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Systemic Collapse: The Basics

Discussion in 'world politics, current affairs and news' started by Falcon, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Yeah, load of rubbish aren't they?

    I mean, all that guff about the destruction of the second temple, the expulsion of the Jews from Israel, their two millennia of persecution and eventual triumphant return.... what a lot of nonsense that turned out to be eh?

    And as for all that garbage about the last battle taking place in some godforsaken village called Armageddon (Meggido) which happens to be right on the border of the Israeli-occupied territories... well how likely does that look? Yeah right, pigs might fly etc.
  2. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

  3. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    How can you tell the difference?
  4. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

    From the pixels
    yield likes this.
  5. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    I can only repeat. If you take your prophesies from books written by people living in the Middle East, you'll find that they take place in the Middle East. Strangely enough, the divine information about the future that they were privy to never included stuff about undiscovered lands. It only told them about places they already knew about. Odd that, eh?
  6. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Its good to be aware of neo-malthusian influences and all the other baggage that comes with this topic.

    Its not good if that enables an easy blindspot in regard to a variety of very real resource issues that quite likely go beyond this simply being a crisis of capitalism. Its not going to be at all easy to keep a balanced eye on all these different aspects as they rub against each other in the decades to come.

    As for a remake of Soylent green, sure, why not, in some ways its been a bit like the 1970s again for some years now. Its quite possible to look at recent decades and think that what we face today is the same problem as reared its ugly head in the 1970's, but ways were found to delay the crisis and enable the capitalist party to carry on swinging for a few more decades. Perhaps we can pull off such a stunt again, but to take this as a given is silly.
  7. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Yes. And if you look around the world at the various flashpoints where the final conflict is likely to erupt, you'll find that they are all located in the Middle East.

    Funny that innit.
  8. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

    So, who's going to win the Grand National?
  9. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    The bookies.
  10. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    Not really. 100 years ago, the place that was about to erupt was Europe. 50 years ago, the focus of global conflict was seen by most people to be across the Iron Curtain.
  11. ItWillNeverWork

    ItWillNeverWork outlook innacurate

  12. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Thats a fair point which certainly explains why impending dooms of the past did not come to be.

    I certainly don't rule out some new stuff opening up a world of new possibilities. However, I find it impossible not to be concerned when I look at what scientific progress has actually consisted of in the last 60 years.Its largely been about new and interesting ways to exploit hydrocarbons, and nowhere near enough signs of interesting new practical and scaleable applications of nuclear or sub-atomic physics. Its certainly possible to look at genetic stuff as having some potential to mitigate against things like lack of pesticides, or that we may be able to grow more medicines. A breakthrough could happen at any moment, especially when the will and desperate need comes to the fore, but we can't bank on it.

    Our failure to progress further into space at a reasonable rate, including the exploitation of substances that are not from this planet, could be seen as one rather obvious failure of reality to keep up with our expectations.

    If I had to guess right now, Id say that science is going to fill the gap on its own, we are also going to require a dramatic change of ideas, priorities, economics etc. Information technology has progressed quite well in recent decades, and thats likely to factor into all of this somehow, so long as we don't go off on a road of doom. For me doom, destruction and a return to primitive life are not certain destinations, the resource stats on their own don't lead us to that point. But a combination of resource issues and exceedingly poor human response (e.g. plenty of war) could, in theory. Don't expect everyone to buy into this at this point, don't mind if people point and laugh, it will be later on that this stuff really matters and where dismissal or poor understanding of the likely realities could lead to huge political error and much suffering.
  13. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Those weren't potentially world-ending conflicts: no nukes. This one is.
  14. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    No nukes during the Cold War. None at all.
  15. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Or to put it another way:

    OK fine, lets get capitalisms crisis out of the way first and then see how things are looking, whether its managed to reinvent itself and adapt again, or whether its dead and something new will be forged in its place. Perhaps with the long shadow of capitalism out of the way, we'll be able to look at the fundamentals with fresh insight and awareness of what can or cannot reasonably be achieved on a scale that counts.
  16. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    In theory?

    It's very hard to see any circumstances in which resource depletion and nuclear proliferation will not combine to end human life within a century. In fact, I find it impossible.

    As I say, the time to attempt to avoid that fate is past. What we need to do now is understand how it has befallen us.
  17. Crispy

    Crispy Fond of drink and industry

    Oooooooooh no you don't! :D
  18. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055

    The Korean Peninsula?

    Kashmir?
  19. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    I think it is possible that capitalism could die a 'natural' death as we reach the physical limits of growth. Without growth, average returns on investments tend to zero, do they not? It just won't be viable to be a capitalist any more - so responsibility for investment will need to be taken over by a collective entity that does not mind zero return.
  20. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    The day someone discovers 3,000 year-old scrolls hidden at the bottom of their garden, which clearly state that the final conflagration will begin on the Korean Peninsula or in Kashmir, I'll give them due consideration.

    Until then, my money's on Meggido.
  21. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    You won't find me predicting an end to human life.

    A reduction in average life expectancy is as far as I go at the moment. For example I cannot even begin to take stories about how 'people born now will live years longer than people do now' seriously at all.
  22. Bernie Gunther

    Bernie Gunther Fundamentalist Druid

    The 'Quiet Man' public house in Huyton? Or possibly the 'Bluebell'?
  23. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    And the capitalists will just shrug their shoulders and say "oh well, we had a jolly good innings, which way to the scrapheap of history" will they?

    Or, their minds perverted by the evil influence of money, will they not take the entire world down with them?
  24. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    Why not? If we do not suffer civilisational collapse, we can expect to see medical science advance in leaps and bounds. Who knows what can be achieved if we can get quantum computing going, which I think we will. Computing power many thousands or millions of times more powerful than current computers - this is not science fiction; it is likely to happen.
  25. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    I don't know. But a widespread recognition that growth is no longer possible would mean the abandoning of investment and government increasingly having to step in. I would argue that we are already seeing the beginning of this process in Japan. It could be a very quiet whimper of a death to capitalism as we know it now.
  26. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    I've been droning on about the 'god of growth' being dead for years now.

    But I also suspect that there are ways to maintain some of the old capitalist ways even if the size of the pie as a whole is shrinking. Even when there is no overall growth, there can be growth within certain sectors, so there are still spoils on offer for some, if they can find a way to redirect resources so that they end up with a larger slice of pie. Demand being destroyed at a greater pace than the actual resources are declining offers some wiggle room for some. So I watch with interest to see how 'austerity' progresses.

    That being say, it will be quite a challenge to prop various aspects of the system up under these conditions, things like stability and confidence are quite likely to get in the way of investment, and when the total numbers fail to add up some rather hefty fudging will be required.
  27. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    Demanding en ever-greater slice of the pie is no doubt what will happen/is happening. It is harder to sustain than the taking of an ever-greater slice of a pie that's growing bigger, though, which is what they have been doing. Zero growth under capitalism means most people get increasingly poorer. Hard to manage, that, long-term.
  28. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    "Why not" he asks.

    For one thing, as I presume you have noticed, Israel is about to launch a military attack on Iran. If that goes ahead (and go ahead it must, if not now then a couple of years down the road), the entire world will be plunged into a chaotic conflict, a war without front-lines or boundaries of any description, in which large sections of the population (though not our population naturally), will be literally reduced to fighting for bread in the streets.

    So that's one pretty good reason "why not," I would say. Need any more?
  29. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus would be a rubbish god

    Right, so the 'why not?' is civilisational collapse. You predict this as if you had some inside knowledge about the future. You do not. And people were saying exactly the same thing in the 60s/70s about the Cold War. Exactly the same.
  30. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    But a widespread recognition that growth is not possible cannot be achieved by capital, whose very existence is predicated on ceaseless growth.

    The minds of the people who you hope to convince of the redundancy of growth are entirely guided by the dictates of capital. They can no more act against the interests of capital than they could saw off their penis with a pen-knife.

    No, it's death and destruction for us all I'm afraid. Right, time for my bagel...

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