Thursday, April 28, 2022

"Will anyone tell Europe the age of cheap living is over?"

First up, a stroll down Memory Lane. From the World Economic Forum, November 11, 2016:

Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much....


The WEF pulled this page from their site, but a couple of the archives captured it

And from The Times von London, April 26:

In supermarkets across Europe food prices tick upwards almost every week. The war in Ukraine adds more pain to already sharply rising energy bills. Inflation instantly wipes out the gains of those lucky enough to receive a pay rise.

As public anger rises over the cost-of-living crisis, and governments try to offset the damage, senior European officials say something different. They say that the Continent must accept that the two necessities of life — food and fuel — have been far too cheap for a generation, and national leaders must be prepared to risk a political backlash and tell voters the truth.....
....The European Commission, which sets key energy policies across the European Union, sees the higher bills as a long overdue and unavoidable reckoning with reality.

Diederik Samsom, chief of staff for Frans Timmermans, the commission’s executive vice-president responsible for energy policy, warned that the previous low cost of living came at the expense of the environment and depended on imports of Russia’s fossil fuels.

Samsom admitted that “no one dares to say out loud” to voters that past living standards were unsustainable and that higher prices will be permanent.

“Yes, energy will be much more expensive as of now. Energy was way too cheap for the last 40 years,” he told a recent meeting of Brussels policymakers at the Bruegel think tank, urging governments to confront “taboos”.

“We have profited from it and created enormous wealth at the expense of planet Earth and, as we realise right now, at the expense of geopolitical imbalances [with dependency on Russia]. Both need to be repaired. In order to repair them we need to pay more for energy — and also for food. The two basic needs of life — food and energy — we have paid way too little for in the past 40 years.”....


And back to the WEF, January 19, 2017:

What If: Privacy Becomes a Luxury Good?

For what it is worth France's Paris Basin may contain as much as a billion barrels of oil (with associated gas) but it is trapped and would need to be fracked open, so probably a non-starter.