• ChatteringMonkey
    995
    Capitalism is the cause, agreed, I'm just trying to figure where to go from here. One way or another we will need to change, the question is how, to what extent and when? If we believe climate scientists, which I do, there's not much time, which kind of restrains our options at this point.
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    I agree, right now it's about regulating capitalism and using science and technology to undo as much damage as we can.
  • Xtrix
    2.2k
    Right now there’s smoke all over New England, from the wildfires in the west and Canada. Never seen anything quite like this — maybe once when there was a fire in NY.

    Sun was red. Like a friggin omen.
  • Xtrix
    2.2k
    Capitalism is the cause, agreed, I'm just trying to figure where to go from here. One way or another we will need to change, the question is how, to what extent and when? If we believe climate scientists, which I do, there's not much time, which kind of restrains our options at this point.ChatteringMonkey

    If the choice was between destroying capitalism or destroying earth, given the time frame we’d have no shot. Capitalism — the form we have — will stay around a while longer, and so there has to be alternatives.

    And there are. The push by investors like BlackRock — and the endorsement of the Business Roundtable—towards “stakeholder capitalism” and ESGs, the acknowledgment if Exxon, Shell, etc, that something needs to be done about climate, the mobilization of young people, and (depressingly the most important) the immediate effects before our eyes— are all signs that things are shifting.

    The Republican Party mainly stands in the way. The Democratic Party aren’t that far behind — they’d prefer nice words and to throw essentially crumbs at the issue, but at least there’s an acknowledgement of reality.

    If voters keep turning up to elect these assholes, or too many dems stay home, we’re toast. But I can’t believe this will happen, and we should all try our best to make the opposite happen.
  • boethius
    914
    If the choice was between destroying capitalism or destroying earth, given the time frame we’d have no shot. Capitalism — the form we have — will stay around a while longer, and so there has to be alternatives.Xtrix

    You maybe confusing the sum total of our institutions with "capitalism". For instance, democratic institutions are not really "capitalism". You can have democratically elected politicians that implement a state or otherwise socialists economy. Indeed, you can have a nominal "communist party" that oversees a capitalists economy, as we have in China.

    So, although I agree we cannot overhaul the entire political and economic system, a real solution to the climate crisis is now simply impossible through any semblance of the free market "acting by itself". It requires massive government intervention, which pro-capitalists, will cry "socialism" about (unless it benefits them of course, then they say it's just common sense).

    Western society is a mix of capitalism and socialist / collectivist institutions.

    Although I would agree that our capitalist components dominate our socialist components (socialist institutions, including elected political bodies, de facto serve at the leisure of our oligarchs, and only insofar as it is good for capitalism ... and the "really important things" like central banks and multi-national corporations are kept in direct oligarchal control, far from the dirty, filthy, putrid, weak and pathetic hands of elected representatives).

    Though I cannot speak for @ChatteringMonkey, the concept that capitalism must be overthrown to solve the climate crisis, I would agree with, but not mean to say literally all our institutions (including the market) must be rebuilt from scratch, but rather our oligarchs must be deposed by democracy.

    This may require a Nuremberg style trial and hanging of our oligarchs, which may seem fantasy now, but as the damage and pains become greater and larger, accountability for ecocide on par with the accountability (no sane person argues against) for the Nazi genocide, is entirely reasonable, and a an important expression of the intrinsic violent nature of politics, in order to move with de facto new institutions of power that can credibly say they are now in some sort of real control, and not the oligarchs (because they've been publicly hanged).

    Obviously, this foundational aspect of our political institutions can go to far, such as the Terror of the French revolution, but I think Nuremberg was a reasonable thing; as the bodies pile up, I predict more and more people will agree with this sentiment.

    Now, hanging our oligarchs would clearly be seen as a deep transition of power, but does not mean getting rid of all our institutions.

    What matters is who controls our institutions.

    Capitalism is an ideology which explicitly wants the rich to run the show. For instance, "how to prevent poor people from making laws", is the central question of the founding fathers of the United States. Democracy was needed to take power from the King of England (and pay less taxes and become more rich), since a revolution for a new American King simply would simply make no sense (and, the oligarchs would not have been able to agree on a new King even if they wanted to). Democracy was a very conscious compromise, carefully crafted to ensure poor people and slaves had no effective power. Of course, it was not fated to remain that way, and America has seen periods of effective democracy (certainly more effective than previous times or then today), but that is the ideology of capitalism.

    The idea that democratic institutions should effectively "flex" control over the market (force internalization of costs), effectively stop the transformation of control of capital into political power (whether through a long list of laws interfering with money in politics, or just preventing too much capital accumulation in the first place and appropriating the capital of anyone that "succeeds" in that quest regardless), effectively provide critical goods and services to society through "collectivist" institutions where the market clearly fails to do so, as well as simply not allow poverty, are all in clear contradiction to capitalist ideology.

    "Capitalists" who take credit for the success of "collectivist institutions" as capitalism "working", while simultaneously claiming "taxes are theft", and the creation of more such institutions is socialism, blah, blah, blah, are just idiotic hypocrites.

    The central features (i.e. the dominant features that actually decide how our societies are organized) are that people can accumulate unlimited amounts of capital and this control of capital can be effectively be transformed into political power (the places where this is not the case, are small political islands with essentially no influence over global affairs).

    Where this accumulation of, and transformation of capital to political power is "without friction", the system is fully "capitalist", and where there is a lot of friction to this process (such as Scandinavia), then democratic institutions start to dominate the organization of society (using markets insofar as they produce, at least perceived, "good" for most people, using the socialism of free money and services when the market clearly doesn't provide the goods, and constraining the market when it can work fine, but with a bunch of rules to discourage negative forms of competition, such as damaging externalities), are socialist ideas, of one brand or another (and "capitalists" do not hesitate to identify those ideas as socialism; there's no good counter argument to such accusations, because it's true; it's socialists and communists and anarchists that proposed and fought for things like free education, minimum wages, free health care, safe working conditions, and so on, not "capitalists"; for capitalists to take credit for such socialists victories to make the argument it's capitalism and the market that has provided all good things anywhere, is just stupid).

    The 90s saw the environmental movement make the faustian bargain with our oligarchs, based on the idea of "fix the climate within capitalism; because overthrowing the oligarchs seems, so, so hard, and it's so, so much easier to take oligarch money and such oligarch dick; and they seem like such nice people too!". Oligarchs did feign sympathy and did provide money (strings attached of course), but what are they doing now? Trying to go to space and look out for number 1, as they always can be counted on to do.

    For, it was believed that even the oligarchs needed a planet and would agree with evidence and rational based reasoning of how to prevent planetary catastrophe, and would accept some loss of capital and power, to themselves or fellow oligarchs. Two decades later the oligarchs have literally popped out of their yachts, bunkers and New Zealand compounds (they were hiding in to avoid Corona), yelled "wrong, bitches!" and blasted off to space (what they called space anyways; certainly, a good first step to becoming swashbuckling, intrepid galactic explorers), to thunderous applause in the media no less.

    Getting rid of the oligarchs -- which may require a good perfectly fair and legal Nuremburg style hanging -- is the key issue. Doing so does not mean a radically different society; if you go to countries with little oligarchic control, they do not look so different in terms of the nominal names of the institutions they have, but they are very different.
  • boethius
    914
    And the civilizations you are referring to? Seems to me the civilizations in history were far more fragile to collapse.ssu

    Doing things like changing the global climate makes our civilization far, far more fragile.

    Other civilizations always had the chance to at least move somewhere else. For instance, Roman civilization did effectively move to Byzantine and survived for another 1000 years.

    We have no where to go.

    (Oligarchs are trying to change that, but I don't think on behalf of "we".)

    Also, I don't get how this view squares with your view that population is the problem. If we're not fragile, why would population be a problem?

    Population growth is the natural reason for economic growth and demand growth. If populations are stable or decreasing, that is a huge issue on this issue. You don't have only decrease in use because of technological advancement, but also due to demand decrease. That is a huge issue. Besides, earlier population growth was seen as the primary reason for doom, starting from Malthus, which isn't something unimportant now.

    Japan has a decreasing population. Notice what has happened to it's need of energy:
    ssu

    I disagree with your disagreement.

    As I explained, I am not arguing a large population is not a pre-condition for our currently large resource consumption.

    If there was only 1 person on earth, our present environmental problems would not be here.

    Neither am I arguing that simply depopulating the world wouldn't solve the environmental crisis. If however many people are needed, volunteered themselves for extermination: problem solved!

    The problem is that people don't volunteer (even those advocating depopulation, I never see volunteer for it).

    It's easy to accomplish depopulation through environmental collapse, massive droughts and crop failures, but environmental collapse is what we are trying to avoid.

    In other-words, depopulation is simply not realistic.

    Depopulation through lowing the birth rate is not a solution. We need to solve our environmental problems in the coming decades, but it would be centuries to lower substantially the population through birth rates.

    You are arguing in a hypothetical realm divorced from reality. If we actually lived in this hypothetical realm where the consequences were centuries out, then just lowering the birth rate would be an option worth discussing.

    On the time scales imposed by the actual reality we live in, depopulation would be required in the next couple of decades; and the only feasible way to do that is through environmental collapse: the problem we are trying to avoid. Otherwise, people try to survive and try to help other people survive, no one volunteers themselves for depopulation.

    However, our technological systems and infrastructure and level of affluence can be radically changed in mere decades. It requires high level of effort, but it is feasible.

    Depopulation is a mental crutch of the apathetic. It's a way of both simultaneously viewing oneself as a "tough realist" while accomplishing nothing at all and denying reality.

    The tough realist position (that includes effective actions) is not depopulation, but radical transformation of our political system (which, as I explain in my previous post, I define as effectively arresting control of our institutions from our sociopathic oligarchs) to implement feasible solutions to our problems, on the span of decades and not whimsical imaginings of centuries that have no relevance to the present.
  • ssu
    4.6k
    Other civilizations always had the chance to at least move somewhere else. For instance, Roman civilization did effectively move to Byzantine and survived for another 1000 years.boethius
    Moving is a bad term here.

    Understanding the difficulties of reigning such a vast landmass, the Empire was divided peacefully to two parts. Eastern part, which we call "Byzantium" after the fall of West Rome (and they themselves called the Roman Empire) as you said, survived for a thousand year afterwards. It's not that West Romans moved to East Rome, it is simply the question that having a city of million people in Antique Times, you need a huge landmass and functioning shipping routes to feed those million people. This was possible when Rome was basically fed with grain coming from North Africa and in the case of Byzantium and Constantinople, when they had the fertile Nile delta to grow food for the huge city. When West Rome lost North Africa to the Vandals and Byzantium lost Egypt, then where people moved was the countryside. Feudalism and Dark Ages was basically an issue of de-globalization.


    You are arguing in a hypothetical realm divorced from reality.boethius
    What I'm arguing is that to solve these problems take more than 20 years and yes, long term changes in population growth do matter. They simply are so subtle that those focusing just on the present day don't notice their effects. And it's not just technological advancement, but also the market mechanism which also is an important factor here.

    On the time scales imposed by the actual reality we live in, depopulation would be required in the next couple of decades; and the only feasible way to do that is through environmental collapse: the problem we are trying to avoid. Otherwise, people try to survive and try to help other people survive, no one volunteers themselves for depopulation.boethius
    So in your view in 20 years there is a catastrophy, a collapse?

    The tough realist position (that includes effective actions) is not depopulation,boethius
    First, actual global population growth to be negative will take a long, long time. It possibly can happen in the next Century, which is quite a way off. Second, it's not the kind of "depopulation" some antinatalists think about. It's simply what is already happening in Japan and in many countries all around the world.

    radical transformation of our political system (which, as I explain in my previous post, I define as effectively arresting control of our institutions from our sociopathic oligarchs)boethius
    Democracy has it's faults, but it's still the thing I believe in. It has some safety valves built into it, if only the citizens would apply them. The alternatives usually don't have them. Radical technological transformation, yes. Radical political transformation, be careful just what you wish for.
  • boethius
    914
    Moving is a bad term here.ssu

    It's a perfectly good term, and makes the point that if the entire climate isn't destabilized, and there's "elsewhere" to go to, then previous civilizations have not been fragile in this sense, which seems to me pretty major.

    It also seems to me pretty trivial that moving one's civilization somewhere else will require conquering that place first. It's only us that calls the Byzantine empire by that name, they called themselves Roman.

    Feudalism I would argue was not "moving Roman civilization" to the country side, but the collapse of the Western Roman civilization.

    For instance, most of the written classics of the Roman, and the preceding Greek, civilization that we now have, were preserved by Muslims, and then re-introduced to Europe. The monastic tradition I would argue is people trying to preserve what they can from a collapsed civilization. To argue feudalism was Roman civilization "moving" to the countryside is nonsensical. Feudalism was a response of people to the collapse of Roman civilization.

    Otherwise, I don't really see what your arguing ... other than running out of grain and so on precipitated the collapse of the Western Roman empire, which I think historians would agree played a part.

    What I'm arguing is that to solve these problems take more than 20 years and yes, long term changes in population growth do matter.ssu

    Then maybe read up on the topic. The carbon budgets we have to work with (to avoid civilization ending climate "discontinuities", as they are called) are on decade time scales, in which de-population via falling birth rates has no meaningful consequence.

    They simply are so subtle that those focusing just on the present day don't notice their effects. And it's not just technological advancement, but also the market mechanism which also is an important factor here.ssu

    What's subtle about the world going from 1 billion to 8 billion in a single human life time?

    I have no idea what you're talking about i terms of technology advance and market mechanism in this context.

    So in your view in 20 years there is a catastrophy, a collapse?ssu

    The carbon budgets we have to work with, to stay under 2 degrees Celsius (and not a guarantee, just a reasonable chance) are exhausted in about 20 years at present consumption rate.

    Carbon_budget_eng.png

    Emission budget and necessary emission reduction pathways to meet the two-degree target agreed in Paris Agreement without negative emissions, depending on the emission peakhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_budget

    Now, if we started really major actions now, and overran the carbon budget on our way to zero emissions (but we do make it there), then another major effort could be spent growing massive amounts of trees every year and sequester that carbon back underground, as well as other geoengineering schemes to "nudge" systems a bit -- in a race against the lag time of the climate system. (This is by no means a "clever risk" to take; it is far less riskier and far less costly to not emit the carbon in the first place: for, even if we emit less there's the risk the carbon budget was miscalculated and it's still not enough, so we need to do the geoengineering and we'll thank our lucky stars we played it as safe as we did; and 2, it's simply expensive and causes more ecologic damage to sequester compared to reasonable short-term actions to decarbonize, as well as stop deforesting the amazon, stop over fishing, stop so much meat eating, etc..)

    So, I would agree there is some flexibility, but only if we were actually on track to zero emissions; currently we are not, not even close to being on track. Just pie in the sky denialist thinking.

    Continuing business as usual and just blowing by the carbon budgets (just as we simply blew by the Kyoto targets), will be a state of inevitable collapse.

    Collapse won't happen in 20 years "to the day", but would be a process of unrelenting droughts, floods, fires, leading to crop failures, political upheaval, and both civil and inter-nation wars.

    It is this next 20 years where we can have the biggest impact on how events unfold and preserve our civilization and most people alive today with a ok probability. Just like the last 20 years would have been even easier ... and 20 years before that when we actually first understood this problem in all the essential aspects.

    Our global society seems pretty stable, but only because we currently have enough to eat for everyone ... that matters politically (the people we don't give enough to eat, but could, such as those starving in Yemen, don't matter to our global political system, otherwise they could use that leverage to get more food; but that's far from being everyone in the Yemenize category).

    Once food goes from "enough" to "not-enough" on a global scale, and even once many people die, and the warming and droughts and fires don't stop, so it just happens again and again to those left over each time, both coherent global action and maintaining our present infrastructure will be more and more difficult.

    There is only so much disruption and challenges our system (as with previous systems) can take. Critical supply chains (such as your Egyptian grain example) start to unravel and our technological infrastructure will start to be defunct.

    Armies (running out of food) won't simply sit around and starve to death, so the habitable places that remain will face relentless invasion and piracy with dwindling weapons systems that can no longer be renewed without the present global technological manufacturing platform. What happens to these people is anyone's guess, but I'm very certain they would view our current civilization as "collapsed" and "in ruins".

    This is the basic process of collapse.

    It is avoidable with radical actions now, not "subtle changes to population growth" over a century or two.

    Democracy has it's faults, but it's still the thing I believe in. It has some safety valves built into it, if only the citizens would apply them. The alternatives usually don't have them. Radical technological transformation, yes. Radical political transformation, be careful just what you wish for.ssu

    You obviously didn't read my previous post which I literally say "as I explain in my previous post, I define as effectively arresting control of our institutions from our sociopathic oligarchs" is effective democracy.
  • boethius
    914
    For people who don't want to spend effort doing basic web searches about this topic before debating it.

    Here's a presentation by a credible scientist on the issue of collapse and climate change:

  • ssu
    4.6k
    It's a perfectly good termboethius
    Then just what historical study shows a huge migration of people from the Western parts moving to East Rome that you are talking about. Seriously, I've not heard about it so inform me.

    Feudalism I would argue was not "moving Roman civilization" to the country side, but the collapse of the Western Roman civilization.boethius
    Then I wrote it badly. Feudalism was an answer to deal with the collapse. So I think we agree here.

    I have no idea what you're talking about i terms of technology advance and market mechanism in this context.boethius
    It was a response to this:

    However, our technological systems and infrastructure and level of affluence can be radically changed in mere decades. It requires high level of effort, but it is feasible.boethius
    That radical technological change needs also the market mechanism. Competition is a way to make things efficient.

    I'll respond to you later about the last part of your post.
  • boethius
    914
    I'll respond to you later about the last part of your post.ssu

    In the meantime, here is another interview with a credible scientist.



    Saying all the same points.

    Also, if anyone on the forum has pre-ripped genes ... you're fucking terrible people.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995


    The problem is capitalists setting societies goals, yes, but democracy let that happen or made that possible even. The idea of democracy rests on the assumption that the people are knowledgeable, responsible and independent enough to recognize what is in their and societies best interest.... a kind of free will if you will. But Google, Youtube and Facebook know people can be manipulated, and so did the church and rulers in the past.

    Isn't it telling that after all these years people still can't be moved to vote for parties that want to solve the problem, given that this one of the most important challenges we face in the 21th century, and perhaps ever?

    There will always be factions like business vying for control of the institutions that make the decisions. If a system can't deal with that, that would be a (fatal?) flaw in said system it seems to me.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995
    I wanna say part of the problem is inherent in human beings... it's evolutions fault that we will destroy us.

    Like all life on earth we want to survive and reproduce, and we need energy for that. Normally a species only fills certain evolutionary niches, and is kept in check by the niche getting saturated or other species adapting to it.

    But evolution has given us a combination of traits that enable us to transmit complex information almost instantly, making us very adaptable and overpowered. In the game of genetic evolution, cultural evolution is broken. If it takes a species millennia to evolve a new trait like a claw or a tooth, we can develop a gun in a couple of generations...

    Our fatal flaw is that we are to successful, ultimately leaving us in the predicament that we have to devise a culture that goes against some of our nature.
  • Punshhh
    2.3k
    Yes, although this happened many thousands of years ago. It is only recently that we have run out of new lands to colonise. And only recently that we have polluted the planet. We have to find a way to live sustainably quickly, or the ecosystem will do it for us. The later being rapid population collapse as has been happening to over dominant species for hundreds of millions of years. It’s all there in the fossil record.

    Now that the effects of climate change are writ large we may have rapid political change in favour of Green party’s. Industry will adapt quickly as they prioritise providing what the market demands. The worry is groups or nations who turn against this imperative and exploit warfare to resist. Or become failed states in which there is no effective power structure, or capital to instigate the required change.

    I am quite confident that China, EU, US and other Western developed countries will successfully adapt. South America is a worry along with India, the Middle East and other populous Asian countries. Smaller failed states are not so significant because as they fail their carbon foot print will fall. Although if they have forests, these will be cut down for fuel.Which is the problem with South America, the Amazon basin is already seeing climate collapse, which could turn the forest into desert.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    I wanna say part of the problem is inherent in human beings... it's evolutions fault that we will destroy us.ChatteringMonkey

    And yet we lived for 192,000 years with virtually no measurable impact on the climate or global ecosystem, and in the last few thousand are in a position to make the earth uninhabitable.

    If your computer worked without fault for 192 years and then in the last year started to go wrong are you seriously telling me your first port of call for blame would be that there's something fundamentally wrong with the way the computer was made and not "oh no, I must have picked up a virus, or dropped it, or something"?
  • Benkei
    4.9k
    Smaller failed states are not so significant because as they fail their carbon foot print will fall.Punshhh

    I'd argue failed States are already insignificant where it concerns carbon footprints.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995
    I wanna say part of the problem is inherent in human beings... it's evolutions fault that we will destroy us.
    — ChatteringMonkey

    And yet we lived for 192,000 years with virtually no measurable impact on the climate or global ecosystem, and in the last few thousand are in a position to make the earth uninhabitable.

    If your computer worked without fault for 192 years and then in the last year started to go wrong are you seriously telling me your first port of call for blame would be that there's something fundamentally wrong with the way the computer was made and not "oh no, I must have picked up a virus, or dropped it, or something"?
    Isaac

    192.000 years is a very precise number.... when human culture evolution really started is a bit in contention I'd say. Either way the point at which we started spreading across the globe, a lot of megafauna did become extinct, and we did reshape whole ecosystems as we progressed into agriculture, domesticated species etc etc...

    And obviously this is not a linear process, it had to get some traction first. The rate of cultural Innovation is a function of population size and density... and innovations in turn have a positive reinforcing effect on those. In the video Boethius linked to, Dr Suzuki compares economic growth with bacteria in a test tube that grow exponentially every minute. If at minute 60 the tube would be saturated with bacteria, at minute 59 it would only be half that, and at minute 58 only a quarter etc etc... At minute 50 or so you would hardly notice them, yet the fact that they are an entity that doubles every minute is the cause of the tube being saturated. This just to say that the larger part of our history being relatively non-impactfull doesn't necessarily tell the whole story.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    when human culture evolution really started is a bit in contention I'd say.ChatteringMonkey

    That it started some huge multiple of 2000 years is not 'in contention', it's a fact. The contention is only over the exactness of that multiple. That we lived without noticeably impacting the global ecosystem for the overwhelming majority of our existence is just not a thing you can reasonably question.

    In the video Boethius linked to, Dr Suzuki compares economic growth with bacteria in a test tube that grow exponentially every minute.ChatteringMonkey

    Indeed. And it applies admirably to economic growth. The imact we had on the global ecosystem as a species is not exponential. It was practically zero for hundreds of thousands of years and then grew exponentially from the birth of agriculture, ramping up a significant notch after the industrial revolution. There's been nothing remotely steady or progressive about it, it's been clearly triggered by significant changes in technology.

    the point at which we started spreading across the globe, a lot of megafauna did become extinct, and we did reshape whole ecosystems as we progressed into agriculture, domesticated species etc etc...ChatteringMonkey

    The megafauna issue is contested (funny how you so easily raise the uncertainty of something opposing your view yet treat speculative theories as fact when they support it). Notwithstanding, the progress to agriculture is exactly what I'm talking about. It happened about 200,000 years into our existence as a species, prior to which no appreciable effect on the global ecosystem was detectable, rendering your "we're naturally inclined this way" theory complete nonsense.
  • Benkei
    4.9k
    If I may interject, I think we are a victim of the slow development of human nature that cannot keep up with the rapid changes resulting from technological inventions and our ability to easily transfer knowledge and cooperate. Our moral intuitions aren't developed to take into account far off risks or other people in the abstract. We pursue impartiality and abstraction by expressing everything in terms of money, which becomes a self perpetuating beast mostly out of our control (the Market) so that we don't have to feel anything about a decision, further divorcing it from morality.

    What you're left with is a society that rumbles along with barely a chance to steer it in another direction simply because of its size and complexity and people incapable of making moral decisions most of the time and it's not even their fault.
  • Isaac
    5.3k


    I think that's very true. Like the fox in the hen house, it never evolved an off switch because it never faced a room full of trapped prey, it never needed one.

    The point I was trying to make is that whilst this makes us vulnerable, it does not, in theory, prevent there from being a set of circumstances which suit our nature sufficiently to prevent such catastrophic failures to adapt.

    I'm generally distrustful of any evolutionary psychology, we're really quite a malleable species in terms of our cultural adaptation to new circumstances, but that doesn't mean we don't have our limits, nor that solutions which work with those tendencies won't work a good deal better than those trying to work against them.

    What I find unhelpful about any "it's in our nature" type of arguments is the defeatism which inevitably plays into the hands of those who prefer to maintain the status quo.

    So yeah, I agree - "we're not very well adapted psychologically to handle the technology" is a much better way of talking about the role of 'human nature' than to resign on the clichéd "'twas ever thus". It clearly wasn't.

    Our moral intuitions aren't developed to take into account far off risks or other people in the abstract. We pursue impartiality and abstraction by expressing everything in terms of money, which becomes a self perpetuating beast mostly out of our control (the Market) so that we don't have to feel anything about a decision, further divorcing it from morality.Benkei

    This is a very interesting take, one I've not heard before. It seems related to Millgram's work on social roles (his work on obedience gets all the limelight, but in my opinion his work on social roles is much better). He talks about the psychological limits of being part of a large system (such as a corporation) and how we responded to that by limiting the nodes in our 'Markov Blanket' of knowledge about the system. We know what our boss wants us to do, we know what we want our staff to do, but we neither know nor understand what our boss's boss wants, nor what our staff's staff should do. It seems as though you're saying a similar thing could happen with spending. We cannot manage the chain of consequences more than a few steps so we end consideration there. Or have I misunderstood completely, perhaps?
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995


    There's some always something arbitrary about where we draw the boundaries around a species or not, and it's not as if we know exactly what subtle evolutionary changes in behavior or the brain may have happened between say 600.000 and 60.000 years ago... we have some semi-informed guesses.

    But this is all a bit besides the point, as soon as the ice-age came to pass and conditions were such that we could have enough population and density, cultural evolution took off all across the world in multiply isolated locations, and the rest is history.

    We want to survive and reproduce like any form of life, and because of the particular abilities we have we are very successful at it... which is part of the reason why we are where we are now. If you want to call this complete nonsense, fine.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995


    Aah right, you are generally distrustful of people making an argument about human nature, promoting a defeatist attitude, put me in that box and thought I deserved a good beat-down.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995
    If I may interject, I think we are a victim of the slow development of human nature that cannot keep up with the rapid changes resulting from technological inventions and our ability to easily transfer knowledge and cooperate. Our moral intuitions aren't developed to take into account far off risks or other people in the abstract. We pursue impartiality and abstraction by expressing everything in terms of money, which becomes a self perpetuating beast mostly out of our control (the Market) so that we don't have to feel anything about a decision, further divorcing it from morality.

    What you're left with is a society that rumbles along with barely a chance to steer it in another direction simply because of its size and complexity and people incapable of making moral decisions most of the time and it's not even their fault.
    Benkei

    While I agree with all of this, we do find ourselves in a situation we are not especially equipped to deal with, we wouldn't find ourselves in this situation if we weren't with this many people to begin with. It all starts there, we have made major advances in medicine, food production, have no real predatory species left in nature that concern us etc etc... all of which made it possible for our population to grow as it has. However one wants to slice it, this is a major part of the problem.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    Aah right, you are generally distrustful of people making an argument about human nature, promoting a defeatist attitude, put me in that box and thought I deserved a good beat-down.ChatteringMonkey

    That's about the size of it, yep.

    If you want to draw conclusions about human nature and prehistory, I suggest doing some research on the matter might be a good start.

    This...

    as soon as the ice-age came to pass and conditions were such that we could have enough population and density, cultural evolution took off all across the world in multiply isolated locations, and the rest is history.ChatteringMonkey

    ...for example, is hopelessly wrong.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995


    Yes it's not only wrong, it's hopelessly wrong, you just had to get that adjective in there didn't you... just in case it's wasn't abundantly clear how ignorant i am.

    Why don't you take a less adversarial approach to debates on this forum? Surely you don't expect us to all be scientific scholars on every subject and post on a science journal level or shut up? If you think it's wrong, just say why and leave out this demeaning BS please.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995
    Our moral intuitions aren't developed to take into account far off risks or other people in the abstract. We pursue impartiality and abstraction by expressing everything in terms of money, which becomes a self perpetuating beast mostly out of our control (the Market) so that we don't have to feel anything about a decision, further divorcing it from morality.

    What you're left with is a society that rumbles along with barely a chance to steer it in another direction simply because of its size and complexity and people incapable of making moral decisions most of the time and it's not even their fault.
    Benkei

    Expanding on this point, I think it's not only our moral intuitions that fails us at this point, but also our cognition in general. The way we abstract the world, via language, cutting it in small bits, is ill-suited to deal with complex problems that would be better served with a more holistic approach. Measuring everything against something like money is an example of this, but any criterium or set of criteria small enough so that an average human being can deal with is, probably leaves out a lot of complexity.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    Surely you don't expect us to all be scientific scholars on every subject and post on a science journal level or shut up.ChatteringMonkey

    Well I sort of do, yeah, insofar as one is interested enough to post about it on a public forum I think the least prerequisite effort should be to familiarise oneself with the basic facts about which one is theorising. There are a number of very approachable books on the subject - I recommended Clive Finlayson's work on early humans - which requires very little 'scholarly' prior knowledge. Jared Diamond's work is pretty famous now, also Alice Roberts (off of the telly!) has written a really nice summary called 'The Incredible Human Journey'. Failing that, there's Wikipedia, which should take no more than half an hour to read through the pertinent links.
  • ssu
    4.6k
    Collapse won't happen in 20 years "to the day", but would be a process of unrelenting droughts, floods, fires, leading to crop failures, political upheaval, and both civil and inter-nation wars.boethius
    I think it's very likely that we will have some countries collapsing to civil war especially in the Sahel region, that already is hit the most. For example the hunger index shows on map quite well what the areas are were conflict can happen and is happening:

    Global Hunger Index by severity:
    2019_Global_Hunger_Index_by_Severity.png

    The inter-nation wars isn't necessary going to happen and those can be limited as, obviously there are two or more established sides that can cut their losses and control their forces (as they control their militaries). The societal collapse to civil war is the problem, that we've seen in many places (Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, etc) is the real danger. For example Yemen is as bad as it is thanks to the Saudi coalition intervention.

    Yet let's look at were we stand. So perhaps you would anticipate a turn to the 1960's and 1970's?
    state-based-battle-related-deaths-per-100000-since-1946_v5_850x600.svg

    And then the stats of people dying at famines:
    Famine-death-rate-since-1860s-revised-750x527.png

    Yet will this happen in Norway, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, South Korea? Just going to the situation of early 20th Century or 19th Century would be bad, but did that collapse our global society?

    The fact is that there has been a lot more famine, wars and unruly places in history than now and still the human society has prevailed.

    Armies (running out of food) won't simply sit around and starve to death, so the habitable places that remain will face relentless invasion and piracy with dwindling weapons systems that can no longer be renewed without the present global technological manufacturing platform.boethius
    This isn't at all realistic.

    Armies don't run out of food and then roam around as an army. Armies "collapse" simply when the pay doesn't come in. Functioning and lethal armed forces are actually very fragile and need huge resources and support. If the pay doesn't come, cracks appear immediately. Hence they either a) are cut in size and manpower by the government, b) go home if they aren't paid or c) stage a coup to get their pay. This happens far earlier than the issue becomes food. You shouldn't forget what Napoleon said about warfighting and armies: "You need money, money, money". To give an example: Iraq still had a huge army when Dubya Bush invaded. Saddam's army simply started to melt away with soldiers and officers taking off their uniforms, but a lot of units were still quite intact. Then the Americans had the great idea to just let them go. First they (the ex-armed forces) demonstrated for getting pay, then they went home and some started the insurgency in small uncoordinated groups. These uncoordinated group won't invade any country with a standing army, but the sure can start a low intensity guerilla conflict... or a civil war.

    You obviously didn't read my previous post which I literally say "as I explain in my previous post, I define as effectively arresting control of our institutions from our sociopathic oligarchs" is effective democracy.boethius
    On the contrary.

    If that arresting control "from our sociopathic oligarchs" would happen through the ballot box, that is great! Unfortunately in the World we live in people who want to "arrest control" mean they literally go and arrest people without giving a damn about the institutions as they are "corrupt and in control of the sociopathic oligarchs" in the first place. That was what I meant. Hence democracy and the necessary institutions are sidelined, which freaks out everybody. Then likely we get true sociopaths or even bloodthirsty psychopaths competing for power. Democracies are saved with guns only if an outside aggressor attacks them. There are far and few examples when guns have overthrown dictatorships and replaced them with democracy. Portugal and their Carnation Revolution is for example an exception.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    995


    I have read more about paleontology, pre-history, evolution etc... than you think.

    You came in here mis-interpreting what I said as some 'human nature'-type justification for defeatism concerning climate change and immediately went in the offence. That was never my intention, which should be clear from my other posts in this thread.

    What I said in defense of my posts also wasn't meant as some scientifically accurate or nuanced description, just some broad strokes that I think would suffice in support of my claims.

    I'm not even sure what you disagree with, as it's almost a truism what I said.
  • Isaac
    5.3k
    I'm not even sure what you disagree with, as it's almost a truism what I said.ChatteringMonkey

    Wow, that's an impressive speed of repair to the self-esteem. Two posts have taken you from "I'm no scholar" to "Everything I say is irrefutable"
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