Forum Replies Created
It is a sad situation when reckless growth at any cost mentality becomes the norm for those considered to be wise, and the opposite, a method for the less enlightened.
Thanks for your reply.
I know what you mean – here in Canada, “growth [at any cost]” is the mantra of the “wise” and is preached from on high at every opportunity.
They will pay forty times earnings for an unseasoned company without dividends because it is growing fast; but a seasoned blue chip dividend paying company with a solid balance sheet, no debt, and limited or slow growth will languish at eight or ten times earnings and be hated by Wall Street.
Why do you think this is?
Is it because there’s no “jackpot” potential?October 25, 2012 at 5:42 am in reply to: Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met.. #6142
We need innovation sooner than later. But we need to prepare for the depression NOW.
This is stuff we should have started planning 25, even 50 years ago (while concurrently moderating the expectations for our living standards…as if!).
I get so tired of hearing “smart” people proffer half-baked “solutions” that have only some theoretical connection to the world we actually live in.
It’s interesting that an economist like Duncan, who first percieves then writes a book about the reality of looming deflation can’t seem to think further outside the box than his “option 3” – which really doesn’t sound like an option at all.
Even if it were clear that technology could somehow deliver us from the consequences of all this complexity – which it certainly isn’t – how on earth would that type of change be effected? Does he offer any insights or suggestions in this regard?
Here in Canada there is no sign of anyone with that sense of wanting to make any kind of change to their lives.
In general I think you’re probably right, but there are a few…
Here’s a great song by Dan Mangan – a Canadian guy who I think probably “gets it”:
We have to keep on trying to have solutions or else there will be a sense of hopelessness and that is not good.
I’m not so sure there are any “solutions” in the sense that most people think of them…
It seems likely that we have entered a stage of history where the events generated by our complex existence will have more and more to do with determining the future than our own decisions will.
The best anyone can do for themselves is to “robustify” their life as much as possible – ie be ready for anything, be flexible, expect the unexpected.
As annoying as it may seem, individual experiences whether positive or negative will probably have more to do with “luck” rather than any particular strategy.
Whatever remains now is but a wager. As in: the entire Eurozone has turned into a casino.
Comparing the Eurozone to a Casino might be generous even…
In a casino “the odds” are tightly controlled to favour the house.
In the Eurozone, I think there is too much uncertainty – as your piece states, control is illusory.
Lucas, just look at your premise: most people aren’t sane.
We live in paradoxical times.
The projections outlined in this study may not turn out to be correct but why should we ever shy away from or reject projections that may seem “a bit too extreme and alarming”?
Human society seems to lack some type of fundamental cautionary principal with respect to how we view the future…
We do our best to create projections about how the future will be (ie: predict the future), based on incomplete information – then act surprised when, as time goes by and the “results come in”, we discover that “Oh, things didn’t go as we expected”.
Any sane person would never pilot a boat through thick fog, accelerating to full throttle the whole while…
After all these years, why haven’t we learned that the human experience occurs within “a thick fog”?
I plan to stay at home too.
I’m in a pretty good spot and I don’t see the point in going anywhere unless forced to do so – although it doesn’t hurt to have a B.O.B. packed and ready.
I’m sure we’ll take in some friends and family – presently my family and I are the strange ones as our paths diverge from the mainstream lifestyles… But I laugh (nervously) when I think that someday it’s possible we may be the ones everyone is looking to for help.
“Everyone here is missing the coming black swan events.”
If you can see an event coming, it is NOT a black swan.
True enough – I’m not looking for certainty, just the best “erudite guesses” I can find. Like you suggested I’m not sure there is any value in trying to map out the effects of decline in geographic detail, but I think some guesses about the severity of the net effects of decline are better than others…
That’s why this article interested me so much – I find Stoneleigh’s analogy of the bursting bubble is quite compelling…
Ugo Bardi also makes a compelling case for the “Seneca effect”…
Anyway, no need to apologize for your graph. I wasn’t criticizing – I think it was helpful that you took the time to make them. I’m no techie, but I did have a TRS 80 when I was a kid and I used to draw little pictures in ascii characters. It was fun…
Hmm, lots of interesting coments to read…
Your comment about some goods disappearing from the marketplace seems salient and seems to reinforce the notion that response will be disproportinate to systemic risk – the disapearance or scarcity of critical supplies/tools could act as a negative feedback to response efforts.
Your graphs remind me of when I was a kid playing on my TRS80 😉
I agree that decline will probably occur with some fits and starts on thge way down but how steep will the slope be?
I’m especially interested in the “steepness” of the initial stage and I think this is where I start to get skeptical about JMGs model. I may be wrong, but I think Greer draws most of his analogies from historical examples of collapse…
But this time we inhabit is not the same as history… we aren’t facing decline in the holocene, this will be decline in the anthropocene – a fundamentally different context I think…
I agree that the “political” part of how all this will play out may end up being a very important aspect – one that is underappreciated in many analyses and an aspect I have become quite a bit more interested in lately…
By “political” I mean social/psycological dynamics in general and not just partisan politics…
Human reactions to events as they unfold may provide a wellspring for “black swan” events that could complicate things in ways that are unpredictable…
Intersting times we live in…
“All things must pass”
Maybe George Harrison had some insight to share…
“I do not understand how there can be a “really spectacular financial crisis” followed by “a lot of poverty and suffering” globally without the social order breaking down.”
I share your skepticism…
It seems like sometimes the gradual descent described by Greer might be possible if the processes of decline were strictly technical in nature – or not affected by the irrationality of a freaked-out populace…
“There’s too many men, too many people, making too many problems”
I’m not sure if it’s possible to know for certain, but it seems to me that any actions that might be taken by the state to establish control would be out of proportion to systemic risk – is it even possible to confiscate enough bullion to pay for more than just a few days or weeks worth “liquid hegemony”?
John Greer has made a case for a sort of slow implosion…
If I understand his argument properly, he suggests that, historicaly, the “complex centre” always finds a way to force the continuation of basic functions of the economy – slowing down what might otherwise be a rapid collapse into a slow, painful process of empovrishment.
But, myself, I when I consider the historically unprecedented complexity industrial civilization has achieved, the degree to which that civilization has over-extended itself, and the degree to which the natural world has already been plundered for resources, its hard for me to imagine that it won’t all unravel in a rapid collapse…
The complexity really is mind boggling – when the cascades start to occur in rapid succession, what tools could a government or other “high institution” possibly muster that might create Greer’s temporary reprieves within such a complex context?
I don’t see it… Is it possible that the world is so complex that such reprieves in the implosion might result from some type of self-organizing force within the chaos?
I agree with you that the pursuit of renewable energy systems should be of paramount importance.
However, I am not convinced that renewables will ever amount to anything more than a drop in the bucket.
As much capacity as is being added, it is nothing compared to demand and there are many large technical hurdles to overcome – grid scale storage not the least.
Check out this article from “The Economist”:
Apparently Texas should have had plenty of electricity over the summer of 2011 based on a 2010 estimate of 84400 MW of total capacity (9500 MW from wind alone) but they only barely avoided rolling blackouts… Part of the problem was that the 9500 MW from wind wasn’t really 9500 MW. Wind is intermittent and doesn’t always produce when you need it. The article goes on to hype future-tech grid scale storage systems…
If you’ve never seen it, you should check out Tom Murphy’s “Do The Math”. There are, I think, some very practical estimates there on what can be expected of all manner of renewable energy technologies (among other things).
All the technical difficulties aside, I think the biggest problem with a transition to renewables is not even with the technology but in people’s expectations for how much energy they “need” to consume.
I think it was Nate Hagens who said something like:
“We’re not facing a shortage of energy, but a longage of expectations.”
I’m not sure I entirely agree with the statement… but the “longage of expectations” is definately a component of the equation worthy of serious consideration.