Can We Free Ourselves from the Current Debt Supercycle?

Gail Tverberg in her post “2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle” concludes that we’re now on the end of a debt supercycle. Because debt is different this time, it’s very unlikely that we can enter a new supercycle. This has to do with the fact that we live in a finite world.

What is ahead for 2016? Most people don’t realize how tightly the following are linked:

  1. Growth in debt
  2. Growth in the economy
  3. Growth in cheap-to-extract energy supplies
  4. Inflation in the cost of producing commodities
  5. Growth in asset prices, such as the price of shares of stock and of farmland
  6. Growth in wages of non-elite workers
  7. Population growth

It looks to me as though this linkage is about to cause a very substantial disruption to the economy, as oil limits, as well as other energy limits, cause a rapid shift from the benevolent version of the economic supercycle to the portion of the economic supercycle reflecting contraction. Many people have talked about Peak Oil, the Limits to Growth, and the Debt Supercycle without realizing that the underlying problem is really the same–the fact the we are reaching the limits of a finite world.

The conclusion of Tverberg’s essay is that we during the current supercycle has extracted the world’s resources to such a degree that we’ll see no more cycles, except the cycle of the year’s seasons. There is no way to pay non-elite workers to keep up the growth pump for commodities, such as the “holy” washing machine (the holy cow of the progress worshippers), and as a result there’s no way to pay elite workers to maintain the overhead of an advanced industrial civilization.

I’m a Zahavist, the opposite of a (social) Darwinist. While a Darwinist believes in individual egoism, a Zahavist believes in mutual cooperation within the ingroup. Zahavism is rooted in the work of Amotz Zahavi and his 40-years study of the Arabian Babbler in the Negev Desert, resulting in the thesis of the handicap principle. The Paulus of Darwinism is Ayn Rand, while for Zahavism our most important apostle is the Norwegian behavioral ecologist Terje Bongard. Unfortunately Ayn Rand is more famous, poisoning the minds of hundreds of millions of people!

In the USA is Ayn Rand’s book “Atlas Shrugged” regarded as the second most holy book, next to the Bible!


The foundation for Zahavism is to be found in Terje bongard’s book “Det biologiske mennesket – individer og samfunn i lys av evolusjon“, or in English “The Biological Human Being”. 

Unfortunately this holistic book explaining how we can release ourselves from the debt cycles by implementing the strong forces of the handicap principle through the use of ingroups in a superstructure, is not yet translated into English language. The first chapter is though, which can be downloaded here:

“The biological Human Being – individuals and societies in light of evolution” (First Chapter, pdf)

Ayn Rand wrote “Atlas Shrugged” at the beginning of the current debt supercycle, and it’s therefor not surprising that her logic found some solid ground back then, with super egoistic consumption leading to ever greater prosperity for all.
Now, as we enter the death of our economical system, Rand’s logic is insane. We need a new system where we can maintain industrial civilization while getting poorer and poorer in material wealth. Where non-elite workers can live decent lives through integrating elite-workers into a superstructure where everybody decide the elites benefits for supervising important systems of our civilization. Bongard’s thesis is that this can be done through activating humans tribal loyalty through an ingroup organization of society at large, integrating economy and democracy into a superstructure of small self-organizing production zells. Read more in Michel Bauwen’s article:

For Scandinavian readers please see my essay “Lommedemokratiet”, meaning a “Pocket Democracy”, supported by the world’s foremost Deep Ecologist alive, Nils Faarlund!


Unfortunately Terje Bongard’s research project MEDOSS was crushed by the “Research Council of Norway” back in 2014, the same year as the world according to Gail Tverberg reached “peak finance”!

Our economical system has now come to an end, like an old man suffering from multiple diseases. These diseases interact making the possibilities for a recovery worse each day. In fact, there’s no way to cure it, all what we can do is to keep it artificially alive. We urgently need a replacement!

We could maybe have saved our civilization if Terje Bongard was offered grants back in 2014. If Gail Tverberg is right our economy is now unraveling so fast that there is no possibility to restructure it.

I still hope to link Terje Bongard with Gail Tverberg at the planned “Finite World – Conference” in Beijing in 2016 to discuss these matters in depth. See my post “Med MEDOSS til Kina?

Please read the following text by Terje Bongard, which too can be downloaded as a pdf poster!

Fortunately, attractive mate strategies also include the urge to display generosity and cooperation. Game theory reveals these human universals, and under which circumstances they appear and thrive. Human evolutionary past consisted of ‘ingroups’ in which all members knew each other. These ingroups favoured sexual selection through a well-known behavioral mechanism called the Handicap Principle. The peacock’s tail is only the tip of an iceberg compared to the human results of this attractivity selection: “Look at me, I can be generous and share my wealth, I can show-off and bear burdens of all kinds, and still be top among peers”.

Dr. Terje Bongard at NINA


See Van Kent’s comment to this post here.

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