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« Are we seeing the impending implosion of public higher education? | Main | The Economy Is Energy »

November 05, 2010

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Robin Datta

The basic concept "the current so called growth in GDP that everyone thinks signals that we are out of recession will be mostly accounted for by financial institutions continuing their former creation of paper wealth (with no backing in hard asset values)" is not understood by those who most need to understand it - not just a pity, but an unmitigatid disaster. As corroborative evidence, one has only to look at commodity prices: they are playing catch up, and their remarkable run-up to date is but a shadow of the changes they presage.

"But again I say, this is largely our own faults." That is why James Howard Kunstler titles his blog

colinc

In a country [allegedly] "governed" by "majority rule," what happens when "the majority" is nothing more than an ignorant, ill-informed, individually self-absorbed and self-deluded, irrational and unreasonable rabble?

I've been asking people that question for more than a decade. Of course, most people think I'm 1) crazy, 2) one o' them-thar "elites," 3) some [insert-expletive-here], or all of the above... which only adds evidence for my supposition. "Collapse" is NOT something that MAY/WILL happen... it's happening NOW and accelerating exponentially!!

Perhaps what is left of our species will ACTUALLY learn something over the coming thousand years of darkness... but I doubt it!

Jay

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of conservatism if you believe that conservatives think "people are basically lazy and shifty."

In fact, conservatives believe quite the opposite, that left alone, people will make decisions that are in their own rational self-interest, and that groups of people, all acting in their self-interest, will drive behaviors accordingly, and that those behaviors are generally, good.

If we believed people were shifty and lazy, the basis for conservatism would be completely invalid, and you'd have that dichotomy that you speak of.

Whatever gave you this idea? Watching MSNBC?

Molly Radke

Excellent post, as usual. And alas, I find your arguments "correct," as in accurate, clear and relatively inarguable. Have recently been reading Chris Hedges' Empire of Illusion, and I recommend it with a certain depressed enthusiasm. Among other prescient arguments, he points out that "studying" politics in this strange, profoundly ignorant land, is rather like watching a professional wrestling match. We live in the land of illusion and REFUSE to recognize it as such. Excellent read.

John Dyer

Excellent post, one of the best summaries of our situation I have ever read. One thing that bothers me is that I have intuitively understood the concept that perpetual compound growth can only lead to collapse since I was a teenager (I am now in my mid-fifties). After spending years discussing this with people, I am resigned to the fact that you either 'get it' or you don't. Jimmy Carter was the only president we ever had who 'got it', and he was ridiculed as our worst president ever.

Phil Henshaw

George, You keep saying things like "I'm afraid I don't see any kind of solution on the horizon." I think referring to our societal mass psychosis "belief in infinite improvement (progress)". Have you ever noticed my having pointed to the various critical responses (choices) that natural systems *must make* to survive their explosive origins?

We could consider what making some of them would mean, for example, to consider what surviving our own explosive origins would be like, for one thing. Wouldn't that constitute something in the way of a "solution on the horizon"?

The things on my list overlap with what seems to be on your list a good bit. I too am having difficulty getting the concepts across, to people who seem perfectly intelligent, and surely self-interested in the outcome. You and others show a real hesitancy about trying to understand how natural complex systems succeed in changing form to survive their initial dead end growth process. Everything in nature starts with one if you take the time to study were complexly organized systems come from.

Why not consider the financial choice any market economy must make at physical growth limits, for example? That would be a good start. I've pointed it out many times I think, the thing Keynes discovered, that there is a natural limit to productive investment. It's a perfect logical certainty that the global pool of investment funds will stop accumulating, and either because net returns are spent or because they go to zero. Which one would you choose?

http://synapse9.com/blog/2010/04/01/keynes-widows-cruse-compulsive-capitalism-v-natural-growth/

George Mobus

Robin,

That is why I do not worry about reaching the masses and convincing them to change anything. They can't. They are incapable of understanding. Only the sapient will do so!

George

George Mobus

Colinic,

They will learn if the survivors are the more sapient and progenitors of a more sapient species of humanity. But the initial survival is the question. How can we ensure that the most sapient among us makes it through the evolutionary bottleneck?

George

George Mobus

Jay,

Whatever gave you this idea? Watching MSNBC?

No, having been a conservative many years ago and the book I mentioned in the text. Also personal observations of many conservatives nowadays. Conservatives do believe in a class system and that is based on the idea that there is a large base of the population who are inadequately prepared to make good decisions (a position I have to agree with but not for ideological reasons.) Read the book if you don't believe me!

George

George Mobus

Molly,

Sounds like a good read. I have put it in my wish list at Amazon. Thanks.

George

George Mobus

Hi John D.

Jimmy Carter certainly got the energy picture better than any president we've ever had. His short comings were in the fact that he told the American people (who were and are spoiled) that they couldn't have it all without consequences. They didn't like what he had to say.

George

George Mobus

Phil,

Have you ever noticed my having pointed to the various critical responses (choices) that natural systems *must make* to survive their explosive origins?

Well, I think I have. But then when you say:

We could consider what making some of them would mean, for example, to consider what surviving our own explosive origins would be like, for one thing. Wouldn't that constitute something in the way of a "solution on the horizon"?

I don't see how this is different from saying "We could do something about the problem if only we'd just ..." Fill in an action plan.

The problem that I am addressing is the fact that while we COULD do these things, the fact is that we humans simply won't because we are not sufficiently sapient. Thus any feasible solution crumbles in the face of inability for humans to grasp reality and actually choose to do something about their own failings.

The "solution" for me is just simply evolution. Some small segment of humanity does, in fact, have an adequate level of sapience (genetically wired in) to adapt to the future (rapidly approaching) selection forces and will get through the bottleneck and form the basis of a future species of humanity. At least that is my hope.

George

colinc

How can we ensure that the most sapient among us makes it through the evolutionary bottleneck?

I've been thinking about that question for at least a couple of years and have concluded, in short, no such assurance is possible. In fact, I've thought of only 1 way that has only slightly more than a 50% chance of success save for one paramount factor. That is, everyone across the entire planet must cooperate rather than compete. That singular rub reduces that probability to zero!

Moreover, there are so many other factors I don't see anyone, anywhere, even mentioning, each "calamitous" in its own right, that I can only see the coming bottleneck being nothing less than "severe," i.e. >99% reduction. For anyone to survive beyond 2050, let alone 2100, will only be a matter of profound and extraordinary luck! Alas, I can't see the consequence of that leading to anything other than greater indoctrination of baseless beliefs and mystical mumbo-jumbo. Down that path lays only darkness.

George Mobus

Colinc,

There are some efforts underway to increase the probability of more sapient beings surviving the bottleneck. No on knows for sure if it will work. But if it did...

George

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