Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Wait, are you implying that growing rice in Australia maybe isn't the best idea humankind has ever come up with? [one of my all time favorites, personally - when a friend of mine from AU mentioned that this actually goes on I didn't believe him until I researched it a bit for myself.]

I've given this some thought lately, mostly through the lens of agriculture. In a world where energy has been nearly free for the past 100 years, the societies that have dominated in such a climate (ha) are the ones that have best managed the next largest bottleneck - mindpower (mental labor, not physical labor - whatever Migeru or Chris Cook refer to it as in economic terms). One aspect of managing this problem is (keep in mind I'm speaking of this in terms of world domination), of course, moving everyone from manual labor into office jobs while the machines do the physical work in order to take advantage of their mental capacity that wasn't (necessarily) being utilized. Another method, though, the one that really dominates how we live today, is copying or imitation - 10,000 of the same store with the exact same products inside, millions of acres of corn on many different types of land. Mass production. McDonalization. It's all part of the same process born out of the same environment. A small number of people directing the actions of many, many machines through the use of replication technologies.

In such a world the inefficiencies aren't - they're swept under the rug by the lubrication of the fantastic energy subsidy we've been riding for the past century, and thus almost everyone is completely blind to them. When the bottleneck moves back to energy, success will come through the opposite approach that you describe here - efficient energy use through the use (and cost) of more brainpower per acre as ALL farms will require local knowledge of the land rather than a few guys in an office building in Des Moines ordering 100,000kg of fertilizer and pesticides to be used on their company's million acres of land.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:34:17 PM EST

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