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May 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm in reply to: Brexit: Wrong Discussion, Wrong People, Wrong Arguments #28367
Yanis wants to make use of the existing institutions of European unity in new ways. DiEM’s first requirement, transparency, would immediately transform business as usual there. After Ghandi, India retained much of the institutional infrastructure built there by Britain, which helped it unify into a nation. Yanis’s most recent book highlight’s the selfish, adversarial motivations behind the first version of the EU, which have become so plain today. A well-intentioned remodel of valuable institutional architecture brought about by educated, concerned citizens is what’s needed to salvage what’s good about Europe. No need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Who would have thought even a few years ago that lack of demand for oil would begin to spell the end of the Anthropocene? How ironic for the peak oilers! Nothing could be better for the climate than the slowing global growth trend, which is happening without anyone even trying! On the contrary, we see desperate trying for more growth. This slowing growth has its own positive feedback loops. For example, lack of investment in new oil plays, along with debt deflation, will make later investment impossible. The whole industry will have seized up, rusted out. In this way balance is being regained, willy nilly. Perhaps Gaia is alive and well and taking into account her human offspring as part of a whole worth saving.
After this last story pointed out 3 million people have been displaced from around Lake Chad, “because of Boku Haraam,” and keeping in mind a recent story about this lake being 90% dried up, I had a train of thought similar to rapier’s: Massive social unrest and migration from climate change is happening now on the global margins. Whatever their ideology, they behave like criminal gangs. Ideology is needed to maintain loyalty and cohesiveness within the gang.They operate in places where the state is too weak to oppose them. This sounds like collapse to me. Did the Powers That Be think these people were just going to wait around until ‘development’ gave them jobs at Walmart?These same PTB should be ashamed for gleefully joining in the fighting and shipping beaucoup arms to conflict zones. Boku Haraam doesn’t need jobs, they take what they want. These primitive bad actors aren’t much different morally from the more organized and powerful actors. War offers a paycheck.
DiEM25’s parallel payments system, which is unbanked, could pick up momentum after a financial collapse. Already DiEM stands as a countervailing meme to balkanization. It presents another option.February 22, 2016 at 7:20 pm in reply to: Are Asian Central Bankers Even Crazier Than Our Own? #27008
If the Bankers’ tools are having the opposite effect as intended, all they need do is turn their loyalties upside down: 1. Use Fiscal Stimulus for grants to small business and a guaranteed income; 2.Have Monetary Easing create a sliding scale of interest rates, the lowest rates for the least well-off; and 3. Make Structural Reforms that devolve economic power to workers and localities. Then the people would recover their ‘animal spirits’ and support an economy.
Doesn’t a jubilee mean those in debt would be relieved of it? Yes, those holding debt would lose –the ones well-resourced already. If it were a mass planned event, people would have time to dis the banks, which wouldn’t be reliable in such a scenario. Not rocket science to build new ones.
Debt is a sacred cow. The back of my hand to that foot on our necks. Varoufakis in Europe has emboldened me to think we can take the reins of the chariot we’ve built together and make something good and useful of it. Rather than waiting with gritted teeth for calamity. Demolition is an expensive chunk of a construction project. Gravity helps, but it’s a deliberate process.
“…we’re right to insist on inflation being defined in terms of the interaction of money-plus-credit supply with money velocity (aka spending).”
Here a portion of one sentence describes the interaction of 3 factors –a rare feat. It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around 3 factors inter-relating, as a definition. Wonderful how these few words clarify the dynamic. We’re taught to think reductively. So it’s easy for TPTB to hide what’s really going on, perhaps even from themselves.
What I don’t understand is why we can’t just “reset” the economy. After all, it’s a construct serving TPTB. A debt jubilee, anyone? I’m for default. Sure it would be disruptive, and some who richly deserve a haircut will get one. And the whole economy will shrink, as it’s doing anyway. Yes, that would mean de-population, which will happen anyway. People are willing to die for a cause they care about. As one example, end-of-life hospice is becoming popular because people would rather die sooner and keep their dignity. People can be policed (mentally & physically) only in so far as they are willing to be policed. In other words we have the power. Let’s keep the social inheritance, our institutions that serve us well, and jettison the rest in a new spirit of valuing the commons.
Sadly, I think Trivium is correct about the Debt-Money Monopoly being the ultimate wielder of power, rather than the electorate. I wonder how many understand the debt has been shifted to their shoulders to save the banks? Merkel is expert at balancing many conflicting interests to come out on top in her realm. Interesting is her somewhat belated welcome to the refugees, riding the wave of compassion among european people, perhaps to restore her image after beggaring the Greeks.
A New Yorker profile of Merkel indicated that she is a brilliant politician; but that’s where her public talent ends. She has no platform, no program in mind at all. So she waits and watches the polls –if the important electorates are compassionate, so will she be –if xenophobic, that is how she will go. A powerful, but not a proactive leader, so hardly worthy of the title. With its perishing demographics, Europe needs all those young, educated workers! Moving beyond habitual prejudices, seeing reality for what it is, coming together beyond narrow personal self-interests, is not what any EU leaders are about these days. They’ve been spoiled, complacent, asleep at the wheel. Soon they will wake up.
I agree with everything said here, but wish to know what this financial system failure will mean on the ground for ordinary people? No more loans, then no more banks? So no more global trade and no more big economic players like drillers or miners, or retailers or manufacturers since everything runs on credit? I’ve always wondered why these rich corporations don’t conduct business using their own cash, their retained earnings, instead of borrowing? They’d rather gamble with their cash in paper instruments? And pay interest on money to expand their own business model? Tax incentives?
If money can and has disappeared into its previous virtual state, and become erased from balance sheets, surely debt can do the same. You can’t get blood out of a stone. If deflation such as you predict hits, debt cannot survive either. Collateral becomes worth way less than before, and if repossessed will find no buyers at any price, with no credit available. No. I disagree with the the idea that money can go but debt always stays. If the financial institutions go belly up, who is keeping track of this (already unpayable even without deflation) debt anymore?
I too have given up on trying to improve my community’s resilience, boost the local food system, support local craftspeople, although my new business does just that in a small way, http://www.locastore.net. For me at this point it’s just for the fun of it. Since we cannot know how things will play out, just that they will change, best to be flexible. The moral compass itself is no longer reliable. Because everything has unintended consequences. The surround is shifting kaleidoscopically. Be prepared to die, hide, join, run, stay, learn, forget, start over, start over again, and best of all, enjoy the spectacle! It’s quite a show. What can’t be sustained, won’t be. What’s needed to be done will emerge in the circumstances. Meanwhile, scale back if you can and take a lot of naps.March 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm in reply to: Debt Rattle Mar 20 2014: An Unprecedented Opportunity #11934
Yes, 20% is enough. Right, no central grid. That’s an expression of an undesireable kind of social hierarchy anyway. Local grids, yes. No electricity at all is okay too, or sui generis at the household or institutional level is fine.
Of course there needs to be an entire reset of the structure of our societies. If we survive, that’s going to happen. General economic collapse, or a gradual fade-out, is inevitable. Let’s face that. Sadly that generally comes with misery and fighting such as what’s happening in Syria right now. That war was primed by severe drought in the countryside along with severe inequality. However, war is not inevitable. The “environment” is inevitable.
I too get annoyed when people prescribe national or global solutions, because so unrealistic, not to mention hubristic. But we must think and discourse. The rosy story is that renewables can prevent collapse. They can’t. Wind turbines and solar panels are utterly dependent on a fossil-fueled industrial platform; and rust never sleeps.
I agree any single large scale measure will always have unintended consequences because of the complexity of whole systems. In my view permaculture knows how to get things right at the local level in practical matters because it is an observation-based wholistic evolving design paradigm, not a single solution. Yes it is wise to be careful what you wish for. You can’t go wrong wishing for a permacultured planet. Nafeez even uses the word! Normally beneath contempt.
The difficulty is humans getting along. That’s why I’m pleased about the emergence of crowd intelligence. Look at the way we’re working together, all differences put aside, to discover the fates of 270 airline passengers! While elsewhere we’re making plans to deliberately kill each other! The way we’re sabre-rattling at Russia, but can’t make a go of it because we’re too interdependent! Scary, but the absurdity is amusing.
Electricity ought to be reserved to power the internet. All other uses are optional. We survived for millenia without it. The World Wide Web is humanity’s growing tip.March 22, 2014 at 4:07 am in reply to: Debt Rattle Mar 20 2014: An Unprecedented Opportunity #11913
I liked Nafeez Amed’s post. I didn’t think he was recommending another form of tech-fix by touting renewables –there is passive-solar, gasification, biogas, rocket-stoves and other appropriate tech methods that don’t scale and that’s good when you’re relocalizing, which is what he does recommend. The 20% electric power referred to in Ilargi’s post is PLENTY! We don’t need more. Look at what we’ve done when we’ve had too much energy! For one thing, with climate change and other disruptions, there won’t be so many people. Why do folks look at having to feed and power overshoot? It won’t happen. We haven’t done the things Nafeez recommends because we haven’t had to. Now we do. I think it’s great a London think tank is daring to say these things! Some great stuff coming out of the UK recently, as yesterday’s post here noted re the economics paradigm being trashed by a central bank report! Here we have the paradigm shifting. It is happening all around us right now just like climate change. Look at young people. Completely different priorities. Would rather have a phone than a car. Important new young artist, Ryan Trecartin, profiled in the New Yorker, displays in his art a tremendous paradox: techie connectedness is replacing Enlightenment individual identity. The apotheosis of the egoistic dissing of the environment with our toxic tech is now creating a crowd capable of new things undreamt of. We are a highly plastic self-creating species.
Greece may be fortunate for being the first nation to have to face facts, and adapt, before conditions in the rest of the world have deteriorated a lot more. They are also lucky to have a fairly recent cultural heritage of village-based subsistence living. Yes, a new regime of no-growth, or negative growth in the case of Greece recently, is frightening; but I disagree that it is zero sum. More can be done with less. Happily, humans have an infinite capacity to learn, grow, and create culturally. This can mean less not more demands on material flows. It can also mean restoration not degradation of ecological wealth. This is infinite sum thinking.
There may be a surge of tourism in Greece, if things go well there, rather than emigration.
The Okie victims of the Dust Bowl disaster were uneducated, marginalized poor folk. Greeks have an educated population with spectacular natural resources, and their own polity. There was a reason those Irish were dependent on a monocrop of potatoes, again having to do with ignorance and marginalization. Greece may be being marginalized by Europe as a whole, but that could lead to good things.
Of course there is a lot of suffering in Greece now, but there are bright spots. It has a beautiful, underpopulated countryside. During the Euro years most migrated to city jobs, but the norm was to keep one’s family land, worth little unless in a tourist area. So now many are returning to these places, growing grapes, making cheap wines, cooking meals for others in an informal way. There is this opportunity to be Greek again, that is, more interested sharing food with friends under an olive tree than working in an office cubicle. Generations are sometimes being forced to trade places –adult children supporting parents whose careers disappeared. People are bartering. Once the dust settles, Greeks may be poorer but happier.