Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

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Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:09 am

This column is archived at: http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2014/0711.shtml

With economic, political and environmental pressures rising at an increasing rate across the globe, is NASA's prediction that we're facing a meltdown of civilization likely to come true in the near future?

Are all civilizations destined to burn themselves out for the very reasons that NASA presents?

Will the great unwashed of the Western world eventually say "enough" and rebel (perhaps violently) against the increasing levels of oppression, surviellance and loss of rights that are being foisted on them by the governments they have elected to *serve*?

Your predictions?
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby goosemoose » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:41 am

I have zero trust in the authorities. None whatsoever. Thats sad. I used to think the govt was there to help the people, same as the cops. Thats been proven to be wrong. Extremely wrong.

I think more than an outward revolution they'll be a silent one that could be just as effective. Any interaction with the govt from me will get the minimum of information thats required, less than they want or expect and I will do my best to obfuscate that info. I'm not adverse to doing "favours", be it for a side of lamb or the borrowing of a tractor or some such barter, when I know that if those favours went through the correct channels there's every chance that information will end in the hands of the IRS, more than likely the justification being stopping terrorism financing. Either that or used to fund a corporate bought law. We're effectively being taxed to fund our own demise.

As for the "she'll be right" attitude, hopefully it will stay. Come the revolution we can then tell the scumbags as they're lead to the wall that "no worries, she'll be right".
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby hagfish » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:47 am

It certainly seems to be a 'perfect storm' that's brewing.

There are a bunch of factors that are 'real':
- Climate change
- Population growth
- Resource depletion (including soil fertility, fossil fuels, minerals, fish)
- Pollution (crap in the oceans/rivers/aquifers, hundreds of nuclear reactors)
- Water management
- Increasing consumption of energy and resources per capita
EDIT - the old-person-pocalypse

Each of these is a significant problem, but we have to solve ALL of them.

Some factors are 'cultural constructs', but will also cause problems:
- Debt, and the financial sector in general (the crash that seems to be looming once the QE music stops)
- Religious divisions
- Warfare
- Slavery (ie NOT being able to get a pair of jeans for $10 at K-Mart any more)

The cultural problems could mostly be 'fixed by lunchtime' if there was the will to do so. Most of them stem from the problems above. The other problems are going to take a little more effort. As long as we keep framing them in economic terms ('this will cost $x billion to fix etc) we are just patting at it. It's not a matter of shareholder value - it's a matter of survival.

People talk about 'saving the planet' - what we really mean is 'saving our western consumer lifestyle'. I think our lifestyle will be one of the first things to go, because it's propped up by oil and slavery. I would have loved to see a self-driving car or a cure for cancer, but it won't be happening on this planet.

'Money' is only useful when there's stuff in the shops. 'Property' is only as good as your ability to exclude other people from it. When you pick up the phone to call 111 and there's no dial-tone, you are no longer a property owner.

I think it's time to learn how to give basic medical care, and get to know our neighbours. Guns will be about as much use as money - it's our community that will see us through to whatever the future holds.
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby Kiwiiano » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:08 am

hagfish wrote:It certainly seems to be a 'perfect storm' that's brewing.

There are a bunch of factors that are 'real':
- Climate change
- Population growth
- Resource depletion (including soil fertility, fossil fuels, minerals, fish)
- Pollution (crap in the oceans/rivers/aquifers, hundreds of nuclear reactors)
- Water management
- Increasing consumption of energy and resources per capita

Each of these is a significant problem, but we have to solve ALL of them.
[beeep]
'Money' is only useful when there's stuff in the shops. 'Property' is only as good as your ability to exclude other people from it. When you pick up the phone to call 111 and there's no dial-tone, you are no longer a property owner.

I think it's time to learn how to give basic medical care, and get to know our neighbours. Guns will be about as much use as money - it's our community that will see us through to whatever the future holds.


You sure slobbered a bib-full Hagfish. Lined the ducks up nicely. I'd add learning horticulture to the medical care or at least stockpiling books on the subject and hand tools in general. I lurched toward protest re property & guns, but on reflection guns are only useful if you have the ammo and there are an awful lot of tomorrows. A strong community is better, in both knowledge and physical strength.

Given the way humans usually work, I wouldn't be surprised if a robber baron structure arose out of the ashes.....but there's a lot of possible alternatives.

For those wondering about "ashes" and the inevitable collapse of 'civilization', I can suggest reading back through The Archdruid Report;
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz
In spite of appearances, he is a pretty savvy historian who has been studying the ways past civilizations faltered and there is apparently a remarkable consistency in the way they collapse. He has pointed out that the ducks of our fall are also lined up nicely and beclaiming "it's different this time" won't work. It never did in the past, there's no reason to suppose it will this time.

I just popped over to The Archdruid and by coincidence this week's offering is on this very subject. To quote.....
Archdruid wrote:Arnold Toynbee, whose magisterial writings on history have been a recurring source of inspiration for this blog, has pointed out an intriguing difference between the way civilizations rise and the way they fall. On the way up, he noted, each civilization tends to diverge not merely from its neighbors but from all other civilizations throughout history. Its political and religious institutions, its arts and architecture, and all the other details of its daily life take on distinctive forms, so that as it nears maturity, even the briefest glance at one of its creations is often enough to identify its source.

Once the peak is past and the long road down begins, though, that pattern of divergence shifts into reverse, slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. A curious sort of homogenization takes place: distinctive features are lost, and common patterns emerge in their place. That doesn’t happen all at once, and different cultural forms lose their distinctive outlines at different rates, but the further down the trajectory of decline and fall a civilization proceeds, the more it resembles every other civilization in decline. By the time that trajectory bottoms out, the resemblance is all but total; compare one postcollapse society to another—the societies of post-Roman Europe, let’s say, with those of post-Mycenean Greece—and it can be hard to believe that dark age societies so similar could have emerged out of the wreckage of civilizations so different.


I guess once the trappings of civilization fall away, we're left with basic humanity, the lowest common denomination.
~ Kiwiiano
“I'm not a total idiot. Parts of me are missing!”
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby hagfish » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:40 am

Kiwiiano wrote:For those wondering about "ashes" and the inevitable collapse of 'civilization', I can suggest reading back through The Archdruid Report; http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz


Well that was sobering :/ I still think there's a division between physical problems like sea-level rise, and political problems like wealth distribution. The 1% (or more properly, the 0.01%) seem to be about to suffer from a 'Tragedy of the Commons'-type situation. You can push the rest of us only so far, before we can no longer afford the houses, cars, TVs, or even the burgers. When no one is buying, no one is selling or manufacturing. This is good news for the environment - lots of worrying graphs peak at around 2008, when Wall Street took our toys away. I think in the long run, it's also self-correcting, even if you don't go for a French-style revolution.

Kiwiiano wrote:I lurched toward protest re property & guns, but on reflection guns are only useful if you have the ammo and there are an awful lot of tomorrows.

Once the tins of baked beans have all run out, I think the future will be more Amish, than Mad Max. We'll see.
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby rossnixon » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:43 am

Yes Bruce.
This has all been planned by the evil power-hungry elite. I've known about this since Gary Allen's 1972 book. Free small PDF version http://www.thestorageroom.com/ndcc.htm
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:52 am

More evidence of the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the USA and Germany:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eur ... story.html
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby Screw » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:23 am

And where are the Students? They were always at the forefront of the protests that eventually rolled onto change.

Oh Dear, they are now safely ensconced within the walls learning how to be crooked business leaders and tax dodgers, the very people that have created the problems we now face.
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby latewings » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:23 pm

My two cents.

The problem with revolution is everyone wants change, but no-one really knows what they want to change to. What you end up with can often be worse than what you started with, as subversive elements take control in the power vacuum left behind.

French revolution. 1789- 1799 started off well when the Ancient Regime was overthrown and changes were implemented, but ended up with a reign of terror and a few more overthrows before things settled down.
Tsarist Revolution(s). Like the French version, the top was swept aside and it took a few more years of overthrow before things somewhat settled, although Stalin lead Russia wasn't exactly a nice place to live.
In the mean time there was a war to end all wars. Out of that mess came the Versailles Treaty that punished Germany rather severely. The polite Germans wanted a good leader and got one they thought was ok in the 1930's. Went downhill a bit after that.
Romania in 1988 wasn't too hot. Nicolae Ceaușescu was a bit annoying. Dec 25th 1989 wasn't a good christmas for him. For the people things didn't really improve much as the power vacuum sucked in the same types of leaders.
The Phillipines 1986. The Marcos family didn't do to well out of that one, but generally the country didn't suffer as badly as others had.

Then you have the Middle East uprisings and the multiple overthrows that occurred (and might yet recur).

So in general a revolution seems like a grand idea. In practice it's proved to never really change things for the better too quickly.

Now however consider a good old fashioned war. Common enemy of a country, people band together. Good scrap, lots of death and destruction. Governments spend up large on the war machine. Hardship, austerity all round. Post war recovery, peace and prosperity reigns again with a new generation. That ain't going to happen again though, the appetite for war on a world level has gone.

So we're really stuck with what we have. And is what we have (comparatively) all that bad, or do I just have rose tinted glasses on?
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Re: Are we on the edge of a cataclysm? (11 Jul, 2014)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:30 pm

What we have may not be all that bad... but it's decidedly headed in the wrong direction and, unless that direction is changed, pretty soon it *will* be "all that bad" and worse.

I hate to blow my own trumpet again but here are my solutions to the various problems (at least in NZ):

1. Political issues: Implement Recoverable Proxy so as to install checks and balances that leave the ultimate power in the hands of citizens by way of what becomes an effective veto against the politicians exceeding their mandate.

2. Environmental issues: decentralise our industries and population. Get people out of Auckland and back into the regions. Electrify the railway system and focus on shifting commodity-based businesses to towns along that line -- this will take the pressure of Auckland and other large urban centres.

3. Economic: Invest in an indigenous EV industry here in NZ so that our surplus of electricity can be used to slow the outflow of money that currently buys fossil fuels from overseas. The EV industry would also employ people, reduce the environmental impact of our passenger fleet and potentially create further export opportunities. Also, give all our startup industries some *real* help by offering a non-transferrable over-unity tax credit for R&D spending.

There's heaps more -- but those are some of the cornerstones of my manifesto ;-)
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