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We should not take economic growth as normal in the age of "oil peak" and beyond

[Note: This page is a "stub" under construction. I plan to expand this into an opinion piece as the title suggests, but I am not sure when I can achieve it. ]
[Note in advance: When I revise this page, I may not include precise notices about what parts have been here from the beginning and what parts have been added during revisions.]

I think that the works of Robert Ayres (web site and his colleague Benjamin Warr are important in demostrating that economic growth is crucially dependent on growth in energy resource consumption in the current economic system.

In economic modeling, there has been efforts to express production (GDP) as a function of labor and capital, but those had very large residuals that has been considered something to do with technology. It seems that economic growth depend more on this residual than on labor and capital. Ayres and Warr examined data on energy resource consumption of the USA and Japan in the 20th Century, and found that the residual is largely explained by the amount of energy resource effectively used.

(I was introduced to the works of Ayres and Warr by the book on the oil peak by Strahan (2007). I do not buy the conspiracy theory about the Iraq war in the Chapter 1 of Strahan's book, but I like the rest.)


  • Robert U. AYRES and Benjamin WARR, 2002: Accounting for Growth: The Role of Physical Work. INSEAD Working Paper 2002/70/EPS/CMER. (PDF file at )
  • Robert U. AYRES and Benjamin WARR, 2005: Accounting for growth: The role of physical work. Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 16, 181 - 209.
  • Robert U. AYRES and Benjamin WARR, 2009: The Economic Growth Engine: How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity. Cheltenham Glos. UK: Edward Elgar, 411 pp. [My note in Japanese]
  • David STRAHAN, 2007 (paperback 2008): The Last Oil Shock -- A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man. London: John Murray, 290 pp. [My note in Japanese]