • adam

    In the short term it would lead to more unemployment
    In the long term it would lead to redirecting production (both intellect and physical) to other priorities (Construction, agriculture, Computer science, healthcare, ect)

  • Sturmvogel

    Air, land and water will be cleaner, so this is more than sufficient reason. Forget about any other effect, humans are very creative and will easily adapt for the new situation of cheap energy.

  • Stephen

    The energy sector is as massive as one can imagine. Even if tomorrow morning there is a 100% demonstrated and certified magic power source at zero running cost it will take quite some time to just fabricate all the necessary reactors and equipments.

    Plus consider for instance all the existing machines running on gasoline or other energy forms. There are a lot of assets (= invested money) in cars, trucks etc… For instance, I put it in very simple terms: can you afford buying a new LENR car tomorrow? a new LENR truck?

    Whatever the evolution of this story, I think it’s quite unlikely things could change overnight. I recall Gamberale was talking about a 10-20 year timespan to implement a new technology on this scale.

    About employment, I have zero clue. You should ask an economist and/or look to past paradigmatic transitions in the energy business…

    • Omega Z

      Stephen

      I Agree, It will take time. I Figure 20 to 30 years at least. Most of the Old will be replaced by attrition As it reaches it’s normal life-cycle.

      As for Jobs, LENR will create wealth of which part will spread creating a larger economy & likely a major jobs gain in the world.

      Ask an Economist? I’d rather ask a crystal ball. It would be more accurate. 🙂

  • Everett Collins

    More employment.
    1. Less regulatory approval due to minimal environmental impact means roll-out of new plants will be approved faster, creating a boom of employment.
    2. LENR plants will require less educated personnel to maintain than nuclear, therefore more of the population will be trained and qualified to work at these plants in less time.
    3. New LENR plants will be less dependent on location. They do not need to be built next to waterfalls or dams (hydro-electric), or bodies of water (nuclear). Therefore, they can be more easily be deployed in population centers that are not currently conducive to legacy generating plants.
    4. LENR plants will be more scalable than coal-fire or nuclear, meaning they can be deployed on a smaller scale in remote locations instead of huge plants with thousands of kilometers of transmission lines running to remote locations. As a result, these remote locations will provide employment for the local people.
    5. It takes many years to decommission a nuclear plant, requiring almost as many people as it took to run, so not many (net) jobs will be lost from the nuclear sector.
    6. Niche markets for supplying portable medium-scale plants for disaster relief and refugee camps will emerge.

  • Phil

    I try but I can’t be optimistic, without LENR or with it …

  • orsobubu

    My compliments to Admin, he’s very good at examine all the matter under very interesting angles. About the unemployment issue:

    1 – As wages on average corresponds to the cost of reproduction of labor power in a given socio-historical condition, it is clear that a decrease in expenses related to the energy component woiuld result in a proportional reduction in wages. This was demonstrated countless times, i.e. a very iteresting study that highlights the fall in wages in the surrounding areas in which it is installed a new Walmart warehouse.

    2 – I will repeat again here that additional profits, made possible with LENR by cheaper energy, will be the result of lay-offs and industrial restructuring; but, on a longer time scale, this is very negative for capitalism in its sustainabilty.

    3 – The problem lies not so much in inventing new consumer goods (which still replace other least developed, more labor demanding goods), but in the fact that capital, on average, is the result of unpaid workers’ time. As a result of the increase in productivity (which benefits a part of the proletariat), ever new masses of obsolete workers are added to the ranks of the unemployed, and the only other way to increase profits (apart from the pernicious excess profits from monopoly rents etc.) is continuously broaden the markets and find new populations to be exploited (no exploitation, no profits = global crisis). Unfortunately, this is not an infinitely repeatable operation and, with global competition, this necessarily leads to inter-imperialist struggles. Last time – before they opened the asian markets – two world wars were necessary to re-split the loot. And after Africa, what will be left to exploit? Every US generation had to fight at least a war to maintain the economic privileges to America.

    4 – Who observes that the future lies in self-production, small businesses, etc., one must answer that this is an excellent prospect for a medieval counter-revolution, but it is detrimental to the future of capitalism, which supports itself solely to spreading to infinity the large-scale production. Small producers can not extract too much capital, because they can take advantage of only themselves only and have no room for big investment. However, since this infinitely enlarged reproduction is unsustainable – unless of cyclical destructions – the only alternative is the revolutionary transition to a communist production system which, contrary to what is commonly believed, is the exact opposite of the Soviet state capitalism (and, today, American, European, etc.): no more wages, money, market, banks, etc., the ideal ecosystem for LENR, for total automation, etc. and, above all, the only system that would allow humanity to address the major issues of the scientific development of the society in the long term (desertification, new diseases, conquest of outer space, etc.). The disaster at Fukushima, probably irreversible (contamination for millions of years in the global food chain and DNA damage) is the proof, the result of the inability for the capitalist industry to raise sufficient capital to build, maintain and repair a system complex as a nuclear power plant.

    5 – About the famous phrase “Capitalism is the worst system there is, except for all the rest”, this is useful to the ruling class, because it instills a false ideology that social progress has come – with capitalism – at its end. Lenin, instead, has shown that the power can be taken, it is now necessary to prove that it can be maintained. The bourgeoisie took six centuries to seize it, we still have a long time to go, I bet we’ll make it before.

    6 – About who talks in favor of the “free-market”: this is a relic of the past, it cannot survive to the worsening crisis and social bailouts are even more and more necessary to the surviving of capitalism. This is, in fact, the era of imperialism and state capitalism.

    • Roger Bird

      “a decrease in expenses related to the energy component woiuld result in a proportional reduction in wages.” Tell us about all of the times that it has happened vs. the times that it has not happened. And be sure to include Silcon Valley for 1960 to the present. There is no reason to think that businesses will squeeze employees any more with a lowering of expenses. If anything, the wages should stay the same, but the cost-of-living for the employees will go down.

      orsobubu, you have what we call the proctologist view of life.

      • orsobubu

        Labor is a commodity like any other, its price (the wage) is nothing more than the cost of reproduction and maintenance of the worker itself. If this goes down, salary follows. Don’t focus on particular cases, this is a general, scientific rule, supply and demand. You can start studying the first book of the Capital for a historical review. You have not to confuse user value with exchange value. A car today has much more user value than back in the sixties, but less exchange value, because the production is automated. Also, take into account inflation prices.

        http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/40-percent-of-u-s-workers-make-less-than-what-a-full-time-minimum-wage-worker-made-in-1968

    • MStone

      This is some wonderful socialist thinking. And, something like this may be the ultimate outcome of a holy grail power source like LENR.

      But, this is what I think would happen over the next 20 years. Simply. LENR would probably remain private…but would be heavily taxed. For example…you would pay the same utility bills and say 2 dollars a gallon for LENR gas for your car. The difference between that and nearly free energy would go to the government as tax. Consider that we burn through about 500 billion for heating our homes and other electricity and 500 billion on gas for our car a year..here in the US. Thats about a trillion dollars a year. So…tax that…and we pay off the national debt in about 15-20 years.

      Now, 20 years from now when the US is running a surplus. Then we can talk about individuals with LENR devices and the socialist ideal. But, until then, we will be un-flucking all our currrent fluckups.

      • Omega Z

        MStone

        It’s easy to get locked in to certain thoughts.(Tunnel Vision) I find myself there occasionally.

        Think- Many more Jobs which equals less Government help needed by those who are employed. Those people now paying in Taxes instead of living off them.

        Government has a sudden Influx of new Tax Revenue while having a reduction in Payout.

        The Real Question is if Government will be happy with this surplus or Will they still want even more.

        • MStone

          I’m not sure what you meant by the first part.

          But the second part…yah that is a good question as to what the government will ACTUALLY do if they were running a surplus.

          A better question may be…what would the people do in response to what the government ACTUALLY does.

          I make this statement reflecting on the current chit-storm in Egypt.

      • AlainCo

        inflation caused by growth (caused by productivity increase) will swallow the debt, as usual.
        It will reset the debt.

        we are in relative deflation induced by economic rent owners refusing to take their losses.
        when LENr will cause growth, the rent-owner will keep their planned small benefits, abut the real workers will get the benefit of their work…
        It will be good inflation, not stagflation.

        my only concern is that energy is only 10% of GDP so, not so big… I hope that most of the growth will came from better employed workforce, better educated, from pollution reduction, from military savings, from logistic savings, from safety savings, from less need of big corps, and big government.

        • MStone

          I have a hard time seeing our growth swallowing our staggering debt. Even if we were in good times.

  • Job001

    Many people have found themselves outside of capitalism, without jobs, doing gigs, service, self employment, grow your own in an underground economy reminiscent of pre job hunter gather society. Human adaptive survival abilities are amazing. We have a huge tool chest and library of “How to” productively survive. For the first time in centuries those below the poverty line of $1.25/day has fallen to less than 10% of humanity and falling.

    We have not yet begun to put highly productive tools into the hands of the poor because these tools were previously designed by and for the wealthy, often to exploit the rest of humanity. My point is this is changing. To use a business metaphor, the low hanging productive fruit is mostly gone.

    The highest fruit is productivity for the poor. This includes(village level) inexpensive solar panels, a phone, a microwave, a 3D printer, aquaponic garden, robots, and maybe soon LEWR heat and distilled water. Rather than people being slaves or dependent on others, they can/will become productively self sufficient households.

    Maybe a name for this would be Do It Yourself Productive Households DIYPH. Helping cartels and monopolies only harms us and anything productive we do for the poorest we do for ourselves because they can care for themselves without welfare.

    • Barry

      “For the first time in centuries those below the poverty line of $1.25/day has fallen to less than 10% of humanity and falling.” In the 60s Job, $1.25 would buy you 3 gallons of gasoline, now $1.25 will buy you a third of a gallon.

    • Chris I

      Where do you get that figure of 10% below the poverty line?

      Where do you get the quantification of the line itself?

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    Generally, especially initially, LENR will create product deflation and disruptive unemployment. All goods or services which include a lot of energy to produce, will cost a lot less, i.e. Chemicals, Aluminum, desalination of water. All goods and services which include a small percentage of energy will cost a little less, i.e. Software, legal advice, pharmaceuticals. Demand will increase for all of the above products and services, employment will increase a little in those industries. Will employment increase enough to overcome direct energy job loss and productivity/automation gains from cheap energy? Probably not. Above all, we need active, intelligent World governments and Central banks, working together, to help with the huge employment disruption ahead of us. If not we could see “Arab Springs” all over the World.

    • Iggy Dalrymple

      Please COUNT ME OUT of your “Intelligent World government”.
      I don’t wanna be Koppenhoffed.

      • Roger Bird

        If Iggy is bowing out of the intelligent world government, then the world government isn’t very intelligent and I don’t want any part of it.

        The more cultures within a jurisdiction, the more difficult it is govern. So, some utopian egg-heads are proposing a world government? That will surely work, but not without a lot of guns and boots.

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        Welcome to Iggy’s Anarchy

    • Omega Z

      Bernie

      There will be job shifts with job gains. Possibly a Huge Gain.
      However, this will be over a long period of time. 2 or 3 decades.

      Wishful thinking can’t override Realities & physical limitations of the necessary resources required.

      • Bernie Koppenhofer

        Omega Z…Yes….Just like the stock market, timing will be all important, I hope you are right.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Once “cheap energy”(not necessarily LENR) is fully implemented, there will be great wealth and widely distributed wealth….not conspicuous wealth, but wide-spread comfort and minimal poverty.

    The transition, however, could be rough. The cost of most products have a sizable energy component. As “cheap energy” becomes more and more widespread, there will be a strong deflationary trend. Deflation can cause deep economic recessions. Consumers postpone purchases in anticipation of cheaper and cheaper prices. Government may be tempted to slow the adaption of cheap energy in order to limit the disruption. This would probably be a big mistake, and would likely just prolong the problem. It would be better to let the market do its thing, and get the disruption over with, as soon as possible.

    • AlainCo

      it is not what happen .
      what happen is paradoxical, it is inflation.
      when productivity increase, wages/dividend increase a little, and price lower a little, and since price have difficulty to go down, and wages have difficulty to not grow if possible, quickly price and wages grow, wages faster than prices…

      the problem is mostly to adapt the competences of workers, who are redundant in the old industry, to the new industry.

      to allow the industrial revolution, one had to increase productivity of farming, make many farmers redundant, then send them to the factories, and make them enjoy both food and manufactured product they could not afford before. then if there are enough goods , the worked don’t afs increase of wages, and buying power thus consumption thus production thus work, but decrease of work.

      like on LENR we are fooled by (half understood) THEORY.

      the FACTS is than when there is an increase of productivity, there is a troubled period where unemployed people have to change job, but afterward there is more wealth for all, more vacation, more equality.

      things have been bad since 30 years because of the lack of real innovation in western world…
      In china people are happy, much more than in france or USA.

      read “The Next Convergence” to understand what is such a transition.

      • zvibenyosef

        “In china people are happy, much more than in france or USA”

        Yes they have a growing middle class in China, and they are happy. They number over 300Million, who are very happy. For the rest of China, not so much. There are still over 1 billion Chinese in abject poverty, living at the mercy of corrupt local officials, and forced to work under intolerable conditions for extremely long hours 60-70 hours a week for almost nothing. Some American companies have been quick to take advantage of the situation. It is now almost impossible to buy anything still made in the USA. We are forces to buy cheap inferior products from the underpaid sweatshop workers of China.
        do you honestly believe this is progress? Or to phrase the question another way, how would you like to be one of those unfortunate workers in China?

        • AlainCo

          Yes I know, and the women find natural to sell few of their kids for spare money, even when married abroad, until someone explain it is not required here…

          I know, hard to imagine it was worst before… but it was.
          to imagine how it was before, look in north korea.

          awful does not mean worse.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Iggy….you need economics 101.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    The beauty of “Cheap Energy”, especially home-generated cheap energy, is that it will allow people that so choose, to become much more independent. To live in remote beautiful wild places, far from Koppenhofia.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer

      Iggy….if you do not believe there is anarchy in “remote beautiful wild places,” you are not a student of history.

      • Roger Bird

        And what exactly do you two envision Koppenhofia to be?

        • Bernie Koppenhofer

          Iggytopia invented the word “Koppenhofia” I just said governments must work together to manage the dislocation unemployment ahead of us.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Compare and contrast, the damage done by “Nuclear Holocaust” compared to the damage done by liberal government.

    http://antioligarch.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/hiroshima-and-detroit-65-years-later/

    • zvibenyosef

      This is not a political blog, but if you are going to take cheap political shots, then at least do not misquote your sources. At the end of the article it says:-

      “WHAT HAS CAUSED MORE LONG TERM DESTRUCTION – THE A-BOMB OR U.S. POLITICS?”

      No mention of “liberal government”. What is happening in America is a hollowing out of the middle class. It is a result of a system that is broken. Money has totally corrupted our system of government. It works fabulously for the top 1%, and is driving the bottom 99% into penury. It is fueled by greed, hate and fear, and has nothing to do with party affiliations.

      My dream is for every man woman and child to live in dignity and freedom. My dream for LENR is that it frees the American people from the oppressive overclass, removing the foot of the rich from their necks, and allowing them to opt out of the rat race of slave labor that does not pay a living wage.

      • Roger Bird

        Oh, poor baby. Another victim of the meanie head PTB. Oh, golly, I feel so sorry for you, zvibenyosef. Funny that I don’t feel their meanie head boots on my neck.

        We live in the most free and most prosperous nation in the history of the world, by a very wide margin, and all I see is a bunch of pampered cry babies typing away on their historically unheard-of home computers complaining about how terrible everything is. My biggest worry and concern is boredom.

        The real problem exists only in the eye of the beholder. Your grandfather would have taken two jobs, paid off all his debts, and started to become an owner, rather than a cry baby loser. Nothing personal, zvibenyosef. I see a whole generation of cry baby losers; you are not alone.

        If TPTB actually existed, we wouldn’t have the Internet, which is an OBVIOUS threat to rich elitists.

        • Bernie Koppenhofer

          Anyone who does not believe the middle class is disappearing, is not looking at the stats, and/or has his head in the sand. This old conservative platitude “pull yourself up by the boot straps and get a third job” is total nonsense.

        • Barry

          Roger,grow up. Maybe you’re free from financial problems. A lot of people who are have no empathy for the lower middle class who are not sure if they are going to lose their house to foreclosure in in six months. Some people are in a bad position in a bad economy.
          zvibenyosef is right, Iggy threw in “Liberal” where I would say “dysfunctional” government.

    • zvibenyosef

      There is no equivalency between the destruction of Horishima and Nagasaki, and the urban decay of cities in America. The deliberate murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, and the consequent poisoning by radiation of hundreds of thousands more, cannot be compared with the short sighted policies of successive governments at the insistent urging of lobbyists to cut funds for education health care and the poor. The Banks now have this country in a stranglehold. In their own way they are creating our own American Holocaust. It is a disaster in slow motion. But it is one that nobody is paying any attention. The reason is because everyone believes it is happening to “those other people”, you know the ones who are different, and don’t want to work, the immigrants or minorities.

      “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”

      • Roger Bird

        Every single one of those Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims supported a vicious, racist war of aggression instigated by an authoritarian military elite. On an individual basis, it was a terrible tragedy. On a national basis, they had it coming. My wife a Filipina still can’t get over the horror of that war; she still hates Japanese men.

        The atomic bombings probably saved the lives of at least 5,000,000 Japanese and 500,000 Americans. It got the undivided attention of the Japanese leaders. And it put an end to total war.

        • humblemechanic

          Roger, I am in full agreement with you on this.
          I see from the personal details you have mentioned that
          you are, like I am, well struckt with years and take the trouble to look at more than one side/aspect of a problem. This is unfashionable nowadays; people latch onto one aspect/angle of a question, the most obvious
          one and concentrating/focusing on it occupies all available brainpower.

          • Roger Bird

            But integrity feels soooo good. (:->)

  • zvibenyosef

    LENR will make it possible for people to go off the grid, and effectively opt out of the current system. Small groups will be able to work together, producing their own food. With a cheap and abundant energy supply, they could be self sufficient. Groups may cooperate together to help construct houses and structures for the a new commune to get it started. Registered as non profit corporations, they would be liable for no taxes, and the children would never have to go to foreign countries to fight for the rich. As there are more and more of these settlements, they could cooperate to create schools, libraries and hospitals, even museums art galleries and theaters, which can be shared by everyone.

    • Roger Bird

      zvibenyosef, I hate to keep pestering you, really; I’m not picking on you. But the only problem with communes succeeding or not has NOTHING to do with technology or energy or LENR. It has EVERYTHING to do with ego and interpersonal disharmony and conflict. Communes don’t produce because there is too much conflict. Businesses produce because egos are squelched. I recall during an unpleasant interaction with someone who I am ashamed to admit I was yelling at, she asked me if I yelled at people like that at work. No freaking way did I yell at people like that; and I didn’t have to work at it. I just knew in my gut and my subconscious that screaming and yelling by an underling would get me fired. The anger simply did not become conscious. But in communes, not so much; people are all equal and the screaming and yelling escalates and people refuse to work and leave and may even get violent. How is almost free energy going to help that problem.

  • xy

    LENR = cheaper energy = more money left to INVEST into projects previously unfeasible (even crazy) = more employment

    Did steam trains imply unemployment? Did electricity? Nope. They created plenty jobs at faster rate that the old jobs could get disrupted. The same will happen.

    To all kinds of strange folks talking socialism, capitalism, communism or feudalism. Forget about those. No isms exist, it’s an illusion, a camouflage. There is one denominator to all of that and that is PERSONAL INTERESTS. Personal interests and conspired mafias around them rule the world. People will always tweak and misuse all social, comune, capitalist idealistic rules to PI in about 15 years. Get real.

    • AlainCo

      yes.
      the question of various ideology is whether you are using PI like aikido does with the energy of the aggressor (capitalism), if you surrender to it (mafia, crony), if you try to oppose (communisme), or dampen (social democracy)…

      I start to think now that the technology is anyway important, not in the detail, but about the capital, sizing requirements.

      nuclear energy, railways, 18-20th century manufacturing, is demanding much capital, much dimension. Oil demand big capital too, and big army to protect the oil fields.
      This lead to huge, crony and fragile organizations, with higher executive who don’t have flesh in the game and can exploit their company, take huge risk for hope of huge personal gain without risk of any huge personal loses.

      LENR, like 3D printing, like Internet, like cloud, is reducing the transaction cost to design, build and sell.
      There no need of great army, no need of huge capital, no need of huge organization.

      Some huge systems may exist, like clouds infrastructure, or e-commerce platforms, but it is possible to separate the design of those platforms by a software company, from the implementation by a network of local partners sharing the same standards.

      LENR energy maye be used autonomously, or in smartgrid.
      No need of centralized control, because the margin of power will be huge, and adaptation will be local and distributed.

      I don’t say that all will be small, but unlike nuclear energy, big grid, big manufacturers, big markets, it is possible to be smaller, to have small state, small companies, working in “federation” (like Amazon is federating e-shops, like EC2 is federating many IT users)…

      we will see.
      Sure the big crony animals will fight to defend their economic rents, and their lords will defend their privilege, but will they be lean, agile enough to survive against a network of tiny actors able to occupy any small niche, and move as fast or even faster than the environment…

      open future.
      big is no more a requirement, but an option.

      • humblemechanic

        Is it just me or others too? I can’t understand your
        Franco-English or Google Translation. I can’t figure where you
        stand on these issues.

      • humblemechanic

        Is it just me or others too? I can’t understand your
        Franco-English or Google Translation. I can’t figure where you
        stand on these issues.

        • AlainCo

          sorry for the long sentences.
          For once I did not let a dozen of typo.

          maybe some concept are new for you.
          “Flesh in the game” is from Taleb.
          Fragility and anti-fragility is key for taleb too.
          Crony capitalism, geostrategy of oil are useful concept.
          Economic-rents is a key to understand today’s economic problems.

          My metaphors may looks strange, but they won’t be simpler in french.

          • humblemechanic

            I have been instructed but am not much wiser.
            Your metaphors and phrases are indeed very peculiar. Used to mix in specialist groups and
            circles but had never inflicted the jargon used
            therein on those outside. Please desist from further instruction.

    • Chris I

      Indeed, if it weren’t for PI history would have been mighty different. Even before the industrial revolution, there had been countless examples. Still, that was a mighty example of something able to greatly increase productivity and wealth, which was conducted by a few already wealthy people who literally enslaved all those whose small, family or individual enterprise had a snowball’s chance in hell of competing with the new steam driven factories.

      But there is such a thing as foresight, too. If all those valiant lads had been quick enough to partner up and pool their resources, they could have jointly run their own steam driven outfits. When guys like Ned Ludd, guys like Karl Marks and whoever else began preaching, it was already late; all those workers were long since in to weak an economic position to do what they should have done at the onset. That’s why revolt had become the only alternative to slaving away for a pittence and feeding their families however they could afford.

      So it’s all a matter of how the new wealth gets distributed.

  • Babble

    At present I can’t imagine a home version of the e-cat unless the refueling is done by the owner. Hiring thousands of people just to go around changing the fuel every six months won’t work. As for LENR itself, the advent of cheap/portable energy should fuel job growth. You see this in areas where cheap Nat gas is available. The real problem will be and is population growth which may be worsened by plentiful energy.

    • Roger Bird

      Go to: http://www.gapminder.org/ Click on: “Load Gapminder World” Set both axises to “Number of children per woman”. Then click on “Play”. Observe and think carefully. Then stop fretting about world population. It is going to plateau out at about 10 billion. Education of both genders is the best birth control.

    • AlainCo

      I disagree.
      My gas furnace is maintained twice a year for 200$.
      It is mandatory for safety, otherwise you lose your insurance coverage and get guilty of any accident.

      LENR furnace, even if refueled easily will need to be maintained, checked like any boiler/furnace.

      question is the periodicity…6 month? 1 or 2 years ? no more, at least for the plumbing.

      by the way, the job will be done by trained plumber not by nuclear physicists. 😉

    • RichyRoo

      forget about the home version for a decade or two, power will remain centralised; the PTB will ensure their own survival.

      And forget about population growth, higher living standards ALWAYS lead to slowed population growth and Malthus/Ehrlich are ALWAYS wrong.

      You’re a real sicko if you think its OK to keep people poor and dying just so they don’t have too many babies for your semi-educated liberal stupidity to countenance. There I said it!

      • Babble

        Why don’t you ask a Mormon how many kids they have? Your theory is not correct as religion plays a big part.

        • Roger Bird

          Go to http://www.gapminder.org/ Click on “Load Gapminder World” Select “Children per woman (total fertility)” for both axises. Click “Play”. Understand what is going on. Stop worrying about world population. It is going to plateau off at about 10 billion. By then LENR will make it much easier to live in currently impossible places. The population bomb as been defused with education, prosperity, and LENR

  • Jjaroslav

    The first major hit will tbe crash of the energy sector stocks…..there is no reason to believe that this energy mode will not be totally decentralized in application…a model similar to what the world was like when we burned wood for fuel.
    Big deal is the reduction in overall cash flow….but like you say transportation reconfiguration will keep us all busy for a good while…..

  • RichyRoo

    Asking about jobs is missing the point, we only have jobs in order to acquire stuff.
    Stuff will become cheaper with cheap energy so even the living standards of the unemployed will rise.
    Some people will become unemployed, you don’t see many buggy whip manufacturers around today; but that’s life unfortunately for them.
    But overall even those who lose their jobs will be living in a better world.
    As usual in our current epoch, the unintelligent will be left living on welfare while the intelligent get jobs maintaining the equipment. And the parasites will continue in the 1% and in government (although hopefully this will mean loads of government employees put on welfare, buh-bye DOE).
    As xy said, electrification, railroads and the internet didn’t decrease employment or, more importantly, standard of living, this will be no different.

  • Anthony

    Hey Chris, everyone out of work could club together to buy e-cats and feed them into the grid.

    Here in the UK electricity’s about 12p per kWh, so presumably you could get, I dunno, 8p for feeding into the grid. This assumes that the silly feed-in tarriffs for wind farms (which are the only thing making them viable) wouldn’t be available to CF applications.

    So if we have one of AR’s 1 mW generators, the maths would be:

    8p per unit x 1000 kWh x 24 hours x (say) 350 days = £672,000 per year.

    If the $ 1 million generator costs say £650k, payback would be only one year !

    There has to be something wrong with this calulation as it’s too good to be true – can some please point out what it is ? Maybe the 1 mW output isn’t sustainable 24/7 ?

    • Chris I

      You aren’t counting the cost of a thermoelectric converter, on top of the raw heat source. But let’s neglect this for only a sec…

      As everybody and their aunt starts to do it, what do you reckon will happen to the market value of each kWh? For one, none of these dudes will be buying power, so they’re affecting the demand law as well as the supply law.

      Methinks the big power utilities will be replacing their sources, starting from coal, and won’t be too anxious to pay such a huge number of others for such large power production. It will be worthwhile for parties to set up for mostly their own needs, preferably stipulating a contract with the big utility but just to buffer the imbalances, especially for their own consumption variabiliy.

      • Anthony

        Yes, right on all counts, forgot that the 1 mW wasn’t actual electricity – duh ! Which is of course why AR is looking for a Sterling engine.

        So this would be only a short term venture until the power companies start replacing their own sources, but still…..

    • Olle A

      There will be ….

      More jobs, new demands, new industries,and less money spent on energy.
      See it as if we switch from expensive flint stone to cheap iron! Of course flint stone workers will loose jobs but they will have two new better payed ones to choose between and more money to spend because of cheaper energy bills. Its one of the biggest global problems E-cat is solving.

  • Mark

    You have to completely expand your mindset to understand the consequences of this technology.
    When you consider that a location of a city is based upon key elements such as availability of water, food, transport mechanism. So historically cities have always been connected to harbours, lakes and rivers and water supplies.
    With the eCat, that can all change as the cheap power to run transport systems and cheap power to provide water will alter the economics of satellite cities.
    Areas of land that were too expensive to live in due to lack of resources such as the desert, may quickly be turned into oasis.
    Other technologies that were considered too expensive to be commercialised may also flourish and provide work. Each new industry or product that appears will inspire more and more products.
    It similar in a sense to how digital cameras have replaced film. One industry closes and many new ones appear.

  • telecommuter

    Isn’t it a bit early to worry about the effect of a commercial device?

    • Roger Bird

      No one is worrying. We are having fun. And perhaps it is good practice, which fun can be.

      Most of us feel that a successful commercial LENR+ is a certainty, so why not have a little fun speculating. We might even learn something.

    • ATS

      Another way of looking at it is this: if we don’t find a solution to global warming, the economic consequences will be catastrophic. LENR is perhaps our only chance to 1) slow and finally stop the increasing concentrations of CO2 and methane by putting the fossil fuel people out of business; 2) cheaply provide the enormous amounts of energy that will be required to build dikes, desalinate water and, most importantly, power the geoengineering efforts that will repair our environment.