[p2p-research] Earth's carrying capacity and Catton

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 17 06:10:17 CEST 2009

No doubt solar has a great future ahead of itself,

but come on Paul, whenever did corporate press releases become accepted as
the truth,

if you want to engage with the serious critics, you have to come up with
third party material ...

corporate PR may not be outright and full lies, but they are 'massaged' are
they not, and unless there is transparency, difficult to verify,

you have a belief in abundance, which to my mind goes like this:

- abundance is a possiblity

- therefore achieving it is trivial

- but in fact, it's already there, could have been achieved decades ago

- so if it's not there, it because people are activitely fighting it,
including those who come with those pesky detailed questions ...

I suggest an other approach:

- there's a polarity  between abudance and scarcity, with many shades in
between, and we must carefully distinguish them; none of these distinctions
are purely objective, social structures, cultural constraints, political
struggles are involved in defining/achieving them

- every abundance creates its own scarcities ( such as mutual media creating
attention scarcity), and they need to be carefully assessed

- where abundance is possible: 1) how can it be engineered, which is a long
and messy business; 2) what are the politics in which this technology is
embedded, i.e. which actually determines which options are chosen and how

I feel that many of our discussions turn around because you proceed much as
the transhumanists do

there reasoning is mostly:

1) there are interesting technical and scientific leads and possiblities; 2)
let's assume they are all achieved together already, or just around the
corner; 3) therefore, there are no real problems in the world that could not
be solved soon by miracle transhumanist technologies

Again the reality there is: 1) there are interesting leads, but most of them
will never be achieved; and most of the assumptions of their achievement are
terribly reductionist and ir-realistic; 2) the ones that are achieved at all
it will be through a long social  and technical process of human adaptation;
3) real technologies exist today which could solve many human problems but
are not adopted because of value choices and the political weakness of the
majority who would benefit from them

There is a Pleasure principle of easily attaining a perfect world responding
to one's desires; and there's a Reality Principle, and between it, the
difficult path of Ananke ...

To me this means:

1) immaterial abundance could be achieved in many areas, but the hard and
continuous struggle for free culture shows many obstacles to that

2) the material world is determined by hard choices of cost-recovery and
resources that are mostly limited, and require abandoning any belief in
easily achieved permanent abundance and waste ... the very basis of infinite
growth thinking in capitalism; nevertheless, there is the objective
possiblity of giving the whole humanity a decent material basis, but again
this will not happen automatically ...

The argument that we can do this is powerful, and shows that social
structures are geared against it, and it shows how the latter must be
changed before achieving the former;

but the argument that natural abundance is just around the corner, because
of infinite oil and sunshine is fallacious, an expression of the pleasure

On Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 3:55 AM, Paul D. Fernhout <
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:

> Ryan Lanham wrote:
> > Paul Fernhout wrote:
>> Are you saying all these people are either stupid or lying?
>> >
>> Others here have brought up nanosolar claims.  So far they are hype.  No
>> science, no product.  If they produce something that comes in at a wide
>> scale implementation cost under 0.25 USD, I'll start to listen.  For now,
>> it
>> is lots of industrial waste, short-term burn out, and a lot of marketing
>> hype.
> So, this press release from 2007 is a lie?
> http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/nanosolar-begins-production-413/
> "Nanosolar said Tuesday it has begun production at its San Jose, Calif.,
> facility and has shipped its commercial thin-film panels to its first
> customer, Beck Energy."
> And they lie on their web site about shipping products?
>  http://www.nanosolar.com/products.htm
> """
> # Nanosolar Utility Panel™.
> Specifically designed for utility-scale power plants, Nanosolar Utility
> Panel™ is the industry-best solution for MW-sized PV systems.
> A high-power, high-current panel, the Nanosolar Utility Panel™ features
> proprietary cell and panel design innovations that enable our panel product
> to have an entire factor more power and to carry 5-10 times more current
> than typical thin-film panels.
> Available wholesale to select system integrators and electric utilities.
> # Nanosolar SolarPly™.
> Light-weight solar-electric cell foil which can be cut to any size.
> Non-fragile. No soldering required for electrical contact.
> Available wholesale to strategic partners.
> """
> And the people who just invested US$300 million dollars in them (beyond an
> earlier US$200 million) just now are just complete gullible idiots?
>  http://www.nanosolar.com/blog3/#post-138
> "As part of a strategic $300 million equity financing, Nanosolar has added
> new capital and brought its total amount of funding to date to just below
> half a billion U.S. dollars. ... Last December, we introduced the Nanosolar
> Utility Panel(TM) to enable solar utility power — i.e. giving utility-scale
> power producers the solar panel technology to build and operate cost
> efficient solar power plants. The tremendous demand for our unique product
> was matched by the desire to support us in scaling its availability even
> more rapidly and ambitiously. ... The new capital will allow us to
> accelerate production expansion for our 430MW San Jose factory and our 620MW
> Berlin factory. (Earlier, Nanosolar secured a 50% capex subsidy on its
> Germany based factory.)"
> OK, a lot of investors are sometimes idiots, I'll agree. :-)
> But then are the twenty jobs listed here perhaps just for show?
>  http://www.nanosolar.com/jobs.php
> So, let's say Nanosolar is just hype. Lots of companies have raise hundreds
> of millions or even billions on hype, sure, though generally in the dot com
> bubble. Lots of companies have shipped product that later were defective or
> that did not perform as expected. Anybody can put up a web site that says
> anything, especially a private company. OK, so for the sake of argument,
> let's say it is just hype.
> And let's say that the Google billionaires who funded Nansolar are unable
> to do any sort of due diligence like from using a search engine or hiring
> someone to do it for them. Billionaires invest in all sorts of nutty things
> like "Cheap Access to Space (CATS)" instead of "Design of Great Settlements
> (DOGS)". :-) And investing in green energy is, admittedly, great PR for
> Google. So, maybe it is just that.
> So, now that we have dismissed Nanosolar as hype, :-) consider what this
> publicly traded company (First Solar) is saying:
> http://www.firstsolar.com/company_overview.php
> "By enabling clean, renewable electricity at lower costs, First Solar is
> providing a sustainable alternative to conventional energy sources. This
> goal has driven First Solar to become one of the fastest growing
> manufacturers of solar modules in the world. First Solar FS Series 2 PV
> Modules represent the latest advancements in solar module technology, and
> are rapidly driving the cost of solar electricity to rates comparable with
> traditional fossil fuel-based energy sources."
> Sure, some weasel words there "comparable" and "rapidly". Could be twice as
> much in fifty years, right?
> Or pundits:
> http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08/cheaper-solar-panels-first-solar.php
> "The quest for inexpensive solar panels continues, with cadmium telluride
> generating enthusiasm among investors and hopeful followers of the advance
> of alternative energy technologies. Over at IEEE Spectrum, Richard Stevenson
> speculates that First Solar might beat over 80 competitors to achieve
> manufacturing costs low enough to market solar panels at less than $1 per
> Watt, the target considered necessary for solar to compete with coal-burning
> electricity on the grid."
> And they have 84 jobs listed here in our job-meltdown economy:
>  http://www.firstsolar.com/careers.php
> Is that because everyone is leaving First Solar too because of hype? :-)
> And while you are at it, you might as well edit their Wikipedia page to
> reflect whatever you know to be the correct figures for this part:
>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Solar
> """
> The manufacturing cost per watt reached $1.23 in 2007 and $1.08 in 2008. On
> February 24, 2009, the cost / watt broke the $1 barrier with .98 cents a
> watt. First Solar is contractually bound to reduce price per watt by 6.5%
> per year and plans to be competitive on an unsubsidized basis with retail
> electricity by 2010. [13]
> """
> From the referenced SEC document:
> http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1274494/000095015308000367/p75017e10vk.htm#111
> "Our objective is to become, by 2010, the first solar module manufacturer
> to offer a solar electricity solution that generates electricity on a
> non-subsidized basis at a price equal to the price of retail electricity in
> key markets in North America, Europe and Asia."
> So, are you are basically saying, all this is "Lies, ALL LIES", as Frau
> Farbissina did in Austin Powers? :-)
>  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nvuEw9XcuU
> If so, maybe you should go to the SEC with your misgivings about First
> Solar? :-)
> I know, they did not listen to several people about the Bernard Madoff
> Pyramid scheme either, so why bother, right? :-)
> And I know, we saw it all before in the 1980s with the failure (sabotage?)
> of Chronar, right? I literally was in a laundry room in some grad student
> housing at Princteton when someone who worked there told me about "short
> selling".
> http://www.theprojectasylum.com/electronicsprojects/chronarsolarpanel/chronarsolarpanel.html
> I still have one of their small panels for car battery trickle charging.
> http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-5467307_ITM
> "September 17, 1990 PRINCETON, N.J. - Without an immediate injection of
> cash, Chronar Corp. may be forced to suspend its operations and seek
> protection under federal bankruptcy laws. ..."
> People really seem determined to fight abundance to the end. :-(
> Fossil fuels have been a physically dirty business for a long time, but
> they have also been an economically dirty business for a long time. Why
> should now, at the end, be any different?
> --Paul Fernhout
> http://www.pdfernhout.net/
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