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  • in reply to: Quantum, Jazz and Dada – 1 #43761


    For those of us who are interested in understanding the reality, we are immersed in, this text offers a very interesting perspective.

    But the author seems to be caught up in an existential contradiction.

    On one side he writes “If we are to create something better out of the ongoing destruction of the current system we must…”. But on the other side he recognizes that “whatever comes next, whether for good or ill, is beyond our imaginations”.

    This kind of existential contradiction should be familiar to those of us who are aware that Modernity is pushing — human societies into collapse, — and living species into extinction. We feel indeed the urge to do something about it.

    But the fact is that we are powerless as individuals while the decision makers of our societies do not even seem to care.

    The reality of our universe is made of a cascade of sets or ensembles that nest inside and interact with larger ensembles. Humanity is living within one of these ensembles that we call the planet earth. And the ensemble earth is animated by complex Adaptive Systems in which “organisms, ecosystems, and the biosphere interact, aligning and diverging, shaping one another through ongoing developmental processes”.

    Having observed for tens of thousands of years the dynamics at work in the sky and the complex systems at work on earth the tribal men of knowledge wisely recognized that:
    — the interrelations between all earthly entities are vital for the preservation of life,
    — humanity’s actions now are determining the quality of its life in the future,
    — disturbances on earth occur with some regularity that are caused by forces originating from outside the planet earth

    The recognition of these phenomena by tribal non-power societies led them to conclude that humanity is powerless amidst such a vastly extreme complexity. And in their humility they understood that human actions have to be constrained by precaution in order to avoid imbalancing the complexity of the systems at work within Gaia. This precautionary principle was one of the core values shared for tens of thousands of years over the whole earth by animism which was the tribal societal worldview. Modernity, the worldview shared by the citizens of nations-states, changed all that and after a few centuries of application we now observe the consequences. “Barring the possibility of extinction, humans are on the precipice of the most radical social reorganizations in the history of the species”.

    The author writes that “In navigating this process of transformation, if we wish to create a world worth living in, it is necessary to understand the interactions between energy, ecosystems, cognitive development and social organization”. In reality this process of transformation has put in motion natural forces that dwarf human understanding and so what comes after Modernity is out of our control. The best we can hope, for the future of humanity, is that some of us will be able to surf on the waves of the coming maelstrom…

    in reply to: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space – Part 2 #23236


    Your analysis of the patterns at work in Late-Modernity is spot on but your conclusions don’t go far enough. Let me try to explain myself by first summing your argument.

    Your observation is spot on:
    1. political institutions in supposedly democratic nations have largely been bought by big capital.
    2. the political machinery has come to serve those special interests, not the public interest.

    What you see being the consequences of such a reality is spot on too:
    1. a wave of public anger is already depriving governments of political legitimacy
    2. people will no longer follow rules
    3. without compliance force becomes necessary

    and I agree with your conclusions:
    1. where people have no supply cushions the local present becomes the only reality that matters
    2. force requires substantial resources which are unlikely to remain available
    if proposed solutions depend on the functioning of large-scale organizations they will not be part of solution space
    if proposed solutions depend on rational planning for longer term goals they will not be part of solution space space.
    If proposed solutions depend on a cooperative social context at large scale they will not be part of solution space

    Your “if proposed solutions…” falls short. This is because you omitted one parameter in your initial observation:
    1. political institutions in supposedly democratic nations have largely been bought by big capital.
    2. the political machinery has come to serve those special interests, not the public interest.
    3. a class war is being waged by big capital and, as Buffet was saying, big capital is winning this war

    Historical experience shows that the winner of war takes all…
    What does this imply in our present circumstances?

    Here is my take:
    1. the holders of big capital know very well the predicament the human specie is facing
    2. I think they would agree with your 3 “if proposed solutions…”
    3. so… let’s summarize what possibly comes our way in the next paragraph

    The disturbing facts:
    1. the earth’s renewable resources can carry no more than 1 to 2 billion people
    2. the holders of big capital believe that nature will take care, one way or another, of population overshoot.
    3. big capital as the winner of the war only cares about the survival of its own class
    4. the holders of big capital believe that the few surviving peasants will complement a Robotics and AI infrastructure
    5. in the future national state expanses shall exclusively concentrate on the institutions of force (policing and military) to protect the interests of big capital. This will drastically reduce state expanses…. and bring them in line with the financially feasible.

    1. Internally state expanses are limited to the protection of the interests of big capital while the peasants are left to starve.
    2. externally big capital has the ambition to control the whole world. But it is confronted with the resistance of a powerful group of nations (BRICS, SCO but more to the point Russia and China) that has the means to defend against the military might of the West.
    3. in such a context how should we individuals position ourselves ?
    – in term of the external conflict of Western big capital holders
    – in term of the internal survival or we the peasants

    in reply to: The American Consumer Will Never Be Back #20444


    Some facts about China that ask for a recalibration of our perception of that country:

    – total bank deposits at the end of 2014: approximately 120 Trillion Rmb (approx. 20 Trillion USD)
    – total gold reserve at the end of 2014: 16,000 tons (see
    – total home ownership: approximately 90% of all Chinese families own their home (mortgaged homes represent an insignificant percentage of the total)
    – total bank reserves: large commercial banks in China are required to put aside 20 percent of the total deposits they receive as reserve which means that they have the equivalent of some 4 Trillion dollars in reserve
    – total government’s ownership in enterprises (market cap): I know of no reliable figures. But if the state were in urgent need of cash it could easily collect trillions of dollars by selling a stake of its ownership.
    – foreign reserves: 4 Trillion USD
    – money creation: it is in the hands of the state which allows it to create money according to the natural expansion of the economy… by injection in public works.

    How do these factors stack in comparison with the US or the EU?

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