Tuesday, November 13, 2018

44 cities in Poland have fare-free #publictransit

When in 2012 the Free Trade Union “August 80” (WZZ “Sierpien 80”) started the campaign for free public transport in Poland, to fight against the increasingly frequent and high ticket price increases throughout the country, public transport was free in only two cities. Today there are 44 Polish cities that practice it, from the small town of Swieradow-Zdroj1 – 5,000 inhabitants, but invaded by tourists and their cars in high season, whose free public transport is common with the Czech city Nove Mesto pod Smrkem2 – to the canton of Lubin with a total population of 106,000.3

Monday, November 12, 2018

Worldwide overproduction crisis, workers can't afford what they make

One point of confusion regarding whether today’s oil prices should be of concern is the fact that the maximum affordable oil price seems to decline over time. This happens because workers around the world increasingly cannot afford to buy the goods and services that the world economy produces. Inadequate wage growth within countries, growing globalization and rising interest rates all contribute to this growing affordability problem. To make matters confusing, this growing affordability problem corresponds to “falling demand” in the way economists frame the issues we are facing.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Survey shows 88% approval rating for fare-free #publictransit in Tallinn, Estonia

A scheme which was once seen as utopian had, by 2017, an 88 per cent approval rating in Tallinn (according to a survey conducted by market research company, Turu-uuringute AS – editor).
...The August 2018 figures show that the number of passengers on newly free routes increased by 33 per cent across the nation. In some counties, the number of passengers almost doubled.
I’ll leave the final words to the current mayor of Tallinn, Taavi Aas. “People who travel by bus are mostly lower-paid people, the young and the elderly. Someone going to work in a county centre 30 kilometres from where they live will save €700-800 per year. Critics of free public transport claimed these people do not exist – they are wrong.”

Thursday, November 8, 2018

US mayors, all talk, no action, on reducing car pollution

Even as the US in many areas is collapsing under the weight of autosprawl, US mayors are still putting more money into this losing proposition.
Unless new, affordable housing is placed in walkable, transit-adjacent neighborhoodswhere people can live without cars, the growth of cities will drive emissions even higher. This is especially true for the movement of goods. Sprawl doesn’t just lengthen commutes, it increases the distance of vehicular trips needed to make deliveries.
Unfortunately the infrastructure plan put forth by the Trump administration—if one can call it a plan—incentivizes car-centric development.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

US cannot defeat the Islamic State

The US is trying to bomb the IS out of existence.  But that's like trying to kill weeds by sprinkling water. The more they bomb, the more it grows. Meanwhile energy is being wasted.

Time for a new strategy. The US should end it's dependence on oil. The first step is to stop wasting it on cars. The second step is to end energy-wasting sprawl. The third is to make cities attractive so that people will move in and birthrates will drop, or drop faster.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Islamic State spoiling the plans of international capitalism by threatening Kirkuk oil

Below is a map of IS attacks for the last two weeks of October 2018. Because the world capitalists cannot get to the oil in Kirkuk, debt bubbles are in great danger of default.

The US cannot defeat IS. Every bomb means more recruits. In Africa, climate change is drying up food supplies and providing even more recruits.

There is a solution, though. The US could take the lead and spend $33B a year making all urban buses fare free. Another $33B would provide for all the new buses for increased demand.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

IS, MbS, and US shale oil, and ....debt.

Why is the capitalist world backing every conceivable thug and bombing the Islamic State like crazy. The answer is simple. A huge oil crash is looming:
Only nine of 33 shale oil exploration and production companies reviewed in the report cited above had positive free cash flow for the first half of 2018. This is even though prices had risen all the way from a low of around $30 in 2016 to the mid-$70 range by the middle of this year.

Forecasts for world oil supply depend on a sharp increase of production from the Kirkuk, Iraq fields. But the IS has made drilling there unsafe. So while waiting for their defeat, the US has ramped up shale oil. But US oil is being pumped with borrowed money. [see linked article]

MbS will stay, they need him. Fascism will be needed in the US. As for the IS, they cannot defeat it with bombs, because each bomb brings ten recruits.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Modern economics violates thermodynamics

More importantly, the traditional treatment of additive capital and economic consumption appears to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Although sometimes overlooked, perhaps the most profound implication of the Second Law is that it forbids the existence of isolated systems, either in space or time. By necessity, everything is connected through dissipative flows, even if the connection is very remote.
Assuming the Second Law applies equally to human systems, it would seem problematic to treat something like physical capital as being purely mathematically additive, as is presumed in traditional treatments. A better perspective might be that the magnitude of civilization wealth lies in its connections or a network, insofar as network elements allow for the dissipative flows that sustain it.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Physics rules over economics

Climate change is a two‐way street during the Anthropocene: civilization depends upon a favorable climate at the same time that it modifies it. Yet studies that forecast economic growth employ fundamentally different equations and assumptions than those used to model Earth's physical, chemical, and biological processes. In the interest of establishing a common theoretical framework, this article treats humanity like any other physical process; that is, as an open, nonequilibrium thermodynamic system that sustains existing circulations and furthers its material growth through the consumption and dissipation of energy. The link of physical to economic quantities comes from a prior result that establishes a fixed relationship between rates of global energy consumption and a historical accumulation of global economic wealth. What follows are nonequilibrium prognostic expressions for how wealth, energy consumption, and the Gross World Product (GWP) grow with time. This paper shows that the key components that determine whether civilization “innovates” itself toward faster economic growth include energy reserve discovery, improvements to human and infrastructure longevity, and reductions in the amount of energy required to extract raw materials. Growth slows due to a combination of prior growth, energy reserve depletion, and a “fraying” of civilization networks due to natural disasters. Theoretical and numerical arguments suggest that when growth rates approach zero, civilization becomes fragile to such externalities as natural disasters, and the risk is for an accelerating collapse.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Dunkirk, France, fare-free buses increase ridership by 50 to 80%.

Studies have shown that in addition to reducing air pollution within the port city limits, free public transit has increased mobility amongst older and younger residents and increased feelings of freedom.
“I never used the bus before,” one passenger told The Guardian. “It was too much bother getting tickets or a pass. Now I leave the car at home and take the bus to and from work. It’s so easy.” 
The news outlet goes on to say that passenger numbers have increased between 50% to 85%, depending on the route. Passengers have also taken advantage of the public spaces by having more conversations with strangers.