Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Post-peak Italy: the decline continues

Oil consumption in Italy in million tons. From "MondoElettrico"

Italy's free fall continues. The most recent data indicate that oil consumption keeps going down. Oil and gas together have peaked around 2004 and continue the downward trend, as shown in the graph below, (From "Resource Crisis")

Italy is in full collapse, with all economic and financial indicators in decline. Industries are closing down and restaurants are opening; the system is trying to adapt by tapping the remaining available resources in the form of foreign tourists. Outside the main touristic centers, however, the crisis is clearly detectable. Shops are closing down, traffic is slowing down, unemployed people are everywhere and you can't miss their presence among friends and acquaintances; especially young people.

At the same time, there is a sensation of ghostliness around, as if everything we are seeing were unreal, happening somewhere else and to someone else. It is as if it were something you watch on TV, but not in real life. The debate in the press and on the web is detached from anything connected with the loss of the capability of the country to move and produce goods. When the crisis is mentioned, different culprits periodically appear in the first pages of the newspapers: the Euro, the European Union, politicians, immigrants, government employees, bureaucracy, lazy workers, terrorism, femicide, Angela Merkel, Valdimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, and more. It is a cycle that never stops, it keeps turning, every time pointing at something - new or old - that the government will target to solve the crisis once and for all. 

And it keeps going. 


  1. Do you think the current low oil prices will make any difference?

    1. Difficult to think that anything could be worse than the present situation. But if low oil prices bring a global recession, yes, it could be worse

    2. Ugo,

      I think declining oil price *is* a sign of recession - debt deflation I would say. I was in Milano few weeks ago - still a terrible amount of cars on the streest, like there is no (climate and energy) tomorrow... so what to do?

      In other news, I read SUVs have become a GLOBAL star... everybody wants them! What a world are we living in?



  2. As a native of Italy who hasn't lived in Italy for over fifty years but has maintained an emotional attachment to the country and to many people there and also has tried to keep up with events and developments in the country over the years it really saddens me to read that things have come to this point in Italy. I have faith in the intelligence, ingenuity and civility of the Italian people and really hope that they will be able to find a way out of this and some good ways forward. Naturally things are a total mess in many other places too so in that respect Italy and Italians are not alone. Max Iacono

  3. Actually, this provides the best explanation for the current low oil prices. Demand Destruction is outpacing supply shut in, and there is an overall glut of Oil as a result. Italy is only one example, I am certain the graphs are similar for Spain, Portugal et al, and probably now France and Germany will be joining them.
    I'll publish this on the Diner tomorrow.

    Folks here might also be interested in the latest Rant, Technophilia. It's an examination of the myth of Technology as a savior for resource depletion issues. Also up in a couple of hours.


  4. at least italy is doing something about climate change. :/

  5. Nobody blame president obola? Americas feelings R hurt.

  6. This post can also explains the situation in Spain, same problems.

  7. Recession is nowadays an international problem I think. Italy has the chance to be a gorgeous country to visit and spend vacation, so at least tourism is not hurt !

  8. Traducción al español

    La Caída libre de Italia continúa. Los datos más recientes indican que el consumo de petróleo sigue bajando. Petróleo y gas juntos han alcanzado su punto máximo alrededor de 2004 y continúan con la tendencia a la baja, como se muestra en el gráfico siguiente, (De "Crisis de Recursos")


    Italia está en colapso completo, con todos los indicadores económicos y financieros en declive. Industrias están cerrando y restaurantes se están abriendo; el sistema está tratando de adaptarse tocando los recursos disponibles restantes en forma de turistas extranjeros. Fuera de los principales centros turísticos, sin embargo, la crisis es claramente detectable. Las tiendas están cerrando, el tráfico se está desacelerando, los desempleados están en todas partes y no te puedes perder su presencia entre amigos y conocidos; especialmente a los jóvenes.

    Al mismo tiempo, hay una sensación de fantasmal alrededor, como si todo lo que estamos viendo fuera eran irreal, y sucediendo en otro lugar y con otra persona. Es como si se tratara de algo que se ve en la televisión, pero no en la vida real. El debate en la prensa y en la web se separa de todo lo relacionado con la pérdida de la capacidad del país para moverse y producir bienes. Cuando se menciona la crisis, diferentes culpables aparecen periódicamente en las primeras páginas de los periódicos: el euro, la Unión Europea, los políticos, los inmigrantes, los empleados del gobierno, la burocracia, los trabajadores perezosos, el terrorismo, el femicidio, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, y más. Es un ciclo que nunca se detiene, sigue girando, cada vez que señala en algo - nuevo o viejo - que el gobierno se centrará en resolver la crisis de una vez por todas.

    Y sigue adelante.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)