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« Still Watching the Political Circus | Main | What Can the Next President Do? »

September 22, 2012


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jim MacInnes

always enjoy reading your comments. See you at the UVM Biophysical economics conference. Here's my book review of EWON

Ugo Bardi

Hi, George. I translated a snippet of your post on an Italian blog; here

All the best!

step back

We have entered the age of "SPOUTR" politics.

SPOUTR= Sweep Peak Oil Under The Rug

If you are part of the 47% experiencing the shrinking part of the pie then Republicans will tell you that you are "lazy" and a moocher. Democrats will tell you that you need to re-educate yourself for the "New Economy".

These are simply different ways of convincing the victims that they "had it coming" and it's their own darn fault.

Blame the victim is a very old mind game.

Aboc Zed

i only have one question:

which programming language is the syntax of the title?


i did not do programming for ages ...

J. Kallestad

"A healthy economy creates jobs and lets everyone consume to their hearts' contents. Consumption means demand. Demand drives the economy to grow. THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE ABSOLUTELY STUPIDEST MODEL THAT EVER EXISTED! There is no rational way on Earth that anyone can justify this notion of infinite growth.

So they don't. They just keep mouthing the rhetoric over and over. And the masses just soak it up mindlessly."

I agree in part that there are plenty of "mindless" individuals who are impressionable or more loyal to group-think than to their own soul, but there are, I believe, more people who find themselves befuddled by the complexity, helpless and therefore hopeless to imagine a different way, or a completely rational way out of our current predicament...myself included. In what age has the polical system, or institutional economics provided a clear vision of a path to security or prosperity or justice? It's voices like your own that make people think about their life and make changes. It was the Occupy movement that made me give BOA the heave ho. It's the awareness of worsening climate change that makes me ride to work on a bike, and not buy the flatscreen. It's awareness about the insideous poisoning of our food supply with pesicide residues and herbicide resisitant varieties that has pushed me to buy organic and local food. The rest is faith and hope against all odds that if I stay true to this path, and there are enough of the other 'non-mindless' people doing the same, that some small incremental change to a more sustainable future will be promoted. Not to believe in this is to embrace absurdity. Yes, winter is near, and we ALL deserve a good chill.

George Mobus


Great. See you there.

Nice review too. Everyone should read it and then go get Charlie's and Kent's book!


Thanks. I guess the Borg are the ultimate consumers!


Thanks for the link.


That was a C-like statement. Please forgive my impish geekism. It came to me in a moment of mirth. Something hard to come by these days!


One of the reasons I still push ahead with systems science is precisely to combat mindlessness! I am not calling people stupid. Rather I am in agreement with you that many people are swamped with future shock just due to the seeming complexities of life. What systems science (and thinking) can do for one is help organize the complexity into manageable structures.

But, that said, there are going to be so many more people in this world who never do get a systems science education sufficient to allow them to become mindful of the interconnections between things in our world.

In what age has the polical system, or institutional economics provided a clear vision of a path to security or prosperity or justice?

An excellent question. My attempt at an answer would be "there never has been such a time!" But that is what we could evolve toward in the future under the right circumstances. That is what our evolution toward eusociality is actually all about.

I plan on writing more on this soon. I've just finished E.O. Wilson's new book, "The Social Conquest of Earth" and it has inspired me to provide more details on why the evolution of sapience is the mechanism by which eusociality was coming about in humans. Keep a weather eye out for it.



You don't have to be a "systems scientist" (which obviously I AM NOT) to realize that infinite growth in a finite system is a logical impossibility. No, people are not "stupid," but they ARE willfully ignorant.


If you liked The Social Conquest of Earth you would probably also like Wired for Culture by Mark Pagel.


The education system is inadequate by design.
The politicians are marionettes.

We live in a profoundly hierarchical social structure and the upper crust would be crazy to educate the lower tiers to a level of competency that would allow them to climb to their level. The goal is to keep the lowers where they are or even push them down the pyramid.

George Carlin pretty much sums it up here and funny too.

Robin Datta

Dr. Mobus, are you preaching to the choir, crying in the wilderness, or hoping to convert some passerby? Or perhaps all three? Nevertheless, thank you for speaking out.

George Mobus


You are probably more of a systems scientist than you imagine! But you are right. There are a lot of people who just refuse to think of the implications of growth, preferring to think, I suppose, that we should just keep it going as long as they are alive!

Maybe not stupid. But definitely not wise.


Thanks for the tip.


I've seen the Carlin clip. This is one of those areas where it is really hard to say which is cause and which is effect. In my mind the masses are essentially co-conspirators with the elite in a kind of mutually beneficial social contract. After all, the lower classes have gotten a lot of stuff by playing along with the system. Where I think things started going wrong was when the elites started sensing that the insane growth scenario was grinding to a halt (I'm not suggesting they actually understood this, only that they intuited something was amiss). In response they have tried to keep the illusion alive through debt financing but also they made the mistake of leveraging their own positions with greater disparity between themselves and the lower classes. Result: growing unrest as it becomes clear to the lower classes that the elites are not playing the game by the agreed upon rules.


Basically I write for myself. By writing I can expose my thoughts to the light of day and my own reflection on them. I have no desire to preach, cry, or convert anyone. That others, like yourself provide commentary and additional insights is just a benefit of this blog platform.

What I do know is that there are a large and growing number of regular readers with whom my writing seems to resonate. Perhaps this work provides a voice of some kind to them.



First I hate the term "elite" because it implies a superiority by virtue which is definitely not the case. I prefer a group of despots (I wish I could find a plural form)
As to Panem et circeses no argument there.
It has been a game of give the masses what they clamor for and now it is running out.
The despots didn't "intuit" anything. This is all by design to impoverish as many as fast as possible and make them totally dependent on the "system".
That makes it very easy to control and prevent any violent blow back and also to cull as needed. They can simply stop the supply chains food, water.
They are evil and mentally ill and unfortunately our system is structured such that the bad guy always wins. So over time the most ruthless psychopaths will concentrate at the top of the hierarchy. All that concerns them is playing games against each other at the highest levels of society and the "people" are merely livestock... pawns on the chessboard.
Sorry to rant and sound like Alex Jones but the more I watch this mess the more I think that most of what I wrote above is correct.


One more thing; I have been directing many younger people to your blog. You know I sample and participate on quite a few blogs and I have to give you the compliment of being by far the best on the web.
Like I mentioned before I want my son to be educated by you and others like you.
He is 14 now and I would love to have him check out The University of Washington and particularly the new Systems Science program that you are standing up.
Personally I am about to get completely liquid and will have the time and the resources to enroll myself but I am 52 and I am not sure I could be admitted since it would seem that a younger student would have many more years to contribute to society than I would.
I studied Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering both on the BS level but I am really a life long autodidact and learned most of what I know after I graduated from the University of Rhode Island.
This is probably an inappropriate post but I just feel compelled to laud your efforts and keen powers of observation and articulation.OK I have patted you on the back enough.
Keep it up George!!

George Mobus

Hi Porge and thanks for the endorsement. Either a systems engineering track in computer engineering, or a systems science program (or both) should be up and running about the time your son is ready. Unless I get hit by a Mack truck!


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