Losing 'prime'.

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Certain types of pumps only operate properly when the pump is filled with fluid. This is called 'prime'. When a pump is 'primed' it is filled with the fluid and closed off, then started. If the pump 'runs dry' then it 'loses prime' and must be refilled manually. It can spin all day long and never pump an ounce if it is not primed.

The oil economy is alot like this. Oil and oil products flow into an area because there is economic activity which can produce enough surplus in order to pay for oil and its refined products. This type of economy was built over a long period of time to its current state of prosperity. The pump is primed and runs well. It is a very large pump indeed.

What happens if oil stops flowing for a time? The economy basicly stops. When the economy stops then there is no surplus to use to buy oil when it becomes available again. The pump has lost its prime. The only way to reprime the pump is to recapitalize the economy, to restart it. But in doing this the capital (miraculously appearing) disappears as people in an economic shut down do not spend money they save it. As more and more money is poored into the economy it becomes appearant that the money is worthless and the price of oil and its products drasticly escalates basicly shutting off any recovery.

This is often done for nations which have been devistated by war. They are given money on loan through various international bodies. These loans are pretty much on bad terms and so the interest rate is abysmally high. The economy is shocked by the works projects and eventually rolls back into a depression again and is infused repeatedly with capital on loan at bad rates. Eventually a political rebellion occures and repudiates the debt (which was sold to unsuspective pension and insurance funds) which goes into default.

But what happens if there is no entity which is big enough to provide the 'prime' for the pump? What happens if the pumps of the world all lose prime at the same time? What happens when those economies which remain intact incure huge expenses due to lack of materials and energy products availablity?

What happens if the whole world loses prime???

-- ..- (dit@dot.dash), August 27, 1999


Well, the last time this happened, the world went to war with itself. War is a great way to reconfigure the pumps, and reduce some of the need for surplus. (by killing people)


-- (dot@dot.dot), August 27, 1999.

>> What happens if the whole world loses prime??? <<

So long as the wealth-producing infrastructure that uses oil is functional (even though it may not be functioning), then credit would be extended from the oil-producing nations to the rest of the world. They would "front" us the oil. We would use it to produce wealth and send back some of that wealth to the creditor nation. A lot like today, but at depressed levels.

It is not in the interest of any oil-producing nation to see the wealth-making machinery of the world, the "pump" as you called it, stay out of commission one minute longer than necessity imposes on them, any more than it is in the interest of the developed nations to see the oil stop flowing.

I think you would have to postulate a world in utter chaos, and death rates comparable to the Black Death, to get to a scenario where the oil consumers and the oil producers would stop moving heaven and earth to satisfy their mutual interests. What is Saudi Arabia without oil? Just sand and rocks.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), August 27, 1999.

Great points Brian, but Saudi Arabia seems to also be well behind the curve in their efforts to make their facilities compliant.

I think you would have to postulate a world in utter chaos, and death rates comparable to the Black Death, to get to a scenario where the oil consumers and the oil producers would stop moving heaven and earth to satisfy their mutual interests.

Scary, but is it really unrealistic? Especially since at the time of the "Black Death" the world wasn't as dependent on "artificial" measures to sustain it's population levels. Everything was in "balance" with nature.

Think about how much just oil and oil production are necessary to carry the current population levels. If the levels in production and availibility simply decrease in percentage then the world is held hostage. If the levels decrease say 50% then the world shuts down.

That is when war breaks out...and the horror of the Black Plague will look like a long holiday weekend.



-- Michael Taylor (mtdesign3@aol.com), August 27, 1999.

Time for a 'DEATH POLL'!

Of the 275 Million in USA, what will be the dieback?? Of the approx. 6(?) Billion people on the planet, what will be the dieback??

Keep in mind that China and India combined have about 2.6 Billion.

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in January.com), August 27, 1999.

>> Scary, but is it really unrealistic? <<

The only way to test its realism ahead of time is to chart out the path(s) from here to there and assign probabilities to each event in the chain of events required to get there. That is not easy to do, especially since no article in this thread has attempted to describe that chain of events, let alone the probabilities associated with it.

dit@dot.dash asked,"What happens if the oil stops flowing for a time?" This is a mighty imprecise premise.

I see very clearly that, if both crude oil and distillates were to stop production long enough for current stocks to be used up, down to the last 0.01%, then we'd see a catastrophe such as humanity has never witnessed before. Massive die-off. Technological devolution. The whole infomagic enchilada. I grant that one implies the other. It's a no-brainer.

I just want to hear a more complete analysis of *how* we get there than 'it could happen'. Sure, theoretically, it could. I want to hear more of the details of that theory and what it predicts, so I can evaluate it better. I don't feel it's worthwhile placing the *starting point* of the analysis at a premise so remote from where we are today. That makes it merely speculative fiction. A movie script. A sci-fi novel. A parlor game. That's nice, but it's just a harmless entertainment in my view, not a serious discussion.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), August 27, 1999.

please, no, K. Stevens.. remember, we're trying to hope for the best around here.

-- lisa (lisa@lisa.lisa), August 27, 1999.

Lisa, I'm only doing this as a response to the 'losing prime' subject. I respect your sentiments, and also feel that we should try to come to grips with something like the Navy report before it was spun. Over the last two weeks, my intuition has been suggesting that the situation will be WORSE here because instead of promoting from within, we radically downsized, hence the Knowledge Base is gone.

With just 75 workdays left 'till the End, and only 49 WORKDAYS left 'till Thanksgiving, it really must be done...NYC with no Power, water, sewage?? How do you relocate 7 MILLION residents?...more to the point, does New Jersey block the George Washington Bridge and both the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels?? New Jersey will be barely coping with it's own problems as the Refineries and Chemical plants blow!

We had better start asking now. It's VERY late in the game!

-- K. Stevens (kstevens@ It's ALL going away in January.com), August 27, 1999.

bold off

-- boldoff (boldoff@doit.com), August 27, 1999.

How does NJ block the GW Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels? I for one think they won't have to, Osama Bin Laden just might do the job for them, along with every other route into and out of Manhattan. That said, you also have to realize that NJ wouldn't follow that act up with a spraying of Anthrax onto the crowd of fools in Times Square.

Wanna take bets as to who couldn't be dragged alive to NYC for New Year's? Three hints and they all start with ME!


-- Wildweasel (vtmldm@epix.net), August 27, 1999.

A water well with a hand pump (from the days of my youth) always had a bucket that was to be "religiously" kept full for "priming the pump." Woe unto anyone that used that and didn't refill; it was a long walk to the creek. Now what would happen if the creek was dry? (Rhetorical question.)

-- A (A@AisA.com), August 28, 1999.

If I lose prime I IPL from the backup - only with y2k the backup will be enscrewed too...

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), August 28, 1999.

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