So, Basically, We’re Trapped With No Way Out

I’m not going to say anything, other than pose the question – “When are people going to accept this and stop trying to fix climate change?”

I will leave Bill McKibben to explain the situation: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry.  Not that he reaches the same conclusions as I do.  No climate change expert does, or perhaps none of them dares to express those views (except perhaps the mad scientists at AMEG and also Guy McPherson – not that I want to identify with him and, come to think of it, he is one of those mad scientists at AMEG).

It is patently clear that if we do nothing, by simply carrying on the way things are, climate agreements or no climate agreements, we are doomed to fry (maybe ‘dessicate’ is a better description) eventually if we are not starved or bludgeoned to death by natural forces first.  Or possibly we could go out in a gigantic aerial explosion that burns up the atmosphere.  Please note, I have no scientific basis for that last remark, just that an increasingly methane filled atmosphere, mixed with oxygen, must be a very dangerous place to live and breathe.  I offer that simply as a casual thought.

It is also patently clear that if we were to come to our senses and power down our global society and all live like it was the nineteenth century, then most or all of us would still be stuffed because we just couldn’t do it and even if a gallant remnant were able to adapt sufficiently to make a go of it, it probably wouldn’t alter the planetary outcome anyway in a timescale that would be of any benefit to us.

It is also patently clear that if we all agreed to an immediate global power down but first we would do some geo-engineering to slow down the rate of climate change (as the mad scientists at AMEG and others would recommend), the effect or side-effects of doing that would make our power-down gesture meaningless.

In other words, basically, we’re trapped with no way out.

So much for me not going to say anything.

Just for effect, I will finish with my original question: “When are people going to accept this and stop trying to fix climate change?”

The Man Who Lives Without Money

Daniel-Suelo

Photo credit: The Man Who Lives Without Money. 

The Man Who Lives Without Money.

I’m not recommending this as a course of action (since I am not prepared to do it myself, until I need to – although I have given the idea consideration), but it is clear to me that one day we all will have to live without money.  Simply because money is an illusion and illusions tend to have a short lifespan.  Our own money illusion is already way past it’s use by date.

Living without money is not easy.  Others have tried and most have died.  This man only survives on stuff freely given by others, supplemented by roadkill and foraging.  But what happens when all the dumpsters are, and remain, empty?  When there is no more roadkill due to an absence of road users?  And people have nothing more to freely give to others? 

What does all that tell us?  When we have of necessity to live without money, not many of us will be able to do it.  Most will perish.

At the very least there is a requirement, a prerequisite if you like, to grow and tend and nurture and prepare and protect your own food supply (and of course to first obtain a continuous supply of potable water).  There are no guarantees of continued or even initial success with this.  It will be far easier in some places than others, and to attempt to do so without prior experience comes with a high risk of failure.  In this instance, failure means death.

Think carefully now in order to give yourself, and those you love, the best chance of making it in a moneyless and therefore orderless and lawless world.  That world could come much earlier than anyone may think.

See also the follow up article: “Get a Job”?? No. Get a Life

Today I Mourn The World

So, what’s so special about today?  Nothing really, or nothing that I am aware of.  Except that every day is special in its own way.  No, I mourn the world pretty much every day.

I can remember when life was simple.  It didn’t stay that way for long but during my early years when there were/was:

  • No television
  • No telephones (in most homes)
  • No domestic refrigerators
  • No domestic electrical goods of any kind except radio
  • No portable radios
  • No digital computers
  • No digital anything
  • No plastic anything
  • Few privately owned motor vehicles
  • etc., etc.

People, even in comparatively developed western nations didn’t have much, but we were generally happy and healthy and weren’t even aware that we were missing out on things that are taken for granted today.  Because they hadn’t been invented or at least commercially produced for domestic consumption yet.

Like I said, that didn’t last long.  Don’t get me wrong.  Things had been that way for generations, in fact for most of mankind’s existence.  And the things that we did have which at the time were considered to be ‘modern’ had mostly only emerged in the previous century or so.

During the ’50s and ’60s everything began to change.  We saw that there could be more.  And we wanted it.  And we wanted it now.  And we weren’t concerned, and perhaps never even thought about, the consequences of going down that path or traveling along it at an ever increasing pace.

And so, we eventually arrived at the place that we know as the world today.  A place where everything is possible but no-one is happy and only a very few enjoy full health whether physically or mentally, or live a life that has any meaning or purpose.

We have pretty much come to the end of the road, loaded down with gadgets and trinkets, and with no idea where to go next.

And so, I mourn the world that I once knew, knowing that I was part of and took part in the downfall of humanity that is undoubtedly destined to be our next step.

This was again brought home to me today when I read this article on Medium.com: How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization

Photo credit: found in the linked article but source unknown 

Now, a TV sitcom could not possibly have triggered ‘the downfall of western civilisation’ of course, but its importance is in that it reflected the simple idiocy of modern life in general.  Not that a great many of a generation deeply embedded within a passive ‘entertain me’ culture of bread and circuses would necessarily have noticed that.

I personally was never caught up in the ‘Friends’ culture.  A couple of episodes may have passed my retinae but that is all.  So I don’t have any great reflections to make on its content.  I do however find certain parts of this article interesting and relevant enough to separate as quotes below:

The show ended in 2004  …  The year 2004 was when we completely gave up and embraced stupidity as a value. Just ask Green Day; their album American Idiot was released in 2004, and it won the Grammy for Best Rock Album. You can’t get more timely.

I am sincerely worried we have not done enough to cultivate intellectual curiosity within our culture.

So, how do we retain our sanity in a dumb, dumb world? …

No. 1: read a fucking book.  …  Reading makes you less of a jerk. So, read often. Read difficult books. Read controversial books. Read a book that makes you cry. Read something fun. But read.

No. 2: learn something.  Your brain is capable of so much. Feed it. Learn something new. … Educate yourself, so you can be part of the conversation. … just get a few more words in your head.

No. 3: stop buying so much shit. …  I’m convinced consumer culture and idiot culture are closely linked. Simplify your life. Idiocy dominates our cultural landscape because it sells more Nike tennis shoes and Big Macs. When we thoughtfully consider what we bring into our home, we are less likely to be manipulated by empty impulses.

Did you know the song that originally accompanied the Friends pilot episode was R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” A blissful song with an apocalyptic message that goes largely ignored.

Yes, the world as we knew it, or as I knew it, has long gone.  Our current crazy world is also about to pass on to the scrapheap of history.  What will replace it?  Only time will tell, but it won’t include smartphones or sitcoms or Big Macs.

Here’s a reprise of R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).

Millennial Disengagement

“Have millennials given up on democracy?” Asks The Guardian

Photo credit:  Young people demonstrate in Lyon against a new labour code they called ‘an unprecedented offensive against the young’.  Photograph: Konrad K/Sipa/Rex Shutterstock

“…young adults are deeply sceptical about democracy”.

They should be.

Except that perhaps the system they are basing that opinion on is not really democracy but some perverted caricature of that form of government.  I am not aware of any real democracy currently operating anywhere in the world.  In fact I would say that there possibly has never been such a beast.  It would never do for the powers that be to allow the people to decide the destiny or direction of the communities, societies and national groupings in which they live.

Let’s face it, people generally do not possess the interest, care, knowledge, clarity, ability, or even the common sense necessary to have handed to them the privilege of an equal say in how those things are to operate.  That’s true, isn’t it?  And say there were a way to furnish the operation of such a system, it would devolve into utter chaos where nothing of any value at all would be achieved, or perhaps in some mysterious way emerging from the action stymieing turmoil, cacophony and clashing of intermingled opinions, the voices of the ‘persuaders’ would be heard above all else and most people would willingly line up behind one of those voices, which would in some way ‘represent’ them as a group or party view.

But isn’t that what we have got now?  Yes, of course it is.  Well, partly.  But, even if that fully described what we have now, it wouldn’t be democracy.  It would be abrogation and dispersal and secession of individual opinion to whatever voices shout loudest, persuade most effectively, or offer the best incentives to follow them.  The problem with that, well one of them, is that it is habit forming, and people, being creatures of habit, will continue to align themselves with such forces or parties even when the views expressed by whoever is the current chief voice of those parties no longer represent their own views (if they even retain any personal views that are actually their own, given sufficient thought), or even eventually become diametrically opposed to the original viewpoint to which the individual subscribed and gave allegiance.

And that, my friends, is what has become of the democratic process in 2016, gradually over the preceding decades, until it has become entirely unclear which party represents what, and whether there is any material difference between any of the group voices after some generations of metamorphosis.

But wait, there’s more.

What we could recognise at one stage as being a representative form of democracy, which may not have been a bad thing if it had evolved to reflect the changing times and opinions of the communities and societies it purported to ‘represent’, has been further perverted by external factors.  Know what I mean?

I guess it began somewhere around the time when the definition of ‘person’ became blurred and corrupted to include ‘corporate entities’.  Ever since then and perhaps even earlier, money, greed, and influence have been the most intrusive factors in the outplay of democratic processes, to the point of gross infestation of the system.  A malady that will soon result in collapse of the entire democratic process into a mire of chaos and anarchy which will destroy society and modern civilisation.

And we have allowed that to happen.

Yes, “…young adults are deeply sceptical about democracy”.  They should be.

I am not going to offer any alternative.  I see none.  Nor do I foresee the need for any.

It will not be difficult (we are told) to organise small groups of up to 150 individuals. Groups which may never need to interact with other small groups that may potentially be operating outside their own sphere of influence or capability to reach out to.  In a world where such small groups are relatively scarce (a situation that naturally arises from civilisational collapse scenarios).

A Tale Or Two Of Cities

Take a look at the real America.  No, no, not the Wall Street version.  Not the Post-GFC Recovery mythical government statistics version.  But the one that reveals a country on the road to ruin.  ‘A Country Breaking Down’.

Elizabeth Drew’s review is quite revealing.

You might find a good book title or two, too, to read.

Rescue workers gathered below the Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis after it collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River and onto its banks during evening rush hour, August 2007Photo credit: Allen Brisson-Smith/The New York Times/Redux  – Rescue workers gathered below the Interstate 35W bridge in downtown Minneapolis after it collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River and onto its banks during evening rush hour, August 2007

 

And the Australian government wants us to emulate them?  Adopt their values and practices?  How amazingly stupid, not to mention shortsighted, is that?

A Statement Of Importance To All

As a proud supporting member of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (the only activism, albeit passive on my part, that I allow myself to engage in these days), I am happy to share the statement (see below and here on Facebook) read out on the State of Food & Agriculture in the Asia-Pacific Region at the 33rd FAO of the UN Regional Conference for Asia & the Pacific in Malaysia by Esther Penunia of the Asian Farmers Association on behalf of Civil Society.

Photo credit: Courtesy of AFSA on Facebook

This is an important statement which reflects the dire situation on food sovereignty that our region and indeed the world faces as a result of past and current agriculture and food policies to produce a broken food and agriculture system that benefits no-one except a few monopolistic commercial interests.

The statement (copied from here) is repeated below:

We, representatives of small farmers, landless, rural women, fishers, agricultural workers, pastoralists and herders, indigenous peoples, consumers, youth and NGOs coming from 17 countries met last weekend.  We would like to share with you our assessment of the state of food and agriculture in the region.

While we have halved hunger and malnutrition in the region we are still faced with issues of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and on the other extreme, extreme wealth,  overconsumption and obesity.  Ironically, farmers and rural communities, who are producing our food, are the ones who suffer from hunger and malnutrition.  Corporations and big supermarkets have taken over our food and agriculture systems.

This monopolistic and commercialized food and agriculture system has led to the lost of agricultural biodiversity.  Of the over 80,000 plant species available to humans, only three – maize, wheat and rice – supply the bulk of our protein and energy needs.  There is urgent need to diversify agro-ecosystems in order to have more diverse nutrient outputs, but this call has fallen on deaf ears as it runs counter to the Green Revolution approaches dominating the policy directions in this region.

We have a broken food and agriculture system.  This we see in the conversion of forests into monoculture and oil palm plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, corn and cabbage farms in Thailand, the loss of food diversity in Kerala, land grabbing in South Korea.  From Mongolia to Australia, we are losing control of international and domestic markets.  We suffer from low prices.  Our lands, waters, forests and seeds are taken away by corporations and local elites.

The international rules governing our food and agriculture system are also broken.  The demands of developing countries for immediate implementation of a special safeguard mechanism to counter import surges have been consistently ignored.  With the opening up of our markets, especially with the threat of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), local farmers will not be able to compete with imports.  Public stockpiling and , a mechanism to secure food supply in times of crisis and ensure procurement from local farmers, is seen as trade distorting.  Social protections for farmers have also been sidelined in international negotiations.

It is no wonder that the younger generation turns away from farming and fishing.  We thus have an ageing population of producers.

We need a radical change in order for us to achieve the SDG of eliminating hunger and malnutrition by 2030.  We need a new food and agriculture system that brings resilience to our farms and farmers and help us achieve the SDG of eliminating hunger and poverty by 2030.  We need a reboot of our system, towards one that is responsive to the impacts of climate change.

We need to fully implement agrarian and aquatic reform and transition to agroecology.  Agroecology is the best pathway to achieve the goal of more sustainable food systems.  It is productive, climate resilient, environmentally and health-friendly, provides decent employment and secure livelihoods, and can directly deliver diverse, nutrient rich foods.  Thank you for your attention.

“Going Full Whig” – Kunstler’s Bombshell

It was around midnight when I penned my previous post on Jim Kunstler’s latest article – : Going Full Whig yesterday.  It may not be surprising therefore, that I did not possess the mental acuity at that late hour to fully take in what he was saying. So, here I am, back again, less than seven hours later, having spent a restless night mulling over the words I remember from that piece, taking a second bite of the cherry to try to explain the momentous ideas unleashed by him that may also have passed the casual reader by.

I take you to the last paragraph of Going Full Whig.  Having just suggested that Donald Trump will never be permitted to hold the Republican Party nomination for President and that the party will destroy itself before allowing that to happen and/or engineer the demise of said Donald some time before the election in November through the auspices of the Deep State, Kunstler goes on to say this:

“Or perhaps this is America’s true imperial moment, when all party politics surrenders to the pre-tsunami undertow of events. None of the idiot network commentators or Wash-Po or NY Times columnists seem to notice that the global economy is sinking into a coma, and in so doing is igniting cluster-bombs of default through the financial system. That so far insidious destruction should effloresce exactly around the time of the nominating conventions. The tide will have visibly gone miles out just as Hillary mounts the podium like some bad joke of a national mommy and Trump sits fretting in his Cleveland hotel room wondering how his rococo dreams of glory turned into a shit sandwich from room service. Yeats’s widening gyre is upon us. The biggest surprise of all yet-to-come is that television will fail to explain it. The second coming will not be the reappearance of the celebrity known as Jesus Christ, but rather of the event called the American Civil War.”

This is truly a momentous statement regarding the future of America, not to mention of the world.  It sits well however, with my own view of what 2016 is scheduled to bring about.  I have spoken of it being a year of darkness or the beginning of a Dark Age for mankind.  I used that term because I could not see clearly, and to some extent still can’t, just how this would pan out as the months of the year unfold.  But what I had in mind, among such impending catastrophes as a collapse of global society, trade and finance, was the kind of unrest and conflict that an America at war with itself might instigate.

Jim uses the all too common but unnervingly appropriate allegory these days of a tsunami to illustrate a series of much more than just likely events to occur in this election year.  I am not quite sure how the disastrous eventuation of a collapse of party politics together with destruction of the financial system can be termed a  “true imperial moment”, but I do see how this taking place at the height of Convention Season in the second half of July 2016 could be likened to the “pre-tsunami undertow” and the associated receding shoreline that precedes the return of mountainous waves of destructive forces which would ensue.  A new American Civil War, in that light, does not seem too preposterous a concept to envisage.  A global war, following hard on the heels of that, to fill the vacuum a weakened America would create, would not seem so improbable either.

The terrifying thing is, that is less than five months away, convention season being the second half of July.  Can our cosy and sleepy little world of material comforts (those of us that still have them) be so close to disappearing for ever?

Scrofula Fever

“Let’s Make America Great Again”, says Trump.

“America never stopped being great”, says Hilly Billy Clinton.

Kunstler says (and I guess that is why I love him so much):

“I guess she’s been traveling around the strip-mall wastelands of Carolina failing to notice the carnage that lays upon this land like a mortal scrofula. America has been committing suicide by bad choices for decades.

We took the collateral winnings of World War II and poured it into a suburban sprawl alt-universe so depressing that our citizens are the most over-medicated people in the world. That alone might help to explain how Hillary and Trump lumber inevitably toward their respective nominations. The cheering “folks” marshaled out in the Piggly Wiggly parking lots are so buzzed on Klonopin and Zoloft that they can’t tell how these two odious celebrities epitomize the very forces behind their pharmaceutically-masked despair.”

Read on… Going Full Whig

Oh, and ‘scrofula’?  (I learned a new word) – a disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis.

China’s Credit Rating Reduced To Negative

I’m not sure if this action by Moody’s as reported on RT is a beat-up or not.  I guess it is intended to signal that China is in trouble.  Is that really the case?

A view of the city skyline from the Zhongfu Building at night in Beijing  © Jason Lee Photo credit: A view of the city skyline from the Zhongfu Building at night in Beijing © Jason Lee / Reuters  

Before I go on, I just want to say what a great photo this is.  The first thing I noticed was the brilliant and vibrant colour and the apparent cleanliness and organisation of the place.  Ok, I know it is probably vastly different in those darkened areas in the background, but even so…  Next I noticed the traffic organisation, on a spectrum from apparent gridlock to pleasant motoring.  Finally, I noticed what looks like a studio backdrop in blue behind the scene.  Are there no mountains in China?  No ground undulations?  Or is that all hidden away in the distance by smog and pollution?  Anyway, it is a very beautiful photograph.

Back to what I was saying.

Is China really in trouble?  Let’s look at what I know, which admittedly isn’t much, and I risk showing my ignorance here.

  1. China has still one of the highest economic growth rates of any nation on Earth (I’m not saying that is necessarily a good thing, in fact you will often hear me railing against growth, but it should be a positive factor in the sort of assessing that the rating agencies do).
  2. China has the highest foreign reserves of any nation at $3.2 trillion, although a year ago they had very much more than that, having used the difference to prop up their currency in the meantime.  Foreign reserves would, I would have thought, have counted for quite a lot in the assessment.
  3. While the United States and China are in a league of their own when it comes to GDP, with the US leading China in Current Price GDP by a considerable amount, China leads the US in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) GDP by a smaller margin.  I’m not showing off my extensive knowledge here. I only just discovered this by searching  (there are some interesting charts at that link).  And when it comes to GDP growth, which I again would have thought carried some weight in ratings assessments, China is in fourteenth place (from the top), with not a single Western developed nation within a cooee of them on the growth ladder.

So, I recognise that China is at just as much risk of economic collapse as any other nation over the next little while, few years or months, but shouldn’t the facts I have just outlined mean that every other nation, and most nations can not boast economic factors anywhere near as healthy as China can, be relegated to a lower economic rating assessment than China?

Oh, I forgot to include debt in my musings above, but really, is China’s debt any different to any other nation?  Would it make any difference if it were?