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building future communities?
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isenhand



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: building future communities? Reply with quote

I have written some ideas down of the possibilities of building future communities and networks of such communities. The ideas at the moment are basic and need a lot more work but I have put them on my website if anyone is interested in looking. Nothing is fixed, at this stage I?m just playing with ideas so I?m happy to receive comments (but could you make them a bit more constructive than ?its rubbish? and ?it will never work?, thanks.). This is just one possibility, maybe there are others.

http://web.telia.com/~u30014342/surviving_peakoil.pdf
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MacG



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Re: building future communities? Reply with quote

isenhand wrote:
I have written some ideas down of the possibilities of building future communities and networks of such communities. The ideas at the moment are basic and need a lot more work but I have put them on my website if anyone is interested in looking. Nothing is fixed, at this stage I?m just playing with ideas so I?m happy to receive comments (but could you make them a bit more constructive than ?its rubbish? and ?it will never work?, thanks.). This is just one possibility, maybe there are others.

http://web.telia.com/~u30014342/surviving_peakoil.pdf


Very interesting thoughts well worth a comment! First a fair warning: What I'm trying to express further down is not in any way set-in-stone opinions, I'm just tossing upp semi-random reflexions and thoughts.

Society is entirely about communities in some form or another. We people NEED eachother, have allways done and will allways do. When trying to design something for the future, I think it is important to try to grasp some of the past also. There are veritable gazillions of current and historical social forms for people to cooperate, all of them with advantages and drawbacks.

Advantages with communities are often mentioned in connection with PeakOil, but there are probably drawbacks also. One significant drawback with many physical communities of the past is they generally become very conformistic, conservative and gossip ridden. Not to mention isolation and xenophobia.

We have some interesting examples in Sweden with community gardening and community living, namely "kolonif?reningar" and "bostadsr?ttsf?reningar". In community gardens, there is a society which usually rent a plot of land where the members have an alottment each to grow whatever they want. In "bostadsr?tts?reningar" there is a society which own one or several buildings (mostly apartment buildings) and the members occupy an apartment each for a fee to the society. In both cases there is a balance between private and community decisions - big decisions about common property are made democratically according to statutes while private decisions are made by the members. Memberships in these societies are as generally tradeable on an open market, although there is a handful of exceptions.

[Warning! Very loose speculations ahead!]

I'm thinking both in terms of gardening societies on steroids and virtualization of communities. If 50-100 people get together and buy a proper farm so each member can have some 2000-5000 square meters, it would not cost more than 5000-7000? per member with todays prizing. If the society establish a LETS-like trading system between members, other people could be made members of the trading system only, without right to land. Several such societies could decide to accept eachothers credits.

Since only about 15-20% of the population will be needed in acriculture without oil (Cuban experience), most members will be trading in some other profession than gardening. If a society get infested by busybodies who make life opressive and miserable it will be easy for the non-land bound members to change to another society.

A couple of things will have to be sorted out, mainly how to distribute incomes over the various phases of life and how to strike a fair balance between men, women and children, but with many societies going, evolution might take care of those details.


Last edited by MacG on Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting read.

In chapter 5 you say:
Quote:
For that to happen production must be balanced with demand


When you might be better saying "For this to happen demand should be set realistically and in anycase must be no greater than what the source ecology can sustainably produce".

Building on the notion of a self-supporting community - primarily in the case of food - I think you would need to mandate that communities could never allow themselves to drop food production below (say) "emeergency rations", lest we drift back towards import-dependancy over time.

Furthermore, where you mention trading the skills of (say) a doctor form another community for something yours has, I think I would be more inclined to propose that each community should have it's own resident specialists in certain core skils - primarily int eh areas you have already mentioned - food, power, waste management, and also medical and education. All the essentials should be servicable locally not a basic degree (you can still trade for speciailst medical care or a university place).

Also I think you would need to expand more on how work is managed both within a community and accross communities. This is a tricky area but there are many lessons we can learn. Look at the Soveit Union, it was good at capital projects (via the whip) but institutionally corrupt and where individual workers were motivated not to excel but to do the absolute bare minimum.
I liked DimitryO's comment that "a hard worker" translated into Russian as "fool" !
You don't want the new societies to afflicted int his way.

I think you can take some of the good bits of capitalism - mainly motivating individuals to excel by tying personal reward directly to personal effort/achievement.

You might be able to achieve this whilst avoiding the usual capital problem of turinng a vibrent small buiness into a mass-prouction sweat-shop by limiting any company to (say) a maximum of 20 workers and by structuring it so that they all have an equal or near-equal share in the rewards.

If you can tie together specialisation, some division of labour (but not like we have now) and individual incentive then you might be able to make a breakthrough in the scocio-economic structure.

What about national government, taxes, armies, national rail systems and the provision of water and basic sanitation - all of these are better suited to national control than localised. I suspect the first two are faily easy but the latter are of high impact and need careful incorporation in community based model.
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isenhand



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments so far.

<< Advantages with communities are often mentioned in connection with PeakOil, but there are probably drawbacks also. One significant drawback with many physical communities of the past is they generally become very conformistic, conservative and gossip ridden. Not to mention isolation and xenophobia.>>

Yes, things like that need to be address. No society will be prefect but we could minimise certain problems and this is something that needs to be hammered out in a bit more detail.

<< We have some interesting examples in Sweden with community gardening and community living, namely "kolonif?reningar" and "bostadsr?ttsf?reningar".>>

Yeap, I would also add ecovillages. Also I think there is a lot that could be learned from analysing historical examples as well. The only one I can think of along those lines are the Owenites in the UK and US (anyone know any more examples?).

<< If 50-100 people get together and buy a proper farm so each member can have some 2000-5000 square meters, it would not cost more than 5000-7000? per member with todays prizing. If the society establish a LETS-like trading system between members, other people could be made members of the trading system only, without right to land. Several such societies could decide to accept eachothers credits.>>

I think that that sounds good. I think there needs a way to link up with people in the cities as we can?t all run of the country. There also need communities that centre around activities such a recycling and manufacturing and they will not be farmed based. That could also mean looking at other ways to produce food other than farms (now I?m just randomly thinking).

<< A couple of things will have to be sorted out, mainly how to distribute incomes over the various phases of life and how to strike a fair balance between men, women and children, but with many societies going evolution might take care of those details.>>

Yes, more details to hammer out. I think there also need to be a bit of modelling and simulation work to see what problems there would be and how those details should be sorted.

<< When you might be better saying "For this to happen demand should be set realistically and in anycase must be no greater than what the source ecology can sustainably produce".>>

A good point. I was thinking of producing no more than is needed and producing goods with a long useful life so that you could cut down on production but balancing with the ecology is important.

<< Building on the notion of a self-supporting community - primarily in the case of food - I think you would need to mandate that communities could never allow themselves to drop food production below (say) "emeergency rations", lest we drift back towards import-dependancy over time.>>

Ok, that should be part of producing to meet demand as well.

<< I think I would be more inclined to propose that each community should have it's own resident specialists in certain core skils>>

I think that would be good if it could be done but I think there will always be some skills that all the communities can?t have an expert in (like brain surgeon) so there needs to be some plan for that.

<< Also I think you would need to expand more on how work is managed both within a community and accross communities.>>

Yeap, another bit that needs more hammering. I would hope for a system that minimises the amount of work everyone does. The idea case would be that all the boring jobs would be automated and the work that was left would be more like a hobby than work. People would exceed the minimum because they would enjoy doing so. That would take a bit of engineering so there is plenty of room for discussion and testing of ideas here.


<< You might be able to achieve this whilst avoiding the usual capital problem of turinng a vibrent small buiness into a mass-prouction sweat-shop by limiting any company to (say) a maximum of 20 workers and by structuring it so that they all have an equal or near-equal share in the rewards.>>

And maybe having groups of companies cooperating? Interesting.

<< What about national government, taxes, armies, national rail systems and the provision of water and basic sanitation>>

The idea was that communities would group together to form a network and then these networks would group together to form another network. The model I had in mind was holons. ?Holons? comes from Greek and means ?part-whole? the idea being that the whole is made of part that are made of parts where each part is the same as the whole. This sort of model is used in distributed manufacturing. In AI you would talk about agents. Overall top level functions would be achieved through the interaction of the parts without any explicit top level control or ?leader?. This sort of model has been shown to provide ?better? form of control than centralised systems. Here we have a good subject for a bit of research to see if this could work (just as an aside, this is also the model that the SIMs are based on).

The ideas I put the document are meant as a starting point, so none of it is fixed in my mind. I think there are a lot of things that will need to be examined and investigated. It would be good to be able to simulate things and see how it could work. It would also be good if people with other skills such as sociologist and behavioural specialist etc. could chip in as well (I think people like that would be interested in designing a future community Smile ).

Thanks again for your comments, most appreciated.

Smile Smile
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isenhand



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is anybody actual interested in exploring and hammering out the idea of a post peak communities and networks and making a project of it?

Smile
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isenhand wrote:
Is anybody actual interested in exploring and hammering out the idea of a post peak communities and networks and making a project of it?
Smile


Interested, yes, but what form of contribution do you have in mind?
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isenhand



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don?t plan to rush off, buy some land and we all go live there happily ever after Very Happy

I was thinking along the lines of exploring the possibility more as a thought experiment and possibly extending it to make a blue print for a community and network and then see what happens from there.

Some aspects I think would be interesting to explore is the economics and the inter connection between the communities (mainly cos I see this like a multi-agent AI problem). To that end it might be interesting to simulate such a community / network and it resources.

Other people with an interest in people (sociology / psychology and behavioral science) might be interested in other aspects. There is also an historical aspect that would be interesting to study as well.

Maybe this would be a project that goes beyond Powerswitch and will need its own group?

Nothing is fixed so if you want to make your own suggestion, feel free Smile
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following on from a post in another thread about national security (now there is a phrase with a lot of baggage!), I think it might be the case that while a great many things are best suited to local, community level, solutions a limited number of things are perhaps better suited to being handled at a national level.

Lets look at what's good about the USA (no don't laugh), the federlaised collection of very diverse states.

Some states in the US are as different from each other in terms of culture, religeon and way-of-life as some countries are, more so in some cases.

This system allows substantial state-level freedom (tho I'm sure some states complain about federal restrictions!) but retains certain functions at a national level.

Whilst the US "state" is at a far too higher level for what we are discussing here, I think it's a valid parallel.

A great strength of any such system is to bind together diverse people into a common and largely peacefull co-operative.

In the scenarios discussed here, each community would provide the policemen (and women, tattercoats leave me alone!) but they could police according to national rules and as part of a national police force. I think there would be significant benifits to this, mainly that the individuals are known to the community but that the standard of law and enforcement is the same nationwide.

In the case of armed forces, I think the need for such in the future could be very limited and we should learn from those countries that have no real armies currently and use "civil milita" as the manpower of the "army". I think we would need a method of protecting the UK's shores, for protecting the very limited off-shore presence that we should have and also for mounting specific "special" raids as the need arrises. But a very professional army to meet these needs would be very small indeed and incorporating an element of national defence in both policing and the community make-up would like cover all other needs.

I also think that water supply and basic sanitation is better suited to some form of national control or oversight, but that's for another post....


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isenhand



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

<< I think that some entities may be better served at a national level, Uk defence and policing may be one of these.>>

Well there is one interesting thing to look at. I would disagree mainly because I?m coming from a multi-agent perspective but I think this is something that can be investigated. Would it be better to have a more centralised system for some operations or can a decentralised system handle things better?

Smile
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isenhand wrote:

I was thinking along the lines of exploring the possibility more as a thought experiment and possibly extending it to make a blue print for a community and network and then see what happens from there.


I would be intersted in contributing to such a project where I can contribute via the web.

As for location - on or off P/S - I don't know, maybe others have a preference?
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fishertrop



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

isenhand wrote:

Well there is one interesting thing to look at. I would disagree mainly because I?m coming from a multi-agent perspective but I think this is something that can be investigated. Would it be better to have a more centralised system for some operations or can a decentralised system handle things better?


It's a fundamental question.

My main driver for thinking certain things should have a natinal level control is that in some areas you need the greater "all community" good to override the preferences of some of the individual communities.

Take communities that might spring from the poorer areas of the UK, they may opt to take a very lax approach to policing and have no wish whatsoever to contribute to any national defence - stemming from conflict with previous incarnations of "police" and viewing the "army" as an overt instrument of a state that failed them.

How such communities choose to should largely be up to them but if they are without law and make no contribution to national defence (while others do) then they are ripe for decent into the lawkess sectarianism and cross-community conflict that was invisaged in another thread.

National law and order is good for everyone - no community should be able to opt-out of that.

Several "nice" communities being initially terrorised by one "nasty" one and then flipping the otherway and attacking the "nasty" one and killing all the residents (however bad they might be) is not a recipie for national peace or co-oporation.

Any national law should only cover the basics - additional and specific "laws" that communities want to live under should be left to them.

In a different way, water supply, sanitation and (say) mainline railways appear better centrally directed to a single and fixed standard than to be left to individual districts. tho the operation of them would be carried out by community members.
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isenhand



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fishertrop wrote:
isenhand wrote:

Well there is one interesting thing to look at. I would disagree mainly because I?m coming from a multi-agent perspective but I think this is something that can be investigated. Would it be better to have a more centralised system for some operations or can a decentralised system handle things better?


It's a fundamental question.



I agree Smile

fishertrop wrote:

My main driver for thinking certain things should have a natinal level control is that in some areas you need the greater "all community" good to override the preferences of some of the individual communities.

Take communities that might spring from the poorer areas of the UK, they may opt to take a very lax approach to policing and have no wish whatsoever to contribute to any national defence - stemming from conflict with previous incarnations of "police" and viewing the "army" as an overt instrument of a state that failed them.

How such communities choose to should largely be up to them but if they are without law and make no contribution to national defence (while others do) then they are ripe for decent into the lawkess sectarianism and cross-community conflict that was invisaged in another thread.

National law and order is good for everyone - no community should be able to opt-out of that.

Several "nice" communities being initially terrorised by one "nasty" one and then flipping the otherway and attacking the "nasty" one and killing all the residents (however bad they might be) is not a recipie for national peace or co-oporation.

Any national law should only cover the basics - additional and specific "laws" that communities want to live under should be left to them.

In a different way, water supply, sanitation and (say) mainline railways appear better centrally directed to a single and fixed standard than to be left to individual districts. tho the operation of them would be carried out by community members.


Defense and policing etc can also be seen as a necessity for each community to survive and therefore each would make a contribution to defense. If a community fails to do so and falls in to lawlessness then it becomes the responsibility of the other communities in that group to sort it out (don?t forget I see this as networks within networks). That would mean that the problem is sorted locally with no need for a national government. National law and order would be achieved via local interaction. That?s one of the characteristics of a multi-agent / holonic system.

But this is not something I think is fixed, its something to be investigated. It would be interesting to compare the two approaches and see what would happen in some sort of simulation.

Interesting, isn?t it Question Smile
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Bootstrapper



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Signifigant food for thought there, Isenhand.

IMO, we are facing a global, economic depression that will be at least as bad as the 'Great Depression' of the nineteen thirties and probably a lot worse!. Peak Oil will ensure that the recovery will take far longer and 'business as usual' won't return. A whole new paradigm will have to be invented.

The social effect this depression will have is going to vary from country to country - The social fabric in the U.S. is so badly eroded that a complete collapse into anarchy or civil war seems likely. Turning to 'survivalism', buying a block of land in the boondocks, building a 'retreat', stocking it with years worth of provisions and arming yourself to the teeth to 'defend' it may be an appropriate strategy for people living in North America.

Our syncopantic grubbyment hasn't completely eroded Australia's social fabric yet (but they're trying hard!) so the effects of a global depression here won't be as severe. I'd expect problems in our biggest cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane - but the rest of the country should be able to weather the (economic) storm without too much (social) damage.

I can't comment on how I think anywhere else will fare as I haven't taken much interest in affairs beyond Australia and the U.S. I watch the U.S. because IMO, that's where the crash will start. If I can spot the 'signs' early enough, there'll be time to liquidate assets, and set other contingencies in place before the (economic) tsunami hits our shores.

I agree completely with the idea that the best strategy for recovery is community-based. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I've spent my time reviewing all the ideas that are extant in books and on the Web. These are the best I've found, so far:

1. If we are to build a sustainable society, It's essential that we recognise that land is the basis of all economic activity and the generation of wealth. Land is not 'made' by Man, it's provided free of charge by nature and is the common heritage of all people. I subscribe to the idea that, in view of the foregoing, 'ownership' of land is best vested in the community, not the individual. An individual wanting exclusive use of a parcel of land can compensate the community (not a 'landlord') for it's loss of the use of that parcel.

The E F Schumacher Society promotes the concept of Community Land Trusts that achieve just this effect.

As the world's economy collapses, governments will become more draconian as they fight for survival. It's my opinion that governments see the people within their borders not as citizens, but as livestock - resources to be exploited. In a survival situation, they'll take your assets (land) on the slightest pretext - declaring you a 'terr%r!st or a 'drug-dealer' and using the 'proceeds of crime' laws to confiscate your goods and property. Having free and clear ownership and no debts may not be sufficient protection. Leasing (long term) from a body (on which you have a 'say') places a roadblock (well, a speed-bump anyway) on such abuses of power.

2. The 'marketplace' is still, IMO the best economic regulating mechanism yet invented. The market exists within a wider environment - the 'commons', which it uses as a source of raw materials and a 'sink' for wastes. The problem is that the market is driven by the imperative of unlimited growth and, like a fish that's grown too big for it's pond, has reached the point where it threatens to destroy the commons (and itself along with it). What's needed is to restore a balance between the market and the commons. Peter Barnes has written (IMO) a brilliant essay on this subject. I recommend it highly to anyone planning to rebuild a sustainable economy for the future.


3. At the heart of the market is the 'lubricant' that makes it all work - 'money'. Like it or not, to build and maintain an economy (local, regional or national) with any significant 'division of labour' that will permit a reasonable standard of living, a medium of exchange - 'money' is essential.

Blame for the mess the world's economy is in can be laid at the feet of the 'priveleged elites' of our society, who use their 'privelege' to loot the wealth of the world. Their most important 'looting tool' is the monopoly to produce 'money'. I see a brief 'window of opportunity' when this monopoly will become meaningless and it will be possible to permanently replace this 'monopoly money' with local currencies. On this subject, I recommend Thomas H Greco Jr's website and the essays of E C Riegel in particular.

Paul
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MacG



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dammit Bootstrapper! I dont know which paths you have travelled, but you have arrived at just about the same place as I have! I'm somewhat stunned.
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Bootstrapper



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For you, MacG, here's some of the important milestones on the path I've travelled:

http://www.ssa.gov/history/paine4.html

http://users.mo-net.com/mlindste/revltciv.html

http://www.agron.iastate.edu/courses/agron342/diamondmistake.html

http://www.foundation.bw/CANAMoptions.htm

http://www.markswatson.com/Depression1.html

And check the links in my earlier post, if you haven't already. Wink

I want to make it clear that I'm not championing any particular 'panacea'. I consider it necessary to consider what form a society needs to take if it's to be just and sustainable. That translates to: How will it be organised socially, politically and economically? It's essential that you (plan to) avoid the mistakes of previous societies / civilisations, including (especially) the current industrial civilisation.

This makes the study of history absolutely essential but you must use caution. History is written by the victors, not the vanquished and the victors weren't necessarily 'right'. The solutions and formulas we arrive at will differ, depending on our race, culture, language and physical environment. As long as it achieves the goal, Vive la difference!

"Indeed, the ability to control energy, whether it be making wood fires or building power plants, is a prerequisite for civilization."
-- Isaac Asimov, 1991

That says it all. Industrial Civilisation is just one more, in a long line of civilisations that have risen and fallen through history. There's no evidence to suggest that "This time, it's different." I'm sure the Romans said the same thing, right before the Huns sacked 'The Eternal City'.

Industrial civilisation is unsustainable on two levels - energy and finance. The two are intimately linked;

The tremendous concentration of energy in fossil-fuels is what permits today's vast concentration of industry and wealth and the concentration of political and military power that flows from it.

In an energy-poor future, such concentrations will be impossible. As the energy base of civilisation becomes disbursed and diffuse, so will the concentration of industry, wealth and political and military power. This a fact of the first magnitude. It would be pollyannish to expect the government, corporate and financial sectors to change. They are the entities that benefit most mightily from 'business-as-usual' and form a self-reinforcing feedback-loop that will keep them riding the runaway economic train right off the (Olduvai) cliff.

Why would apparently well educated, intelligent people do this? Simple! The Government, corporate and financial sectors (what I call "Govcorp" for short) have never been made to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions. Those consequences (wars, famines, depressions) have always been borne by the ordinary people. Govcorp monopolises violence in our society and will use that monopoly to confiscate whatever it needs to preserve it's own existence. As Jared Diamond pointed out in Collapse! all this will buy them, as it did for the Viking settlers' elite in Greenland, is the privelege of being the last to starve.

We won't 'run out' of oil, just cheap and plentiful oil. You could say that the 'oil-binge' is coming to an end. 'Peak Oil' means that we've extracted half of the planet's total endowment of petroleum. The other half is still there but it's going to be vastly more expensive to extract and refine than the first half was. In the future, oil-derived products will still be around, but they'll be expensive luxuries. (Perhaps it would be a clever strategy to stock up on Tupperware while it's cheap! Wink )

Industrial civilisation's financial paradigm is built on the same foundation - cheap, plentiful, Petroleum-based energy. Our (industrial civilisation's) economic paradigm has two distinct 'modus operandi' - production and speculation.

Man doesn't create things. He converts raw materials into finished goods by applying energy and knowledge. This is the essence of production and the fountainhead of all 'wealth'.

Speculation doesn't produce 'wealth', it makes 'money'. This is a critical difference that most prople fail to grasp. Under the 'legal tender' and 'fiat money' paradigm, 'money' made from speculation is indistinguishable from 'money' earned by production. The speculator produces nothing physical or valuable yet he has an equally valid claim (via this indistinguishable money) to real goods and services. Speculation in fact reduces the total amount of wealth in an economy.

IMO, the 'speculative' part of the economy is like a parasite. Once started, this parasite will grow, often faster than the underlying productive 'host' until the host has been 'bled dry'. It is, after all, far easier to make money by speculating than by getting your hands dirty and producing real (physical) things of value. This analogy illustrates one of the root causes of the 'business cycle'.

The speculative sector is occupied almost exclusively by civilisation's 'priveleged elites' who extend their influence through 'their' intermediary - Govcorp. Priveleged elites have been a feature of every civilisation that has collapsed. If we're to build a new, just and sustainable society, it would be to everyone's advantage to prevent the rise of a new 'priveleged elite'.

All the research I've done leads me to conclude that the root cause of all of mankind's current problems can be defined in just three words:

Too Many People.

Homo Sapiens is the only critter on this planet that regards the ability to breed as a God-given right. For every other species, it's a privelege that must be earned, every time it's exercised. If our species' breeding is left unchecked, it will lead to not just to the collapse of our civilisation as Lothrop Stoddard claims, but to extinction. And not just our extinction either.

Intelligence is what makes Man different from every other species. It's Homo Sap's 'survival adaption'. Every other creature has evolved physical adaptions to make it more competitive in it's environment, thus enhancing it's species' chances of survival. However, if the environment changes, these physical adaptions may no longer offer any competitive advantage and may even become a disadvantage. The members of that species must either evolve new physical adaptions or migrate to a new location where the environment is similar to the one in which they evolved or are adapted to.

Only intelligence gives a species the capability to survive changes in it's environment, by giving it the ability to modify it's environment to better suit it's needs. Intelligence is a survilval adaption for the very long term - that is: survival beyond the death of the environment that gave it birth. So far, Mankind has squandered this unique gift (of intelligence and our once-only endowment of high-grade energy) on a drunken orgy of consumption and violence that has no parallel in all history.

It should come as no surprise that the chief champions of the "too-many-people" policy are the selfsame priveleged elites I've already referred to. Governments love more people because they equal more taxpayers. Corporations love more people because they equal more customers. Religions love more people because they equal more worshippers (and tithes!). Economists (and financiers) love more people because it means an increase in GDP and economic activity. All these things, you'll notice, have the effect of enriching the priveleged elites at the expense of everyone and everything else, including the biosphere.

I consider this comes down to a choice between supporting the BAU paradigm and enriching the priveleged elites (wonderful, if you belong to one) or preserving the biosphere for all future generations of Humans and other creatures (at the expense of the priveleged elites). So, if it comes to a choice between providing a reasonable standard of living for everyone (that includes a plentiful diet), at the cost of a massively reduced human population or feeding everyone currently alive at a massively reduced standard of living, then my vote goes to the former.

I guess Isenhand, this a point on which we'll have to agree-to-disagree. Wink
_________________
GovCorp: The disease, masquerading as the cure.
The cure?
http://www.reinventingmoney.com/
http://www.schumachersociety.org/
http://www.henrygeorge.org/chp1.htm
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