Gail Tverberg

Gail Tverberg

About the author:

Casualty actuary who writes about the impact of the limited supply of oil. Editor of "The Oil Drum" (, and blogger at "Our Finite World" (

Stories by the author

Are Economic Growth Models Inherently Flawed?

Most economists today seem to think we can rely heavily on past patterns to forecast future growth. We however live in a finite world, so that even if growth can go on for a while, there are likely to be barriers at some point. Energy limits for instance could screw up all our growth models.

What will the world economy be like ten years from now? Or fifty years from now? Is it something that we can forecast by looking at the past, assuming that past trends will continue?

Behind Syria’s Crisis: How Oil & Gas Limits Contributed To The Civil Unrest

The Syrian civil war has been ongoing since 15 March 2011. Though the roots of the conflict are political by nature, Syria’s depleting oil and gas reserves also played a major role in sparking the unrest: When oil exports dropped, the government suddenly found itself unable able to pay for programs that had been placating its citizens to some degree.

In my view, oil and gas resource limits are major contributors to the conflict in Syria. This is happening in several ways:

What Happens To Government and Business Promises When The Economy Tanks?

For a long time, the US economy had been on an upward escalator, fueled by the growth of cheap energy and loans. Continued growth in debt made sense, because growth seemed likely for as far in the future as anyone could see. Governments and businesses made promises such as pensions, social security, bonds and so on. But what happens to these promises as we step off the up-escalator and on to the downward escalator?

Are Current Oil Prices Crippling Growth?: Gail Tverberg

For those who are wondering how high oil prices need to be to be considered “too high”, the answer is: We are already there. In fact, continued high oil prices may be the key reason behind the recessionary forces we are seeing around the world now, troubling developed countries like the United States and most of Europe, as well as the main drivers of global growth China and India.

Is A Steady State Economy Possible?: Gail Tverberg

A Steady State Economy is one that seeks to balance growth with environmental integrity by maintaining stable or mildly fluctuating levels in population and consumption of energy and materials. In our current global scenario – with population and demand for resources rising – what would it take to achieve a steady state economy?

Curse Of The Black Gold – How Oil Exporters Reach Financial Collapse: Gail Tverberg

Although oil often provides an abundance of riches to producing nations, declining production capabilities, coupled with the volatility of oil prices, can lead some exporters down a road to financial collapse. Egypt, Syria, Yemen and the former Soviet Union have – at one point or another – struggled to re-adjust their economies at times of lower production, while Venezuela now appears set to fall under the same trap.

High Oil Price's Heavy Burden On Government Debt: Gail Tverberg

Recently, the growth of most types of US debt has stalled. The major exception however is governmental debt, which is still growing rapidly. In our current circumstances, the US is reaching its debt limit mainly because of a specific resource limit — lack of inexpensive oil.

If an economy is growing, it is easy to add debt. The additional growth in future years provides money both to pay back the debt and to cover the additional interest. Promotions are common and layoffs are few, so a debt such as a mortgage can easily be repaid.

12 Reasons Why Globalisation Is A Major Problem: Gail Tverberg

Globalization seems to be looked on as an unmitigated “good” by economists. Unfortunately, economists seem to be guided by their badly flawed models; they miss real-world problems. In particular, they miss the point that the world is finite. We don’t have infinite resources, or unlimited ability to handle excess pollution. So we are setting up a “solution” that is at best temporary.

10 Reasons Why High Oil Prices Are A Problem: Gail Tverberg

Oil prices are expected to remain high this year, especially with the high cost of extraction involved in obtaining more tight oil and oil from other unconventional sources. If the cost of oil continues to rise, what further damage will be done to consumers, businesses and economies?

A person might think from looking at news reports that our oil problems are gone, but oil prices are still high.