Sorry to disagree, but “ordinary middle class people” live lifestyles that encompass luxury beyond that available to royalty before the oil era. I’m not being a purist or PC … I teach energy, which is the powered needed to perform work over time, by definition. Get a calculator and run the numbers – an “average” 1000kW/hr per month electric energy useage costs about $100/mo for the ordinary consumer. Since humans can perform about 100 Watts of work per hour over 24 hours, a human can deliver 2.4kW/hrs of work per day. To get the same work from humans per day, 33.33kW/hrs, requires a daily staff of 14 people at 2.4kW/hrs per day per person. At minimum wage, $7.75 an hour, your energy cost would be $2600 a day. Think $4.00 per gallon gasoline is expensive? Go push an ordinary middle class American car about 15 miles.
“Ordinary” middle class life has been based on basically free energy for 100 years. That era of nearly free, reliable energy is drawing to a close right now. Ordinary middle class people who expect to continue living in a society based on free energy simply won’t be able to cope with such a rapid change en masse, and nobody’s remotely preparing them for the changes that will take place within the next generation. I don’t think it can be done, actually. People who get it are planning to take care of themselves, their families and their local communities when everyone finds themselves “off-grid.”
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