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Simon Michaux: “The Arcadian Blueprint”

April 26, 2023

(Conversation recorded on April 05th, 2022)

In this episode, Simon Michaux returns to discuss his new paper “A Resource Balanced Economy”, which outlines an alternative economic and social system. This conversation builds off of his two previous episodes on The Great Simplification, unpacking the ideas and tools that will be helpful in planning for an unknown future with more energy and material constraints. How can we be more intentional about the design of our technology to make products that are longer lasting and easier to reuse? How can we organize society to create resilient communities based around actual human needs, rather than endless efficiency geared towards growth? Can an ‘Arcadian Blueprint’ emerge, and at what scale, and by whom?

About Simon Michaux

Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy.

Watch on YouTube:

Show Notes & Links to Learn More:

00:10 – Simon Michaux  info + works, Part 1, Part 2, paper on the Resource Balanced Economy

02:01 – Be More Pirate

04:38 – Cocoon Weaver

04:51 – Hypnagogic State

08:00 – Complex adaptive systems

09:26 – Venus Project

10:40 – Circular Economy

13:56 – Bill Rees + TGS Episode

14:50 – Peak oil

14:52 – Art Berman + TGS Episodes part 1, part 2, and part 3

15:45 – ICE transport network

17:12 – Things made out of plastic can be made out of hemp

21:50 – 6 continent supply chain

22:57 – BASF Processing Plant

24:12 – Comparative Advantage

25:01 – Import Substitution

25:22 – Autarchy

26:39 – Advance Policy

28:30 – Biodiversity and resilience

35:29 – Complex alloys in the modern smartphone

36:19 – Gallium

27:35 – Metallurgy

37:55 – Actual rates of recycling of technology

41:16 – ChatGPT4

41:25 – Calls for ‘smart monitoring’ or resource consumption

42:26 – 4th Industrial Revolution

43:32 – Elysium

50:20 – Existing nuclear fuel cycle

50:32 – Thorium

50:50 – Small Modular Reactor

51:42 – Thorium Molten Salt Reactor

52:28 – Monazite sand

57:51 – Calorie trackers, carbon product trackers, energy product trackers

59:14 – Jacque Fresco

1:00:08 – Helsinki, city planning

1:02:04 – Trojan Horse

1:02:24 – Petrochemical Fertilizers

1:03:16 – Humans’ tribal nature

1:04:25 – Lebanon has 50% [youth] unemployment and 1000% inflation [on food]

1:05:01 – Hempcrete

1:10:30 – Pool pump

1:10:50 – Desert reclamation technology

1:11:43 – Case study of anthropologist in the amazon depositing orange rinds and reforestation


Teaser photo credit: Thomas Cole‘s The Arcadian or Pastoral State, 1834. By Thomas Cole – Explore Thomas Cole, Public Domain,

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.

Tags: circular economy, powering down, Resource Depletion