You know the old saying that goes “The only certain things in life are death and taxes”. True as it is, neither certainty is appealing. Death is a biological certainty. Governments needing money is a certainty of civilization. Let’s consider government stimulus spending. Apparently, this spending is a contrived opportunity for a government to get into a large amount of debt with no purpose other than to spend. Theoretically by them spending then the ratepayers will be encouraged to spend and thus boost the national economy. At least that’s the Keynesian saying.
Japan recently announced a stimulus spending package of from 130 to 270 billion dollars. Their national debt lies at about 10 trillion dollars. Sure Japan has the third greatest world economy on a GDP ranking but eventually the Japanese ratepayers will have to pay off all this debt. And all its accumulated interest. Will the workers of Japan have the energy to do so? Will they have the incentive to do so? Can the Earth provide enough base material to enable humans to constructively and industriously work to pay the debts of Japan and all other nations? And the debt of all the corporations? And the debt of all the individuals? How many acres of farmland, tonnes of ore and oceans of fish will we need to process to pay down the world debt of over 61 trillion dollars? And how many joules of energy will our machines need to do most of the processing work for us? Given that there’s a finite limit to the amount of non-renewable energy on Earth then a stimulus package may be inappropriate.
It used to be that we could run to the store to get food and run home again. Then we’d cook the food to eat and re-energize our bodies so that we could run some more. If we don’t re-energize then we might die as happened to Pheidippides running his marathon. Consider all humanity as running a race today. We are all running very hard trying to compete. We need energy at the end of our race. Energy is finite. Can we say that we have enough energy to recover from our race?